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Selecting versatile sports flooring

Lewis Cooper looks at the factors to consider when recommending sports flooring to ensure it meets all the requirements.

SPORTS halls are often an important and multifunctional space, whether it’s part of the facilities at a school or college, or a local community centre.

For education facilities, sports halls are not just used for exercise and sport. They must be suitable for a wide range of other purposes including assemblies and ceremonies, exams, and extra-curricular activities. Also, for many schools and colleges, designing a high quality, multi-use space can also deliver an income stream through hire to the local community. In fact, according to Sport England, 62% of school sports facilities are now open for use by the community in some capacity.

Similarly, local community halls often provide a much needed space where sports clubs can meet and also provide a venue for social activities, local meetings, fundraising events, and private functions.

The multi-purpose nature of sports halls means the flooring must meet all the requirements and demands. The main standard for indoor sports flooring is BS EN 14904, which classifies products based on key performance criteria such as deformation and energy absorption. It also defines four categories of flooring based on construction: Point Elastic, Area Elastic, Mixed Elastic and Combined Elastic.

The type of flooring that is most appropriate for a certain application will depend on how it will be used. For example, at competition level, different sports will require the floor to have certain characteristics. However, for spaces that will have multiple uses, BS EN 14904 Point Elastic (P1) class flooring, such as Forbo Sportline Multi Use, is often most suitable. This is the type of flooring recommended for school and university sports halls, as well as local authority community centres.

Additionally, factors such as durability, cleaning and maintenance must also be considered. The floor must be durable enough to withstand regular foot traffic and activity, as well as the placement and movement of sports equipment, bleacher systems and furniture. As such, a product with resistance to indentation and rolling loads will be important to ensure that minimal maintenance is required throughout the floor’s lifespan. Also, flooring that is hardwearing and simple to clean will help maintain the look of the floor for longer and ensure that any slip risk contaminants can be removed effectively. This will also allow the time spent on cleaning to be minimised and as a result help reduce the pressure on maintenance staff.

Finally, the flooring’s integration with the look and design of the hall must also be a consideration when recommending the flooring. There is a wide range of possible pattens, colours and designs available, giving customers the choice of the one that best suits their needs. For example, Forbo’s Sportline Multi Use is available in natural wood designs as well as vibrant contemporary colours, and court markings for different sports can be applied easily.

Where sports halls are used for many different purposes, the specification of the flooring has to consider a range of factors. As such it is important to recommend a flooring that is suitable for a wide variety of uses, meets the required technical standards, is durable and easy to clean and maintain.
Lewis Cooper is from Forbo Flooring Systems

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