Constructing a squash court is an enormous undertaking. In this article I will look at a breakdown of what resources you need to go about building a squash court, and the many costs involved.
As an important starter, we are faced with the question of money. How much does a squash court cost to build? From start to finish building a squash court will cost somewhere between $40,000 and $60,000. There are factors that influence the cost, such as labor costs, and the systems you are going to install (such as heating).
The price of a squash court is heavily dependent on the materials used – and to a slightly lesser degree, the planned usage for the facility.
Before we start interrogating the numbers, let’s take a look at what the requirements are when building a court.
Squash Courts – Walls And Ceiling
At the very least, squash courts require four walls. You need to build a front wall, where most of the action takes place. Then you have two sidewalls and finally there is a back wall.
Also every squash court must have a ceiling.
The ceiling height is usually 20′ 2″ from slab to bottom of ceiling joists.
The front wall needs to be at least 15’0″ high. It then stands to reason that the two sidewalls must also be 15’0″ high. The back wall needs to be 7’0″ at the very least.
Depending on where you are and what the demands are, these walls can be constructed with glass or they could be constructed with bricks and mortar.
During the construction of the wall, there is also the small matter of at least one door to be taken into consideration. It might come across as being an insignificant detail but the failure to consider this could have tremendous consequences.
Squash Courts – The Floor
As indispensable as the walls are in squash, all of the action takes place on the court surface. The surface length needs to be 32’0″ and the width needs to be 21’0″. Like most sports surfaces, there are also lines that need to be taken into consideration.
Then there is the tin or board, which effectively “attaches” the court surface to the front wall. The tin should be 19 inches high.
Squash Courts – The Lines
Some painting will be required. Firstly, you have an outline which runs across the top of the front wall and down both side walls. Then there is a service line, which is painted across the front wall. Below that is a tin line.
On the floor there are the lines that make up the service box and then there is the T-line. The T-line needs to be drawn across the width of the court surface and 18’0″ from the front wall of the court.
Squash Courts – The Overall Summary
Elements that need to be taken into consideration during the construction of a squash court the walls, ceilings, floors, game lines, design, doors, lighting and other accessories.
Labor And Materials – An Overview
When you are preparing for the construction of a court, you need to factor in that labor will be required to complete the construction. In fact it will usually be the largest proportion of the cost.
Various materials will also need to be bought and equipment will be required to put everything together.
First and foremost, a prefabricated structure will need to be put together to facilitate the construction of your squash court. That requires installation, man power and man hours.
Additional installation includes wall and ceiling panels, steel stud framing and wood/metal furring.
If you are going with the glass walls, there will be options to either have them fixed or movable.
Movable glass walls are normally put together for the professional circuit.
Those of the fixed variety obviously make more sense for the club and amateur structures. The scale with which those glass walls are built also matters.
You do not need the entire court to be made with glass panels.
The doors are something you need to think about at length and so too are the storage compartments on court. There is also the light panels to consider.
Maintenance is also a major requirement for the construction of a squash court, so things like slab levelling, finish trimming, grills and components and electrical wiring all require the greatest deal of attention to detail.
It is advisable that technical experts be assigned to some of these tasks because a lot could go wrong if they are not done properly.
Now I have given you an overview, let’s get into the nitty gritty…
Squash Court Flooring – The Choices
You will be surprised to know how many meaningful options are available to you out there. All of them have features that can determine the level of enjoyment for anybody that uses the squash court which has been constructed.
The AACER FLEX flooring system features what the experts call a precision-engineered pad, whose makers pride themselves on reducing the prospects of injury and staying flexible.
Consistency of bounce is normally guaranteed with this system.
The AACER SCISSORLOC is a solid wood floor. The makers of this product pride themselves on a system that has outstanding ventilation capabilities.
The thing about wooden floors that scares anybody, is the prospect of moisture.
The beauty about this system is that it detects moisture and has been designed/programmed to act as a drying agent. It all has to with the airflow. They call it the automated under floor humidistat.
This is assisted, largely, by a pine floor configuration that facilitates natural airflow. The fact that this system has a solid wood subfloor, also mitigates the impact of any moisture or wetness that does manifest itself.
This helps maintain a consistent bonce throughout the surface, with no dead spots.
This applies particularly to those who compete with the DOUBLE YELLOW balls. The capacity to generate meaningful bounce is an enormous undertaking, as it is. A court surface that complicates this is not desirable.
Those in the know also claim this system also helps reduce stress related injuries.
AACER SCISSORLOC DC FLOORING SYSTEM is a close relation. So too is the AACER SCISSORLOC III, which prides itself on shock absorption. This system has the best shock absorption capabilities in the industry.
Like many systems similar to it, the AACER SCISSORLOC III has been in operation since the 1930s. It is a tried and test method.
The AACER SCISSORLOC LP is another close relation but its distinguishing feature is a closed cell foam underlayment. Like the others mentioned above, the system is resilient and counters moisture with considerable aplomb.
It also ticks all the dead spot and playability boxes.
The AACERCHANNEL DIN FLOORING SYSTEM prides itself on full flex, stability and shock absorption. Older or more fragile players will enjoy playing on this, as prospects of injury are limited.
The AACERCHANNEL VLP FLOORING SYSTEM has a consistent playing surface – and they say it brings together the benefits of both floating and anchored floors. Among those benefits are outstanding sound attenuation and vibration control.
Installation is generally a lot less complicated and substantially quicker. It is a factory assembled product.
The ANCHORED POWERSLEEPER DIN FLOORING SYSTEM is famed for its structural stability and made from plywood. The plywood is somewhat of a complication. It is less sophisticated and vulnerable to moisture.
The feature is more cost effective and versatile than most.
The ANCHORED POWERSLEEPER SE FLOORING SYSTEM is built inside a steel channel, which facilitates performance and structural stability.
The POWERPLAY VLP FLOORING SYSTEM is what many will argue is value for money, and an opportunity to get the most out of your budget without compromising on performance. It boats sound shock absorption capabilities and energy return.
The big fear for most squash players is the impact that the court will have on the body. Even though you will likely pay significantly less to have this court constructed, the experts say you can still avoid injuries on this surface.
Environmental conditions change throughout the course of the year and this has an impact on squash flooring systems. The experts believe this particular system can handle that change.
The POWERPLAY VLP FLOORING SYSTEM is another one with a very low profile. Apart from the usual features and benefits, the speed of installation is what makes this system particularly attractive to buyers.
It is also relatively cheap and does not compromise on performance. As mentioned earlier, the system absorbs shock well, reduces prospects of injury and adapts well to changing environments.
The ASB GLASS FLOOR is visually very appealing and depending on the cash that you have available to splash, can be a very popular option. It really is quite the innovation and serves as a multipurpose option and a glamorous one too.
The court markings are illuminated, which means that various different sports can be carried out on its playing surface.
ISQUASH is also an innovation of eye-catching proportions and adds a dimension to the game that is both entertaining and to some degree educational. The ISquash playing platform is essentially a training platform, which is an enhancement of the traditional training you would get from a coach.
The programmes designed for the ISquash platform are still heavily influenced by professional coaches and players though.
There are actually few better available ways to help evaluate your game and your progress. It is a fancy product that will require some fancy money.
The ASB RAINBOWCOURTS are an impressive innovation that has helped facilitate the transformation of international squash. Once again, the primary objective has been to help enhance squash development.
The key buzzwords that float around under these circumstances are precision and correction. Like ISquash, the system helps develop the beginner and intermediate player at a much faster rate than that which had previously envisaged.
Also like the ISquash, dynamism is a prominent feature of this court system. It helps those who are on the fence about the game, stay interested and invested. The introduction of color, on any platform, is an underrated ploy, especially in the 21st century.
In squash, there has been increasingly compelling evidence to suggest that color has enhanced the standing of the modern game.
So, just how do the colors work?
On the front wall, you usually have two zones that are divided by the service line. There is then a massive arrow on the floor of the court, which points in the direction of the front wall. It assists the developing player with making the right movement choices.
Decision making on a squash court is a complicated business and this particular design helps make those decisions a touch easier. In fact, the court design helps make half those decisions for you.
The ASB GLASSCOURT is familiar to most of us who have watched some squash on the television. It is the court of choice on the professional tour. It facilitates some spectacular viewing opportunities and showcases the sport in the best way possible.
It too is a massive technological innovation and usually costs a pretty penny. So, if your club has the cash to splash then have a full go. However, beyond that leave this kind of expenditure to the professional circuit.
The Walls – Options
There are several options for what to construct the walls out of. These include bricks and mortar, glass, cement, plaster, or pannelling.
One of the most popular choices in the modern era is pannelling.
Issues to consider are the density of the panels, the quality of the rebounds and the contribution they make to the quality of squash produced on court. It is a very important element of the game, that simply cannot be compromised.
Squash players want the panelling to provide uniform, textured and nonskid surfaces. A word that is often bandied about under these circumstances is consistency. The one system that has the full backing of the World Squash Federation is Fibersin – wall system industry leaders.
But what is it about Fibersin that makes it so special?
Well… for one, the product lasts longer than most and that has a significant impact on budgets. The company claims that many of its systems have been in operation for two decades. Remarkably, those panelling systems still play as good as new.
The guarantee from Fibersin is that its systems will be fully functional for at least ten years. If you are prepared to splash the cash, this is probably the system you want. They say, the construction time for this panelling system is relatively short and straightforward in many ways.
It is easier than mixing cement, laying foundations and laying bricks. The greatest thing about these panels is that they can be relocated and that ultimately has tax implications too – positive tax implications.
Squash courts are very confined spaces and there are often genuine fears about moisture reduction and quality air circulation. Fibersin, among others, has a panelling product that can function in high humidity environments.
The science behind it is that the system avoids the absorption of moisture. As a result it generally does not swell and it does not warp. The beauty about that is that you can put these panels up almost anywhere.
It is a product of thinking ahead, innovation and ingenuity.
Speaking about thinking ahead, green technology is more fashionable now than ever. That is something which has not been lost on the squash court construction industry. Fibersin claims its products are environmentally friendly.
According to the Fibersin Courts Brochure, the product is made with a formaldehyde free adhesive system and FSC certified wood. This is getting technical now but the experts claim that these panels have ATCM Phase 2 emission limits, are CARB BAF Exempt and are CHPS compliant.
Make of that information what you will.
The point is, if you are going to keep the environmentalists in your community happy, the above green considerations are things that need to be taken into consideration – and considered strongly at that.
Wall Panels In Detail
It goes without saying that the panels are a pre-finished product.
Performance is normally at a premium and durability is seldom questioned with the Fibersin crew. But what is it that is actually in the panels?
What is it that makes those panels so solid, rock-hard and rigid? Well, they are built with a high density particleboard and fibreboard cores combined with resin-impregnated sheets.
That RESIN composition is ultimately what makes the panels what they are. It strengthens the surface of the panels and helps mitigate the prospects of delamination.
Putting Squash Panels together
The most widely used system used to put up and maintain these systems is what the experts call a Free Standing Structural System.
Under normal circumstances, they are spaced at about 12″ on centre for front walls and 16″ for side and back walls.
The also popular Furred Structural System often requires wood but can also be delivered with steel. These structures are attached to existing walls. The spacing requirements for this system are not different to the Free Standing Structure discussed above.
There is a genuine moisture risk with this system, something that needs to be taken into firm consideration during construction. As a precaution some added insulation and ventilation are required for this panelling.
There is usually a cost implication that comes with that. That is something to keep in mind. The moisture normally moves from the masonry and into the panel backs. If not prevented you will have to deal with swelling and shrinking further down the road.
During and after construction, some rigorous testing of the so-called vapour barriers between the masonry and panels is required. Don’t let any architect constructing these courts for you get away with not doing the testing.
Among the options available for the Furred Structural System is that of attaching the panels directly to the masonry or the concrete. Before embarking on this campaign, you must be absolutely sure that the walls in question are completely dry.
Failure to take precautions on this usually spells disaster. If done well, this panelling system can be a steller product, produced at a better price – when you consider the long-terms goals.
Squash Doors In Detail
Think hard about the placement of the doors on the court. The doors seldom normally come into play, but they could do if located poorly.
A squash door that I have heard be recommended is the Fibersin doors. Its panels are one and a half inches thick. The hinges are full length piano and mounted flush. The window is made of lexan clear plastic, mounted flush.
The pull ring is heavy duty and mounted flush.
The types of lights that you use can make a more than meaningful difference for both players, officials and spectators alike. “Not too bright and not too distracting” are the phrases you are going for.
When you choose the lighting for your court, you want a product that will be hassle and maintenance free. You also want lighting that is energy efficient, both for environmental purposes and for the reduction of costs.
You also want to purchase lighting that eliminates shadows. It seems minor but it is a lot to take into consideration. Again, if done wrong, this could have disastrous long-term financial implications. Get the experts to deal with electrical requirements.
Is building a squash court from scratch worth the effort? That depends largely on the community you live in and the demand for the game.
When preparing for the construction of a squash court, you need to be sure you can finance that investment in the long term.
Questions that need to be considered include the following? How many members can you get to use the court? How much money are they prepared to pay to use that court? How often are they prepared to spend that money on the use of the court?