Sports pavilions

Outdoor and indoor sport and recreation settings vary considerably in their design, size, use and location, from the venue for a chess game, to a football ground.

This section contains principles that can be interpreted and adapted to suit the indoor recreation setting of sports pavilions.

Each setting is described in terms of its role and use, outlining design principles to consider and to support use by everyone. Universal design key requirements and minimum standard access dimensions for specific elements relating to facilities and installations are provided for design that will assist in maximising the effective use of all areas.

The universal design key requirements have been developed as an easy to access checklist of issues to consider and the minimum access dimensions are based on the Australian Standards for Access and Mobility. Whilst these Standards relate to the requirements of people with a range of access challenges and disabilities, they often generally improve access for all people.

Sports pavilions

Sports pavilions are often located in sport and recreation reserves, so it is important to refer to the information in this guide relating to these when looking for information regarding sports pavilions.

Sports pavilions usually provide shelter, change and toilet facilities, indoor recreation and meeting spaces and dining areas, activity areas, kitchens and canteens for a range of sports groups.

Popular sports that typically occupy sports pavilions include football, cricket, soccer, netball, hockey, rugby and tennis as well as a range of others. A wide range of people participate in these sports, with some sports clubs targeting specific user groups. For example, wheelchair tennis and rugby are popular as well as cricket for people who are blind and football for people with an intellectual disability.

Sports pavilions are usually used on a seasonal basis and shared by several groups who will have a range of similar requirements during their particular sporting season.

For example, a football club often uses the facility during winter and a cricket club during summer. A netball club may use the facility year round.


An example of a universally designed sport pavilion precinct.Figure 1: An example of a sports pavilion with netball and tennis courts

  1. Drinking fountains which are easy to reach, have large lever handles for operation, and incorporate a low level drinking bowl for an assistance animal, support access for everyone
  2. Effective, glare free lighting should be provided throughout areas that are likely to be used at night
  3. Sports pavilions should be located on a continuous accessible path of travel from the car parking and pedestrian entry points of the site

Design principles

The following key design principles should be considered when developing sites for temporary facilities:

Sports pavilions

Sports pavilions should be located on a continuous accessible path of travel from the car parking and pedestrian entry points of the recreation reserve or site. They should provide level, step free entry free from revolving doors or turnstiles and wide door openings to accommodate all users, including people with mobility aids such as prams, strollers, wheelchairs or assistance animals. Self opening doors are preferred, with effective contrasts across any glass doors or areas that could be mistaken for a doorway, to ensure that the safety of users is not compromised.

Consideration should also be given to shelter close to, but not obstructing the principal entries, where some people may wish to store mobility aids while using the pavilion.

Wide internal walkways and doorways, clear of any obstructions on the floor surface and walls, and areas to pass easily are important. Level, slip resistant floor surfaces, in both wet and dry conditions, that do not incorporate any lips or tripping hazards should be maintained.

Access into each room of the pavilion is necessary so that users can participate in all activities and utilise required facilities. Fixtures and fittings that can be accessed by a smaller person or a child, as well as someone who is seated are necessary, for example, at customer service counters and information and display areas.

Any controls that are required to operate building elements such as lights or doors, should be easy to grip, see, reach and operate and be supplemented with clear, concise instructions for use where necessary. This should be provided in a range of formats, for example, written, audio and tactile to ensure that all users can effectively interpret the information provided.

In multiple level pavilions, either ramps with appropriate gradients, or lifts, should be provided to upper levels to support ease of use and movement. These should be easy to locate, with consideration given to the use of effective contrasts as well as raised tactile and Braille signage. Lifts should incorporate buttons that include raised tactile elements as well as Braille close to the buttons to support effective interpretation and wayfinding. Audio announcements should also be installed to identify floor levels.

Any stairs should incorporate effective contrast nosings on the stair treads. Stairs and ramps require easy to grip handrails and tactile ground surface indicators at the top and bottom.

Meeting and activity areas

Hearing augmentation should be provided in any meeting and activity spaces in pavilions, for example, in areas where team meetings or coaching clinics are held or where there are interactive drills or training DVDs that people can view and hear.

Captions on screens for people who may have limitations to hearing, as well as audio or tactile alternatives for people who may have limitations to vision, should also be considered. Good lighting is necessary for all users.

Kitchen, canteen or dining

Any pavilions that incorporate kitchen or dining areas should provide ease of access for everyone and incorporate a range of tables and seating heights and types for children and adults. Tables with extended ends so a person using a wheelchair can move underneath, lower height or adjustable benches, leg clearances under fixtures such as sinks and benches and access to taps, cupboards and equipment should all be considered.

Low height sections at bars and canteen counters, with adequate leg clearance underneath, assist a smaller person or someone using a wheelchair to reach the counter and interact effectively with people who are serving food and drinks. This also provides the opportunity for customers to easily view items on offer and make informed decisions about selections. Large print information regarding items for sale, including prices (where relevant), assist everyone.

Hearing augmentation and signage indicating this is available should also be installed at any screened counter area to support people who may have a hearing impairment. Unnecessary background noise such as radios or music should also be avoided.

Scoring and administration

Consideration should be given to the provision of accessible scoring and administration areas. This includes offices, score benches, viewing areas for scorers, scoreboards and audio announcement points.

Scoreboards should be easy to see and read from a long distance and incorporate alternative scoring systems that assist people with hearing and vision challenges. If a sound amplification system is provided, hearing devices should also be installed to assist spectators with hearing impairment.

If separate areas are provided for referees or umpires, accessible facilities should be included, such as a unisex accessible toilet and shower that are available for use by both males and females.

Checklist of key elements

Consideration must be given to universal design in sports pavilions relating to a wide range of key elements. In relation to sports pavilions the key elements include:

Paths of travel

Car parking, set down and waiting

Entrances and exits

Building and facilities

Toilets, showers and change rooms


Communication and information