Challenges of Residential Gym Design

Gym Design

Posted on May 26, 2010 by Kim Mead

Owning a home gym used to be a privilege reserved purely for the rich and famous, yet a clear trend has been emerging over the past decade which has opened up this privilege to a whole new segment of the population.

Residents’ only gymnasiums have slowly become a key element in many new-build residential and mixed-use developments, providing thousands of residents with the luxury of a bespoke health and fitness facility literally on their doorstep. They also act as a community hub, bringing residents who would not otherwise meet together.

Aside from the immediate convenience benefits, an onsite gym can provide considerable monthly savings on membership fees – an onsite facility adds between £3 and £7 per month to an apartment’s service charge (dependent on development size) – a huge saving in anyone’s book.

motive8 Limited, a health and fitness consultancy based in West London, has installed over 60 such facilities into residential developments throughout the UK. As market leaders, they have worked for numerous high profile developers including St James’ Homes, Telford Homes, St George Plc and Barratt Homes, for whom they have installed more residential fitness facilities than any other provider.

motive8’s Managing Director, Nick Sadler, explains: “From a developer’s point of view, an onsite health and fitness facility has been proven to attract potential investors, owners and tenants to a scheme over competing neighbouring developments. It is a highly effective sales tool, one which lasts for the life span of the development. In one particular scheme we worked on, the gym has had a proven positive influence on both rental and sales figures.”

One of the most common challenges to overcome when designing a fitness facility is the space allocated by the developer. Indoor fitness programmes can typically be divided into four categories of exercise: warm-up, free weight, circuit training and cardiovascular. In order to offer users the best all-round workout, it is important to try and incorporate at least one piece of equipment from each of these exercise categories, something which motive8 always aims to achieve.

Nick continues: “Having used commercial gyms in the past, residents are becoming increasingly wise to the minimum standard of equipment that should be provided. At motive8 we strive to install the highest quality equipment, offering users the same equipment as they are used to seeing in their £50+ per month commercial gym. Not only does this increase enjoyment for the users but ensures longevity of use and better reliability for the managing agent.”

Aside from the equipment, there are other health and safety aspects to consider such as spatial requirements of individual equipment and acoustical control of noise generated through specific exercise activities. For example, a minimum ceiling height is generally required to accommodate the clearances needed for daily equipment usage. Special surfaces may also be required for many athletic activities such as cushioned training surfaces, mirror walls or impact-resistant walls.

“Having successfully fitted out the gym, the next challenge is to maintain the gym in a safe, clean and comfortable condition,” says Nick. “Through quarterly servicing of equipment, a facility can generally withstand up to 6 years of use before replacement of some equipment will be required.”

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