By Mary Helen Sprecher
Maybe you have an athletic field that is showing its age. Maybe you want to discuss some of the options available to you regarding playing surface, lighting, infills, how to mark an existing field to host more sports or even how to purchase some pole vault standards.
The bottom line: These are all important issues that affect both the playing quality of your field and the safety of your players. You need someone with specialized experience to help you find the answers. Do you really want to trust anything that important to a Google search?
In order to find the right person to do the job, it’s essential to eliminate those who do not specialize in the work at hand. General contractors have many uses; however, in order to find athletic-specific design and construction professionals, it’s often better to skip the search engine and go to an organization whose membership is devoted to sports venues.
The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) is the national organization for builders, designers and suppliers of materials for sports fields, running tracks, tennis courts and indoor and outdoor courts and recreational facilities. It offers – free of charge – a directory of its members, categorized by state, as well as by profession.
Online directory use
By going to the ASBA’s website, www.sportsbuilders.org, it is possible to access a complete list of professionals available. The directory is literally in the center of ASBA’s home page, with the option to either search by company, or find a Certified Builder.
The “Search by Company” feature allows the user to select a builder based on a specific state, specialty (such as sports fields) and/or organization type (Builder, Designer or Supplier, for example). It is possible to select a specific state, and a specialty within that state, or to further refine the search to include an organization type.
Once the search feature is engaged, the user is presented with a full list of ASBA members who fit the search criteria. Full contact information is listed, including company name, address, phone number, website, e-mail and even specific information, including:
• Type of work the company does (Sports Fields, Indoor Court Sports & Recreation, Outdoor Court Sports & Recreation, Tennis, Running Tracks, etc.)
• Company description, including any subsets of construction, such as fencing, drainage, etc.
• States/territories: Where the company works or what areas it covers
• Type of organization: Builder, Design Professional, Supplier, etc.
The online directory is available 24/7, meaning it is ready whenever information is needed.
Bid Info Request
Those who have a specific project in mind (for example, the complete resurfacing of a natural grass field), and who wish to be contacted by companies interested in bidding on, or expressing interest in, the project should complete one of the ASBA’s online Bid Info Request Forms.
The form allows the user to specify the type of project being built (or even being considered) and providing the ability for ASBA members to get in touch and offer information or assistance. This feature is also offered on the home page and is a free service. Just look for it in the blue toolbar at the top, or type https://sportsbuilders.org/page/BidInfoRequest into the address bar.
ASBA offers a voluntary certification process to its builders. Certification allows a non-governmental agency, such as ASBA, to validate an individual’s qualifications and knowledge in a specific area of professional practice based on a set of pre-determined standards. In the case of field, tennis or track certification, the American Sports Builders Association is validating qualifications and knowledge as a field, tennis court or track builder.
ASBA offers multiple certifications:
- Field certifications:
- CFB (Certified Field Builder), which indicates knowledge of both natural and synthetic fields;
- CFB-N (Certified Field Builder-Natural Turf)
- CFB-S (Certified Field Builder-Synthetic Turf)
- Tennis courts: CTCB (Certified Tennis Court Builder)
- Running tracks: CTB (Certified Track Builder)
ASBA’s certification program is open to all builders engaged in sports construction. To qualify for initial certification, candidates must meet the following criteria:
- At the time of application, the candidate must have had a minimum of three years of experience in sports construction.
- Builders must demonstrate 100 eligibility points from specific areas such as project administration, site, sub-base and base work, layout, surfacing and marking, and more depending on the certification desired.
- Each candidate is required to provide three references that can verify his/her work experience and eligibility. References must have first-hand knowledge of applicant’s work experience.
- Recertification is required every three years.
The Find A Certified Builder search feature is also found on the ASBA’s home page, right below the “Search by Company” feature. Like the other aspects of the online directory, it is free to use.
Hard copy of directory
Those who would rather have a free copy of ASBA’s directory can request one by calling 866-501-ASBA (2722) or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASBA’s technical publications, including the popular and well-regarded Construction and Maintenance Manual series, are constantly being updated, and can be purchased by going to the “Publications” tab on the blue toolbar at the top of the page. They are available either in electronic form or hard copy, and include the following:
Pickleball Courts: A Construction & Maintenance Manual (2017)
This book promotes the quality construction, maintenance and repair of pickleball courts by providing information to facility owners, administrators, coaches, builders, architects and engineers.
Indoor Sports Surfaces: An Installation and Maintenance Manual (2014)
This book promotes the quality construction, maintenance and repair of indoor synthetic sport surfaces by providing information to facility owners, administrators, coaches, builders, architects and engineers.
NEW! Running Tracks: A Construction and Maintenance Manual (2019)
This book promotes the quality design, construction, maintenance and repair of track facilities by providing information to facility owners, administrators, coaches, builders, architects and engineers.
NEW! Sports Fields: A Construction and Maintenance Manual (2020)
This book promotes the quality construction, maintenance and repair of synthetic turf facilities by providing information to facility owners, administrators, coaches, builders, architects and engineers.
All publications are available both in hard copy and via electronic download. For ordering information, visit ASBA’s website (www.sportsbuilders.org), and select the tab on the blue menu bar labeled “Publications.”
Additional information is available from ASBA at 2331 Rock Spring Road, Forest Hill, MD 21050, by phone at 866-501-ASBA (2722) or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Mary Helen Sprecher wrote this article on behalf of the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA).