Okay, so we all know that Health & Safety has become a little…overzealous over the last few years. If they want to put a poster up using pins, teachers have to wear safety goggles. (I’m not kidding, by the way). We’ve all sat and listened to Grandad rant about how ridiculous all the regulations are while he regales us with stories of ‘how he used to play in the rubble of bombed-out houses after the Second World War and no harm ever came to him,’ but times are different now.
When it comes to your little one’s safety in the playground, then you can understand the need for strict guidelines. We sometimes forget that children’s bodies are still growing and a broken arm at this early stage of life could result in the bone healing unnaturally causing complications later in life.
Combine this with the culture of being suing for the smallest of things, and it’s in your interest to make sure that a playground is as safe as it can possibly be. We can provide more information on play area safety surfaces if necessary, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Take our recent project at a primary school in Brighton as an example. The play area was much like any other school’s; a climbing net and three climbing walls but no safety flooring. While the equipment itself was in good condition, the flooring was severely lacking in redeeming features.
Dirt, weeds, pebbles, stones, and, most worrying of all, large blocks of concrete where the foundations for the equipment had been poured. Now that’s all fine and dandy if you’re on an SAS assault course, but this is in a school playground. If Little Billy decides one day that he’s Spider-man and he tests his super jumping abilities from the top of the climbing wall onto this surface, you’re going to have a problem. And possibly a solicitor’s letter.
The team at Soft Surfaces replaced the nightmare-inducing flooring with a far safer rubber mulch. The mulch is made from old shredded truck tyres bonded together in a flexible resin that resembles traditional wooden bark chips. The beauty of the rubber mulch is that your child doesn’t come home with half a forest stuck to their socks and because the mulch is made from recycled tyres, it’s good for the environment (and Little Billy’s back) too. It also won’t attract insects or blow away like Dorothy and Toto at the first sign of a stiff breeze as traditional mulch is prone to doing.
Colour options are plentiful, the most popular ones being green and brown which helps the mulch blend into natural surroundings, but other colour combinations are available.
Our client chose a vibrant green finish which really brought the area to life after the unsightly mess that was there before. Because the mulch is bonded and sealed, it should retain that vibrant colour for many years to come too.
Please have a look at the video below if you are interested in seeing how our team restored this playground:
The rubber-bonded mulch shred was laid inside a pre-existing bordered space which provided a superb, neat finish, but the massive advantage the mulch has is that it’s also able to be laid directly straight on to grassy surfaces and it will stay put. It can be laid directly on top of mud, tarmac, even unsightly flooded areas, and because the mulch is permeable, that area won’t flood again. No expensive groundwork to pay out for, flooding solved AND it looks better? Win/Win.
Yet another advantage of the versatility of this material is that it meant that the existing equipment could stay where it was and we could work around it. So, no breaking ground to remove the climbing walls and nets, no smashing up of foundations and no pouring fresh ones which would keep the area off-limits until it had dried and set.
The climbing equipment simply stayed in situ and the rubber mulch was installed around it. This helped us to keep costs down for the school and the inconvenience of the equipment being out of action was kept to a minimum.
THE FINISHED RESULT
Once the mulch had set, the school had a surface that was colourful, weather resistant, durable and, most importantly, safe for the children. The surface should require only minimal future maintenance and feedback from the school praised our high standard of work and how we had taken the time to actually explain the process to them rather than just get on with the job.
We asked them to rate us out of five on our communication, Health & Safety, tidiness & cleanliness, and finally, the quality of the work itself. Their reply? A full house, sweeping fives across the board. Can anyone else hear the Strictly Come Dancing music? No? Just me then…
GET IN TOUCH
The teachers in Brighton can breathe a little easier on break duty now and if Little Billy does fall, the impact will be cushioned by the new flooring.
The most obvious application of this surface is for children’s playgrounds, but there are a multitude of other situations where the rubber mulch could be used. Retirement homes, pathways and walkways in residential areas would also benefit enormously from this. It can be applied so quickly and can transform a tired, potentially dangerous area into a bright, welcoming one.
With the added bonus of being highly durable, it’s also cost effective and all the play area rubber surfaces that we install are tested and follow the methods described in BS EN 1177 safety standards and Critical Fall Height ratings, so you can rest assured that they actually perform an important and valuable function as well as looking great.
As well as installation we also offer maintenance and repairs as part of our playground mulch services to fix any damage, so get in touch and let us transform your playground into something that will be enjoyed by generations of kids.