Location :

Glen Waverley, VIC

Client :

City of Monash

Year :

2020-2021

Sector :

Acrylic | Netball

This project highlights our efforts in bringing sustainability thinking in Field of Play designs.

Back in 2020, the Waverley Netball Centre, one of the main netball complexes in Victoria, located at the Jells Park, needed redevelopment of its outdoor courts due to them not complying with Netball Victoria requirements. In addition, the redevelopment looked to improve spectator viewing and circulation spaces.

THE CHALLENGE

Our original tender submission to Council was based on re-using the existing site pavement material in the redevelopment of the courts to prevent construction waste being disposed off-site. This also reduces trucks leaving the site to dispose material and truck movements importing material to site.


After conducting geotechnical investigations on the existing pavement profile, the results identified that the profile was in good condition and could be reused. We suggested to our client to move away from the traditional way of constructing netball courts and opt for a sustainable design. Instead of removing the existing profile and replace it with a new material, we advised our client to consolidate the existing profile, update it to current requirements, while avoiding disposal costs on site. This avoided the removal and disposal of hard materials (such as asphalt, concrete, crushed rock…), avoid the use of a landfill for materials disposal, reduce trucks traffic and protect the local flora. This environmental-friendly option revealed to be more affordable, while still answering to the project requirements.

THE SOLUTION

The environmental sustainability solutions that we design for sport Fields of Play usually play an important role in overall site materials management, pollution and sustainability awareness.
By encouraging clients and contractors to reuse available materials on site, it prevents the need for additional materials, massive transport trucks and/or landfills material disposal. In the case of the Waverley Netball Centre courts, we have been able to not only retain the existing pavement material as a base to the new pavement, but retained 90% of the existing playground and reuse almost all the equipment in the redevelopment plan. LED lightning has also been preferred to traditional lightning solutions.

 

Sometimes, biodiversity also enters in consideration. We need to consider the existing site environment (trees, pond, stormwater, natural reserve…) before developing any design. It may offer us easy irrigation solutions (by using a natural source nearby) or will require us to take the local flora in consideration. At the Waverley Netball Centre courts, there are surrounding significant trees – therefore, we insisted on keeping/protecting these trees, and the Parkland in general, by building around them and on top of the existing surface. Also, using existing materials dispensed us from bringing additional materials on site – reducing the amount of C02 emission produced related to this project.

 

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This is also a massive opportunity in educating our direct partners (clients, contractors…) on sustainability. Sustainable designs require out-of-the-box thinking, and we usually come up with solutions that are in opposition with what the market is used to. As engineers, we consider it our duty to spread awareness on these new solutions and educate our audience on how they can be beneficial. Regarding the Waverley Netball Centre courts, it has been the opportunity to imagine and demonstrate a more sustainable, easy and affordable way to redevelop the courts, for both clients and contractors. We even were able to build a solution that was compliant with netball Victoria.
It’s still quite unusual to see that king of design at the moment, and we hope that this project will lead the way to a more sustainable approach regarding sport Field of Play design.

THE RESULTS

As mentioned above, when redeveloping/building a new Field of Play, disposing everything from site and starting from the ground up again is currently considered the norm.


Therefore, it has become a major goal for SPORTENG to lead the way and bring awareness towards sustainability design for Fields of play. By taking initiative and bringing sustainable solutions to our partners’ attention, we demonstrate that sport and sustainability are definitively compatible, and can create resourceful, easy and affordable solutions. This is usually possible by testing for the right elements, conducting proper assessments on site and developing designs that take the local environment into consideration.


Our efforts regarding sustainability awareness are mainly towards our direct partners (clients, contractors, architects…). We give them the keys to understand how to develop more environmental friendly projects. The choice is theirs to keep this knowledge and share it with their communities.


When we look at the Waverley Netball Centre courts, there has been a strong involvement from the community in the project – more so on the netball demand-side of things, than from a sustainable point of view. However, the courts being such a high-profile center, there is a close attention brought from the community on decisions taken. For example, the demand was strong for the playground to stay as complete as it currently is, for the trees to be kept and protected and for protecting the Parkland.


That’s also why the decision to keep existing profile has been so well received. It allows to preserve the nature surrounding the Field, instead of damaging/modifying it. Impacts on the Parkland has been reduced as there is no need for trucks to come on site. Natural materials are also privileged for any work on Field so it can blend perfectly with the natural environment.