The fitness, sport and recreation sector continues to grow in Australia, and it caters to a range of pursuits, interests and demographics. However, its impact extends beyond just economic advantages, it can result in positive mental and preventative health and wellbeing benefits. It can also create positive environments for people to connect within and share a common focus.
Our Certificate of Leisure Facility Management is ideal for gym or leisure facility managers, those who work in recreational and sporting clubs, or those who are looking to develop or redevelop leisure facilities.
In this facility management course, you will learn about the amenities required to provide services in different types of leisure facilities, including recreation facilities, gyms, swimming centres, health clubs, bowling greens, golf courses and other sporting complexes.
You will study how to plan construction or redevelopment work, the legal requirements involved, and the types of equipment needed, including for indoor and outdoor use. You will also explore bookings, insurance, contingencies and purchasing and health and safety procedures.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a facility management course include:
- Learning about the scope of community recreation services
- Exploring exercise facilities and the scope and distribution of leisure facilities
- Studying town planning, surveys and the central place theory
- Gaining insights into structural, systems and advocacy planning
- Understanding a multidisciplinary approach to management
- Learning about the administrative process
- Exploring planning for play and planning processes
- Studying the legal requirements for construction
- Gaining insights into health and special events
- Understanding liability, negligence and risk management
- Learning about work scheduling
- Exploring planning management of a construction
- Studying competitive tendering
- Gaining insights into contingency plans for disruption to work
- Understanding the types of recreation buildings and indoor equipment and facilities
- Learning about general requirements – access, security, lighting, toilets, parking, signage, staff facilities, etc.
- Exploring the needs for specific facility types like swimming centres, community centres, gymnasium, etc.
- Studying selection criteria for equipment and how to conduct a cost analysis
- Gaining insights into outdoor equipment for all purpose sports grounds, tennis courts and bowling clubs
- Understanding camp and caravan sites, playgrounds, picnic grounds and riding schools
- Learning about water recreation facilities including sailing, water skiing, power boating, and canoeing etc.
- Exploring safety procedures including Duty of Care for employees, employers, manufacturers and others
- Studying lifting and manual handling, protective equipment, protecting hearing and chemical handling
- Gaining insights into First Aid, accidents, water safety and safety on a sports turf and outdoors
- Understanding safety audits, safety risk analysis and safe communication
Recreation and Sporting Facility Design
Facility design is a critical part of planning and delivering a recreation and sporting facility. A poorly designed facility can create management challenges, alienate users and increase operational cost. Fixing these problems after construction can also be difficult and expensive, so it’s important you spend the time and energy up-front.
As you’ll explore in our facility management course, design principles, the stages of design and the way design teams, processes and budgets are established can differ by location and project. And although the following requirements may be more relevant to government-funded facilities, they also offer valuable food for thought to those looking to construct, develop and/or manage any leisure facility.
Practical and Affordable
Recreation and sporting facilities are long-term assets that typically require large amounts of public money to develop, operate and maintain. The design project should aim to deliver the highest possible standard of facility but also the funding realities including its life-cycle costs. It is worth having cost estimates, facility design and project outcomes peer reviewed or benchmarked against other facilities, even if there is an additional cost involved. Costs can be also offset through providing spaces and generating income from other community or commercial tenants including health clubs, retail/office administration, childcare centres, neighbourhood houses, allied health services, monthly community markets or youth or other community services.
Facilities should meet the needs of users and the required sports or recreation standards for the intended levels of play, use or competition. It is critical to engage with all key stakeholders at the earliest opportunity. This includes potential users, facility managers and sporting and state recreation organisations. It will ensure that design features like stormwater run-off areas, sporting grounds and amenities like change rooms meet the standards required for the level and type of activities that are being provided.
Shared and Multi-use
The vast majority of regional-level facilities are typically multi-use sporting hubs with shared clubroom facilities. Where there is shared use involved, the interrelationship and compatibility of activities needs to be considered during the design process. This includes:
- Ensuring facilities are designed to meet compliance requirements, including having the appropriate field-of-play dimensions and the appropriate run-offs to cater for the concurrent use of different types of sports.
- Identifying the appropriate neutral locations for club memorabilia, for example, in neutral public spaces like foyers, rather than in multi-purpose rooms.
- Providing secure and adequate storage space for different user groups and their equipment when it is not in use.
- Engaging with the community and facility user groups like clubs at the earliest opportunity to determine operational and management requirements. This will ensure facilities are well-used day and night, on weekends and throughout the week to maximise stakeholders’ return on investment.
The best long-term outcomes for leisure facilities are achieved by designing them in ways that enable them to be adaptable, flexible and able to be re-invented to cater for community needs that change, including for the ageing population. They should also accommodate potential future expansions, whether they are temporary (for event purposes) or permanent (for future needs).
Functional and Flexible
Facility layout and design should promote optimal and safe functionality and flexibility to accommodate their concurrent use for different events and activities. This includes the design of secondary areas like toilets, car parks, reception/foyer areas, spectator viewing areas, crèches, cafes, kitchens, storage rooms and operational plant and equipment areas. Facility managers can provide valuable advice in the early stage of design in terms of operational issues and actual and potential user needs and demands.
Facilities should be designed to accommodate a range of users regardless of their gender, age, ability and cultural background. This includes participants, administrators, officials, visitors and spectators. It is worth running workshops at the initial concept design phase for proposed and actual facility users to identify aspects or areas of the facility that need specific attention. These can include baby change facilities, toilets and areas that may need pram and/or wheelchair access.
Safe and Healthy
Facilities and their surroundings should be designed, built and maintained in accordance with relevant standards and codes including Occupational Health and Safety standards. It is also important to consider child-safe, female- friendly and Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles in the conceptual and design processes.
The cost of utilities like water and electricity are rising which places increased pressure on the operating and maintenance of facilities. So it’s important to consider the use of water/energy efficient design elements and products to help enhance environmental sustainability, reduce consumption and save costs. Things to consider:
- Using passive design principles to reduce a reliance on energy, for example, using indirect natural lighting via highlight windows and ventilation via louvre windows.
- Installing PV cell systems to inject electricity back into the grid network and reduce the building’s energy consumption.
- Installing rainwater tanks for irrigation and toilet flushing to supplement mains water as needed.
- Using water efficient fixtures and fittings in wet areas like bathrooms and in kitchens.
- Providing for the installation of battery storage systems or ensuring the design allows for their future installation.
- Providing for electric vehicle charging points or ensuring the final design allows for their future installation.
- Using stormwater runoff to irrigate surrounding landscapes (WSUD) or utilising local council recycled water supplies for irrigation purposes.
- Conducting energy reviews and setting sustainable energy use targets and objectives for the future.
Accessible and Engaging
Where possible, facilities should be situated in locations that are site-appropriate with connections to cycling and pedestrian routes, public transport, major road networks and connections to community services and facilities. Other factors to consider:
- Designing social spaces like cafés and outdoor play spaces that are connected to the public environment.
- Providing safe pedestrian access and pick up and drop off areas for centre users.
- Ensuring adequate parking, including for bikes and buses.
- Providing opportunities for shade where outdoor spaces are intended for families, spectators etc.
- Prioritising building materials that are resistant to vandalism and are easy to maintain.
When you complete a facility management course, such as our Certificate of Leisure Facility Management, you will have gained a sound understanding of how to develop and manage a recreational facility, which could lead to increased career prospects including launching your own business!