Facility Planning

There are several objectives involved in planning a new facility or revamping an existing one.

First, the planner aims to ease the production process. Spaces are arranged and laid out to ensure a smooth flow of people and things. Second objective is to minimize the cost and time required to handle goods within the operation. This means moving many items mechanically rather than by hand; routing things over straight paths while minimizing backtracking; and carrying a minimum amount of inventory while ensuring proper storage to protect materials from damage.

The planner must also try to minimize the investment in equipment. Case-by-case cost-benefit analysis will determine to what extent machines should replace people.

Because of the increasing costs of building, the planner must make full use of both horizontal and vertical space for workplaces, aisles, and storage, so that work can be completed in a minimum amount of wasted space without the feeling of being cramped.

Equipment must be maintained. The wise planner will select surfaces that can be easily cleaned. Maintenance comes into play in the design of equipment. Placing kitchen equipment on wheels, for example, allows for ease of movement during cleaning.

Facilities also should be designed with flexibility in mind. The operation may need to expand; the menu may be changed if the original choices do not appeal. Planning is a fundamental skill required by all managers. Planning involves a significant amount of time and effort. Planning forms a base for short-term needs and long-term vision.


An example of the topic of facility planning for sport and recreation planning, is listed.

The Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) have developed four key principles of facility provision. Together they provide a planning framework for providers of sport and recreation facilities.

A preliminary task to planning a sport and recreation facility is the preparation of a strategic recreation plan. A recreation plan identifies existing facilities and services, the broad recreation needs of the community and the action required to meet identified needs. It outlines the priorities for sport and recreation facilities and services, ensuring that provision is equitable and efficient.

The preparation of a recreation plan may identify a range of development requirements. If the recreation plan identifies the need for a specific sport or recreation facility, the facility planning process should begin.

The five key phases in the Facility Planning Process for a sport and recreation facility:

Needs Assessment – The first phase in the facility planning process is to undertake a facility specific needs assessment. This process will verify whether a new facility is required or if the need can be satisfied in some other way. It will also provide clear direction with regard to the most appropriate scope, scale and mix of components for the proposed facility.

The key elements of a facility specific needs assessment are:

  • Identification of current and future trends
  • Analysis of social indicators
  • Review of existing facilities and services
  • Assessment of similar facilities and services provided in comparable communities
  • Community consultation to identify demand, usage and future potential

The needs assessment should involve broad consultation. Discussions should occur with various members of the community, key agencies (e.g. Sport and Recreation, Education Department) and groups, neighboring local government authorities, sports clubs/associations and other providers of sport or recreation services.

Once all the information is gathered and analysed, a report is completed recommending to either modify or abandon the proposal, upgrade or amalgamate existing facilities, or to develop a new facility.

Feasibility Study – If the needs assessment recommends the development of a new facility or significant redevelopment of an existing one then the next phase in the facility planning process is to undertake a feasibility study.

The purpose of a feasibility study is to enable an objective decision regarding resource allocation to a sport or recreation facility. The study will refine the concept and then test that concept to determine if it will perform both practically and financially. The key elements of a feasibility study are

  • Market analysis
  • Draft management Plan
  • Concept plan
  • Location rationale
  • Design and technical options
  • Capital costs and financials
  • Alternatives
  • Sustainability assessment

Community consultation should occur throughout the feasibility study to determine particular requirements such as size, usage, access, functionality and affordability.

Once completed the feasibility study should enable an objective decision regarding the resource allocation to the proposed facility. At this stage an evaluation is concluded to either proceed, modify, postpone, stage or abort the project.

Design Phase – If the feasibility study recommends to build a facility, the project then enters the design phase. It is at this point a management plan is finalised, a design brief is developed and a design consultant or team is appointed.

The management plan outlines how the facility will be used by the community and/or user groups and should include the following key components:

  • Programs and services to be offered and how they will be promoted
  • Proposed management structure
  • Facility maintenance strategies
  • Annual operating budget detailing projected income and expenditure

The management plan is then used in the development of the design brief -that is, the functional requirements of potential user groups and activities are translated into a set of design specifications. A comprehensive design brief is critical if the expectations of the client and community are to be realised.

The key elements of a design brief are:

  • Site details and any clearing constraints
  • Schematic diagram or at least a schedule of specific requirements
  • Accommodation schedule
  • Standard of finishes
  • Project budget and cost limit
  • Key dates for the commencement and conclusion of construction

The requirements of the project design brief are incorporated into drawings prepared by the design consultant(s). A detailed cost analysis is undertaken and all statutory approvals are obtained. Finally, all the contract documentation is prepared, tenders are invited and a contractor is appointed.

Design Consultants – The design team consists of the design consultants engaged to develop the design of the facility. In the case of a small project, it may not be necessary to appoint design consultants. However, for medium and large-scale projects, the following professionals are usually included in the design team:

  • Architect
  • Structural engineer
  • Mechanical and electrical engineer
  • Cost planner or quantity surveyor
  • Landscape architect (if appropriate)
  • Acoustics consultant (if appropriate)

For larger more complex projects, it is worth considering the appointment of a professional project manager. The project manager would be responsible for managing the activities of the professional design team, and ultimately for the construction of the project.

Should a project manager not be appointed, then the architect would generally coordinate all the other design professionals involved.

Joint Provision/Shared Use Facilities – There are many benefits to joint provision and shared use of sport and recreation facilities including:

  • Less duplication and maximum use of community facilities and services
  • Creation of a community hub-a focal point for community activity
  • Shared capital costs, services, resources and expertise
  • Improved relationships between organisations
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Increased community ownership of facilities
  • Access to a broader range of services and expertise
  • Reduced vandalism

Potential partners for sport and recreation facilities include:

  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Sport association headquarters
  • Senior citizen centres
  • Neighbourhood and community centres
  • Churches
  • Community and child health centres
  • Health and fitness clubs
  • Art and entertainment venues
  • Local government authority
  • The private sector

The basis of shared provision and use is to broaden access, maximise usage and rationalise costs in order to get the best possible value from the facility. However, if shared facilities are to be successful, all parties need to think through their specific needs for access and use, and be assured that an opportunity for compatibility exists before planning advances to the design phase.

Management agreements for shared use facilities should be comprehensive, detailing arrangements for location, funding, management risk allocation and use. However, if the sharing arrangement is to be successful, their application requires flexibility, trust, open communication and co-operation.

Where appropriate co-location, joint provision and shared use of sport and recreation facilities can result in the best outcome for your sport, club, school or community. These options should be explored at length with various government agencies, State Sporting Associations, commercial operators, neighbouring local governments and sport and recreation clubs before any decisions are made to extend or build a new facility.

Capital Funding – Capital funding for sport and recreation facilities may come from a number of the following sources

Get industry recognized certification – Contact us