What will it cost to install lighting for a sports club

For (almost!) every sport played in the country, there is an Australian Standard AS2560.2 which governs recommended lux levels (how much light) and uniformity (evenness of light).  The main deciding factors are how fast is the ball moving and how big is the ball.  For this reason the recommended lux levels for tennis are much higher than those for bowls.

These lux levels also vary for training compared to local games and then competitions.

For every sport there is preferred or ideal pole locations, but these positions may only be theoretical if existing poles are going to be used.

Whatever the format it is important to ensure the light can reach the centre of the green, pitch or field and give good uniformity, without having to tilt up the lights much, which can cause glare to the players and neighbours.  The format may also depend on how close houses are to comply with council code for spill light.

The process for installing lights has 4 main parts to it:

  • Trenching for cables and installing footing cages
  • Fitting the lights to the poles
  • Raising the poles and completing electrical installation
  • Testing and sign-off

The costs will vary considerably depending on the location and lux levels required but in 2022 if trying to calculate your field you can use the following guesstimate:

Rugby/Soccer – 150 lux $25/m2

AFL – 150 lux $14/m2

Hockey – 500 lux $68/m2

Bowls – 150 lux $46/m2

Tennis – 350 lux $230/m2

Obviously numerous factors will affect this but gives a starting point if you’re trying to figure out roughly where you need to be.

The relationship between size and lux levels is quite linear so an increase in size and/or lux will be proportionally higher for the lighting element but have less effect on the poles and installation.

One point to make is that the lights constitute a relatively small part of the cost.  Often this is seen as an area to save money, but economising here may waste all the other money completely.  All poles have to be safe and to a fixed standard for weight load etc otherwise they wouldn’t be able to be sold.  If the electrician doesn’t do a good job, it will quickly be evident and the lights won’t work.  However, if the lights are at fault, this can cause endless headaches that really don’t have a solution.  Failure of lights tends not to be the major issue but rather just poor levels of light on the green.  This may be patchy with dark spots and light spots, or simply just not enough light.  To get the contractor to resolve this later is almost impossible and will invariably cost the club in the long-run to replace them.

So, think carefully about where economies will come from if you don’t have enough money.  One strategy that a number of clubs use is to get poles capable of carrying full capacity that you need and do the trenching and cabling for the ideal lighting job, but then only get lights to cover the essentials i.e. 100 lux.  Once the club has saved some more money, the system can then be easily and inexpensively upgraded to bring it up to the optimum level.

Think laterally and avoid making short term fixes that have long term effects.

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