Design and Cost Guidance Notes

Our Design Guidance Notes provide generic best practice design advice and minimum requirements for a wide range of sports, facility types and sports related topics.

We continue to work hard with the industry, partners and national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport to ensure information is current and, where appropriate, innovative.

The guidance should be used by anyone developing a sports facility as well as specialist consultants providing advice.

The guidance is intended to promote sports facilities that are designed, constructed and managed to an appropriate standard and that will be accessible to everyone.

How can the CSP use the tool with partners?

County sports partnerships (CSPs) can make use of our guidance notes in a proactive way by:

  • Understanding and using them as a point of reference for discussions with anyone considering developing or improving a sports facility
  • Accessing quick links to NGB technical guidance
  • Promoting and advocating their existence and use by referring local authorities, planning officers and consultants to the guidance for a clear idea of sports requirements.

What are the costs?

All our documents and indicative layouts are downloadable free of charge from our website.

What can it be used for?

  • Providing a common point of reference and vocabulary to enable discussions between the client and their consultant so that both understand each other as well as establishing what is required
  • Developing a brief and schedule of accommodation to describe what is required for a sports facility project and establish a clear Statement of Requirements
  • Providing examples of indicative schemes demonstrating good design principles to support initial discussions on what the project may look like
  • Contractual outline specifications – by providing a specific reference of the technical and design requirements for a project, ensuring a minimum benchmark for what is acceptable.

What will it tell me?

Our Design Guidance Notes are intended to:

  • Provide an understanding of sports facility design concepts
  • Give an appreciation of the key technical issues and other critical factors that need to be considered
  • Signpost people to NGB sport-specific guidance and emphasise the importance of meeting these standards
  • Provide an understanding of the technical vocabulary used within the industry
  • Provide references to other relevant guidance, advice and regulations including British and European Standards
  • Provide guidance on the expertise that is required to deliver different types of sports facility projects
  • Provide advice on submitting planning applications
  • Provide advice on specific sports facility topics such as designing facilities that are fully accessible
  • Provide affordable design approaches with indicative layouts for a range of facility types which are functionally efficient, have economical building structures and demonstrate best practice standards. These include Affordable Sports Halls, Affordable Community Swimming Pools and Affordable Sports Centres. See
  • Provide advice on the appropriate level of specification to achieve value for mone’ as well as financially viable and sustainable facilities. See the Sustainable Clubs website for ways of adopting simple low-cost/high-impact solutions:

What won't it tell me?

The Design Guidance Notes will not:

  • Replace the need to obtain expert advice on projects or the appointment of a project design team
  • Replace the need to refer to sport-specific NGB guidance
  • Provide project-specific design solutions or technical specifications
  • Replace the need to refer to Planning and Building Regulations.