As specifiers, facility planners or owners, there are many details that need to be addressed when developing specifications for a new school, recreational facility, family life center or other facility with a gymnasium. One detail that is often overlooked is which manufacturers to list so you are sure to receive the desired type and quality of gymnasium equipment and related products for your space.
Currently there are eight recognized manufacturers of basketball backstops and many more “garage shops” that can “throw something together” to hang a backboard. There are also numerous suppliers for gymnasium divider curtains, wall pads, volleyball equipment and related physical education equipment. Quality and breadth of products and features can vary greatly, so how do you narrow down the list and choose manufacturers to list in your project specifications? Following are points to help guide you through this process:
- List manufacturers who are active and locally represented in your area. Don’t allow a factory representative or dealer to “assist” you in preparing your specifications, then only list their company and others that are out of business or have never sold product in your vicinity. This unscrupulous practice serves no good purpose and should make you question the ethics of the person providing this so-called “assistance.” Look for future postings on the importance of local representation, but common sense tells you that a factory west of the Rockies cannot do projects on the east coast without local representation.
- List manufacturers who can provide all necessary gymnasium products. Allowing local representatives or general contractors to piecemeal this equipment from multiple sources normally leads to added cost, coordination problems and owner confusion when future service or warranty issues may arise.
- Choose manufacturers that offer extended warranties. Don’t accept just a 1 year warranty. You should expect a lifetime warranty for backboards and warranties of 25-years on support structures, 5 years on winches and divider motors, 10 years on safety straps, 3 years on breakaway goals, 8-years on bolt-on edge padding, 10 years on volleyball posts and 5 years on volleyball winches. There are at least 3 manufacturers who offer standard warranties like these. Don’t do facility owners a disservice by accepting subpar warranties.
- List manufacturers that provide powder coat finishes and options for colors. Powder coat will insure the equipment looks like a finished product, arrives in good condition and will look good for years. Gymnasium equipment has evolved from “you can get any color you want as long as it is flat black primer.” Specifications should meet the need of the facility. Color options allow equipment to follow building schemes, match school colors or virtually disappear when folded against roof structure of the same hue.
- Accept only manufacturers that provide independent test results showing the strength and safety of their equipment. Hanging heavy gymnasium equipment overhead can lead to significant property damage, personal injury or worse if clamps and fittings fail. The best gymnasium equipment manufacturer can produce results from accredited testing agencies and calculated safety factors of at least 50 to 1. Do not accept equipment that may be unsafe.
By considering these points when developing your gymnasium equipment specifications and reviewing substitutions, your job becomes easier and the owner will have a safe facility that will provide years of trouble free service. For more details on any of the above items or for assistance in choosing equipment and manufacturers, please contact Draper or a member of our team of installing dealers.