Company name:
United States Tennis Court and Track Builders Association   Jobs (Visit website)
City & State: Ellicott City , MD
Industry type: Related Professions
Company Description:  
Founded in 1965, the USTC&TBA is the trade association for builders, manufacturers, suppliers and design professionals who specialize in the construction and maintenance of sports facilities, especially tennis courts,running, tracks and indoor sports facilities. Its membership includes individuals and companies in the United States and around the world. Its goal is to encourage and to uphold high standards of tennis court and running track construction. To this end, the Association offers informative materials to those about to embark on tennis court and track construction projects. These include technical and consumer-oriented publications, including a series of construction guidelines which are regarded as the industry standards for tennis court and track construction. Information on obtaining these and other USTC&TBA publications is included with this Buyer's Guide. 1. Define your needs. Long before you begin considering specific surfaces or contacting design professionals or looking for a qualified contractor, you should develop a clear definition of the project. The first step, then, in building a running track is identifying all the decisions that must be made in planning a track facility and learning what to expect from a track construction project. Basically, the success of a track construction project will depend on:Proper site analysis; Quality design and engineering; Expert construction including construction of proper drainage, a stable base and a quality synthetic surface; and Accurate marking. This Buyer's Guide will provide an overview of the track design and construction process and provide some basic information regarding the decisions an owner must make in developing a track project. Early in the project, an owner must decide on the size and shape of the track being contemplated. A 400m track is the standard for all competition. Most competition tracks constructed today are six or eight-lane tracks. A few high school tracks and many college or international tracks are nine or ten lanes wide. There are three basic shapes for tracks:A equal quadrant track has two l00m straightaways and two l00m curves; In the past, many tracks were built with this design. Today, however, few tracks are built in this configuration for several reasons: *A wider radius favors runners and enhances performance; *A wider radius lessens injury; *A wider radius allows greater flexibility in placing fields, especially soccer pitches, within the track oval. A non-equal quadrant track has two straightaways of equal length and two curves of equal length, totaling 400m, but the straightaways are either longer or shorter than the curves, making a track in which the oval is slightly stretched or slightly compressed. The double-bend track has a compound radius curve (usually two small formed by three different radii and together.) A third design is occasionally used, the broken-back track. This design features a more square track with shorter straightaways and rounded ends made of compound curves. This design creates a larger infield. It is useful for sites which cannot accommodate one of the more common track designs. In addition, it provides sufficient infield space for an NCAA soccer field, which is more difficult with the two common designs. 2. Develop a budget. How much can you afford to spend? Developing a budget may be the most difficult cult step in the construction process. You may have to make some concessions, but in order to make informed choices, you should know what is important to you. Do you need a completed facility now or can you wait a while for field events, fencing and other finishing touches? Do you want a first class facility regardless of cost, or is cost a limiting factor? Are you absolutely certain about a given surface, or type of fencing, or specific site, or are you willing to consider substitutions? Once you see the number of options available in today's track market, it may be easy to spend far more than you had in mind. Working within a budget involves considering various alternatives and making choices, but choices don't have to mean compromising the end result. A knowledge of what factors are most important to the track you are planning and a desire to seek creative solutions can bring the project in at a reasonable cost. 3. Consider a design professional. It's desirable to employ a design professional to assist in planning, building or renovating a track facility. Depending on the scope of the project, employing the services of an expert can actually help control job costs by better translating the needs of the owner into proper direction for construction, and by helping to avoid costly mistakes. A professional architect, engineer or landscape architect, or a knowledgeable contractor, trained and experienced in track construction, will help you identify your needs and refine the information to the specific requirements of your site and can assist you in determining the scope of work to be included in the job, in planning the facility, in determining a realistic budget for the project, in evaluating and comparing bids, in overseeing the work in progress and in solving any problems which occur during construction. Most Certified Track Builders (CTBs) also have expertise in the planning and design of track facilities. In employing professional assistance, however, it is important to consider the experience of your consultant. Track construction is a highly specialized field which is undergoing constant change. It is important to employ an individual or firm with extensive current experience in the field of track construction. You can locate qualified professionals by contacting the U.S. Tennis Court & Track Builders Association (USTC&TBA) for state by state listings. Another way to find a qualified professional is by contacting colleagues who have recently completed similar projects and asking for a recommendation. In any case, when you contact a prospective professional or builder, be sure to ask questions about the firm's experience in track planning and design. Ask about completed projects and past clients. Contact references and visit completed projects. Ask for proposals and compare them carefully. Be sure you understand what is and what is not included in the proposed contract. Finally, once you choose a professional designer or architect, carefully negotiate fees and services and be sure to secure a signed letter of agreement or contract which clarifies all aspects of your arrangement. 4. Choose a site. Where will you build? Is your proposed site appropriate for a track? Before you get too far along in planning, be certain that you have an acceptable site. In calculating the accuracy of a finished 400m track, no minus tolerance is acceptable and a plus tolerance 4 cm to 5.08 cm depending on the level of competition on the track. These very small tolerances and the numerous design and site factors to be considered make track design extremely complex and demanding. An experienced contractor or design professional can help you to assess your proposed site, but the following general considerations should be met:How large a site is available? A track will require a site of no less than five acres, a minimum of 600' long by 300' wide. Additional area must be allowed for grading, curbs and drainage, and for facilities such as grandstands, bleachers, lighting, walkways, fencing, etc. Will the track be built around playing fields? Most tracks are built around football and/or soccer fields. The location and surface type of these fields will add design considerations. In addition to allowing space for the field itself, space must be allowed for player seating, walkways, etc. Artificial turf fields require additional space for anchoring detail at the perimeter. Will the track have a raised curb? Most high school tracks are built without raised curbs, but raised curbs are required to set NCAA and certain other records. A fixed curb may require additional area on the inside perimeter of the track and all lane lines will be in a different location than on a track with a raised curb. There are a number of other important considerations in site selection. Does a potential site allow for proper drainage and storm water management? Water should drain away from the track. It is best to locate a track on a relatively level plain, higher than surrounding areas. Many tracks are built on low sites; however, additional filling or drainage work required by a low site may add substantially to construction costs. Even under the best site conditions, tracks should be constructed with an adequate interior drainage system to remove field irrigation overspray and storm water which may drain from the track and from the playing field. Proper drainage is an essential part of the track design. Is the site reasonably level? While the track will be sloped slightly laterally for drainage, the track must be level in the running direction. What type of soil exists at the site? Poor soil conditions often lead to problems with tracks, including excessive settlement, heaving due to the action of freeze/thaw and drainage problems. The best soil is hard, well-drained and non-heaving. Locations with peat, clay, topsoil, shear sand or other unsuitable materials at a depth of 8-12 should be avoided"
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