stadium.jpg netball.jpg soccer.jpg velodrm.jpg bike.jpg row.jpg run.jpg swim.jpg

Facility Development Guide

Here is a guide for organisations seeking funding for major facilities including community sports hubs over and above that provided through the Office for Recreation and Sport's Community Recreation and Sport Facilities Program.

This guide should not be used or relied upon as a substitute for professional advice. You are encouraged to contact the Office for Recreation and Sport prior to submitting any application for funding.

Facility planning process (PDF, 392 KB)

Facility Planning Process

Planning considerations

Facility planning phase by Council/Clubs/Association/SSO/landowner identifies need for facilities.

For Consideration
  • Identify gap in facility provision (establish the need)
  •  Establish key characteristics of the population
  • Confirm the type, number and requirements for facilities mix
  • Engage with other organisations/activities who could co-locate
  • Define roles and responsibilities within the stakeholders and determine the proponent for the project.

Proponent develops initial proposal in association with key stakeholders – Council/Club/Association/SSO/landowner/ORS to determine level of support and appropriate approvals sought to proceed to next stage.

Proponent, in association with key stakeholders develops the business case.

For Consideration
  • Set vision and objectives - determine the purpose of the facility.
  • Identify service mix required to meet community needs and optimise sustainability. Ensure alignment to existing strategies and policies (e.g. Sport and Recreation Plans or State Sports Organisation strategies)
  • Select the site - demonstrate that the site is located within a growth area or urban regeneration area consistent with the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide
  • Demonstrate the ability to link with adjacent or nearby facilities and services including Transit Orientated Development
  • Identify and engage further with stakeholders and the community, particularly potential operators
  • Select management and operating model including determination of the following:
    • Are other parties able to contribute to capital and/or operating costs? 
    • Will the facility or programs generate full-time use?
    • Resourcing - are the right skills available in-house?
    • Ability to retain and mitigate risk including ownership, financial, construction and ongoing operational?
  • Set principles for design of the facility that address functionality, user experience, access and sustainability
  • Provide strategy for ongoing asset management
  • Prepare concept design including preliminary costing
  • Identify funding opportunities and sources
  • Prepare business case

ORS Assesses against funding criteria and provides a recommendation.

For Consideration
  • Assess against relevant funding criteria
  • Prior to a recommendation being made, endorsement from Office for Recreation and Sport, state and national sporting organisations will be required.
  • Provide a recommendation to the Minister.

Ministerial Determination

  • Assessment and determination
  • Ministerial decision.

Establishing the need

Understanding the need may involve:

  • defining the facility catchment
  • undertaking a strategic review of community facilities in the long term in the area
  • identifying what role the facility can play in addressing the need.

It is important that the drivers for a major facility/community sports hub in terms of community need can be clearly articulated and where possible quantified.

Key Steps

Establish the catchment

For consideration
  • Distance
  • Population density
  • Physical barriers such as rivers and major roads
  • Accessibility
Possible method
  • Circular catchment analysis

Establish the demographic and socio-economic profile of the catchment area including

For consideration
  • Key characteristics of the population
    • Age, gender, income, ethnicity, employment
    • Access to transport mode
  • Cultural values and needs
  • Participation levels
Possible method
  • Review Census data
  • Review participation data
  • Engage sports clubs and associations

Audit existing facilities and services

For consideration
  • Existing facilities and programs in the area
  • Key user and representative groups in recreation and sport provision
  • Identify desired standard, and gaps or deficiencies in existing provision
  • Identify opportunities for organisations to co-locate
Possible method
  • Review records
  • Site inspections
  • Review Sport and Recreation Plans

Identify any future growth areas or urban regeneration areas that may be connected to the hub.

For consideration
  • What will the future needs of the community be?
Possible method
  • Review state, regional and local strategic plans

Demonstrate how the hub fits into the strategic and policy framework for the region and the relevant sport and recreation plans (including SSO plans)

For consideration

  • Strategic planning
Possible method
  • Review state and local policy, sport and recreation plans

Vision and objectives

To determine the meaning of success, facility providers must identify what they want to achieve via their proposed facility. Objectives for the facility should clearly determine the relative commercial and community focus of a facility. Some major facilities/community sports hubs may have greater focus on commercial success, while other hubs may weight delivery on social objectives (such as social inclusion, health, participation, safety).

Key Steps

Scale and function

For consideration
  • Facility catchment
  • Activities the hub will host
  • Formal and informal groups that will use the hub
  • Mix of facilities and services that will be offered
Possible method
  • Stakeholder consultation
  • Review relevant plans


For consideration 
  • Links to needs identified in the catchment
  • Participation outcomes
  • Particular groups to be serviced
  • Social inclusion
  • Social capital
  • Sports pathways
  • Broader community benefits
  • Safety outcomes
Possible method
  • Stakeholder consultation


For Consideration
  • ESD considerations
Possible method
  • Design opportunities

Financial and commercial

For consideration
  • Financial sustainability
  • Revenue generating activities
  • Lifecycle asset management and future upgrade
  • Recurrent costs of running programs
Possible method
  • Detailed Analysis

Site selection

Selection of the appropriate location is critical and will be a significant factor in the success of the facility. Where possible, co-locate with existing infrastructure, including public transport, education, health and community services, existing local sports clubs, business and shops, to contribute significantly to the success of hubs.

Key Steps


For consideration
  • Areas of demand
  • Accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists, private vehicles and public transport (including those with a disability)
  • Physical barriers such as rivers and major roads
  • Existing infrastructure
Possible method
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Site inspections


For consideration
  • Land ownership
  • Land tenure
  • Land cost and affordability
Possible method
  • Maps and GIS data
  • Stakeholder consultation

Site Analysis

For consideration
  • Size and shape
  • Topography
  • Vegetation
  • Exposure to wind
  • Views
  • Watercourses
  • Land contamination
  • Compatibility with surrounding land uses
Possible method
  • Maps and GIS data
  • Site inspections


For consideration
  • Proximity to and ability to link with adjacent or nearby complementary facilities or services (e.g. schools, childcare, existing sport and recreation facilities, libraries, community centres, shopping centres, medical centres etc.)
Possible method
  • Urban design framework

Functional and iconic potential

For consideration
  • Gateway site
  • Site well known to the regional community
  • Extent of support and interest in the site by stakeholders and the community; network of existing clubs and organisations willing to participate
  • Interest of potential private sector partners – are there areas of the site that will be attractive to them?
Possible method
  • Urban design framework

Engaging the community

Good relationships and common values between facility development partners are a key component of the success of facilities. Engagement of stakeholders and the community should be undertaken at targeted points throughout the stages (described above).

In principle, early awareness and involvement of stakeholders and community in the process will provide greater 'buy in 'and ownership and allow best management of potentially complex relationships between stakeholder groups. 

Key Steps

Identify and engage potential partners

For consideration
  • Partners in successful development and operation can include user groups, clubs and associations, councils and commercial service providers.
  • Do all partners share the vision? If not how can they be aligned?
  • Are there any partners missing that are needed to deliver on the vision?
  • Is there potential for a shared use model and if so who should be engaged?
  • Consider site selection and operating and management models
Possible method
  • Prepare and implement a community engagement plan

Engagement Strategy

For consideration
  • Identify communities of interest
  • Who will have input and who will be informed?
  • How the community will be engaged and when?
  • The organisations, groups, and individuals to be consulted with may be different at different stages of the project.
Possible method
  • The community engagement plan may include individual meetings/briefings, group workshop

Management and operation

Selection of a management model will depend on a range of factors including:

  • Facility objectives
  • in-house expertise and resources of the owners. Are they able to deliver on the objectives?
  • scale and nature of activities to be delivered
  • level of control the owner wants to maintain
  • consideration of a contract management model and the availability of suitable contractors
  • capacity to fund, to operate, to maintain and improve
  • establishing who will have responsibility for the decision making process.

It is preferable that an early decision is made on the preferred management model.

In line with the identified users and uses of the facility is the need to explore the best management arrangement. This will make sure all needs can be met while the centre operates in the most cost-effective manner. This means assessing the rationale for service delivery and developing a clear understanding of whether the facility will be catering solely for community groups or expected to operate commercially - or a mix of both.

For example, a 'community' facility could offer maximum access but may require ongoing subsidy. On the other hand, a 'commercial' centre may be viable but not fully accessible to the broader community.

Seek to understand why the facility is being developed and clearly articulate the community benefit. Clearly identify if the facility serves local, regional or state needs to help determine the type of management model best suited to the facility. For example, smaller localised facilities tend to have more of a social focus and are more suited to lease and licence arrangements with local groups. On the other hand, management of larger, more commercial facilities may be outsourced under strict contractual and procurement arrangements.

Key Steps

Are other parties able to contribute to operating costs?

For consideration

Contribution to operating costs will partly determine the financial sustainability of a facility.

  1. Will operating costs be met almost entirely by the host LGA with little or no contribution from operating income?
  2. Will operating costs be met by operating income from multiple partners and some subsidy required from LGA?
  3. Will operating costs be met entirely from user fees and operating income?
Possible method
  1. Direct management (depending on resource skills and requirements)
  2. Consider joint management vai a shared use agreement
  3. Multiple options for operation

Will the facility or program facilitate full-time use?

For consideration
  1. Facility/program is primarily out of hours
  2. Facility/program requires all hours
Possible method
  1. Shared use with an educational institution (shared use)
  2. Multiple options


For consideration
  1. There will be very minimal staff input required for the facility or program and skills are available
  2. There will be considerable staff requirements and local employment or training requirements and resources needed to administer the facility, and specific skills are not readily provided in-house
Possible method
  1. Self-management
  2. Outsourced delivery


The design of a major facility/community sports hub will involve:

  • consideration of the size, location and nature of the site and its surrounds
  • facilities to be developed
  • objectives of the facility
  • primary user groups
  • budget

Developing a facility design that suits the planned activities and identified users is a key component of success. Critical to success are facilities that meet the sport's standards and enable competition at the appropriate level.

Responsive design can create a place where people come to play, meet and connect with the local community. It is inviting and stimulating, visually sensitive and expressive, and has a feel good atmosphere for people of all ages and cultures.

Key Steps

Definition of objectives

For consideration
  • Design objectives for the look, feel and function of the facility (these may be in addition to the objectives for the facility overall).
Possible method
  • Partner, stakeholder and community engagement.

Concept design

  • Site analysis
    • Size and shape
    • Topography
    • Vegetation
    • Exposure to wind
    • Views
    • Watercourses
    • Land contamination
    • Compatibility with surrounding land uses
    • Opportunities and constraints
  • User requirements
    • Facility users needs in terms of total floor area, characteristics of spaces, linkages between spaces, accessibility requirements
    • Relevant sports governing bodies playing field and supporting facilities standards
  • Identity of facility
    • User groups, club identities, desired facility outcomes
  • Flexibility and changing functions
  • Shared use
  • Passive surveillance and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
  • Cost estimates
  • Approvals
 Possible method
  • Architect's brief to address all components.

Assessment management planning 

For consideration
  • Whole of life economic and financial costs associated with constructing, procuring and operating a facility.

Possible method

  • Life cycle cost planning.

Planning Publications

Learn how to plan and manage facilities via a range of publications for community groups, local governments and other sport and recreation facility providers offered by the Department of Sport and Recreation, Western Australia.