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Guidance for Playground Layouts and Designs

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Understanding all the specific requirements and BS EN standards for playground equipment and surfacing can be difficult as there is a lot of information to take in.

The basic guidelines below have been created to ensure all persons involved in Playground Design work to the same standards.


Do you know where your playground is going to be sited? Do you know if there is any reasons particular equipment can’t go in a particular place? Did you know there are restrictions?

Take a look at the hazards to consider when planning where you new playground will be sited:

1. Overhead power lines/electricity sub-stations

2. Tree roots

3. Hidden/secluded areas

4. Underground pipes

5. Waterways

6. Poor drainage


Choosing Equipment

All play equipment has to meet the BS EN 1176 standards. All equipment should also carry the appropriate identification label. You should ensure before choosing a supplier that they have declaration of conformity to BS EN 1176.


Choosing Surfacing

Again all safety surfacing has to be independently tested to BS EN 1177 standards and all suppliers should provide this. Safety surfacing has to be laid at specific depths depending on the CFH (critical fall height) of equipment. Equipment with a fall height lower than 600mm and do not have forced movement doesn’t have to have surfacing that meets these standards. Equipment with a higher fall height or forced movement always require tests. The BS EN 1177 has introduced to reduce life threatening head injuries to child.

The only expectation for the above is providing well maintained grass. Grass can provide a fall height of up to 1500mm providing a thorough risk assessment is carried out.


Playground Positioning

The layout of equipment when creating a new play space is very important and has a great effect on the overall safety. Approximately 34% of play area accident reports are caused by collisions, either between children and equipment or children and other children. This makes the layout extremely important.

One of the first things to consider when designing the layout is the safety of the users of the equipment. There are obviously a wide variety of different play products and all guidance’s are detailed with BS EN 1176 standards. The operating areas of equipment have to be abided by to ensure relevant safety measures are kept and all BS EN 1176/1177 standards are met.


The flow within the Play Area

Play areas are all situated different in every area. You do need to consider the safety of users who may be passing through the play area as opposed to be using the equipment. There are safety requirements that need to be considered for this given in BS EN 1176.

More circulation space will be required for areas where children will be running from different pieces of equipment especially in a busy public area.

Normal operating areas will need to be used with all equipment when spacing the proposed layout.

The requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act in regards to access should be considered (e.g. pathway and gate widths and gradients).


Risk Assessment

All playgrounds are required to have a risk assessment completed as stated within The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. We provide a full risk assessment during a post-installation inspection