Supplement Feature - September 2011
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Take It Inside

Cost, Maintenance, Performance Are Top Issues in Sports, Fitness Flooring

By Deborah L. Vence

To boot, product performance and product lifespan are key issues to keep in mind as well.

"From our perspective, we are considering the performance and safety and function of the products, and how well they suit the needs of the performance of the space," Voorhees said. "We are interested in the aesthetics. There are certain products that have better color ranges. The buildings are driven by activity, but we want to create beautiful buildings. So, we want to provide materials that achieve the best. And, the more research we do about various products, the more tools we have to meet various criteria."

"Maintenance far outruns the initial investments."

— Reed Vorhees,
Cannon Design

In addition, capital costs, replacement costs and maintenance costs all have to be considered.

"Maintenance far outruns the initial investments," he said. "Sometimes, acoustics comes into play. And then, if it is a multi-use space, in understanding the property—the different uses within the space, a specific function, the purpose of a space—there are products that can serve that function well."

Additionally, Voorhees noted that he always tries to work with product representatives to find products that will achieve flexibility at a higher performance level.

"[At a] recreation center, [you have to look at] how well the product can perform and protect from injury," he said.

"And then for specific systems—like resilient wood flooring systems—there is a set of criteria, DIN standards—a European standard that's been used for years. The DIN considers shock absorption, rebound and vertical reflection. With group exercise rooms, you need shock absorption," Voorhees explained.

When looking at floor products, "One of the things I look at is reputation of the company. And, there are known companies out there that most people are familiar with. But, there are companies that have been around a long time, and they work all over," he noted. "And, we know that we can have successful companies working in this business. Some newer companies are growing and growing competitive systems."

So, due diligence is important in this case.

"We need to know how [a product is] being manufactured, from the plant to the facility to quality control," Voorhees said. "There are a lot of good companies out there, but we are just very cautious that we understand the nature of the company. And so, when somebody has a rep come in, that's great, but every product has its own story. It's important to call other facilities that have used the product.

"It's not just about listening to somebody," he added. "There are some product reps who can talk to the nature of their products and the nature of their systems. They are diligent, but you have to get other perspectives, too."