How high should I build my sports hall?

Clear height is by far the most common recurring problem we experience with regard to sports hall design.

Please consider roof height at the earliest planning stage. We regularly see buildings that cannot accommodate recommended clear heights because insufficient consideration was given at the planning stage.

The typical clear height requirements are driven by the guidance of the various sports. The sport that is normally accommodated in a sports hall that has the highest minimum height requirement is badminton. Badminton guidelines require 7,500mm above the finished floor for club level play and 9,000mm above the finished floor for Premier and International level play - although please note that International level volleyball requries 12,500mm of clear height (but Premier level and below require 7,500mm).

Sport England adopts this guidance, so the most common clear height requirement is a desire to achieve 7,500mm of clear height in a sports hall. Please note that prior to October 2011 Sport England required clear height of 7,600mm so some halls are still constructed to that standard but 7,600mm no longer relates to the requirements of any sport.

Please remember that various services including lighting and possibly heating will need to be above the clear height requirement you determine. You also need to leave enough space for the depth of trackway and the related bracketry onto which division nets and cricket nets hang - with enough gap between the nets and any Ambi-Rad or similar roof mounted heating - and space for the storage of folded roof retractable basketball goals. We invariably see insufficient space being allowed for in the roof for folded basketball goals – our drawing SH-02 which is available for download in the Technical Information section of our website makes suggestions as to the minimum allowance to accommodate roof mounted basketball goals.

The guidance from Badminton England is technically that the clear height requirement only needs to be achieved over the courts. The most common problem we see is with curved roof profiles where an imaginary "box" is accommodated over the badminton courts to allow the 7.5m clear height. However, the limiting factor is actually the lowest point of the roof at the eaves as that is where division net trackway is located and that determines the height of all other trackway (e.g. for cricket). Therefore, although there may theoretically be sufficient space over your badminton courts, in practice there will be trackway passing through that space.

Please talk to us at the earliest stage for assistance and advice - we have seen and worked with most shapes and sizes of sports hall and can help you before you repeat any mistakes that we have seen before. Please send your initial drawings to Continental at an early stage and we can comment and provide no obligation advice FREE OF CHARGE. We can then ensure you avoid costly late amendments to the design or problems trying to fit the sports equipment.

Categories: Sports Hall Design