PlaySmart’s Local Authority Area Guide for Multi-Use Outdoor Spaces

PlaySmart is the go-to surfacing supplier for local authorities and private developers across the country. Our wide variety of flooring options with professional specifications and tailored designs give you a solid foundation that you can develop your perfect outdoor space from.

Key Challenges to Local Authority Outdoor Development

In our 20 years of experience, we have grown to understand many of the obstacles that local authorities, large and small, face when developing an outdoor area. It is our job as surface solution experts to provide you with expert advice and affordable options for innovative and traditional products that meet your goals and requirements for the site.

The 3 main areas where concerns lie for many local authorities in England are:

  1. Budgets and Funding
  2. Risk Management
  3. Maintenance and Upkeep
1. Budgets and Funding

As I’m sure most of us are aware, budgets for local authority areas can be limited. However, providing your local community with an attractive and safe outdoor space doesn’t need to break the bank.

A new outdoor development requires a long-term budgeting solution with the most return on investment over the surface’s lifetime. This necessitates surfaces that remain functional for longer, using materials that do not fade, chip away, or require extensive maintenance further into their lifespans.

PlaySmart provides a range of surfacing solutions for different budgets and can provide advice on which surfaces will best suit your site in the long term depending on geography, soil quality, and even exposure to the elements. Depending on the size of your site and how many different user groups it needs to cater for a combination of flooring types or one single material across the site may be beneficial.

A multi-purpose surface material like cork flooring from our Corkeen product reduces the need for specialised modifications and changes to be made as new requirements arise. This sustainable flooring option provides a flat, accessible, water-permeable, and shock-absorbent surface suitable for all activities and is a great long-term choice for local authorities on a budget.

2. Risk Management

Local authority playground projects should aim to provide safe play, even if your local park or EYFS outdoor area is on a budget. Safety surfacing should be certified to provide protection to a critical fall height appropriate to the height and safety standards for playground equipment and other structures at the site.

To increase the safety of your grass mats or other surfaces, you can install an addition shock pad underlay with our patented SmartPlay  system. This non-intrusive extra layer increases the critical fall height protection of your surface significantly to reduce risks of injury from falls.

What is a Consolidated Surface for Council playground risk assessments? The term consolidated surface refers to the general stability and durability of a surface as a reflection of its suitability for a variety of uses. Appropriate drainage, and specified sub-base materials and aggregates are an important aspect to improve the long-term functioning of your surfaces. Keeping your surfaces level, and safe with the ability to clean and maintain them safely, is key to achieving a consolidated site suitable for public areas that require permitted materials and installers.

When deciding on which surface solution is right for you, it is important to adhere to safety standards for outdoor flooring and play area inspection legal requirements that are required for the purpose of your site. For example, PlaySmart’s local authority guidance for children’s play areas says that properly treated, non-toxic flooring is a must, avoiding potential harms from carbon residue from some recycled rubber mulch in favour of virgin rubber shred and crumb with EPDM bonded rubber.

3. Maintenance and Upkeep

With appropriate maintenance, our surfaces have a 5-year installation and 10-year product guarantee on quality. This means that if looked after adequately, your surfaces with have a lifespan of around a decade, reducing the high cost and disruption that comes from resurfacing. Our innovations in providing a secure cork or rubber mulch surface option means that you can avoid the much shorter lifespan of loose-fill flooring that scatters within a few years.

The majority of our surfaces only require minimal upkeep. A simple sweep or low-pressure hose cleaning when required to clean the surface after heavy play is all that our rubber flooring options need to stay looking great! Additionally, due to the water-permeable qualities of our rubber mulch and Corkeen surfaces, you won’t need to worry about puddling, spills, or minor flooding in your outdoor space. The surface water is able to easily drain into the ground without requiring time-consuming standing-water removal efforts.

If your surfaces require a touch-up, there are many different options for repairs and refurbishments that we can provide you. EPDM wear pads, Rubber mulch edging strips, and more can help restore your outdoor area to the safe and attractive centrepiece of your local community.

Get in Touch Today!

For more advice on how to develop your outdoor area and what may be required for different types of sites and stakeholders when going through the design and installation process explore our blog section or simply fill in our handy contact form to request a call-back.

You can also claim your Free Quote to get started with PlaySmart to take your first step toward new professional surfacing today!

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