Surfacing the Accessible Playground

1 All successful, inclusive playgrounds start with comprehensive planning. The site selec Ɵ on and layout of the accessible route should be considered alongside the selec Ɵ on of the play equipment. A site survey may also be necessary. 2 The accessibility standards apply to playgrounds in parks, malls, schools, child care facili Ɵ es and other public accommoda Ɵ ons covered by the ADA and the ABA. Playground owners, designers and maintenance personnel must have a good understanding of the requirements for ground level accessible routes within the play area. 3 Accessibility assessments of the play area should be conducted during planning on paper, installa Ɵ on on site, and for ongoing maintenance. The assessment should include the accessible route throughout the play area along with clear ground space at entry/egress to accessible equipment. The areas should be checked for compliance with running slope, cross slope, changes in level and openings. 4 Comparison shopping is essen Ɵ al in the planning process. Decision makers should engage with suppliers to gather informa Ɵ on on various surfaces and evaluate surface op Ɵ ons. The sales rep should provide documenta Ɵ on on installa Ɵ on, fi eld tes Ɵ ng, maintenance and a minimum 5-year warranty. The planning team should talk to customers and visit installa Ɵ ons to fi nd out what issues may have come up with installa Ɵ on and maintenance. 5 The research fi ndings tell us there is no perfect surface. Each type of surface requires the playground owner understand its characteris Ɵ cs and what is required with installa Ɵ on and maintenance. 6 Proper installa Ɵ on of the playground surface is cri Ɵ cal for long term use and maintenance. An accessible surface system can be rendered useless if it is not properly installed. Installa Ɵ on should be performed by those knowledgeable of the accessibility standards and with exper Ɵ se working with the surface materials. Field tes Ɵ ng should be conducted following installa Ɵ on and periodically through the life of the surface system. 7 Playground ownership is a commitment to ongoing care and maintenance. Maintenance is one of the greatest factors a ff ec Ɵ ng the accessibility of playground surfaces. Playground owners should have a thorough understanding of the care and maintenance required for their selected surface systems. What Every Playground Owner Should Know About the Accessibility of Their Playground Surfaces Adapted from 7 Things Every Playground Owner Should Know About the Accessibility of Their Playground Surfaces , a publica Ɵ on of the U.S. Access Board and the Na Ɵ onal Center on Accessibility.