The American Sports Builders Association's 2013 Technical Meeting in San Antonio offered a broad spectrum of industry-related programming, designed to appeal to all aspects of the sports facility construction business as represented by ASBA's divisions, including Fields, Tennis, Track, and Indoor.

Excerpts from ASBA 2013 Technical Meeting sessions

The American Sports Builders Association’s 2013 Technical Meeting in San Antonio offered a broad spectrum of industry-related programming, designed to appeal to all aspects of the sports facility construction business as represented by ASBA’s divisions, including Fields, Tennis, Track, and Indoor.

The following sessions were among those presented:

Indoor Tracks
Presenter: Don Smith, CTB

Don Smith noted the indoor track is a unique structure. It is actually governed by four different bodies (IAAF, USATF, NCAA and NFHS), depending upon which level of competition the facility will house. In most cases, Smith stated, all four governing bodies use the same standards for indoor and outdoor construction – unless specific exceptions exist.

Each governing body, for example, has a different description of the track oval. The IAAF’s standards are the most exacting, including minimum number of lanes (at least four, but six preferred), banked turn measurement and radius, cross and longitudinal slope. USATF follows IAAF rules. NCAA is less exacting, noting that a 200m track is standard, although in actuality, the track may be shorter or longer. Those built after 2004 cannot exceed 300m. In addition, NCAA notes that no double-bend tracks (formerly known as the ‘broken back’ tracks) are allowed for sanctioned competition. NFHS has fewer rules pertaining to indoor tracks, although it does note some exception to the outdoor rules.

Smith also covered the rules governing field events which, as expected, were more specific for higher levels of competition (IAAF and USATF) than they were for the lower levels (NCAA and NFHS). In addition, many rules are silent on the issue of surfacing. There is no preferred surface listed, and portable synthetic or wooden surfaces can also be used. In addition, a multi-sport facility can be certified for indoor competition.

Smith referred attendees to the rules of each governing body for specific information and cautioned them that rules are subject to change, and should be consulted each time.

Efficient Irrigation Systems: Considerations for New and Retro Fields
Lynda Wightman, Hunter Industries

Wightman began her discussion with the factors that come into play when preparing to choose or upgrade an irrigation system. These included: types of playing surfaces, local building codes, local weather, amount of use a field is expected to get – and of course, budget. Site-specific challenges should be considered; these included the water source, water quality, availability of electricity to the site, and more.

Wightman noted those who were unsure of many factors in a given area could consult with one of the following:

Certified Irrigation Contractor (CIC)
Certified Irrigation Designer (CID)
Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor (CLIA)
Certified Golf Irrigation Auditor (CGIA)
Certified Landscape Water Manager (CLWM)
Certified Agricultural Irrigation Specialist (CAIS)
Certified Irrigation Technician (CIT)

In addition, Wightman touched upon the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which offers rebates based on a project’s use of reclaimed water. In addition, the American Society of Irrigation Consultants can provide guidelines that can prove invaluable to the project.

An irrigation system is only as good as the professional who puts it in, and its final success depends upon a full knowledge not just in terms of design and installation, but in maintenance and management. All knowledge has to be in place early. For example, it is essential to know both the water pressure and of the desired rate of flow in order to provide a road map to the contractor who will be working on the system.

Wightman discussed hydrozones which are especially important in infield construction. She also presented information on the difference between systems used in synthetic turf applications, and natural fields. She also presented photos showing the problems that field managers can see, and what irrigation issues are often to blame for these; for example, puddling, brown spots and more. She concluded her discussion with an overview of water use trends, including high-efficiency nozzles, weather sensors, check valves, pressure regulators and more.

Wood and Synthetic Combination Sports Flooring
Bruce Haroldson, Joe Covington

One of the hottest topics in indoor sports surfacing is the combination of wood and synthetic floors. The session discussed construction of these surfaces, as well as some maintenance considerations.

Combination floors are attractive and easy to maintain. Well-designed, well-built facilities that use these types of floors can provide years of good use, can be a showpiece for sports and can host a wide variety of sports.

Two types of systems are used:

A depressed wooden flooring system with a synthetic system installed around or adjacent to the wood; or
Combination systems where the entire system is installed over a specifically engineered subfloor.

Each system has advantages and disadvantages, both in terms of performance, ability to withstand loads and in terms of installation.

When installing systems that use both synthetic and wood surfaces, it is essential to follow the contractor’s recommendation regarding staples, screws and other hardware. Should proper precautions not be followed, the subfloor can move, and a facility manager will have to be on the lookout for signs of problems.

The presenters discussed the various types of systems and suggested effective installation techniques for continued user comfort, safety and overall performance including mechanical strength and outstanding wear resistance for minimum life-cycle cost and maximum usability.

Snapshots of Software Integration in Sports Construction
Troy Rudolph, CTB, CTCB

Troy Rudolph introduced his subject and noted that for his company, finding the correct software package had been “a journey rather than a destination.” There are a great many high-quality products on the market; however, it is essential for the contractor to have the company’s goals in mind when selecting a package.

Rudolph noted that in finding the correct package, he was able to realize many benefits including increased efficiency and better workflow. Many software packages are available for what is known in the trade as CRM (customer relations management). Some of these include Salesforce, Saleslogix and ACT!

CRM systems on the market vary in their capabilities, pricing and technology. Some are as basic as contact management, while others pull in sales, service and marketing, as well as office management and more. There are even packages that relate to specific industries.

Many packages on the market, Rudolph added, claim to be fully customizable. Many include various aspects of a job including account and contract management, estimating, production, sales processing, sales forecasting, quotes and orders, ticket management, back office integration, and in many cases, HR, accounting, document storage and retrieval and more. Another benefit to these systems is the fact that they allow for mobility of work; for example, a worker who is offsite can access data relevant to a particular project by using a mobile device.

Many contractors do minimal research on into the packages available on the market and unwittingly buy one that does not suit their needs. Rudolph cautioned against this, noting that it is easy to be oversold – or undersold, on a particular product. For example, he pointed out, iCloud offers a CRM product, but this lacks versatility. Taking a step back and outlining exactly what the program needs to do, and what needs to be managed (both within the company and within its office mechanics), can go a long way toward the selection of the proper project.

In addition, Rudolph noted that many companies, once they have experimented with products, have elected to have a program designed specifically for their use. This may be the most cost-effective way for a company with very specific needs.

Running Track Certification

The certification of a running track is essential if it is to be used for sanctioned competition. However, the level of competition will determine the level of certification necessary. Accordingly, this will affect the design and construction of the track. The levels of certification are as follows:

Class 1: Required for international championship or cup meets; the document required in this case would be the IAAF Report of Measurement.

Class 2: Required for other international meets or meets authorized for foreign athlete participation; the document required in this case would be the IAAF Report of Measurement.

Class 3: Recommended for any track needing assurance of accuracy, on which national collegiate or NCAA records may be set; the document required in this case would be an ASBA Class 3 Certification Form.

Class 4: Recommended for any track needing assurance of accuracy, on which state or national high school records may be set; the document required in this case would be an ASBA Class 4 Certification Form.

Class 5: Recommended for any track needing assurance of general accuracy; the document required in this case would be a letter from the striper attesting to the fact that the measurements of the track conform to the rules.

The presentation covered the differences between each certification, including the requirements (minimum equipment needed, course length measurement technique, course length tolerance-plus or minus, lane width tolerance and expiration of certification).
On-site surface testing is required only for Class 1 certification; no other certification level requires this.

It was noted this information is all covered in detail in the ASBA’s track book, and that because the rules of governing bodies change from year to year, track designers, builders, stripers and others must remain up to date.