Our top 5 tips for maintaining artificial hockey pitches

A properly maintained artificial hockey pitch doesn’t only benefit its overall appearance and contributes to a longer life. Some of the advantages go further to include; a reduction in the chance of obtaining an injury, ensuring proper drainage in bad weather conditions, and generally improving the playing surface to make sure you’re playing at your absolute best.

It is important to consider the maintenance of your hockey pitch even before your hire a hockey pitch construction contractor. You can keep your pitch looking clean and tidy by installing tarmac paths leading to the pitch, landscaping with non-shedding trees, and even installing artificial turf warm up areas so the pitch doesn’t get contaminated with mud. No artificial pitch is completely maintenance free, therefore, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 tips for maintaining you artificial hockey pitch:

  1. Routine Maintenance

By carrying out regular preventative maintenance on the pitch you can extend its life and keep it in the fantastic condition. As a general guideline, we would especially advise clearing the pitch of litter, leaves, twigs, and mud. Additionally, you would be wise to remove any weeds or unwanted growth that may appear around the pitch edges. By keeping up with general maintenance you will be doing the pitch a big favour in the long term.

  1. Wear Appropriate Footwear

It is important that you communicate to any individuals who will be using your artificial pitch about the correct footwear that should be worn. By ensuring all pitch users have appropriate footwear for the specific sport and surface will keep your pitch in a far better condition. Wearing the wrong footwear on artificial pitches you will damage the surface and could even cause an unpleasant injury.

  1. Removal of Moss and Algae

To keep your pitch in top condition we would recommend regular checks for any build-up of moss or algae. This may be particular more prone to water-based pitches, so if your pitch is water-based it’s especially worth keeping an eye on this. This is more prevalent when the surface suffers from poor airflow, poor sunlight, and improper drainage.

  1. Regular Brushing

Routinely brushing your artificial pitch in different directions will make sure that the fibres stay in an upright position. For this we recommend using a drag brush behind a tractor get the best results. It is particularly important to brush over the heavy traffic areas such as pitch entrances and goal areas.

  1. Freshen Up

It doesn’t hurt to give your artificial hockey pitch a good deep clean from time to time. Hiring an expert company to thoroughly inspect the pitch for any tearing or loosening of any seems, as well as topping up sand in-fill levels if its running low, will contribute massively to the upkeep of the pitch.

Here at McArdle Sport Tec we offer a wide choice of hockey surfaces, from top-specification water-based systems, to very affordable sand-based installations. All synthetic hockey pitches we construct are installed on a macadam base with a separate shock pad to increase player comfort and surface longevity. If you’re interested in installing an synthetic hockey pitch, why not give a member of our team a call on 01491 827810 or click here for more information.

Athletics tracks: Which is right for you?

We’re specialists in athletics track construction, with installations ranging in size, track system, colour and budget.

We’ve installed numerous tracks since starting out in business – from the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, to schools and colleges (such as Stowe School and University of Birmingham) across the UK.

When considering installing an athletics track, one question we are most frequently asked is: What is the difference?

For the professionals

For those looking for a track suitable for professional training and competing at a high intensity usage, a pre-fabricated, solid or sandwich track provides a durable, absorbent surface. Each of these tracks are non-porous surfaces, allowing water to be removed by slope and gravitational flow to a surface drain system.

Each non-porous track type has a range of advantages dependent on your requirements and budgets.

Pre-fabricated track

Materials: Pre-fabricated tracks are made with a layer of vulcanised rubber and latex. While a more expensive solution long-term, they provide outstanding performance characteristics, are hard wearing and require less maintenance and repairs.

Usage: Designed for all levels of training and competing and high intensity. Pre-fabricated tracks are the preferred surface for major track and field championships, including the Olympics.

Cost: More expensive than porous, sandwich or solid systems, but require less maintenance and repairs long-term.

Solid track

Materials: Solid tracks are made of specially formulated ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber granules, with a double polyurethane top coat.

Usage: Designed for high level competition and high intensity usage. Solid tracks have a harder surface consistency, typically preferred by elite level athletes.

Cost: More expensive than porous or sandwich systems however is a more durable surface that requires less maintenance.

Sandwich track

Materials: Sandwich tracks are ‘hybrid’ systems, compromised of a rubber granule base, and EPDM layer and sealed with a polyurethane top coat.

Usage: Designed for use at an elite level, suitable for international athletics.

Cost: A lower cost non-porous track option. The EPDM layer can be retexturized numerous times, saving cost in the long-term.

For schools and communities…

When looking for an athletic track suitable for low-level competition and training, such as that in athletics clubs, colleges and schools, porous tracks are the most popular option.  Surfaces are designed so that water will flow through the surface to the underlying sub-base, allowing moisture to filter through. Most athletics tracks will incorporate a porous aggregate sub-base and drainage system.

Porous tracks

Materials: Made with a robust rubber granule base and a polyurethane top-coat, creating a stable and supportive surface.

Usage: Designed for low-level competition and training and most regularly used across athletic clubs, colleges and schools.

Cost: Economical, cost effective option for low-level training and competing.

To find out more about which professional track surface is right for your facility, get in touch or call 01491 827810.

What is a 3G pitch? And how about 4G or 5G?

A question we get asked frequently here at McArdle Sport Tec, is “What is a 3G pitch?”.

With all the buzzwords being thrown around in the industry these days, we can understand the confusion.

So, what does 3G stand for?

To explain it simply, 3G is short for Third Generation.

Third Generation (3G) surfaces are the newest generation of artificial turf and are referred to as one of the major recent innovations in football. They are designed to offer similar playing characteristics to playing on natural turf, mimicking the ball bounce and ball roll. Read more details about what makes these pitches so effective here.

What sets a 3G pitch apart from older generation synthetic pitches?

A 3G surface is created using a blend of grass-like fibres attached to a special backing. Unlike older style synthetic pitches which were filled with sand, 3G pitches are filled with sand as well as rubber granules. The rubber helps to keep the turf pile upright and makes the surface less abrasive when in contact with skin, resulting in fewer friction burns – which is fantastic for players.

Prior to 3G pitches being developed there were 1G and 2G pitches. 1G pitches are non-infilled surfaces, also known as astroturf, and 2G pitches are sand-based pitches primarily used for hockey.

And what qualifies a pitch to be branded as 3G?

To become an accredited 3G pitch, the surface must meet the RFU or FIFA’s stringent guidelines.  Each pitch will be tested by an accredited ‘Field Testing and Certification’ body and retested on a periodic basis to ensure the facility complies with mandatory governing body standards.

How about 4G and 5G surfaces?

The FA’s Third Generation Football Turf Guidance state “At the moment there is no such thing as 4G or 5G.” These are marketing terms used by companies  Some manufacturers may promote non-infilled products, but these have not received acceptance as a suitable football surface and often struggle to satisfy FIFA requirements.

Some organisations offering these ‘latest generation surfaces’ may not be able to offer the appropriate accreditation for the pitch facility.  McArdle build and install our artificial pitches in full accordance with SAPCA (Sport and Play Construction Association) and Sport England guidelines.  We work closely with our clients to make sure we stay focused on their specific needs and always fully comply with FIFA, FIH, RFU, World Rugby and IAAF requirements.

Why should I choose a 3G pitch?

3G pitches are widely considered to have revolutionised football and rugby. The pitches are extremely durable and proven to perform well for high-level rugby training. Research commissioned by FIFA also concluded that the game of football didn’t change significantly when played on a 3G pitch compared to natural grass, and also found that there were no significant differences in the types or number of injuries between these two surfaces – proving that 3G surfaces are doing their job well in imitating natural grass sports pitches.

For further information, or to discuss a possible 3G pitch project, call our friendly sales team on 01491 827810 Ext 1, or send us a message with any queries you have and we would be happy to help.

3G surface

Health and Safety at McArdle Sport Tec

McArdle Sport Tec are experts within the sports construction industry, we take pride in providing high-quality 3G sports pitches and athletics tracks.  

We have a dedicated and knowledgeable team,specialising in innovative designs and pioneering construction methods – so you can rely on us to understand your needs and deliver your pitch efficiently.

We take our health and safety responsibilities seriously and have built an impeccable reputation.  We are recognised and certified by a number construction specific standards from governing bodies including SSIP – Health and Safety standards, Quality Management Systems (QMS) & SAPCA.

SAPCA membership

SAPCA (Sport And Play Construction Association) are an accredited and reliable governing body for sports construction. Our membership demonstrates our credibility within the sports facility construction industry; SAPCA only allow membership to organisations which can be trusted to uphold the high standards of the industry and promote ethical working practices, as well focusing on health and safety measures in part.

CHAS accreditation

CHAS stands for the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme, and to secure this accreditation a qualified assessor reviewed our health and safety policies, procedures and processes to ensure we are fully committed to: providing a safe environment, quality management, equal opportunities and diversity, and that we’re financially capable of delivering the requirements of the contract.

Constructionline

Verified member of Constructionline (Level 3 – Gold), this certificate is a recognised accreditation that we apply for every year, in order to demonstrate that we meet industry and government standards when it comes to risk management.

ISO accreditation’s

We also have three ISO accreditation’s in health and safety, quality management and environmental management systems. These certify that we’ve been assessed and approved by QMS International PLC, and successfully met their standards and guidelines.

To demonstrate the high-standards we maintain in all areas of our business, the proof is ultimately in the pudding – we work closely with you from conception to delivering the finished product to be sure to provide a finished project you’re happy with. Head to our case studies page to read more details about the work we’ve done for our happy clients.

Knowing that we adhere to these regulations gives you that extra bit of peace of mind that we can be relied upon to act ethically and deliver your project as promised.

Construction worker and hard hat

To find out more details about our specific accreditation’s at any given time, take a look at our accreditation’s page.

Why it’s important to resurface your sports pitch

Once you’ve had a good quality  synthetic turf pitch installed it will typically last for around a decade, depending on how heavily it’s used.

Getting it resurfaced after this time is important to keep the quality high and maintain the smoothest play possible. Here’s how having your pitch resurfaced will benefit your sports club or organisation.

How can you tell when your sports pitch has reached the end of its life?

If you know it’s been several years since you had your artificial sports pitch installed, here are some of the warning signs you should look out for that it’s reaching the end of its life:

  • Surface looking worn and shabby
  • Seams coming loose and splitting apart
  • Drainage not working properly, leading to waterlogging

So, if you notice any of this starting to creep up, it’s probably time to think about getting your pitch resurfaced, rather than waiting until it’s on its last legs.

What are the benefits of having it resurfaced?

It’s safer – when your pitch starts to show its age the surface may get slightly lumpy, or the seams may tear causing tripping hazards. Excess water on the pitch could also make play unsafe and lead to injury.

It looks smarter – a worn out and shabby looking pitch is going to look less professional than a fresh, brightly coloured new one. Having it resurfaced will therefore have a big impact on your facility, making it look much smarter.

Play will be smoother – as the main purpose of your pitch is to allow sports to be played to the highest standard possible, having it resurfaced will ensure ball bounce, roll and slide is working at optimum condition.

Allows you to incorporate new technological advancements – as new designs and technology are always being developed to make artificial sports pitches as realistic and effective as possible, incredible new surface types may have become available since you last updated your pitch that can really benefit your club.

Achieving & maintaining pitch accreditation standards.

Artificial pitches will require re-testing on a periodic basis by an accredited ‘Field Testing and Certification’ body to ensure the facility complies with mandatory governing body standards; retaining the pitch’s original classification.

Providing the pitch passes the required ‘re-tests’, the facility will be accredited once more to a specific governing body & classification, whether this would be FIH, FIFA or WR Reg 22 standards.  This ensures the facility is still ‘fit for purpose’ and being managed and maintained to the required standards.

Once your pitch has reached the end of its lifespan, the Field Testing and Certification body will no longer be able to pass your facility, at this point you will know it is absolutely essential to arrange refurbishment of the artificial carpet as soon as possible, and once completed apply for a new test on the resurfaced pitch to obtain your pitch classification once more.

We’ve delivered great results for a range of clients so far. For more detail on what we’ve done read some of our case studies – refurbishing and extending a sand-dressed pitch for the Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre in Barnsley, refurbishing the existing pitch at Wodson Park Sports Centre and resurfacing a 3G pitch for Huish Episcopi Academy.

Whatever standard of sport you’re playing, we’ve got a first-class pitch to suit your needs. If your sports pitch is looking worse for wear and could benefit from resurfacing, get in touch with us for a quote.

Dorothy Hyman Sports Pitch before resurfacing
Dorothy Hyman Sports Pitch after

Wet or dry – which type of hockey pitch is right for you?

Choosing which type of hockey pitch is right for you establishment is a big decision to make – here’s our handy guide to help.

A hockey pitch is a valuable asset for your club, school, or college, and a worthwhile investment that provides years of fun and education. It’s also an expensive investment, so it’s best to research which type best fits your needs is before you commit. Do you need your pitch to be used for a variety of sports? what level of hockey are you playing? and what’s your budget? Keeping the answers to these questions in mind will help you narrow down your decision.

Dry pitches

Sand-filled pitches

Sand-filled pitches are great for playing hockey at a club and recreational level and are the most affordable option of the three pitch types we offer. They’re also versatile in that they can also be used for a variety of sports such as tennis, football and netball, making them extremely cost-effective for schools or colleges.

Sand-dressed pitches

Compared with sand-filled pitches, sand-dressed pitches are made of more yarn and less sand, which results in reduced abrasion and the ball rolling faster. This makes them ideal for a higher standard of hockey – although they can also be used for other low-impact sports.

Our most popular sand-dressed pitch is TigerTurf’s EvoPro which meets FIH national standards for hockey. Head to our case studies page to read more about our process of installing these pitches at Eton College and Marlborough College.

Water-based pitches

The top surface specification for hockey is a water-based hockey pitch, as the presence of water reduces friction and improves the speed and consistency of the ball roll, allowing for smooth, fast play. These must be regularly watered to maintain the optimum playing conditions, as the water also provides shock absorption to put less strain on the players joints. For these reasons a water-based hockey pitch is the first choice for professional hockey matches.

Whether you’re looking for an all-round games pitch or a pitch suitable for elite matches, at Mcardle Sport Tec we offer the choices to suit your budget and needs, from top-specification water-based systems, to affordable sand-based pitches. All of our synthetic hockey surfaces are installed on a engineered macadam base with a separate shockpad to increase player comfort and surface longevity, making them a safe and high-quality option.

To find out more about our prices and what we can offer you, get in contact with us with your query and we’d be happy to provide more information.

Finding funding for sports facilities

When you are looking to invest in a 3G sports pitch or refurbish your existing artificial sport pitch, there are numerous schemes available to help you raise the necessary funding.

Applying for funding is often a time-consuming process, so it’s worth investing some time into researching sources fully before making the decision to apply. Here are some ways you can raise money to fund sports facilities.

Major sporting funds

We often recommend that our clients approach some of the large nationwide sports organisations, such as Sport England and the National Lottery, who offer funding programmes that support major sporting events, as well as smaller-scale organisations. Sports Match is a branch of Sport England, and offers small sports grants to community clubs that benefit certain priority groups, including women, ethnic minority groups, and those with disabilities.

Specific sports

Some organisations offer funding with the goal of increasing participating members, and improving the standards of a specific sport, such as the Football Foundation, which is the country’s largest sports charity, providing everything from kit and goalposts to brand new sports pitches or upgrading existing facilities.

If you require a 3G football pitch for your community, the Football Foundation’s Premier League and FA Facilities fund is ideal, as it provides substantial funding to build artificial playing surfaces. The Rugby Football Union’s Rugby 365 programme is also crucial in providing funding for 3G pitches, as in 2015 it pledged to invest £50 million over a four-year period to build 100 artificial grass pitches to benefit the sport.

Smaller funding sources

As well as the main sources of funding for sports in the UK, there are other organisations offering smaller sources of finance, such as:

  • Cash4Clubs
  • Comic relief
  • Bag 4 sport
  • UK sports funding

These are more likely to be appropriate for small community clubs who require modest grants in order for facilities to be upgraded or installed.

Local and regional councils

Local and regional councils have a budget available to dispense to clubs and organisations that are benefiting the local community.

Although budgets differ depending on where you are, they are worth researching as some councils offering free advice services to help you put together a funding bid.

The application process

Each funding source will have different criteria that needs to be met, with most applications requiring your organisation to be not-for-profit, as well as a full project plan for what is needed and what the benefits will be. Certain supporting documents are also often required, such as bank statements. The majority of funding organisations have their own advice documents to help you plan your application and have the highest chance of success.

Private investors, fundraising events and crowd funding

For more expensive projects, as well as applying to the major sporting governing bodies in the UK, funding can also come from private investors, fund raising events, and crowd funding campaigns.

Please find below website links to some funding options which may be suitable:

Biffa

Big Lottery Fund

Cash 4 Clubs

CEMEX

Coalfields Regeneration Trust

Community Foundations

England Athletics

Peoples Postcode Lottery

Veolia

WREN

To find out more about how our previous clients have funded their 3G pitches, head to our case studies page. Or, to find out how much a 3G pitch costs click here.

World Rugby Reg 22 compliant 3G pitches

As the Six Nations gets into full swing, rugby players from clubs across the UK will be watching closely, and analysing top performers to pick up new skills.

But while they’re looking at the people, there’s one other key element that can really help teams to play at a professional standard: a 3G rugby pitch construction.

3G pitches are approved by the World Rugby, and offer fantastic benefits for clubs whatever league you’re playing in. Here’s why:

More time for play

Fed up of cancelling matches due to bad weather? 3G rugby pitch construction can be used all year round and in almost any weather thanks to its special design which allows water to drain through. The pitches are durable, and can stand far more hours of intense play per week than a natural pitch, and there’s no need to give it time to recover either – you won’t get muddy or worn-out areas.

This means that players can get much more practice under their belt for when tournaments come round. And there’s nothing lost in terms of playability, so you can get training and competition at a high standard.

Less chance of injury

3G artificial pitches are constructed to World Rugby Regulation 22 with synthetic rubber shockpads and in-fill materials that help to reduce abrasiveness and prevent players from getting friction burns when they’re grappling for the ball, or diving for a try.

A 3G synthetic turf system includes a specially designed shock-absorbing layer. When your players hit the ground, they can do so in the knowledge that they’ll be suitably protected by this and less likely to suffer injury.

Makes financial sense

Because it’s so durable, and can tolerate more play than a natural pitch, your club can raise further revenue by renting the 3G pitch out to other clubs or schools for Rugby or Football.

A 3G rugby pitch construction also doesn’t demand as much constant attention as a natural pitch – such as mowing, fertilising and line-painting – so the money you both save and generate can be invested back into your players to help them get match ready and ensure your club is all set for the long-term.

Brings green benefits.

Artificial turf lasts longer than natural turf and the pitch will require only a little regular maintenance. For instance you’ll need to make sure the surface remains permeable through ‘drag brushing’ to even out the infill and lift the pile of the carpet. This will help it to stay in excellent condition for the long-term and retain its excellent play characteristics – making it a really sustainable option.

Artificial turf is also recyclable. And because it’s artificial, you won’t need to apply environment-damaging pesticides or grass treatments, so it’s a great choice when considering your environmental credentials.

Meets world-class regulations.

The World Rugby Artificial Rugby Turf Performance Specification stipulates that pitches need to meet certain standards – with defined pile lengths, generally 60mm and shock pads. Pitches also need an up-to-date test certificate demonstrating compliance to World Rugby Regulation 22.

With McArdle Sport-Tec you can trust that we meet all the regulations to ensure you’re playing on professional standard artificial turf. We have a number of accredited pitches around the UK, including Shelford Rugby Club’s RFU Rugby 365 incentive pitch and the RFU’s 3G rugby pitch pilot scheme for Hornets RFC.

Make professional standard rugby your goal this year. If your university or club is looking to raise the bar with a 3G rugby pitch construction, contact us at enquire@mcardlesport.co.uk and we’ll talk you through your options.

3G Rugby Pitch
3G Rugby Pitch Construction
SRFC 3G Pitch

McArdle Sport Tec’s 5 top tips for winter 3G pitch maintenance.

With the long, cold winter months looming, 3G pitches are fast becoming a popular alternative to provide a stable and safe sporting facility throughout the difficult seasons. An artificial pitch can be a costly investment and will need regular maintenance to keep it looking and functioning for many years to come. Compared to natural grass pitches the maintenance is reduced, but if your 3G pitch is not maintained correctly, you might find the surface looses it’s permeability resulting in flooding or damage.

We recommend that you take the following steps below and check your 3G sports pitch yourself on a regular basis to make sure there is nothing affecting the carpet. If any problems arise, it is important to get this fixed as soon as you notice it, to make sure that any issues to do not worsen and become more expensive to repair.

Here are our top five tips for 3G sports pitch maintenance this winter:

1. Think location, location, location

Before your pitch is installed, work with your 3G sports pitch designer to ensure it is built in the best position to protect it from the elements. Ideally your pitch would be situated away from any grassed areas that players, spectators and maintenance teams might need to cross before stepping onto your 3G sports pitch. This will help to reduce the amount of mud, debris and contaminants coming onto the synthetic surface and it will prolong the playing quality and lifespan of your pitch.

2. Be prepared for snow and ice

If it gets very cold this winter, snow and ice could stop you from using the pitch. Heavy snowfall can freeze the fibres and make them brittle, making the pitch risky for players to use. Unfortunately, once the snow has settled on the surface it is very difficult to move, particularly if it has been left for a day or longer. If the snowfall can be moved, then you will have to consider where to stockpile the snow until it melts and make sure that the essential rubber or sand infill is not removed in the process!

The easiest solution with heavy snow, is to accept that nothing can be done and close the pitch until it thaws and becomes safe to use. However, we do appreciate that this can result in cancelled fixtures and bookings and therefore loss of important revenue and possibly customers.

Preparation is key, and the more organised you can be, the better! If you know the forecast is predicting snow and ice, lay PDV salts on the artificial turf as an anti-freeze prevention measure. Pure Dried Vacuum (PDV) salt contains few impurities, so is less likely to cause damage or contamination to synthetic turf. Other products, such as rock salt or grit, should be avoided, once they have dissolved they could cause contamination and damage to the playing surface. Chemical-based solutions do work, although they can be costly and offer little in the way of residue life

3. Brush and treat

Cleaning your 3G sports pitch is very simple and it’s just a case of brushing it through to keep the rubber and sand infill distributed evenly. Treatments are also available to eradicate moss and algae. You might want to consider a deep clean if the pitch becomes dirty over time.

4. Educate your players

Let your teams and players know how important it is to look after a 3G sports pitch! McArdle Sport Tec can install team boot brushes if required; and every pitch we build as standard has an information board erected clearly listing the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’. Make sure the right footwear is always worn, no eating/drinking and no dogs on the pitch; read our 3G sports pitch maintenance for full details.

5. Get to know your pitch

Have a walk around your 3G sports pitch whenever you get a chance. Take a look to see if the fibres are bending over in places, or if excess infill is gathering around the edges. This could mean low infill/uneven levels on the pitch. This often happens in areas such as the goal mouth.

Frozen 3g pitch

How 3G rugby pitches transform the game for clubs and players

The safety and maintenance benefits of 3G Rugby Pitches.

World Rugby believes that the technology used in artificial playing surfaces has improved over the years, making it far more beneficial for players. The increased use of 3G (third generation) rugby pitch construction has meant that World Rugby has needed to set a new standard for the types of surfaces used.

The World Rugby Artificial Turf Performance Specification requires surfaces to be tested and approved at manufacturer level for organisations involved in 3G rugby pitch construction. All manufacturers and organisations must comply with these regulations if they want their products to be used for rugby.

Regulations in 3G rugby pitch construction

The World Rugby Artificial Rugby Turf Performance Specification has been designed as an important regulation, meaning that rugby cannot be played on any type of pitch, unless it meets these standards, more specifically Regulation 22 and Law 1 of the Laws of the Game. As 3G rugby pitch construction technology evolves over time, it’s likely that the specifications will change, especially as more research is being carried out to advance artificial playing surfaces.

The benefits of a 3G rugby pitch

There are not only safety benefits to players but also hugely reduced maintenance requirements for rugby clubs, meaning there is a long-term cost saving to be made when maintaining pitches to a high standard. By comparing natural grass pitches with 3G artificial surfaces, the latter clearly offers further advantages, including:

• A more attractive looking pitch with no muddiness or worn out areas
• No need to mow or apply pesticides/treatments
• Porous layers for improved drainage
• Shockpad underlay making it much safer for players

Why are artificial surfaces better for players?

Innovative 3G technology uses a synthetic fibre which has been made to imitate real grass, using rubber and sand granules. The older synthetic surfaces were initially produced only using sand, but manufacturers have found that rubber helps the synthetic grass to stay upright, reducing friction burns and grazing for players. The artificial 3G surface usually has a pile length of around 60mm and to meet the World Rugby Head Impact Criteria regulations, alongside the Rugby Union accreditation, it must be installed over a separate shockpad.

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.

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

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

3G Football Pitch – Which Boots?

To keep a 3G pitch looking its best, the correct footwear is vital.

In order to prolong the life of a 3G pitch it’s vital that players wear suitable footwear. All 3G pitches should have DOs and Don’ts boards detailing the acceptable footwear. As a general guide, see the illustration taken from the FA Guide to 3G Design & Layouts.

3G Suitable Pitch boots

MUGA Construction –

As well as all-weather pitches, McArdle Sport Tec are also specialists in MUGA construction. MUGA stands for Multi Use Games Area. Put simply, a MUGA pitch or court is a sports surface which can accommodate various sports. They can be made from a variety of surfaces including tarmac, rubber and artificial turf.

MUGA construction involves building one pitch or court which can be utilised for various sports incorporating different line markings. You will have seen tarmac MUGAS marked out for netball, basketball and possibly tennis. The different sports can all be played upon the one surface, differentiated by the different colour line markings.

MUGA Materials- Different types of surface are better suited for different sports, generally MUGA construction consists of the following types of surface:

Type 1 and 2 Macadam – This is a tarmac surface which can be sprayed different colours if required, tarmac is generally the most affordable surface and can accommodate a variety of sports including, tennis, netball, basketball and can be used for skills training for ball games such as football. Tarmac MUGA’s can also be used as generic playgrounds at break times, so are very popular with primary schools.

Type 3 and 4 Polymeric – A synthetic rubber surface created binding small rubber granules with polyurethane which can be sprayed to various colours. Polymeric surfaces are commonly used in athletics track construction as well as MUGA construction, they provide a less slippery surface in comparison to macadam. Type 3 and Type 4 Polymeric surfaces follow Sport England guidelines and are recommended for ball rebound sports as netball, five-a-side football, tennis, mini-tennis, basketball and training areas for non-ball sports such as athletics. They are also suitable for wheelchair sports. Netball is the priority sport for type 3 and five-a-side football and athletics training as the priority use for type 4.

Type 5 – This is an artificial turf surface which can be either 3G or sand-based. A 3G surface is a long pile artificial turf which is infilled with sand and rubber to make the pile stand up, idea for large ball sports such as football and rugby. A sand-based surface has a much lower pile and is partially filled with sand, ideal for hockey, lacrosse and 5-a-side -football.

Why MUGAS are so popular-

MUGAs offer an affordable way for schools and clubs with limited space to provide multiple sports courts and pitches. They can satisfy a wide range of sporting demands and also provide a cost-effective solution. Many schools and sports clubs are restricted by money and space, so MUGAs offer a great solution as they can be designed to meet individual requirements such as size, colour and sports to be played.

Multi Use Games Area

Changes to FIFA’s Pitch Certification

At the end of 2015, the FIFA Quality Programme released a new Test Manual containing more stringent requirements for football turf installations. With the release of the new manual a set of new Quality Marks were introduced – FIFA QUALITY and FIFA QUALITY PRO, which will replace the FIFA Recommended 1 Star and 2 Star marks.

 

Because all artificial surfaces and systems are different, FIFA developed a testing scheme to ensure there was a benchmark for artificial playing surfaces. An artificial pitch can only be called ‘football turf’ once it has been tested to FIFA’s stringent criteria in the laboratory and on the field. If an artificial turf playing surface fulfils FIFA’s quality requirements necessary for football in terms of Playing Performance, Safety, Durability and Quality Assurance, it will be awarded a FIFA quality mark.

The FIFA QUALITY mark, formerly FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 Star, is awarded to pitches that meet the standard for community and amateur fields with typically 40-60 playing hours per week.

The FIFA QUALITY PRO mark, formerly FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 Star, is awarded to fields that ensure the highest playing performance for professional-level football for typical usage of up to 20 playing hours per week.