When sub-contracting pitch works, either for maintenance operations or for more intensive construction projects, it is important to ensure that any sub-contractor appointed performs all tasks to the requisite standard, offers value for money and provides reassurance that the works will be completed in an efficient and timely manner.

Choosing a sub-contractor can be a daunting task. Engaging an inexperienced contractor can in some instances cause irreparable damage at significant cost, therefore engaging a competent contractor requires careful consideration.

Initially the groundsman/club should identify the scope of works. This will help in deciding the type of contractor needed and the competence expected.

The following questions should assist the groundsman in assessing and selecting a competent contractor.

The Contractors experience:

  • What experience does the contractor have in the type(s) of work being proposed?

  • Can the Contractor provide references of similar works carried out? You may want to

    check these.

    The Contractors competence:

  • Do their workers have the appropriate qualifications, training and experience? This is important if they are using specialist equipment, plant machinery in the correct manner and importantly, in the correct ground conditions.

  • Is the contractor/workforce members of a trade or professional body?

  • What is the contractor’s safety performance like (e.g. accident records)?

  • Can the contractor provide examples of method statements, risk assessments, case

    studies and other relevant documentation to show they are familiar with the type of work proposed?

    The Contractors management arrangements:

  • What are the contractors procedures for managing health and safety?

  • Will any element of the work be sub-contracted and, if so, how will they control it?

  • How does the contractor supervise and manage the site work?

  • How does the contractor monitor and check their own safety standards?

  • How does the contractor inspect and check the equipment used (owned or hired)?

  • Does the contractor have all relevant insurances i.e. employers’ liability insurance,

    private/public indemnity insurance?

    It is equally important that the contractor asks the client for relevant information relating to the proposed works. A competent contractor should be asking the following:

Are there any specific site hazards which may affect the works e.g. services (electric, water, gas), hazardous contaminants e.g. landfill, asbestos?

  • Are there restrictions on vehicle movements in and out of the site?

  • What are the working hours, and will noise pollution be an issue to residents living in

    the vicinity of the works location?

  • Are there any fire/emergency procedures?

  • Are there any site rules, and if so, is there a relevant induction process?

    Once a contractor has been selected, it is important to agree the exact scope of works. A method of work should be developed and agreed by all parties and should ideally be in writing, the amount of detail included should reflect the complexity of the work.

    A good method of work will:

  • Be clear and concise;

  • Be relevant to the job;

  • Identify potential dangers;

  • Specify the method of work and precautions to take to remove or minimise risk,

  • Identify how the work will be supervised and managed.

    It should also include:

  • Specification of the types of equipment and materials to be used;

  • Arrangements for delivering equipment, and materials in a timely and safe manner;

  • Local storage arrangements for materials and any waste items;

  • What arrangements are needed to ensure the safety of people near the work e.g.

    segregation through fencing etc.

  • The sequence of works to be carried out.

    The level of supervision a contractor ought to provide will depend on the degree of risk involved in the work and on the level of confidence in the workforce’s performance. For example, an experienced team carrying out work which is routine for them will need less supervision than workers who are less experienced or carrying out unfamiliar tasks.

    If in doubt, engagement of a suitably qualified Sports Surface Consultant should be considered whose services range from development of a specification through to contract administration and key stage monitoring.