The importance of 3G pitch maintenance

Find out how keeping your pitch maintained can save you money and protect your players from injury.

3G pitches are a great alternative to natural grass.  They will enable you to play all year round and stop you having to cancel matches.  3G pitch maintenance is also a lot less time-consuming and costly compared to maintaining a natural grass pitch.

The artificial pitches are a significant cost so the maintenance is essential to protect the pitch and make sure it lasts as long as possible.

Arguably the most important factor in 3G pitch maintenance, is to keep the turf upright. Doing this helps support the elements of natural play such as traction, ball movement, and it also prevents player injury. There are a number of things you can do to help achieve this, including:

Wearing the right footwear

Boots are a big factor when it comes to 3G pitch maintenance. Flat soled boots/shoes are typically a no-go. They increase the rate of infill compaction and flatten the pile of the carpet. 3G pitches are rigorously tested and manufactured to withstand extensive play and last as long as possible, if the correct footwear is used. We advise using only moulded or screw-in stud football boots.

Regular brushing

Relying on a twice-yearly 3G pitch maintenance service isn’t enough. Regular brushing will keep the synthetic fibres upright and protect the infill and stop it from compacting. We suggest brushing the pitch weekly. This can be done using a compact tractor with a triangle drag brush.

Infill top ups

Those small black rubber pieces spread throughout the pitch are there for many reasons, including supporting the fibres and keeping them upright. Overtime amounts of infill will end up leaving the pitch and will need replacing. If you keep an eye on the amounts of infill when you’re brushing the pitch and top it up when you see necessary.

Winter weather maintenance

Snow and ice are the only instances that could potentially stop you from using the pitch. Heavy snowfall can freeze the fibres and make them brittle, which would increase the chance of damage to the pitch and increase the risk of injuries for players. If there has been heavy snowfall you will need to wait for it to thaw out and allow the water to drain away. As with many things however, prevention is better than a cure – laying vacuum dried salts on the turf before snow or ice is predicted can help prevent freezing from happening at all.

The cost of 3G pitch maintenance

A 3G pitch should cost an average of £5,530 a year to maintain. Compared with the yearly £48,000 needed for a quality natural grass pitch, 3G pitches come out on top, again!

Get in touch today if you need support with 3G pitch maintenance.

3G pitch maintenance

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM ATHLETICS TRACK

McArdle build prestigious athletics track used by Olympic teams for IAAF World Championships pre-training.

McArdle Sport Tec were thrilled to be chosen by the University of Birmingham after a competitive tendering process to build a prestigious athletics track. Built to international training standard, the porous Stobitan track has been finished in a stunning deep red. The eight lane athletics track includes, floodlighting, throwing and jump facilities with a 7000m² natural grass in-field.

The University, currently ranked in the top ten for sport in the UK; pride themselves on nurturing and encouraging talented new athletes to study at the campus. One such pupil is Sarah McDonald currently representing Team GB in the 1,500m at the World Athletics Championships, in London. The high-quality sporting facilities attracts renowned worldwide Olympic teams as the facility of choice for training practice before major competitions.

Director of Sport at the University, Zena Wooldridge OBE commented:

“We’re very fortunate to have such a superb new athletics track on a magnificent leafy site. Athletics is a key sport for the University of Birmingham and it will make a huge difference to our athletes’ training to have such a fantastic track so close to the main campus.

I hope our student athletes and the young athletes from BRATS and local schools will be inspired by the new track and its Jamaican inauguration, and we look forward to seeing more of our own stars of the future training here.”

The athletics track was constructed on overgrown woodland leased from the Schools of King Edward V. Situated on the edge of the campus, the new facilities will be home to not only the University but King Edwards School, King Edwards VI high school for girls; and other local athletics clubs.

Simon Hedges Contracts Manager for this project commented:

“A considerable amount of work was undertaken to clear the site and to level the earthworks. However, it was a fantastic opportunity to be involved with this project, as athletics tracks especially to this standard and specification are rarely constructed in the UK. Our team worked extremely hard to ensure that the tracks were completed on time to ensure that a well-known Olympic athletics team could train on site prior to the IAAF World Championships took place in London. We are extremely honoured to be involved in this construction.”

Photo’s courtesy of Alan Spink and the University of Birmingham.

“We are delighted to have been able to support the University in the development of this impressive new facility. Not only will our own pupils benefit from the use of the track for games lessons, fixtures and sports day, but through our extensive outreach programme it will also give primary school children across the region the opportunity to train on the same site as Olympic athletes.”

Dr Mark Fenton, Chief Master of King Edward’s School.

OUR SPORTS SURFACES

We offer a comprehensive service from conception and planning through to design and construction.

MANCHESTER COMMUNICATIONS ACADEMY – 3G FOOTBALL PITCH

McArdle Sport Tec & TigerTurf work with the Football Foundation to install a 3G Pitch at Manchester Communications Academy

TigerTurf in partnership with McArdle were delighted to win yet another competitive tender through Robinson Low Francis on behalf of the Football Foundation. McArdle installed a new 3G football pitch with associated fencing and floodlights at Manchester Communications Academy.

The new third generation pitch measures 106 x 70m using FIFA tested TigerTurf Atomic Pro; and took a total of 20 weeks to construct. The pitch will be mainly used for football by the Academy, but the 3G pitch is also available to the local community for holding matches and training sessions.

Green surrounding fencing finishes the pitch, and installation of ultra-low glare floodlights will enable all year round playing access. Inlaid and tufted lines define a full-size and two smaller 64 x 46 meter playing pitch options. Line paint marks out a further two 55 x 37m and four smaller 34 x 27m pitches.

McArdle received a glowing reference from Susan Webster, Project Manager at the Manchester Communications Academy:

“I am happy to say that working with McArdle Sport Tec has been a delight. Anthony Doran, the on-site manager worked well with the academy team to guide the project, particularly providing practical and proactive input to some late site layout changes. The whole McArdle team co-ordinated well to deliver the new pitch. It was not an easy site with many planning provisions to attend to, but with support from McArdle Sports Tec, Manchester Communications Academy now has a great new facility for its students and the local community.”

3G Pitch at Manchester Communication Academy

“The site will also be an important hub for grassroots football clubs and many other sports and groups in the area. Fantastically well done to all concerned!”

GRAHAM TAYLOR OBE, FORMER ENGLAND MANAGER & FOOTBALL FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR

OUR SPORTS SURFACES

We offer a comprehensive service from conception and planning through to design and construction.

3G sports pitch testing – FIFA guidelines

Guidelines and testing for third generation sports pitches

Third generation (3G) pitches are artificial sports pitches designed to mimic the look, characteristics and performance of real grass. 3G pitches are filled with both sand and rubber to keep the synthetic grass dense and upright.

FIFA’s guidelines are in place to ensure that all 3G pitches are designed, manufactured and installed with player safety at the forefront. The all-weather pitches allow players to play football in its traditional manner, all year round. Pitches are durable and resilient with a lifespan of around 10 years.

3G pitch testing

At McArdle Sport-tec, we work closely with our clients to make sure we stay focused on their needs and comply with FIFA’s 3G pitch guidelines. We work in partnership with Tiger Turf UK who comply with FIFA’s rigorous testing methods.

Sports pitches can be expected to withstand 40+ hours of play a week. 3G pitches must pass tests on a whole range of factors, including shock absorption and rotation resistance to prevent player injuries. There are 600 data points tested to determine the turf’s performance.

Take a look at the testing methods used.

3G pitch maintenance

3G pitches require a moderate level of care and maintenance in order to last the expected lifespan. There are a number of rules that should be put in place to safeguard the pitch’s quality, including what footwear should be used on the surface. Regular cleaning and attention should take place to ensure the synthetic grass is kept in good condition.

Having a well maintained 3G pitch will not only make it last longer and help prevent injuries. The pitches are designed to replicate every aspect of real grass, including ball/surface interaction. Making sure the synthetic fibres are kept in good condition will help make sure of this.

Sports pitches from McArdle

As specialists in sports pitch construction we ensure that all of our pitches are installed to comply with FIFA’s guidelines. We’ll carefully consider the best possible location on your site to minimise maintenance and prolong the lifespan of your pitch.

Find out more about our construction process.

all weather 3G sports pitch

Hockey Pitch Construction

Where to Begin

This guide has been designed to assist with answering initial questions we are often asked by clients when they first embark on their hockey pitch construction journey. 

-How much does artificial hockey pitch construction cost?
The cost of building a pitch can vary immensely. Do you require a simple resurfacing of an existing pitch with a new sand-dressed artificial turf, or brand new pitch to be constructed with drainage, sports fencing and a new floodlighting system?

Initially, the existing ground conditions will need to be assessed. If the soil is contaminated, this will need to be removed from site and replaced. The more material that needs to be removed and replaced with suitable base material, the more the overall project will cost. A basic sand-dressed pitch resurface with no lighting or fencing can start at around £150,000, and can be in excess of £1 million for a brand new International standard, water-based pitch with new fencing, team dug outs, LED floodlighting and state-of-the-art irrigation systems.

-What are the first steps in artificial hockey pitch construction?
One you have secured land for the build, you will need to speak with an artificial pitch contractor, or a consultant. They should be able to assist with planning considerations and applications, design options, ground surveys, product specifications and pricing. Should you require funding, England Hockey is a good place to start.

-What type of surface does my club need?
Most international tournaments are played on FIH Global standard water-based surfaces and league games are usually played on FIH National standard sand-dressed pitches. If your club doesn’t host international fixtures then a sand-dressed surface will more than likely be sufficient. Water-based and sand-dressed surfaces are becoming available in a range of colours. Types of hockey surface available.

Do I need to have a shock pad under the artificial turf surface?
Although the FIH doesn’t specifically state that a shock pad is required, the testing criteria make it necessary to pass either ‘Global’ or ‘National’ criteria.
The addition of a shock pad in hockey pitch construction will aid player comfort, as the impact on the knees and back is significantly reduced when a shock pad is present. The most commonly used types shock pad systems are; pre-formed roll out pads, and ‘in-situ’ shock pad. An in-situ pad is a combination of SBR rubber and PU Polyurethane binder which is mixed on-site and laid upon the tarmac pitch base.

-How long should an artificial hockey surface last?
Manufacturers will offer a guarantee for each product in their range, to give an example, TigerTurf UK Ltd’s most popular hockey surface Evo Pro is guaranteed for 12 years, or 30,000 playing hours (2017). Many of the UK manufacturers have similar product guarantee periods, either measured in playing hours, or years. It is vitally important that the surface is maintained to the manufacturers standards for the guarantee to remain valid, artificial turf pitches are not maintenance free.

-Can an artificial hockey pitch be used for other sports?
More and more artificial hockey pitches are becoming multi-sport facilities as hockey clubs and local councils look to maximise the number of hours that the surface can be used for, therefore increasing pitch hire revenue. Artificial turf surfaces can be used for multiple sports, many manufacturers have sand-dressed systems which can be used for 5-a-side football, hockey and tennis. Other sports suited to a sand-dressed surface include volleyball, lacrosse, touch rugby and athletics.

Hockey Pitch

Hockey and the Rio Olympics

The Rio Olympics Showcased Just How Great Water-Based Artificial Hockey Pitches Are

Following the success of Team GB Women’s hockey team, where they won gold at Rio, there has been much hype around the sport and types of artificial hockey pitches available. Both Olympic hockey pitches, and the training pitch in Rio were water-based, which created a stir on social media. Many people were questioning why the pitches were blue, and others asked why water was visible on the pitches when it hadn’t rained.

The London 2012 Olympic Games hosted the first world hockey event played on a different coloured surface to the traditional ‘field green;’ they were blue with pink run-offs. The colour doesn’t affect the game, it just makes it more fun! It has been suggested in the media that perhaps the blue and green pitch with white lines and a yellow ball were selected in Rio as they make up the colours of the national flag.

Elite level hockey is preferably played on a wet pitch, a water-based pitch does not have any sand infill. The water reduces friction, enabling the ball to roll faster and straighter than with other types of artificial hockey pitch surfaces. It also affects the players’ sliding, running and turning; stick-work including dribbling, hitting, pushing, dragging, flicking and scooping of the ball.

These factors allowing for a fast-passed, technical game. The layer of water in the surface needs to replenished before a match and during half time breaks, numerous water cannons and a complex irrigation and drainage system are installed within all water based artificial hockey pitches.

Prior to the Rio Olympics, an identical FIH water-based artificial hockey pitch was also constructed at Bisham Abbey (home to England Hockey).  This enabled the British hockey team to practise on the exact same surface as Rio. Perhaps this gave them an advantage, the girls performed outstandingly!

Since their return, the GB Ladies hockey team have attended an athletes’ parade in Manchester, followed by the heroes return in London. Many of the gold medal winning GB ladies’ team have also appeared on TV shows for interviews, and were even invited to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the royal family, which included Her Majesty The Queen and Price Harry.

Our website details the various types of artificial hockey pitches available.

water-based olympic hockey pitches

England Manager, Gareth Southgate opens Burton Albion’s new sports pitch

Pirelli Stadium’s new 3G Pitch opening

Football Foundation Ambassador and England Manager, Gareth Southgate, was invited to open the newly constructed TigerTurf and McArdle Sport Tec football pitch in Burton today. We sent one of our team to the Pirelli Stadium to attend the Football Foundation’s official opening ceremony.

Burton Albion Community Trust applied for a funding grant which was approved and granted by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, and was delivered by the Football Foundation. McArdle Sport Tec, TigerTurf UK and Technical Surfaces were awarded the contract and worked together to design, build, manufacture and maintain a new artificial 3G football pitch for Burton Albion Community Trust. The pitch measures 97m x 61m and the scope of works included refurbishing the existing floodlighting system and installing new fencing and hardstandings. For the installation, TigerTurf manufactured the new artificial surface Atomic Pro 60, which conforms to the latest FIFA testing requirements. The carpet was laid upon a macadam pitch base.

The new pitch will allow BACT to gain extra revenue from hiring the pitches to local teams within the community, extending the hours of play to 50+ per week in comparison to a natural turf pitch, and the pitch can be utilised during the winter months. The income generated will greatly benefit the charity to extend its reach within the local community.

Scott Taylor, Football Development Officer at Burton Albion Community Trust commented: “The new TigerTurf pitch caters for people of all abilities and ages ranging from 5 to 90 years old who can benefit from a safe environment that meets the required standards. We’ve seen a large rise in the number of users, and this is set to increase over the coming months with more demand for pitch hiring during the daytime.

“We have projected an income of over £40,000 in usage between the months of September through to April as these are typically the most popular months for activities. This will provide a welcome boost to the trust’s income and can be used to further improve our ever-growing programme of activity.

“Another benefit of the quality surface provided is that it has allowed the caretaker to maintain the pitch with ease. Furthermore, we’ve benefitted from the adequate support on TigerTurf’s website which has helped maintain and improve the performance of the pitch, highlighting the most important processes.”

The Premier League & The Facilities Fund is delivered by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Football Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth more that £580m towards improving grassroots sports, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Football Foundation

McArdle Sport Tec Ltd, Geo Turf Consulting & TigerTurf UK- finalists in the SAPCA Awards 2016

McArdle’s complex design & build project at Aberystwyth Town FC was nominated

The SAPCA Awards 2016 were held on the 6th February 2017 at SAPCA’s annual conference and awards dinner, we were thrilled to have one of our projects nominated for the SAPCA Excellence Award. The complex pitch design and installation project at Aberystwyth Town FC was a joint McArdle Sport Tec, GEO Turf Consulting & TigerTurf UK team undertaking.

NOMINATION: Following the increasing number of artificial pitches installed at Welsh premier league team grounds, Aberystwyth Town FC sought to install a 3G pitch of their own. With investment from the Welsh FA and working closely with Jonathan Smith, a sports surface consultant from GEO Turf Consulting, Aberystwyth Town FC were keen to find a solution that would not only provide the club with a first-class, all-weather pitch but that also carefully considered environmental and sustainability factors as the existing ground was classified as contaminated. The site location and existing ground conditions created particularly difficult challenges for the project, both technically and financially.

As such, it was decided that the Park Avenue Stadium pitch would be constructed with an Ecocept base – an innovative, sports-performance base layer which provides a host of excellent environmental and sustainable benefits to an artificial grass pitch installation compared to traditional construction methods.

The use of Ecocept meant that no off-site removal of contaminated materials was required as we stabilised the site soils to a CBR of approximately 50% for frost protection and stability, and that no imported stone had to be transported onto site – saving not only money and time but also reducing vehicle movements on and off site leading to a lower carbon footprint compared to a traditional pitch installation. This was beneficial as the town centre location can be difficult to navigate and can become easily congested.

With the proximity of the sea to the stadium, a high water table from tidal water had previously caused issues of flooding on the pitch. A waste water management programmed had to be designed to ensure the pitch could be used year-round. A soakaway was constructed, however, due to a tidal water table, which would be a problem on Spring high tides, an affordable pumped solution had to be found. New and innovative technologies in testing conditions were explored to cater for very large flows, with a pump set to discharge a minimum of 42lts/s. A series of drains were introduced to link to the new soakaway. To ensure the worst possible storm event conditions were considered, the pump station was designed to discharge to the sea in the most extreme conditions.

The decision to make use of new technologies in the construction of the new 3G pitch allowed the club to complete the project on a limited budget, increase playing hours available at the club to open the club up to the wider community, including disability sports clubs, youth and academy teams, and to create additional revenue streams. Now that fixtures will not need to be cancelled, the club has also seen an increased attendance at First Team fixtures, again bringing in additional income to the club.

After much hard work and problem solving, we managed to successfully install almost 8,000sqm of British-made artificial turf upon an innovative and bespoke base and drainage solution which had to work within a busy coastal town centre location.

McArdle Sport Tec are in the starting blocks at the University of Birmingham

8-Lane Athletics Track Installation

After submitting a detailed design and tender for the installation of a new athletics track at University of Birmingham, McArdle Sport Tec Ltd were thrilled to have been awarded the project contract. The large scale project for the University of Birmingham at Edgbaston Park Road is sure to attract many users from the university and King Edward’s School which is situated opposite the University site. The new facility includes an 8-lane athletics track with a natural turf infield and a state-of-the-art LED floodlighting system, as well as field areas for steeple chase, high jump, long jump, javelin, hammer and discus.

After an initial site clearance, the major works are expected to start imminently with the IAAF accredited track surface and associated facilities to be completed in the summer. The extensive project involves the removal and re-use of a vast expanse of top soil,  design and installation of complex drainage systems, the installation of a stone sub-base and a macadam base, installation of the polymeric running surface, line marking in accordance with UK athletics, timber crib wall construction, planting and much more.

The synthetic track surfacing will be a ‘sandwich’ system, formed of a base layer of resin bound black SBR rubber crumb and a top layer of solid red polyurethane resin with partially embedded red EPDM rubber crumb forming the surface texture. Paved areas are to be erected for judges stands on the inside and outside of the track circuit, at the finish line on the main straight.

Athletics track installation specialists McArdle Sport Tec have previously installed athletics tracks and facilities throughout the UK including, but not limited to, The Manchester Commonwealth Games stadium track, The Aberdeen Sports Village, Stowe School, King George V Playing Fields in Swansea, Tavistock College, and are currently mid-way though the construction of a new track  at the National Indoor Athletics Centre located at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

athletics track installation

How your team can embark on the artificial 3G rugby pitch construction journey

The 3G artificial pitch construction process-

With the recent statement from the RFU suggesting they are looking to fund the construction of artificial 3G rugby pitches as part of their “AGP Programme”, and having installed one of the pilot pitches ourselves, we are increasingly being asked how the 3G artificial pitch construction process begins, and how clubs can apply to be part of the scheme.

When considering an artificial pitch, all aspects of the installation must be carefully considered. Not only do we need to provide you with the best quality turf and completed pitch, we need to ensure this is delivered on-time, within the club’s budget and to the highest customer service standard. In order to ensure we are able to offer the premium pitches we are renowned for, we will need to meet the main stakeholders so we can determine exactly what is required. There is no standard specification, all sites offer alternative challenges and conditions, drainage plans, logistics, specifications and budgets all differ.

A feasibility study begins with a free site visit to assess the potential site. Planning conditions are carefully considered and project designs are tailored to ensure individual conditions are adhered to. An extensive range of pitch options and specifications are discussed and a range of design options are presented to the club.

How can artificial 3G rugby pitch construction benefit your club?-

Artificial 3G rugby pitch construction provides clubs the opportunity to boost participation in the game. The main advantages include providing the opportunity for more playing hours, more training hours and a consistent surface which can be utilised throughout the year. As part of the RFU’s Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy promise of delivering over £50m investment over four years, they have pledged to develop 100 artificial grass pitches across England. Once all AGPs are built it is anticipated that grassroots rugby will see 16,000 new regular participants taking up the sport as a result of greater access to quality playing facilities across the country.

How can your club get on the list for potential funding for an artificial 3G rugby pitch?-

As far as we know there is no official application process for the RFU’s AGP strategy, should your club be looking to get on the RFU’s potential list you would need to speak with the RFU facilities manager in your area. A list of contacts and their details can be found here.

Artificial Rugby Pitch