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Two communities – one building project – one synthetic turf pitch


In cooperation with the town of Erkrath, the city of Düsseldorf in Germany has realised a second synthetic turf pitch at the sports centre Niermannsweg in Erkrath. The first synthetic turf pitch at this training ground was built in 2004 and the planning work for this earlier project was also carried out by the architects from the pslandschaft.de – freiraumplanung company.

It is not an everyday situation when two communities realise a mutual construction project together and also an exciting project for the planners. As the pitch in question will be used mainly by a sport club from Düsseldorf, (SC Unterbach 1920 e.V.), 75% of the costs for the planned modernisation measures were financed by Düsseldorf and the project was accompanied by the city’s sport authorities.

The old sport facilities were made up of a large playing field with a 400-meter running track whereby both the playing field and the running track had a clay surface. A long-jump pit with three approach tracks, a shot-put pitch and header training equipment in the Eastern segment. With the exception of the athletics facilities, the segments were manufactured as turf areas. There was no paved path. Apart from a gutter, no further draining systems were visible. This combination of damaged and very fine-grain clay surface, a lack of suitable drainage system and non-functional drains, caused large areas of the surface to be under water after rainy periods, greatly limiting use of the facilities. During examination of the pitch in the early stages of planning, a difference in height of around 1 m was determined in the diagonals of the pitch.

Renovation plans

Difference in height: In order to level out the height difference, the pitch was raised by around 0.4 m in the direction of the club house and lowered by around 0.4 m on the other side. The resulting difference in height between the new sports field and the terrace in front of the club house, was solved by construction of a long drawn-out wall surrounding the terrace, which can be used as seating, and a 10-meter-wide three-stage set of steps. A digital survey model was used to calculate the optimal height with regard to the required volume of soil to be removed or added.
The ramp providing access for disabled people to the main playing field from the parking lot and the club house, has a 6% gradient. All sport and play areas of the facilities allow ground-level access enabling the whole area of the facilities to be made use of by disabled athletes.

Planned sports fields: Planning of the renovation work included the main playing field, the round and sprint running tracks, the segments, the forecourt and a paved path with appropriate accompanying vegetation areas. On the clay surface to the south-west of the club house it was intended to install a beach volleyball pitch, which was then at the start of the construction work, was changed at the request of the sport club to a gymnastic field. The field athletic facilities (shot-put, long and high jump) were located at the top eastern side of the main playing field. As the investment costs and forecast use of the running track had a very unfavourable relationship to each other, the running track was replaced by a soft finnenbahn cross running track which follows the difference in height of the terrain providing a widely differing and varied running course.
A synthetic surface sprinting track was installed on the long northern side of the main playing field in front of the new spectator stands on the slope leading to the Millrather Weg in order to place the playing field as close as possible to the club house and its terrace.

Installation of the following sport facilities was planned taking into consideration the DIN standard 18035, parts 1 to 7, governing the planning and construction:

  • 1 Main playing field for football, field size 100 x 64 m
  • 3 sprint tracks, each 100 m
  • 1 long-jump pit with 2 approach tracks
  • 1 high-jump pit
  • 1 shot-put range
  • 1 beach volleyball pitch, sized 16 x 8 meter (later replaced by a gymnastic field)
  • 1 cross-running track, length 435 metres

Surfacing of the various sports areas: The main playing field was given a partially powder-filled synthetic turf surface as per DIN 18 035-7 with a pile length of 35 mm and 20 kg sand and 4 kg new rubber granulate filling. The partially rubber-filled synthetic turf was laid floating with the layers bonded together at the edges using adhesive tape. The weight of the filling ensures that the system remains securely flat. The synthetic turf was laid on a 20-cm-thick loose substrate layer made of 0/32 mm loose chalk and a 30 mm elastic layer made of bonded PU rubber granulate.
The main playing field is 64 x 100 meters in size and was relocated in a south-west direction. The safety margins on the front and side edges are 4.00 or 2.00 metres as per DIN 18035-1.
Compared to natural grass or clay surfaces, the synthetic turf has the advantage that it is resistant to weathering, can be subjected to more intensive use and marked in a durable way. A further advantage compared to natural turf is the significantly reduced cost of maintenance, although regular care is still required. Depending on the intensity of use, the pitch requires brushing once or twice each week, regular control of the seams, weeding at the edges and at least one thorough cleaning each year. Regular sanding of the corner, kick-off and penalty spots as well as the goal mouths is the most important chore required to keep a synthetic turf pitch in good repair for any length of time.
In comparison to conventional surfaces, construction costs for a synthetic turf pitch are significantly higher than for natural grass and clay. Disadvantages are the poor microclimate, strong heating in summer (which is also dependent on the filler material used), possible unpleasant odours or discoloration of sport equipment and clothing from use of non-certified RCL rubber material.

The sprint track and approach tracks for the jumps were given a waterproof synthetic surface, type D, as per DIN 18035-6 with an overall thickness of 13 mm, made up of 10 polyurethane-bonded rubber granulate and 3 mm solid polyurethane (surface type D) installed on a two-layered bound bitumen surface layer, 2/16 and 2/8 mm, with thicknesses of 40 mm and 25 mm. This kind of surface has proved more resistant than many other surfaces to wear from spikes and in comparison to clay surfaces can be used all year round and is very durable.
Die Kunststofffläche für die Anlaufbahnen der Sprungdisziplinen hat eine Größe von 36 x 18 Meter

The approach track for the long jump is 35 metres long and the run-up for the high jump is 15 metres long. Although these do not meet the requirements of the national German field athletics association, they are more than sufficient for school sport.
The cross running track is approx. 435 meters long and has a clearance width of 1.5 metres. It runs along the northern side of the existing earth bank so that existing and modelled differences in height must be scaled by the athletes. The track is lined on both sides with curb stones. The running surface is made up of wood chips strewn on a non-bonded supporting layer of natural gravel with paved areas in front of the access paths to the club house. This surface provides a comfortable running experience similar to than of a woodland path, it is easy on the joints and can be used for both cross running and leisure sport.

Barriers, ball catch nets: In order to prevent disruptions of games and annoyance to spectators when different sporting activities are carried out at the same time, the main playing field has a barrier with meshed matting parallel to its external limits. At both ends, 6.00-metre-high catch fences with rubber supports to suppress noise were installed.
On both sides, between the catch nets and the barriers, an approx. 0.6 m wide gap at the 16 metre penalty box were planned. The complete sports field is enclosed by an existing chain link wire fence.

Training floodlight system: The existing floodlight system was also subjected to a complete overhaul. They were outdated technically and above all the lights were replaced by anti-dazzle, low emission and energy saving lights. A lighting system with six masts and a total of eight floodlights was planned for the training field. A further spotlight was installed on the most north-eastern floodlight mast to light the field athletic facilities (jumping and throwing disciplines).
In combination with already installed cables to allow lighting of quarter or half of the playing field, the new vertical floodlights led to a significant reduction in light emissions to the immediate neighbourhood as well as allows significant savings to be made in energy costs for the club.
The forecourt area of the club house and the path to the car park were equipped with new street lighting which is switched on and off automatically with light intensity and timer switches.

Paths, paved areas, spectator stands: The paths within the whole sports field were given a waterproof paved surface. This allowed a reduction in maintenance costs to be achieved and also prevented dirtying of the synthetic turf and running surfaces. The paved area was enlarged at the penalty box of the junior markings so that the junior goals could be stored there and the barriers were left open at this point. The paved path around the main playing field is 2.00 metres wide along its complete length.
As the storage areas on the northern side cut into the existing sloped area, they were lined with a L-stone wall. Between these the spectator stands made of prefabricated concrete sections provide space for around 340 spectators.

Drainage, seepage: The plans included seepage of rain water via an underground ditch. Previously the pitch area was drained into the canal, with construction of the ditch this system could be completely disconnected.
Drainpipes made of continuous PP pipes as per DIN 65 were installed on the playing field to allow surface water to be removed. Any rainwater flowing from the surface of the playing field is caught in open gutters at the edge of the playing field and led into the drainage ditch through a closed pipe system. Wherever possible the playing surfaces are drained directly into open turf troughs with a maximum depth of water of 10 cm. The underground drainage ditch is made up of a gravel sicker package 8/32 mm sheathed in non-woven filter material. At the ends of the drainage ditch a shaft with mud catchments control and direct the flow of rainwater. For distribution of water inside the draining ditch the shafts are connected by a full drain pipe DN 300. The sicker packages are 2.0 metres wide and 2.2 metres high over a total length of 105.0 metres.

Planting: Along the Millrather Weg a freely growing hedge of Spiraea vanhouttei was planted to reduce traffic noise and act as a screen.


After a six-month construction period, the club was able to start using it new sports field. The second synthetic turf pitch solved the problem of the previous frequent bottlenecks in use of the pitch. Although the club had to forego a circular running track, the field athletic department is happy with the 100-metre sprint track, the new jumping areas and the well-used cross-running track.

Project description


Niermannsweg Sports Facilities
Construction of a second synthetic turf pitch
Niermannsweg 10
D-40699 Erkrath, Germany


City administration Düsseldorf
Sportamt 52/2
Contact: Frau Sander
Arena-Straße 1
D-40474 Düsseldorf, Germany

Town of Erkrath
Civil building authorities 66.3
Contact: Ms. Rudolph
Schimmelbuschstraße 11-13
D-40699 Erkrath, Germany

Landscape architect:

pslandschaft.de - freiraumplanung
Dipl.-Ing. Joachim Schulze
Freier Landschaftsarchitekt AKNW/bdla
Rheinstraße 118
D-51371 Leverkusen, Germany

Land surveyor:

Dr. Georg Kleinebrinker
Große Telegraphenstraße 9 -11
D-50676 Cologne, Germany

General contractors:

Playing field construction - SK Sport- & Freianlagenbau GmbH, Hermsdorf, Germany
Electrics - Horlemann Elektrobau, Uedem, Germany
Synthetic turf - Mondo GmbH, Trier, Germany
Synthetic surfaces - Polytan GmbH, Burgheim, Germany
Planting - Frissen & Zohren, Niederkrüchten, Germany

Building costs: KGR 500 - Euro 948,400.00 gross


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