A.S.B.A. Guidelines for Tennis Court Construction

Section 1.C. – Site Preparation, Earthwork, Drainage and Subbase Construction

1.0 Scope
This document is intended to be used in conjunction with Guideline I.B., Site Investigation, and with the various other Guidelines for construction of the particular type of facility. Where more specific requirements are recommended, based on the site investigation, such requirements should prevail over those stated herein.

Site grades, to minimize problems with surface water, including surface drainage, are beyond the scope of this Guideline.  

2.0 Site Stripping and Excavation
Unless otherwise specified, topsoil and other unsuitable materials at the site, and to a minimum distance of 5′ beyond the surfaced area, should be removed in such a manner as to minimize disturbance of the remaining subgrade soils, and to facilitate placement of embankment materials and/or base course materials. Topsoil should be stored at the site and reused for landscaping at the completion of construction. 
3.0 Subsurface Drainage
Where surface inlets are provided on or near the courts or track, drain lines to carry the water to appropriate discharge channels should be in accordance with local building codes and regulations.

Where it is necessary or otherwise decided to lower the water table at the site, French drains (permeable, properly graded gravel-filled trenches), geocomposites or perforated drain lines surrounded with a stone material, should be utilized, discharging to appropriate channels. Non-woven geotextile fabric may be used, depending on the stone materials available.

Backfill of all trenches should be granular material, placed in layers not to exceed 6″ in thickness, compacted with appropriate compaction equipment to 95% of the maximum density determined by ASTM Method D 1557. This compaction is necessary to minimize the risk of subsequent settlement of the surface over the trench.

When trenching or draintile is used under existing permanent pavement, it is required that this area be compacted to 100% of the maximum density determined by ASTM Method D 1557. This method will reduce the amount of settlement that may occur in these trenches which will reflect on the final surface. 

4.0 Subbase Embankment
Embankment is fill material necessary to raise the grade at the site, after removal of unsuitable materials noted in Section 2.0, to provide the surface on which to place the base course for the tennis court or running track.

While well-graded granular soil is preferred for embankment fill, normally locally available soil is used for economic reasons. The material should be free of organic or expansive material, and of particles greater than 1 1/2″ in dimension. It should be placed in lifts not to exceed 6″ in thickness and compacted to a minimum density of 95% of D 1557 density. The water content of the fill should be reduced by aeration or increased by adding water, as necessary to achieve the required compaction.

Where the natural soil at the bottom of the subbase course is stable, as evidenced by stability under construction equipment, hand auger or other exploration, base course materials can be placed on this soil. Soft clay and plastic soils should be appropriately stabilized. 

5.0 Inspection and Testing
Compliance with these Guidelines can best be determined by inspection and testing. Tests should be performed according to applicable ASTM specifications by a certified engineer or testing laboratory. Use of nuclear moisture and density equipment would permit rapid determination of in situ density and moisture content. Responsibility for the cost of such inspection should be agreed upon in advance between the owner and the contractor.

For most court or track construction, the required inspection and testing could be performed by a properly equipped and qualified contractor.

For difficult sites, as described in Guidelines for Site Investigation, inspection at various critical stages by a geotechnical engineer, is recommended.

See also Guidelines for:
1.B. Site Investigation
1.D. Vegetation Control or Vegetation Regrowth Prevention
1.E. Subsurface and Surface Drainage for Recreational Areas

ASTM specifications are available from
American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM)
100 Barr Harbor Drive
West Conshohocken, PA 19428

NOTICE: These Construction Guidelines are for use by architects, engineers, contractors, tennis court and running track owners. Parties not experienced in tennis court or running track construction are advised to consult a qualified contractor, consultant and/or design professional. Experienced contractors, consultants and/or design professionals can be identified through the U. S. Tennis Court and Track Builders Association. Due to changing construction technology and techniques, only the most recent version of these Guidelines should be used. Variances in climate, soil conditions, topography and other factors may make these Guidelines unsuitable for certain projects.

Copyright © 1998 by U.S. Tennis Court and Track Builders Association. All Rights Reserved.