Develop and Manage Leisure Facilities

such as: Leisure centres, Swim Centres, Sporting complexes, Gymnasiums, Health clubs etc.

  • Seek a job, Start a business or improve your career prospects
  • Learn from tutors with decades of experience in the Leisure Industries
  • In Part 1 study management and development or redevelopment of recreation facilities.
  • Learn about the nature of recreation and fitness facilities, legal requirements during construction, the management of minor construction projects and evaluating fitness and recreation equipment.
  • Through the second half study day to day operations of facilities such as gyms, health clubs, swimming pools, or recreation facilities -study managing bookings, purchasing, safety, contingencies and insurance
  • Learn to…
  • Explain the nature of recreation and fitness facilities.
  • Explain legalities that must be satisfied by construction work projects.
  • Evaluate suitability of equipment for a given purpose in a recreation or fitness facility.
  • Explore the  recreation facilities and services are provided in your locality.
  • Compare different facilities in your locality that provide the same type of recreation and fitness services.
  • Describe the minimum facilities required to provide common services in different types of recreation facilities, such as; health clubs, gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools, golf courses, bowling greens and other sporting clubs

Lesson Structure

There are 13 lessons in this course: 


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1. The Scope of Recreation Facility Management

  1. Introduction
  2. Scope of Community Recreation Services
  3. Exercise Facilities
  4. Town Planning
  5. Survey
  6. Structural Planning
  7. Systems Planning
  8. Advocacy Planning
  9. Central Place Theory
  10. Scope and Distribution of Leisure Facilities
  11. 2. The Nature of Recreation Facility Management
    Multidisciplinary Approach to Management
    The Administrative Process
    Planning for Play
    Planning Processes
  12. 3.Legal Requirements for Construction
    Special Events
    Liability and Negligence
    Minimising Liability
    Risk Management
  13. 4. Planning Construction Work
    Work Scheduling
    Planning Management of the Construction
    Competitive Tendering
    Contingency Plans for Disruption to Work
  14. 5. Indoor Equipment
    Types of Recreation Buildings
    Indoor Equipment and Facilities
    General Requirements; access, security, lighting, toilets, parking, signage, staff facilities, etc
    Needs for Specific Facility Types; swimming centres, community centres, gymnasium, etc
    Selection Criteria for Equipment
    Conducting a Cost Analysis
  15. 6. Outdoor Equipment
    All Purpose Sports Ground
    Tennis Courts
    Bowling Club
    Camp and Caravan Sites
    Water Recreation; sailing, water skiing, power boating, canoeing, etc
    Picnic Areas
    Riding School, etc
  16. 7. Safety Procedures
    Duty of Care; employer, employee, other person, manufacturer.
    Lifting and Manual Handling
    Protective Equipment
    Chemical Handling
    Protecting Hearing
    Safety Risk Analysis
    Safety Audit
    Safe Communication
    Safety Out Doors
    Water Safety: safety in pools
    First Aid
    Safety on Sports Turf
  17. 8. Equipment Needs
    Gym Equipment
    Types of Equipment
    Sports Equipment
    Track and Athletics Equipment
    Determining Equipment Needs for different sports
    Scouts, Youth Clubs, Other Clubs, Play groups, etc
  18. 9. Purchasing
    Introduction to Purchasing Procedures
    Purchasing and Payment Procedures
  19. 10 Bookings
    Controlling Facility Use
    Exclusive Bookings
    Using Facilities without Prior Bookings
    Keeping Records of Bookings
    Procedure for Filing
    Active and Inactive Records
  20. 11. Contingencies
    Introduction to Contingency Procedures
    Staff Absence
    Fire Management
    Indoor and Outdoor Facilities
  21. 12. Insurance Issues
    Types of Insurance
    Staff Liability
    Determining Insurance Requirements for a Facility
    Insurance Limitations
    Changing Insurance Needs
  22. 13. Managing Insurance
    Insurance for Contributory Negligence
    Recreation Leaders
    Quality Systems
    Managing a Recreation Facility
    Building Maintenance
    Controlling Facility Use
    Keeping Records
    Promoting a Facility
    Managing Aquatic Facilities
    Toilet and Locker room Facilities
    Security; security systems, vandalism, ignorant acts, vindictive acts
    Minimising Vandalism
  23. Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school’s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
  24. Aims
    Explain the scope of work involved in the management of recreation and fitness facilities.
    Explain the nature of recreation and fitness facilities, including their physical characteristics and their management requirements.
    Explain the legal aspects which must be satisfied by construction work projects.
    Plan the management of construction work projects for different recreation facilities.
    Explain the suitability and management of equipment for a given purposes in indoor recreation or fitness facilities (Part A – Indoor Equipment).
    Explain the suitability and management of equipment for given purposes in outdoor recreation or fitness facilities (Part B – Outdoor Equipment).
    Develop safety procedures for a recreation facility.
    Determine equipment needed for a sports or fitness facility.
    Purchase new equipment for a recreation or fitness facility.
    Manage the bookings for use of a recreation facility.
    Develop contingency plans to deal with likely emergencies in recreation and fitness industry workplaces.
    Manage insurance issues for a recreation or fitness facility.
    Develop a plan for managing the use of a specific recreation facility.


Management and suitability for a given purpose

There are many different types of indoor recreation facilities, and each, according to its purpose, has the need for specific facilities in order to satisfy its function. The indoor sports centre may provide the nucleus for management of surrounding sports fields, as well as providing a range of general facilities, liaising with a variety of sports organisations such as schools, private clubs and individuals.


This should be controlled preferably by a single, well signed, and easily approached, entry point, but with several, suitable and well signed exits points. The exit points should be located to allow good access back to public transport and/or parking. Often exits will be placed next to or near the main entry, but are separated by barriers of some type.

Entry can be prevented through exit ways by the use of such means as one way gates or revolving doors, or in the case of facilities with high numbers of users, by manned exits.

Good, clear, well signed access is also important within the indoor facility. A maze of ill lit, poorly signed passageways, will guarantee that someone will get lost, or delayed, perhaps missing the start of a sporting event.

Provision should be made for different types of users e.g. disabled, visually impaired, etc. This can often be easily achieved through the provision of ramps instead of, or as well as, steps, the use of suitably placed guide rails, easily accessed disabled parking spaces as close to the entry point as possible.

Good security is very important in any facility. Both users and staff will not wish to use the   facility if there is any risk to them of attack or abuse, or if their property/belongings can be   readily damaged or stolen. The facility itself requires protection (e.g. vandalism and theft).
Generally only large facilities, with a lot of users, can afford to have specialised security staff.     It is more common in smaller facilities for other staff (e.g. administration, instructors) to be     responsible as part of their general duties, for some degree of security. This may only entail      ensuring that locks are securely closed as required; or keeping an eye out for actual or potential trouble involving users, and then informing management or police; or perhaps to step in and act as a mediator or referee to settle arguments. Situations where staff are required to physically manhandle people should be avoided at all costs. In some states (e.g. Victoria) staff who are likely to be placed in such a situation (e.g. bouncers) are required to be licensed and trained.

Good lighting can play an important part in maintaining a good level of security, both for the users and for the facility itself.

Surveillance cameras placed carefully can allow staff (e.g. front desk) to keep a watch on potential problem areas, without having to waste a lot of time going backwards and forwards to actually visit those places.

It may be possible to arrange regular, or even sporadic police drive bys, or visits, particularly  if the facility is subject to security problems (e.g. vandalism, teenage “hang out”) to help give people a feeling of increased security, and/or to deter anyone who may want to cause trouble.

There are three major areas where lighting is important:
Safety: a well lit (but not over lit) area will reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring, for    example, tripping over an uneven surface, or poorly placed object.

Security (see above)

To provide good visibility for the activities being carried out in the facility.  A Guide to Sports Lighting has been established by the Standards Association of Australia  (AS 2560 – 1982 and later additions).

Provision of toilets/change rooms/showers
Staff quarters, plant, storage and repair/maintenance facilities

For some larger facilities, or multiple facilities, on-site accommodation may be required for       staff. This could be, for example, a caretakers cottage or house. Such accommodation should be kept as separate as possible from the recreation/leisure facilities, but should allow the relevant staff good access to the facilities. It is not much point having staff on-site to help increase security levels if they are quite a distance from the facility, or they can’t readily hear or see problem areas. The on-site staff are entitled to their privacy as well, so often a compromise is required – placing the accommodation close enough to ensure some raised level of security, and that relevant staff (e.g. a caretaker) can be readily available as required,  but still have such accommodation out of the way as much as possible.

Plant, storage and maintenance facilities likewise should also be located so that the impact of their presence on the sports/recreation/leisure activities carried out in the facility is minimised, but still placed so that their services, etc. can be readily accessed.

First Aid and Safety Equipment (provision, location, etc.)

Should be adequate but not too much, otherwise people get confused or just turned off (and don’t read it).

Needs to be large enough (both the sign and writing) to easily read.

The writing should clearly stand out (contrast) from the background so it is easily read.

Keep the information you are trying to convey clear and succinct.

Ensure signs are regularly cleaned, so that their messages are easily read.

Signs telling people where not to go (e.g. staff only, authorised personnel only, no exit) can be just as important as those telling people where to go (e.g. exit, changing rooms, kiosk).

Foreign language signs can be very important in areas with high migrant populations, or that are visited by tourists.
Parking Space
The number of spaces required will depend on a number of factors. Generally there will be a local council requirement to provide a set amount of parking. This will often be determined on such factors as:
The likely number of users,

Space limitations of the facility site,

Access to public transport,

The availability of alternative parking (e.g. an adjacent shopping centre), particularly parking that might not have a lot of use at the times when the facility is operating at it’s peak.

Calculating time charge rates to meet Total Annual Expenditure
Keeping records
Good, clear easily understood records are important in a number of ways:
To ensure that there are no mix ups in bookings, requirements for particular activities, etc.

As a means of determining user profiles (e.g. what groups/individuals are using the facility, when are they using it, what are they doing, what equipment do they require, etc.

As a safeguard/back up in case of complaints or legal action against the facility, or it’s operators or staff.

There may be a requirement by authorities (e.g. local council, state) to keep certain records.

For audit purposes, (moneys spent and received).
Possibility of shared facilities to maximise potential e.g. A swimming pool may be used by a school as well as the local community.
Can be conflict over who gets popular times.
Spreads the financial costs.
Need to be clear on responsibilities of differing parties regarding costs, staffing, management, maintenance, etc.

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