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Affordable sports halls

The Affordable Sports Hall guidance has information that can help in the decision-making for new sports hall projects on school sites and community facilities as well as assist with the feasibility studies needed to test the suitability of a particular site.

For a quick overview of the Affordable Sports Hall guide, you can download our brochure below.

Young men playing football in sports hall

Our full guidance will give you a better understanding of the inter-relationships between: 

  • Design 
  • Specifications and sustainability 
  • Capital funding 
  • Programmes of use 
  • Operating budgets.

These documents have a particular focus on the affordability and potential income of sports halls. They also show how new projects can meet a full range of school and community needs and comply with best practice standards.

This suite of information has relevant advice on multi-sports hall facilities and includes recommended sizes of sports halls and courts dimensions in line with national governing body (NGB) requirements.

There’s also an Affordable Sports Halls Appendices document to give more technical information on:

  • Court layouts
  • Accommodations schedule
  • Building fabric
  • Sports hall flooring
  • Acoustics
  • Structural design
  • Energy and sustainability
  • Building services
  • Artificial lighting.

Elevation drawings

Elevation drawings of various sports hall design options are provided below. These include a variety of layout guides of standalone four and five court sports, and should be read alongside the respective section of the Affordable Sports Halls guidance.

Multi-sports halls design and layouts

The Design and Layouts guide has our current advice on multi-sports hall facilities and specialist sports halls. It also includes recommended sizes of sports halls and courts dimensions in line with NGB requirements.

Our guidance covers halls that include a single standalone building with minimum support accommodation, as well as halls as a component within a larger centre.

Sports facility for school games

Developing the right sports hall 

Developing the Right Sports Hall has been jointly developed by the NGBs of badminton, basketball, cricket, netball and volleyball together with us. The guidance helps you ensure that sport hall developments (including single and multi-sport halls) comply with up to date requirements of NGBs.

It's a useful starting point for decisions before moving onto detailed technical requirements covered in the published guidance of the governing bodies and us. 

It encourages:

  • New facility developments to be programme-led and created by a partnership involving governing bodies, local sports clubs and schools
  • The asking of questions to understand the local sporting need, and other stakeholder requirements, to ensure the sports hall is sustainable
  • The use of standard hall sizes to ensure that as many sports as possible can use the hall in years to come.

In the case of existing halls, we've provided an alternative methodology to help you find out if an existing hall is suitable for further investment, as well as what criteria to measure it by, using our comparative sizes of sports pitches and courts guidance.

These documents are separated by indoor and outdoor courts and pitches and are intended to give an overview comparison of space requirements for an extended range of sports.

In these updated documents, there’s been a revision to the four-court hall size, from 33 x 18 metres to 34.5 x 20m. This is to address the following requirements:  

  • Adopting the dimensions of the revised four-court hall as the minimum will provide fit-for-purpose space allowing intra and inter-school competitions in an appropriate environment 
  • Programmes geared to delivering governing-body-compliant community participation through to club competition need the hall to be 34.5 x 20m or larger.

The update also simplifies the categorisation of different levels of play for the individual sport covered: 

  • International
  • Premier
  • Club
  • Community.
Birds eye view of sports hall

Sports halls cost guidance and data sheets

This suite of information to help you identify any requirements that concern your facility design, as well as give guidance for different hall sizes, sports hall storage and more. 

Sport data sheets

The sheets below should be used alongside our Developing the Right Sports Hall guide. They relate to ‘Step 5: Establishing the Project Brief’ and identify the needs of the priority sport and the key secondary sports.

The data sheets also present the requirements for the ’priority sport’ at various levels of play, as well as how other ‘secondary sports’ can fit into the same overall space.

Sizes of sport hall storage

This information covers a survey of how equipment stores are used in a small sample of multi-sports halls and a study of how a typical range of equipment can be accommodated in the recommended 12.5% minimum area (as in the indicative designs for Affordable Sports Halls).

Floors for indoor sports

Our Floors for Indoor Sports guidance details a range of floor surfaces for indoor sports facilities and offers guidance in the selection process for a number of different sports and multi-sports environments.

We also provide a Badminton Design Guidance Note, as the sport demands special playing conditions and can easily be implemented during the design stage of your facility.

Village and community halls

Village and community halls are one of the smallest buildings that can accommodate a sports programme. 

There are a wide variety of types and sizes, but they all have a main activity and assembly space, together with ancillary accommodation that might include additional small halls. Whatever the content, your design should allow for a full range of activities to be carried out without negatively impacting another. Our guide covers the following:

  • Location
  • The building
  • Design plans
  • Building construction
  • External play areas and more.

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