Facilities FAQs

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Fine Turf

1. What does ‘Fine Turf’ refer to?

a. ‘Fine Turf’ refers in particular to natural sports turf surfaces that are designed with high specification both in construction and maintenance to provide a specialist surface. Typically this will be bowling greens, golf greens and of course, cricket squares.

2. Do you have a specification for a cricket square and outfield? How do I specify a cricket square and outfield?

a. You should always seek specialist advice when undertaking any new construction. It is usually necessary for detailed survey work and soil sampling to take place before any design is produced.
b. ECB recommends appointing a suitably qualified Fine Turf Consultant to independently design and manage fine turf construction. The role of a Fine Turf Consultant is akin to an architect on a building project. Contact the ECB Facilities team at facilities@ecb.co.uk if you want to explore this issue further.

3. How big should a new cricket ground be?

a. Firstly, you should calculate the number of games that will need to be played and also what type of surface. Individual fine turf pitches (also known as wickets or strips) usually have a maximum carrying capacity of 5 full adult matches per season or 7 full junior matches. A non-turf match pitch (also known as an artificial wicket) could have a carrying capacity of up to 100 games per season subject to appropriate design and management. The minimum boundary size is 45.62m (50 yard) for adult cricket and should be calculated from middle stump on the outer wickets. See this diagram for an example of a nine-pitch square: Nine Pitch Layout (40 KB)

4. We’ve had a lot of games called off this year; I think we need new drainage, where do we start?

a. Firstly, it is worth noting that 2012 was the worst year on record for the number of matches cancelled in a number of leagues up and down the country. Secondly, it is important to realise that drainage is not always (or even often) the cause of all problems with a wet playing surface. You could be suffering from significant compaction or thatch problems or there may be a local issue which is causing a very high water table. The first place to start is with some basic expert advice and your County Cricket Board can help by putting you in touch with your County Pitch Adviser. If you are subsequently advised that it may be a drainage or construction issue you may need to appoint a specialist Fine Turf Consultant to undertake a detailed survey and feasibility study.

5.We are having problems with our square (it is not playing well, we have saddles, we are getting bad umpire reports, the bounce is low, the bounce is variable) where do we start?

a. The first place to start is with some expert advice and your County Pitch Adviser who can visit your ground and produce a verbal or written report. To book a site visit from a Pitch Adviser contact your County Cricket Board. If you are subsequently advised that it may be construction issue you may need to appoint a specialist Fine Turf Consultant to undertake a detailed survey and feasibility study.

6. We need some support and advice on how to manage our pitches. Where do we start?

a. You can contact your County Groundsman’s Association (CGA) for support and advice. They will be able to provide access to expert advice from Pitch Advisers, subsidised training courses, the opportunity to hire specialist equipment for renovation and meetings and network events with other club groundsmen. To get in touch with your local CGA contact your local County Cricket Board).
b. The ECB’s Pitch Consultant, Chris Wood, recently worked with NatWest to produce a number of video tutorials focusing on various aspects of groundsmanship, from pitch preparation, to rolling, to pitch renovation. To access these videos please click here.

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Pavilion Development and Changing Rooms

1. I want to build a new pavilion, what guidance do you have for new pavilions?

a. Start with Pavilions and Clubhouses (TS5) (2.6 MB). Secondarily you should also consider Sport England design guidance, particularly on Pavilions and Accessibility. You may also find ideas and help at our Pavilions and Clubhouses micro site.

  • 2. Why do changing rooms need a view to the pitch – other sports say there should be no windows? *

a. Cricket is unique in that the changing room is an active environment in the game (being ‘timed out’ is a form of dismissal and can happen while a batter is padding up if they are not aware that wickets have fallen quickly). It is possible to achieve vanity (privacy), by design and maintain a visual link to the playing surface. See Pavilions and Clubhouses (TS5) (2.6 MB) for further details.

3. Why can we not build 1st floor changing with stairs to the pitch?

a. Design standards and Building Regulations have changed significantly since the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act in 2005. It is now a commonly accepted principle for design standards to be as inclusive as possible and solely stepped access in public facilities is no longer an option. It is expensive to build first floor changing which is fully accessible (involving a passenger lift) and it is also difficult to have easy, safe access to the playing surface. Further details on designing accessible sports facilities can be found in Sport England’s guidance.

4. Where can I find a good quality architect?

a. Before you appoint an architect you should research their qualifications, background and experience. There are a number of architects who have experience of sports projects and this could be of benefit when understanding the needs of different sports. You should make sure that your architect is RIBA registered. You can do this at www.architecture.com.

5. What type of construction should our building project use (traditional brick build, timber frame etc)?

a. There are many different types of construction that all have different strengths and weaknesses. The key is to understand how your building will be used, whether there any planning constraints, what maintenance requirements there are, the design life of your building and ultimately what your budget is. Once you understand these key requirements you can then assess which type of construction best suits your circumstances. You will need to seek professional advice on this matter from your architect.

6. We want to improve or renovate our existing pavilion, what should we be considering?

a. You will need to consider almost all of the issues that you would with building a new facility, including planning, design, costs and funding. You should try and accommodate the latest design guidance from ECB and Sport England if possible as this is designed to produce fit-for-purpose facilities. If you are building an extension it is essential that you comply with [link:http://www.sportengland.org/facilities__planning/design_and_cost_guidance/accessible_sports_facilities.aspx|caption:guidance on accessibility]. If you are planning to undertake some or all of the work yourself you should consider all of the issues outlined in our Self Help/CricketForce section.

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NTP and Practice Facilities

1. We want to build new nets, where do I start?

a. If you want to build fine turf nets start by reading ECB TS4 - Recommended Guidelines for the construction, preparation and maintenance of cricket pitches and outfields at all levels of the game. However, most Clubs wanting to build ‘nets’ will look to construct a Non-Turf Practice Facility as this will have a much greater carrying capacity. Start by reading the ECB Guidance Notes.

2. Do I need planning permission for nets?

a. In the vast majority of cases you will need planning permission even if you are replacing an existing facility. To establish whether you do need planning permission speak to your Local Authority Planning Officer and if it is not required request confirmation of this decision in writing. If you do need planning permission you will need to make an application and this can take up to 13 weeks. See this guidance note for further details: Making A Planning Application - guidance note (1.1 MB)

3. Can you recommend a supplier of cricket nets (Non-Turf Practice Facilities)?

a. ECB do not make recommendations for specific suppliers but we do have a process whereby a company can obtain certification that their system meets our performance standards: TS6 - Technical Requirements and Performance Specification for non-Turf Cricket Pitches (1.8 MB). A list of the current Approved Systems and the companies who supply them can be found here: ECB Approved Non-Turf Pitch Systems & Suppliers (261 KB)

4. What is an ECB Approved System and why should I use one?

a. These are the only non-turf pitch systems on the market that have been through a comprehensive testing process to prove they meet ECB Performance Standards and carry appropriate warranties as prescribed by ECB in TS6 - Technical Requirements and Performance Specification for non-Turf Cricket Pitches (1.8 MB).
b. A list of the current Approved Systems and the companies who supply them can be found here: ECB Approved Non-Turf Pitch Systems & Suppliers (261 KB). There is also a separate Code of Practice for companies who install Approved Systems: Code of Practice and Technical Requirements for the Design and Installation of Non-Turf Cricket Facilities (235 KB)

5. What is the ECB Code of Practice for Non-Turf Pitch Suppliers?

a. The Code of Practice is a methodology for companies to operate by to ensure they are providing a quality service to clients when constructing ECB Approved Systems. Companies who have proven that they are operating to the Code of Practice are permitted to carry the ECB Code of Practice logo: ECB Approved Non-Turf Pitch Systems & Suppliers (261 KB)

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Indoor Cricket

1. We want to install nets in our sports hall, where do we start?

a. You need to consider dimensions of the hall, flooring, lighting and access. You will also need to consider which other sports you offer or want to offer – some may not be compatible with cricket. For more detailed information see: Developing The Right Sports Hall 2011 (1.0 MB) and TS3 - Indoor Sports Halls with Cricket Provision (2.9 MB).

2. We want to build tension net courts for 8 a side cricket, where do we start?

a. See our guidance notes here on developing the business and design: Indoor Cricket Facilities: Performance and Construction Standards for Tensioned Nets to be used for the game of Eight-a-side Indoor Cricket (TS7) (467 KB)

3. I want to build an indoor cricket centre, where do I start?

a. You should start by considering the feasibility of this project in great detail. Construction and running costs are very high for Cricket Specific Indoor Centres and they are generally not viable unless costs are underwritten by a major organisation such as a public body, Higher Education establishment or a professional Club. Further information is available in our guidance notes TS3 and TS2.

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Planning Permission

1. Do we need planning permission for?:

  • A Non Turf Practice Facility
  • Fine Turf
  • A Non-Turf Match Pitch
  • An electronic scoreboard
  • A car park
  • A pavilion extension
  • A new pavilion
  • Boundary fencing/Ball stop netting

It is highly likely that you will need planning permission for any or all of these projects (and this is not an exhaustive list) but if you are in any doubt you should contact your Local Authority and speak to a planning officer. Bear in mind that obtaining planning permission can take 8 to 13 weeks once you lodge an application. For more detail see this guidance note: Making A Planning Application - guidance note (1.1 MB)

2. How much does planning permission cost? Where can I get more detail on planning permission?

a. See this guidance note on planning permission: Making A Planning Application - guidance note (1.1 MB)

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Machinery and Ancillary Equipment

1. What machinery do we need to maintain a cricket ground?

a. As an absolute minimum you will need a fine turf mower for the square, outfield mowing equipment, a roller and a range of hand tools. Further equipment will be needed for renovation. For specific guidance see our technical guidance – TS4 - Recommended Guidelines for the construction, preparation and maintenance of cricket pitches and outfields at all levels of the game (3.9 MB).

2. Why do we need to roll a cricket pitch? How much rolling should we do?

a. See our specific guidance note on rolling.

3. What issue are there around us using our own equipment?

a. You will need to consider safe and secure storage, maintenance and servicing, replacing machinery at the end of its life span, training for users and other health and safety issues such as storage of fuel and the COSHH regulations (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health).

4. What other equipment is needed at a cricket ground?

a. As a minimum, you will usually need sightscreens, covers and a method for marking the boundary (rope, markers or lines).

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Project Development

1. Where do we start?

a. Start by considering the feasibility of any project. You should look to establish a project team with the right mix of skills and consider carefully what the project will be, who will design it, who will use it, who may build it, how much it will cost to build and how much it will cost to maintain. You should document your findings to form a feasibility study. You can then consider whether you can afford the project or who you may need to approach for funding. For a step by step guide see our guidance note Developing a project - from concept to completion (8.6 MB) for more details.

To consider further options when undertaking a new project visit our Self Build and Self Help section.

Furthermore, consider the decisions you can make to help your Club become more Sustainable when developing a project whether it be a new build or a renovation.