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With summer just around the corner and children choosing to spend time in the sunshine now is the time to inspect your play equipment.

Whether its situated in a public park or school playground, the maintenance and inspection of play equipment is a compulsory preventative measure. Gary Bridge, Installations Manager at Sovereign, gives his expert advice on equipment maintenance for a safe play environment.

“From ropes and wooden frames to nuts and bolts, there are a large number of components on play equipment that require routine checks and an annual inspection. If maintained correctly, any potential risks (including any debris, loose nuts, bolts or fixings and corrosion) can be spotted at an early stage and addressed immediately.

A survey by the Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII) found that the majority of respondents were aware that play areas and play equipment should have a detailed and documented operational inspection by a suitably competent person. However, only around a quarter of those surveyed said that someone from their local authority conducted the inspection, and less than a quarter said a qualified RPII inspector did the inspection. More than a third of respondents indicated that the only inspection or maintenance carried out was by their school caretaker or site manager. This implies that many people believe the responsibility for maintenance and inspection is that of the school and not necessarily of a suitably qualified person.

Maintaining equipment differs from company to company, but always ask for the play provider’s after-care manual and read it thoroughly. On a recent visit to a school playground, I saw that its three-year-old equipment was taped up and out of use. The structure had not been maintained according to the company’s small print, which stated that it had to be painted on a regular basis. As a result, the warranty had been made null and void, much to the disappointment of the school.

I would advise looking for tanalised, pressure treated timbers and where possible avoid painted woods, as these will always require costly ongoing maintenance.”

Maintenance procedures are also designed to ensure playing surfaces are clean and give consistent performance. To meet these objectives, it’s advisable to do the following:
• Visually inspect the play surface every five to seven days
• Remove grass cuttings, weed spores and other detritus from the surface
• Brush the surface to prevent any tendency to form an impervious skin on the surface that may impair drainage
• Ensure appropriate footwear is worn on the surface (no high heels)
• Inspect the surface for signs of damage and arrange remedial repairs promptly.

If you have tired, worn or broken equipment in your play space, Sovereign are able to repair or refurbish it and also offer professional operational inspections on equipment by any manufacturer.

For more information on our maintenance services contact us now.