S&C Slatter are experts in the design, construction and maintenance of multi-use games areas (MUGAs).
Read on to learn more about our artificial turf, polymeric, macadam and 3G multi-use games areas, or get in touch to discuss your project needs.
With over 30 years’ experience in sports construction, we have built over 200 artificial turf, 3G and polymeric multi-use games areas for clients including Reading Blue Coat, Emanuel School and East Berkshire College.
Multi-use games areas are perfect ways to convert small spaces into dedicated, high quality, durable sporting areas.
If you’re looking for advice on how to optimise small areas of space for sport, we’re happy to offer a free initial consultation.
1. Design and planning
Although often relatively small, multi-use games areas still require planning permission, design, the creation of technical drawings and specifications ready for construction.
2. Environmental considerations
This can include management of water run-off and drainage, mitigating the impact of the MUGA and considering overspill from any floodlighting.
3. Health and safety
Creating a safe and thoroughly planned construction site that employs best practice and meets all legislative requirements.
Properly prepared foundations are crucial to the construction, performance and safety of any multi-use games area.
Appropriate drainage systems ensure that whatever the weather, the MUGA won’t become waterlogged.
6. Sub-base and base
Carefully chosen materials support the chosen MUGA surface and drainage of the pitch.
If artificial turf is chosen as the MUGA surface, a shockpad may installed to support the turf system.
8. 8. Multi-use games area surface
This is the part of the MUGA that you actually see. This can be a polymeric surface, macadam or artificial grass turf system.
9. Ancillary equipment
This includes appropriate fencing, floodlighting and sports equipment – as well any project specific requirements in support of the MUGA, such as access pathways and spectator seating.
More detailed information on the common stages of construction can be found on our Artificial Turf Pitches page.
A multi-use games area, or MUGA as it is commonly known, is a dedicated area for sport, designed with a surface that will support a variety of sports in one location. Predominantly used for training and recreational usage in areas of limited space, MUGAs are ideal for schools, holiday parks and housing developments.
Multi-use games areas are commonly constructed with either an artificial grass, macadam or polymeric surface. While the base and surface will depend on the expected use of the MUGA, all are built to support free drainage and slip resistance, which is why MUGAs are often referred to as ‘all-weather pitches’.
Contact our team to discuss how a MUGA may be suitable for your needs.
Artificial turf multi-use games areas
Artificial turf MUGAs are constructed using technologically advanced synthetic fibres, which resemble grass. These fibres, combined with infill, replicate the bounce and performance of natural grass pitches while protecting the artificial grass fibres.
Artificial turf surfaces are usually chosen when ‘pitch’ style sports will be predominantly played such as football, hockey, and lacrosse – though are also suitable for tennis, volleyball and netball.
2G sand-dressed or sand-filled pitches are most suitable for MUGAs where hockey is the predominant sport, and also support football, lacrosse, tennis and netball. 3G MUGAs are less common, as the longer pile length (height of the synthetic grass) is more suited to small-sided football or rugby, and not suitable for netball or tennis.
Macadam multi-use games areas
Porous macadam is commonly used on multi-use games areas with colour coating to enhance the playing environment and support slip resistance. Suitable particularly when ‘court’ style sports will predominantly be played, such as tennis and netball. Recreational hockey and football can also be played on this surface.
Polymeric multi-use games areas
Polymeric MUGAs are also more suited to ‘court’ based sports, particularly basketball, alongside tennis and netball. With a degree of inherent shock absorption, polymeric surfaces can also support recreational football and hockey training.
The average cost of a new build multi-use games area is very much dependent on the overall size and surface type.
Based on the latest Sport England Facility Costs, for example, a small macadam MUGA with fencing and sports lighting would be in the region of £160,000, where a small sand-dressed MUGA with fencing and lighting would start at around £400,000.
As they tend to vary greatly in size and surface type, they can cost anywhere between £150,000 – £500,000 depending on a number of factors.
These factors include:
– The overall size of the pitch
– Scope of groundworks required
– Number of sports/courts required
– Chosen base, sub-base and shock pad
– Chosen surface based on needs and performance standards
– Environmental mitigation methods
– Floodlighting, fencing and equipment requirements
Beyond the construction of the MUGA itself, additional work is often required in the form of ancillary equipment and civil engineering. This includes access pathways, hard standings, roadways and car parks, which may need to be factored into your costs.
The cost for a MUGA refurbishment is significantly lower, usually between between £40,000 – £80,000 due to much of the infrastructure (foundations, floodlighting, civil engineering) often already being in place.
Please get in touch if you’d like an example of a detailed breakdown of project costs, or a quote on the cost of building a multi-use games area based on your requirements.
As with any construction project, no matter how small, the longest part of the process will often be taking the project through the design and planning stage.
Once planning is granted and the construction programme agreed, the typical length of time on-site to construct a new multi-use games area is usually between 2-6 weeks.
Whilst many clients fund multi-use games areas through capital spend or private funding, there are a number of funding options available to schools and organisations who don’t have the option to use capital spend.
If you’re looking to improve an area used by the local community, you may be eligible for Sport England funding, such as their community asset fund. You may also find that your local or regional council is able to offer grants to contribute towards the cost.
If you’re ineligible for grant funding, private funding options are available, such as operating leases for schools. You can find out more about operational leases on our funding page, or by checking out our recent work with the John Madejski Academy, who utilised an operating lease to fund their 3G artificial turf pitch, offsetting the cost with pitch hire.
The key benefits of a MUGA over both a playground or natural pitch lie in the versatility of the surface, safety and durability.
Playgrounds, which may appear similar to porous macadam or polymeric surfaces, are generally constructed with dense macadam. Whilst durable for frequent recreational play, it has limited sporting benefit, and is not suitable for all weather conditions.
Natural turf pitches can only be used between 6-8 hours per week and do not support such a wide variety of sports – or indeed the hundreds of hours of monthly use that MUGAs can provide.
Multi-use games areas, as the name suggests, allow for multiple sports to be played to a consistent level on one surface. Also known as all-weather courts or pitches, they provide a dedicated sporting area for year-round sport, which makes them particularly useful in schools, where key sports tend to rotate on a termly basis.
A multi-use games area generally has a lifespan of around 10 years, though this will depend on the chosen surface, how well the pitch has been constructed, the weekly hours of use and how well the pitch has been maintained.
Maintenance of any MUGA is required to retain optimum surface performance, ensure player safety and maximise its lifespan.
For artificial grass MUGAs, while the synthetic grass may not need watering or cutting, regular maintenance is still required to protect the fibres and infill levels on the pitch.
Maintenance can include brushing, decompaction and infill management, as well as chemical treatment to prevent moss and algae growth.
For non-artificial surfaces, power washing and new coatings are key elements of regular maintenance.
Find out more about the types of maintenance multi-use games areas require or contact our dedicated in house team.
Multi-use games areas are constructed with safe and durable surfaces that allow for quality sporting experiences – which is why they are utilised so often in schools, where safety is paramount.
2G and 3G artificial turf surfaces are also employed in the construction of full-sized hockey, football and rugby pitches, and are accredited by the necessary governing bodies (FIH, RFU, FIFA etc.) in terms of both safety and performance.
Polymeric and porous macadam used in the construction of MUGAs are built to SAPCA and British Standards for specific use in sport, so are specifically designed for safe sporting usage, unlike the macadam surfaces used for recreational play or pathways.
Our in-house civil engineering team are experts in creating quality bases for polymeric and macadam MUGAs, and we work exclusively with our partners FieldTurf (FIH, World Rugby and FIFA preferred turf producers) on the construction of artificial turf MUGAs.
We have constructed multi-use games areas for schools, housing developers and holiday parks nationwide, such as a 3G multi-use games area at East Berkshire College and sand-dressed artificial turf MUGA at Emanuel School.
If you have any further questions on multi-use games, or would like to arrange a free site visit, please get in touch.