Artificial turf football field with white line corner

Sports Surfaces

Smart Connection Consultancy offers an innovative approach that delivers outcomes that make a difference to local communities’ participation in recreation and sport.

We specialise in the planning, development, management and procurement of sports surfaces at both a community and stadia level. We see best practice and use of technology as complementing natural grass and encouraging more people to be active, play and achieve success in sport.

By embracing the skill sets and knowledge of our strategic alliances and collaborative partners, we can provide an integrated and holistic approach to any project.

“Over the last four years the relationship the City has built with Smart Connection Consultancy has become integral to the development of our public open space planning, most notably the Ellenbrook District Open Space, which includes four synthetic playing fields.

Smart Connection Consultancy has contributed in many ways including various studies, reports and research tours that we continue to use today. The work has been outstanding: on time, on budget and most important of a very high quality.

Smart Connection Consultancy has been very accommodating in its approach to our requirements and continues to go out of their way to help us where necessary – always going that extra mile.”

Wayne Stuart – City of Swan

fields of expertise

Through our collaborations with industry experts, we provide clients with a high level quality service that offer affordable investment.

We predominantly work with the sports surfaces for the following sports:

  • Australian Rules Football
  • Athletics Tracks
  • Bowling Greens
  • Cricket Fields and Wickets
  • Football (11-a-side, Futsal & 5-a-side)
  • Hockey Fields
  • Multi-sports areas
  • Rugby Union
  • Rugby League
  • Tennis Facilities

services and solutions for synthetic surfaces

Collaboratively we provide our clients with high level quality service that is offered for an affordable investment. Providing advice and solutions at each stage of the process for our clients, we offer a comprehensive scope of services, including:

knowledge sharing

We are committed to providing leading edge advice and knowledge so that the industry and our clients can appreciate how synthetic sports turf can complement their natural turf options. Collectively we are totally committed to providing leading edge advice and knowledge to industry so that our clients can appreciate the best sports surface solutions and designs required to meet their needs.

Our commitment extends to providing every local Council, state and territory government, national and state sports organisations in Australia with a complimentary copy of The Smart Guide to Synthetic Sport Surfaces (3rd Edition).

Our latest publications that are available include:

  • Smart Guide to Maintaining Synthetic Sports Turf (Long Pile), 2015
  • Smart Guide to Synthetic Sports Surfaces (Third Edition), 2014
  • We offer the industry and our client’s advice, mentoring and knowledge sharing so they can contextualise the opportunity and strategically consider options. Our approach provides rigor and we use independent research as a base to ensure that the most appropriate options are determined.

Our services and commitments for 2017 include:

  • National Sports Convention — Growing participation, play, sports turf and leisure facilities (Melbourne, 19-21 July 2017)
  • Planning and facility development workshops — tailored to client needs
  • Business case workshops — linked to Whole of Life Asset management costing strategies and income generation strategies
  • Sports participation growth strategies — linked to synthetic and natural surfaces
  • Sports surface best practice tours — see the surfaces actually play

feasibility studies

Exploring the need for a specific type of sports surface is critical to any Feasibility Study. We compare supply with demand needs, and then use the Smart Decision Making Matrix to identify the type of surface that best suites clients specific needs. That could include natural, hybrid or synthetic sports turf or rubber, natural or hard court surfaces.

Completing a Business Case to justify the need of a synthetic surface can be streamlined by using our Smart Whole of Life Costing Model, we can support clients in developing financial strategies, funding applications and where applicable offer funding packages with major financial institutes.

Our offering includes:

  • Financial strategy development to address WOL costings
  • Funding applications for government grants
  • Funding solutions with major lending institutes
  • Architectural design and costings
  • We understand the use of supply modelling by using demographics of the local community, the needs and the opportunities for activating and retaining them in sport and active recreation which is paramount for a Feasibility Study or Business Case.

Our supply and demand modelling is critical in determining the needs for sports facilities, including:

  • Supply and demand analysis
  • Community consultation options
  • Whole of Life costings
  • Revenue funding stream analysis to offset the expenditure

one stop shop

We will work with you in exploring the site parameters and constraints together with the opportunities to ascertain the best design and management options for your park or venue. We can offer an experienced and skilled team for natural turf, hybrid, synthetic, rubber or hard sports surfaces. Our collaborators can offer:

  • Stakeholder consultation and technical approval
  • Concept design options and strategy
  • 3D design and fly through options
  • Geotech analysis and site assessment
  • Councilor presentations
  • Cost estimate for concept design
  • We can mentor your team to understand how to best manage the facilities once built, as this is vital if the funding is based on your organisation’s ability to generate revenue.

We can support program development and provide advice on how to maximise the balance between club, school, commercial and your own programs, including:

  • Program development strategies
  • Price benchmarking
  • Performance reviews

procurement and project management

We can provide procurement and project management solutions for all projects including:

  • Natural, hybrid and synthetic turf
  • Sports surfaces (e.g. tracks and netball courts)
  • Stadia, pavilions and built facilities
  • Geotech advice and environmental solutions

With over 20 years’ experience in procurement and in collaboration with SportEng, Ground Science and Dalton Consulting Engineers we offer a full procurement service, including:

  • Procurement strategy development
  • EOI and RFT document development
  • Design and Construct or Detailed Design options
  • Tender evaluation facilitation
  • Comprehensive tender evaluation tools — to ensure a rigorous and transparent process to procure the best product which is fit for purpose and achieves best value for the community

Our sport and civil engineering collaborators provide the detailed hold and witness points to ensure that every step of the installation meets the appropriate civil and performance standards, including:

  • Site inspections and reports
  • Witness and critical hold points
  • Respond to construction RFI’s
  • Attend practical completion and defect inspections
  • Geotech and contamination assessments
  • Site assessments and conditional audits

Our architectural collaborators have procured and project managed many sports facilities including:

  • Canterbury Park Oval Pavilion
  • Holm Park Netball facilities
  • Ballarat Regional Soccer facility Morshead Park
  • Fairbairn Park Pavilion

management best practice

Identifying how to manage and balance usage on natural, hybrid and synthetic sports surfaces is more than an art there is a science to it.

Balancing Usage
We work with clients to understand their conflicting priorities season by season between daytime, evening and weekend usage, for a single sport or for multi-sport facilities. One of the secrets is addressed when we are conducting our Business Case Study where we really try and understand how the fields are to be used and then we can design them accordingly.

From that understanding we can provide support and advice on how to balance programming, usage constraints and even how to maximise your return on synthetic surfaces.

Developing Revenue Strategies to Cover Costs
As part of a management strategy we can support our clients in the development of a revenue strategy to offset the operational costs of facilities and including the establishment of sinking fund models.

Management Options
There are many options for managing sports facilities and Smart Connection Consultancy are experienced in exploring the options for clients from direct management, leases, licenses agreements and contracting out of facilities.

Maintenance of Sports Turf
With thousands of synthetic sports fields being installed globally, it is important that to maximise the opportunity to achieve each field’s life expectancy that it is well maintained.

Short-term benefits of an appropriate maintenance program include:

  • Enhanced playability – ensuring it can maintain the performance standards it was installed against;
  • Aesthetically optimised appearance;
  • Safety achieved and risk management mitigated; and
  • Compliance with manufacturer’s warranty requirements.

Smart Connection Consultancy and Alastair Cox Associates have combined their experience and co-authored The Smart Guide to Maintaining Synthetic Sports Turf (Long Pile), 2015. To access your free copy visit Downloads.

This Guide has been developed for the growing number of sports, education establishments, commercial operations and local governments who are installing synthetic sports fields for various sports and recreational facilities and may benefit from an increased understanding of why maintenance is important and what commitments should be made. When the correct maintenance is not carried out by the field owners the life expectancy can be significantly reduced.

Combining the authors’ experience with evidence from testing laboratories and International Federations who have experienced the impacts of limited or no maintenance, negative outcomes are identified,:

  • Unable to achieve re-certification against sports performance standards;
  • Reduced life expectancy;
  • Increased safety concerns;
  • Dilapidation of product; and
  • Voiding of warrantee.

To avoid these negative outcomes Smart Connection Consultancy offer services to assist clients who have synthetic fields including:

  • Maintenance workshops and practical sessions;
  • Annual reviews of fields to identify any defects and issues that need to be addressed;
  • Independent expert opinion; and
  • Facilitation with the maintenance company to optimise the maintenance outcomes
how can we help you?

Get in touch with Smart Connection Consultancy if you have a need to invest, plan or develop active communities through sport and recreation.

Thinking sport surfaces? Check out our downloadable resources