Increasingly, bowling clubs across Australia are choosing to cover their greens. And why not? Covering a bowling green brings so many benefits; it allows the club and its members to bowl no matter the weather, helping everyone to enjoy more time on the green. Many clubs even see a boost in memberships after covering their greens!
Some of the main advantages include:
But where to start? When we’re talking to a bowling club about a cover, one of the first questions we hear is ‘How much will it cost?’. On average, it costs between $900k to $1.2m to cover a bowling green in 2023 with an architectural fabric structure, however, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. We work hard to deliver a cost-effective, high-quality, and great-looking solution for your club while taking into account a number of different factors involved.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the elements that impact the price of such projects, including what drives it up or can keep it down. These can be split into two categories: those specific to your project and those external.
Starting first with, what factors are specific to your project?
This includes what influences the size, scope and complexity of your bowling green cover.
Economies of scale apply when it comes to covering bowling greens. This means covering multiple will be more cost-effective in the long run. It’s also worth considering whether a second one can be added later to extend the coverage. If you’re considering eventually building multiple, it may be worth doing all at once to maximise the use of other resources.
There are a number of costs involved in covering a bowling green, like site establishment fee, floating equipment on site, transportation of materials and travel for installers. If you build a second green at the same time these costs stay very similar but the cost value increases.
Like most structures, the larger the cover, the more materials you’ll need, and consequently, the greater the investment. However, economies of scale come into play here. That’s why constructing two covers can be more cost-effective than just one.
The extent of shelter you want to provide affects the cost. Some clubs prefer to cover only the playing surface, utilising existing shelters around the green to protect spectators. Others, however, aim to provide a uniform experience for everyone at the club. They choose to cover a larger area, offering the same level of shelter to players and spectators alike.
Size or coverage isn’t the only factor that impacts the cost. The height of the structure plays a significant role too. It influences the wind loading, which can affect the size of the steel required or the amount of bracing needed, not to mention the foundations. For instance, are you aiming to keep the sides low for superior weather protection? Or perhaps you’d prefer them higher to preserve sight lines from the clubhouse or perhaps, as we heard from a club recently, higher to let in the winter sunshine. These are all considerations that impact both your project’s design and cost.
In essence, the size and structure of your bowling green cover can significantly impact the cost. But with careful planning and consideration of these factors, you can strike the perfect balance between functionality, the experience you’re wanting to create at the club, and budget.
How we can work onsite is factored into pricing. For example, when building a new green we suggest building the cover first then resurfacing the green. This is because existing greens need extra care to avoid damage. There may also be greens that need to be avoided entirely, rather than just putting protective covers down.
The biggest factor is whether we can work on the green for installation. Bowling greens have a very delicate surface compared to other sports courts, like basketball or netball courts. Using equipment directly on the green is the most efficient way to build but can cause damage to an existing green, with wheel marks and ruts. The best way to do this is when a green is about to be converted to a synthetic green – that way we can build the cover, and then the green is replaced.
The other option is to work off the green. For this, we don’t access the green in any way – the excavator and other equipment are outside. This does require space surrounding the green, with a 4m perimeter ideal, plus enough room for a crane and compound for steelwork. This adds extra cost as larger equipment is needed to reach the space from outside the green.
What we are building on impacts the price. Building on more durable surfaces minimises costs, like concrete or asphalt, or a more natural surface, like bark, grass, or bare dirt. Concrete and asphalt are unlikely to be damaged, while natural surfaces are simple and cheap to repair. In comparison, synthetic surfaces (like artificial turf) are easily damaged and harder to fix.
The footings – deep holds for the steel supports to go in – may be easier or harder to install depending on the material underneath. For example, hard rock may require special tools or engineering.
There are many design elements that can improve the overall aesthetic and functionality of your area but will impact the price of your final project. These include features like:
The most common materials for bowling green covers are powder-coated steelwork with PVC fabric covers. This has a very efficient installation process, as everything is pre-fabricated, allows light into the space and a generally better visual impact compared to galvanised steel. It is also birdproof and allows you to integrate extra cleats or brackets for scoreboards, lights, and speakers.
In some cases, however, a shade or steel-only solution may be most appropriate for your needs.
Many structures need lighting, PA systems and scoreboards. You may already have existing lighting (via light towers or on a clubhouse) and additional lighting can be added to these structures. Otherwise, lighting, and other technology needs can be built into the new cover.
Customisations come with extra costs, such as adding an end wall or in-fill. However, they are a good way to improve weather protection so can be worth the price.
Greenline operates across all of Australia. Transporting materials, equipment and labourers to remote areas can cost a little extra but doesn’t have a major impact on overall costs.
What can, however, is wind and cyclone regions. Places like the Sunshine Coast where there are higher wind coefficients need engineered steelwork to withstand the strong winds. Corrosion zones, usually within 1km of the sea, can also need certain finishes to protect against rust like an epoxy liner or galvanised steel.
What external factors impact the price of your project?
This takes into account broader changes, such as the cost of materials, that factor into your project’s pricing.
Labour depends on the availability of installers and other trades, so these will fluctuate independently of the details of your project. Labour for tasks like fabrication and transport has recently increased and growing demand for construction services means there can be less tradespeople available, especially at short notice.
So, what next?
If you want to know more about covering a bowling green and the costs involved, reach out to our team for a consultation. Contact us, we’ll work closely with you to understand the nuances of your site and develop a quote for the build.