Playground Equipment

Selecting Equipment and Safety Surfacing

Equipment should be complex enough to challenge the age group, however, much of the prefabricated modular equipment emphasises physical development. Include structures that encourage social interaction as well as providing the opportunity to create other activities. Always select equipment that is the correct height and has an appropriate surface. Consider these points:

  • What type of play value does the equipment provide?
  • Does it provide a variety of play activities?
  • Does the equipment encourage social interaction and provide for group play and dramatic play?
  • Does it challenge physical skills – balance, flexibility, strength and coordination?
  • Is it attractive to children and adults?
  • Is equipment appropriate to the age groups, abilities and disabilities of the children?
  • Do structures provide multiple activities (eg a large multi purpose deck versus a swing)?
  • Is it safe? Does the equipment meet the current Australian/New Zealand Standard?
  • Is it flexible in use? Can it be changed or added to?
  • Does the equipment require regular inspection and maintenance – what are the maintenance requirements and instructions?
  • Is it durable – will it withstand heavy use, weathering, vandalism?
  • Evaluate the cost with the number and variety of activities (eg large multi-purpose deck, water pumps, slide, bridge, fire pole etc)

Selecting an Equipment Manufacturer

Check:

  • How long the manufacturer has been in business 
  • Whether the manufacturer has installed equipment in your area 
  • Warranties and/or guarantees and indemnity insurance the manufacturer offers and whether they are quality assured
  • Information on the manufacturer's and supplier's product liability and public liability insurance 


The equipment manufacturer should provide:

  • Written confirmation that the equipment meets the current Australian/New Zealand Standards 
  • Confirmation of correct installation of equipment 
  • Equipment which is appropriate to the ages and abilities of the children using it and possibly an indication of the level of supervision required 
  • Measurements for the amount of space required for fall zones and/or shade structures, and soft fall surfacing requirements 
  • Information on the suitability of the equipment to climatic conditions of your area 
  • An inspection and maintenance schedule 
  • A permanent label on the equipment, with manufacturer or distributor's name, address and date of manufacture 
  • Information on quality of materials used (durability, coatings, resistance to deterioration or vandalism) 
  • Information about consumables and spare parts availability and approximate cost 

Installation

If you intend to install the equipment yourself, obtain information regarding:

  • The delivery period 
  • The space required for the equipment and fall zone 
  • Whether a particular level of competence is required to install any components 
  • Whether self-installation affects warranties and/or guarantees 
  • Type of supervision/assistance provided by the manufacturer when installing the equipment 
  • Checklist of all components supplied 
  • Clear and concise assembly, erection and siting instructions
  • Maintenance and inspection instructions 
  • Whether a post-installation inspection will be carried out