Keeping Compliant

"All play equipment with a Free Fall Height above 0.6m requires a Critical Fall Height certified flooring.

Where a protective surface is provided it shall have been tested in accordance with BS 7188 and EN 1177."

- ROSPA 2018
To achieve a surface which is compliant with BS EN:1177:2008, the depth and area size of surfacing around the equipment must meet certain criteria, as specified by the play equipment manufacturer.
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DEFINITIONS

Critical Fall Height: The maximum height from which a life threatening injury would not be expected to occur if a child was to fall.

Impact area: The area which can be hit by the falling user

Free height of fall: Distance from the clearly intended body support or a position that may easily be reached to the impact area.
Standing - foot support to the surface below
Sitting - seat to the surface below
Hanging - hand support height to the surface below
Climbing - body support is a combination of feet and hands. ie a firepole (climbing items should not give access to a free fall height of over 3m.)

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE OF SAFETY SURFACE

There are three main types of protective surfaces available for play areas which provide Critical Fall Heights...
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Natural Grass

Suitable for use under equipment from which falls of less than 1.5m are possible, although where continued scuffing takes place firm surfaces should be considered.

POSITIVES
Low upfront costs
Easy to install
No risk of shrinkage from edge
Ideal for use in-between equipment



NEGATIVES
Critical Fall Heights are not replicable in a lab
Little wear resistance - will not sustain intensive use
Difficult to ensure that no trip hazards occur
Little impact absorbency in dry conditions
Poor accessibility for wheelchair users
Not and all weather surface
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SAND

Unsatisfactory LIAS performance is common due to inadequate maitnance. All play facilities should be kept free from hazards.

POSITIVES
Easy to lay and very durable
Low cost to install
No risk of shrinkage from edges




NEGATIVES
Critical Fall Heights are not replicable in a lab
Prone to pests and risk of sharp edges
Hazardous sharp objects can easily be hidden
Material disperses and breaks-down (risk of rotting)
Poor accessibility for wheelchair users
Wood can be a fire hazard!
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SYNTHETIC SURFACES

Comply with all British and EU safety standards and guaranteed for a minimum of 5 years. Fall heights up to 3.5m are possible.

POSITIVES
Surfaces can be tested and replicated in lab conditions
Suits all equipment types
High impact absorption
Good accessibility for wheelchairs
Low maintenance costs
Wide range of colours / designs

NEGATIVES
Shrinkage from edges can occur after a period of time
Some colours are susceptible to UV degradation
Drainage can be impaired if the area isn’t clear of debris
Higher installation cost than grass or loose fill

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE OF SYNTHETIC SURFACE

There are three main types of synthetic surfaces available for play areas which provide Critical Fall Heights that can be replicated in lab conditions...
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WETPOUR

Laid in two-layers for maximum impact absorption. Create highly detailed, vibrant graphics

POSITIVES
Max CFH achieved is 3.2m
25 single colours, many colour combinations
Wetpour can be shaped into waves and hills
Permeable when laid to correct build up
Constructed from recycled tyres (bottom later) and rubber granules specifically manufactured for play surfaces (top layer)

NEGATIVES
UV instability is possible
Sub base required
Risk of shrinkage
Black wetpour can mark / become very hot - not ideal for nurseries

When not required as a safety surface, Wetpour can be laid as a single layer...

- Pool surrounds and changing rooms
- Landscapes and roof tops
- Sport surfaces and sport pitch perimeters
- Gymnasiums / Climbing centres
- Zoos / Adventure Parks
- Paths and walkways
- Indoor / outdoor play areas
- Care homes
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RUBBER MULCH

Requires minimal groundworks, so it can be used to cover over almost any existing surface.

POSITIVES
Max CFH achieved is 3.5m
6 single colours, many colour combinations
Create mounds
Permeable when laid to correct build up
Constructed from recycled fork lift tyres
Very resistant to vandalism (non flammable)


NEGATIVES
Cannot make small, detailed graphics due to the size of each shred
Seeds can migrate / embed into the surface



When not required as a safety surface, mulch can be laid to uneven ground.

- Use around tree roots and plants
- Use around sign posts to alleviate the need for a strimmer
- Replace gravel at the sides of railway tracks
- Buggy runs
- Pathways
- Golf bunkers
- Use under park benches and picnic tables
- Daily mile tracks
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ARTIFICIAL GRASS

Weather resistant and extremely hard wearing for year round use.

POSITIVES
Max CFH achieved is 1.2m
Coloured / patterned grass available
Create mounds
Permeable when laid to correct build up
High anti-slip properties



NEGATIVES
Not always suitable for wheelchair users
Risk of shockpad shrinkage




Lay directly onto SBR rubber to create an impact absorbing base that is ideal for non-ball rebound sports…

- Football
- Rugby
- Play surfaces requiring up to 1.2m CFH
- Residential gardens / patios
- Roof tops



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