Artificial hockey pitch resurfacing for the University of Essex

Upgrading an existing artificial hockey pitch – just like any sports surface – is rarely a straightforward task. Every site is a different environment, from working with MUGAs in confined spaces to arranging safe site access in built up urban areas. But the skilled team at ETC Sports Surfaces always finds a way to overcome the challenge! That was certainly the case when the University of Essex invited us to replace a full-size, end of life hockey pitch surface with a new, FIH compliant pitch for hockey, football and more.

For our client, this was an important project, supporting its provision of leading sporting opportunities for students, staff, and the surrounding community. Under the umbrella of ‘Essex Sport’, the university houses a £12 million arena, a fully equipped sports centre, and 40 acres of outdoor facilities. The latter includes the astro hockey field that needed our attention. Our team is dedicated to ensuring not just outstanding results, but a value for money customer experience with no surprises. So, when our site survey revealed possible structural issues underneath the old pitch, we were pro-active about putting a contingency plan of action in place from day one.

Resurfacing an artificial hockey pitch when the old shockpads are beyond repair

Often, resurfacing projects can be more unpredictable than starting from scratch. A hockey pitch construction survey, for example, usually reveals site difficulties that we can tackle at the design stage. But, when we’re lifting an existing pitch, we’re always sensitive to the possibility that we may uncover issues as the work progresses. When this happens, we use our experience to anticipate any problems, talk to the client transparently and early, and offer them a range of options so that they can take fully informed decisions with confidence.

This is what happened when our on-site work at the University of Essex revealed that the existing shockpad had degraded beyond repair. Our Managing Director, Chris Headon, has more than twenty years’ experience in sports facilities construction. His knowledge equipped him to spot the tell-tale signs of hidden damage, even before we began lifting the old hockey pitch surface. That enabled us to prepare our client for what might lie ahead, build a contingency into our estimate, and explain why. As a result, they could set their budget, safe in the knowledge that every eventuality was covered.

We started work in August 2023. It quickly became clear that our suspicions about the condition of the original hockey pitch construction were justified. Because of our approach, the university and their employers’ agent, Daniel Connal Partnership, were ready for this turn of events. So, they could quickly instruct us to remove and replace the shock pad, ensuring that work continued with no major disruptions.

We lifted both the artificial grass surface and the shock pad, sending all materials to our recycling partners, Astrological Partners, to be safely recycled. Then, we washed and straight edged the remaining porous asphalt, checking thoroughly that there were no irregularities or porosity. Satisfied with the asphalt’s integrity, we worked with Fox Industries to install and finish a new 15mm shockpad, infill granules and polyurethane binder to guarantee the new pad’s integrity for at least a decade. 

A future-fit pitch surface meeting modern compliance standards

Then, it was on with the main event! Having guided our client through the best artificial hockey pitch choices, they wisely settled on a sand-dressed Lano S•Tec INTEGRATION surface. Stable and versatile, this pitch is known for its adaptability to multiple outdoor sports, soft sliding surface, and great all-round playing conditions. It’s a winner in the compliance stakes too, meeting all relevant FIH, EN 153301, AENA Netball and Sport England standards. We laid and infilled the hockey pitch surface before finishing it with hockey, football, and cross pitch markings for versatility and different levels of play.

The result? An artificial hockey pitch that will stand up to serious usage and the test of time, delivered in just six weeks. Plus, a delighted client! Johnny Lowdell, the university’s Head of Sport Operations, recently told us: “Working with ETC was an absolute pleasure from start to finish due to their attention to detail, professionalism, and commitment to delivering high-quality results, showcasing their expertise and dedication to excellence.  The team were extremely personable, making correspondence easy and straight forward from a client’s perspective.   We have a fantastic new playing surface, which after initial site meetings and recommendations by ETC has met our needs perfectly and continues to receive positive feedback from all our user groups, along with new business enquiries.”

The ETC Sports Surfaces team is thrilled to have added value to this project, which was completed on time and to our client’s satisfaction. We wish everyone at the University of Essex many years of enjoyment on their new pitch.

Are you considering a hockey pitch for your facility?

Do you need to install a hockey pitch construction from scratch, or renovate an existing surface?

Explore our range of all weather pitches, which can accommodate hockey or multiple sports.

Take a look at our dedicated hockey pitch solutions.

Understand the benefits of a sand dressed artificial pitch.

Or, for help and advice, just contact our friendly, expert team. They’ll be happy to assist, advise, and arrange a site survey to get your project started.

Connect with our project partners:

The University of Essex: @‌Uni_of_Essex

Daniel Connal Partners: @‌DCP_Surveyors

Lano Sports: @LanoSports and @‌LanoSportsUK

Accreditation: @‌sapca