This quick guide is a summary of the topic of facility planning for sport and recreation planning. The contents should not be used or relied upon as a substitute for professional advice.
The provision of a sport or recreation facility can significantly enhance the quality of life. Activities held within sport and recreation facilities can encourage participation, promote health and wellbeing and foster a sense of community. However,
planning a sport or recreation facility is an involved and sometimes difficult task. To "get it right" may take time and involve a range of skills, many of which can be found within your community. This paper provides an overview of the facility
planning process for a specific sport or recreation facility. It identifies the stages involved in the facility planning process, the key principles of facility provision, highlights the benefits of joint and shared facilities, identifies
sources of capital funding and references various facility planning resources.
Key principles of facility provision
The Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) have developed four key principles of facility provision. Together they provide a planning framework for providers of sport and recreation facilities.
The key principles of facility provision are:
- Ensure the proposed facility supports the organisation's strategic plan
- Ensure the proposed facility is justified
- Ensure the proposed facility is feasible
- Coordinate planning with other facility providers and government agencies
- Undertake community consultation throughout the facility planning process
- Ensure that various options have been considered for location
- Maximise access and opportunity-aim to cater for a broad range of needs, social issues and physical capabilities
- Develop a management plan to reflect operational strategies and design priorities
- Develop a design brief that reflects the needs of potential users and staff
- Design the facility to be practical, flexible, adaptable, multi-functional, energy efficient and low maintenance
- Design using Life-Cycle Cost Principles
- Obtain capital funding that is available from a variety of sources
- Assess short and long term viability against the aim of the facility, its operating philosophy and projected operating costs
- Detail facility maintenance strategies in an asset management plan
- Develop a Life-Cycle Cost Plan
A preliminary task to planning a sport and recreation facility is the preparation of a strategic recreation plan. A recreation plan identifies existing facilities and services, the broad recreation needs of the community and the action required
to meet identified needs. It outlines the priorities for sport and recreation facilities and services, ensuring that provision is equitable and efficient.
The preparation of a recreation plan may identify a range of development requirements. If the recreation plan identifies the need for a specific sport or recreation facility, the facility planning process should begin.
Facility Planning Process
The five key phases in the Facility Planning Process for a sport and recreation facility:
The first phase in the facility planning process is to undertake a facility specific needs assessment. This process will verify whether a new facility is required or if the need can be satisfied in some other way. It will also provide clear direction
with regard to the most appropriate scope, scale and mix of components for the proposed facility.
The key elements of a facility specific needs assessment are:
- Identification of current and future trends
- Analysis of social indicators
- Review of existing facilities and services
- Assessment of similar facilities and services provided in comparable communities
- Community consultation to identify demand, usage and future potential
The needs assessment should involve broad consultation. Discussions should occur with various members of the community, key agencies (e.g. Sport and Recreation, Education Department) and groups, neighbouring local government authorities, sports
clubs/associations and other providers of sport or recreation services.
Once all the information is gathered and analysed, a report is completed recommending to either modify or abandon the proposal, upgrade or amalgamate existing facilities, or to develop a new facility.
If the needs assessment recommends the development of a new facility or significant redevelopment of an existing one then the next phase in the facility planning process is to undertake a feasibility study.
The purpose of a feasibility study is to enable an objective decision regarding resource allocation to a sport or recreation facility. The study will refine the concept and then test that concept to determine if it will perform both practically
The key elements of a feasibility study are:
- Market analysis
- Draft management Plan
- Concept plan
- Location rationale
- Design and technical options
- Capital costs and financials
- Sustainability assessment
Community consultation should occur throughout the feasibility study to determine particular requirements such as size, usage, access, functionality and affordability.
Once completed the feasibility study should enable an objective decision regarding the resource allocation to the proposed facility. At this stage an evaluation is concluded to either proceed, modify, postpone, stage or abort the project.
If the feasibility study recommends to build a facility, the project then enters the design phase. It is at this point a management plan is finalised, a design brief is developed and a design consultant or team is appointed.
The management plan outlines how the facility will be used by the community and/or user groups and should include the following key components:
- Programs and services to be offered and how they will be promoted
- Proposed management structure
- Facility maintenance strategies
- Annual operating budget detailing projected income and expenditure
The management plan is then used in the development of the design brief -that is, the functional requirements of potential user groups and activities are translated into a set of design specifications. A comprehensive design brief is critical
if the expectations of the client and community are to be realised.
The key elements of a design brief are:
- Site details and any clearing constraints
- Schematic diagram or at least a schedule of specific requirements
- Accommodation schedule
- Standard of finishes
- Project budget and cost limit
- Key dates for the commencement and conclusion of construction
The requirements of the project design brief are incorporated into drawings prepared by the design consultant(s). A detailed cost analysis is undertaken and all statutory approvals are obtained. Finally, all the contract documentation is prepared,
tenders are invited and a contractor is appointed.
The design team consists of the design consultants engaged to develop the design of the facility. In the case of a small project, it may not be necessary to appoint design consultants. However, for medium and large-scale projects, the following
professionals are usually included in the design team:
- Structural engineer
- Mechanical and electrical engineer
- Cost planner or quantity surveyor
- Landscape architect (if appropriate)
- Acoustics consultant (if appropriate)
For larger more complex projects, it is worth considering the appointment of a professional project manager. The project manager would be responsible for managing the activities of the professional design team, and ultimately for the construction
of the project.
Should a project manager not be appointed, then the architect would generally coordinate all the other design professionals involved.
Joint provision/shared use facilities
There are many benefits to joint provision and shared use of sport and recreation facilities including:
- Less duplication and maximum use of community facilities and services
- Creation of a community hub-a focal point for community activity
- Shared capital costs, services, resources and expertise
- Improved relationships between organisations
- Reduced operating costs
- Increased community ownership of facilities
- Access to a broader range of services and expertise
- Reduced vandalism
Potential partners for sport and recreation facilities include:
- Schools, colleges and universities
- Sport association headquarters
- Senior citizen centres
- Neighbourhood and community centres
- Community and child health centres
- Health and fitness clubs
- Art and entertainment venues
- Local government authority
- The private sector
The basis of shared provision and use is to broaden access, maximise usage and rationalise costs in order to get the best possible value from the facility. However, if shared facilities are to be successful, all parties need to think through their
specific needs for access and use, and be assured that an opportunity for compatibility exists before planning advances to the design phase.
Management agreements for shared use facilities should be comprehensive, detailing arrangements for location, funding, management risk allocation and use. However, if the sharing arrangement is to be successful, their application requires flexibility,
trust, open communication and co-operation.
Where appropriate co-location, joint provision and shared use of sport and recreation facilities can result in the best outcome for your sport, club, school or community. These options should be explored at length with various government agencies,
State Sporting Associations, commercial operators, neighbouring local governments and sport and recreation clubs before any decisions are made to extend or build a new facility.
Capital funding for sport and recreation facilities may come from a number of the following sources:
Community Sporting and Recreational Facilities Fund (CSRFF)
Local governments and community groups can seek up to a third contribution towards the upgrading or construction of a new sport or recreation facility. Contact your local department office to discuss the project and to determine eligibility for
Funds may be available for multipurpose facilities that encourage and increase community participation. Facilities include skateboard parks, trails and community buildings for the use of groups such as children, youth, disabled or women. Contact
the Grants and Community Development Office of Lotterywest.
Local government authorities
Availability for funding varies between LGAs. A contribution is usually required from the applicant group either financial or in kind (i.e. voluntary labour). Contact your local government authority.
Education Department of WA
Funding may be available for joint-use facilities where the project is a joint venture between a local government authority and the Education Department. Contact the Facilities Branch of the Education Department and your local DSR office.
The private sector
Private interests such as churches, local business groups, developers and major employers within the community may contribute funding towards public sport and recreation facilities.
Community funding may be sourced through:
- Contributions from potential user groups
- Fundraising activities
- Voluntary labour
- Donations of materials and services
- Locating or integrating two or more facilities on the same or adjacent sites.
- Community Consultation
- The process of involving and communicating with stakeholders and community groups and individuals throughout the facility planning process.
- Concept Design
- Preliminary drawings that convey the concept of the project.
- Design Brief
- A set of instructions from the client to the designer or design team outlining what the client expects the facility to provide.
- Feasibility Study
- An assessment of a proposal to build a facility that tests the practicability of that proposal.
- Joint Provision and Shared Use
- An arrangement between two or more parties to co-operatively plan, design and in some cases manage a facility.
- Management Plan
- An outline of management issues providing direction on how the facility will be managed and utilised.
- Needs Assessment
- An analysis of the need and demand for recreation facilities and services. May be generic or facility specific.
- Organisational Philosophy
- The values of the client organisation which supports the provision of the facility.
- Recreation Plan
- An outline of policies, strategies and methodologies within a structured approach that deals with the provision of sport and recreation facilities.
- Schematic Design
- Scaled detailed drawings produced by a professional designer or architect.
- Social Indicators
- Demographic and social characteristics that influence demand for human services. i.e. population size, age, gender, ethnicity, mobility, family structure, housing, disposable income and education.
The department has a number of facility planning resources available either on request or online:
Planning guides available on request
- Project Design Brief Guide
- Appoint and Manage a Design Consultant Guide