Facilities Guidance

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3G Artificial Pitches

To be suitable for contact rugby, synthetic pitches must meet strict requirements around ball-surface interaction, player-surface interaction and durability.

They must also meet the requirements of the World Rugby regulation 22 and World Rugby Artificial Rugby Turf Performance Specification.

Operators wishing to check whether an older pitch may be rugby compliant should compare the design and specification of their pitch to the World Rugby requirements to determine whether it is worth having tested by an Accredited Test Institute.

Artificial Pitch Dumfries HS

Visit the World Rugby website for more about the synthetic pitch regulations.  

A synthetic sports pitch may only be used for contact rugby training or playing where it meets all of the requirements below.

Pitches must:

  • be constructed to the specifications required by the World Rugby Artificial rugby turf performance specification and World Rugby regulation 22
  • go through a successful field test, carried out by an World Rugby Accredited Test Institute, and submitted to the Scottish Rugby Union
  • be granted approved status by the Scottish Rugby Union (approval lasts for two years).

To find out more about the approval process for synthetic pitches, for advice on choosing suppliers and details of how to report any injuries that may occur, download our protocol for synthetic pitches (pdf).

You can also view a list of the (synthetic pitches with conditional approved status pdf), along with the date when this approval runs out. Only the pitches on this list are approved for contact playing or training.

Approved artificial pitches are designed to take the wear and tear involved in rugby, therefore (kite-marked) metal safety studs which are designed for rugby can be used on these pitches.

Developing Facilities

Facility development will be one of the most challenging projects any club can undertake. To ensure that a project delivers the benefit required, and complies with the varied requirements of planning regulations, health & safety, and funding bodies; it is vital that clubs utilise professional advice where possible. Large or complex projects involving large funding bids will also require clubs to provide detailed information on:

  • Business plan - how the facility will operate as a business in terms of revenues and expenditure. This is particularly important for large building with large overheads, and for 3G pitches which have high maintenance and replacement costs which a club must generate the revenue to pay for.
  • Management systems - how the facility will operate in practical terms e.g. staffing, booking systems, health & safety, operating standards for customer care etc.
  • Financial viability - does the club have the money to actually complete the project and then maintain it going forward. Evidence that funding is in place or committed by funders is required.
  • Participation levels - evidence will be required of current participation levels (evidence of demand), growth targets, and plans outlining how that growth will be achieved.
  • Community support/benefit - funders will wish to ensure that they invest in projects which are supported by the community and which benefit various user groups as opposed to just one club or team. Therefore evidence of support/commitment from other users is beneficial to any funding bid.
  • Planning - Most types of facility development will have a planning consideration (for example new build or extensions to pavillions, new lighting or changes in column positions/heights, security fencing around a 3g pitch). Evidence of discussions with or advice/decisions from planning departments are helpful.

Pavillions: sportscotland provide a considerable amount of guidance on the design of changing rooms and pavillions in their "changing places" guidance.

Floodlights: Using a reputable contractor with expertise in sports field lighting is recommended. Contractors will generally provide a considerable amount of important information on how they will minimise light-spill, minimise running costs, and make most effective use of available budget. Such information is generally made available as part of a detailed quotation for a project and helps a club get the right lighting scheme for its site. It is important to remember that a lighting system needs a power supply and installing this must be factored into costs, or where there is an existing supply, this should be checked to ensure it is adequate for a new lighting system.

3G Artificial Pitches: 3G pitches are complex and very technical products and it is recommended that clubs use a reputable and experience pitch designer/consultant/contractor to enusre their project has the correct technical specification, dimensions, costings to meet their needs. The cost will vary dramatically depending on size of pitch and the ground conditions and levels. These pitches also have very specific maintenence needs which can cost in excess of £10,000 per annum, as well as a replacement cost in the region of £200,000 after 8-10 years. Therefore it is vital to get a project right at the start, and for it to function as a business in order generate enough revenue.

A range of sportscotland guidance is available to support any club developing its facilities:

  • sportscotland’s website offers advice on planning, design and construction, information about how to apply for sportscotland’s own facilities fund, and links to other funders who may support facilities projects.  

  • sportscotland also offers technical data sheets covering different types of pitches. They are designed to help with selection and design of surfaces and lighting provision.

The Sport and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) offers a range of technical guidance, as well as information for suppliers.