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Guest Column - May 2009

Your Turf Team

Selecting the Best Partners for Your Synthetic Turf Project

By Jim Dobmeier


F

rom small schools and community rec programs to big-name colleges and universities, sports programs are expanding and evolving. And as they do, synthetic turf continues to gain in prevalence and popularity by delivering on the promise of providing consistent playability, outstanding durability and increased safety. So it stands to reason that as our schools and communities invest sizable green to upgrade their grass, the expectations for the project and the product are greater than ever. And that means big pressure for the decision-makers responsible for selecting the right field builder for the job.

When deciding which company is best suited for a field project, many face the choice of working through a general contractor who hires subcontractors, or working directly with a field builder who handles the entire job. While both situations can provide positive results and satisfied customers, there are a few key benefits to selecting a field builder that has the capability and expertise to serve in the role of general contractor, providing a design-build process:

Expertise

Whether a project goes well or not is very much a function of the company behind the project and the product components. A vertically integrated field builder can act as general contractor, applying expertise to all aspects of the project, including excavation, the perimeter, the crushed stone base construction, turf systems materials and installation. An overwhelming majority of synthetic grass fields are installed on some variation of a crushed stone base. Because the base is critical to the long-term performance and aesthetics of the field, expertise in this area is crucial. An experienced and reputable field builder is intimately familiar with the field-building process and understands the more demanding tolerances required when building a crushed stone base for an athletic field compared to other applications such as road and parking lot construction.

Customer Service

Because purchasing a synthetic turf field is a large, long-term investment, it's important to hire a company that is committed to being there for the long haul. Are you hiring a company or a partner? When working directly with a field builder, schools are afforded a direct point of contact over the 12- to 15-year life of the field. That means regardless of the concern—turf, drainage, seams or field markings—there's only one company to call. Working with a reputable, financially sound field builder increases the likelihood of partnering with a company that will be in business for the length of your warranty and beyond.

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