Maintenance

Safe play for all...

We understand that each play area is different, and an element of risk will be present. In order to help keep children safe, we advise that you should evaluate and risk assess your play area considering the following factors: Location and the environment around you, Age of users, Physical ability and Usage.

We recommend that all play equipment and surfacing is regularly inspected...
Our recommendations are as follows:
• All newly installed equipment will have a running in period, during  which we recommend a daily visual inspection
• A weekly routine visual inspection
• A quarterly inspection for wear & tear and stability
• An annual inspection carried out by a qualified Inspector

What you need to know...

Timber

Cracking

Timber is a natural material and will continually adapt to atmospheric conditions. It is perfectly normal for air cracking to take place as the timber 'breathes', expanding and contracting with fluctuations in temperature and humidity. This will not affect the strength or the life of the timber adversely as this behaviour is to be expected and these are natural characteristics of wood. Normal cracking is considered to be anything less than 8mm width and no more than half the diameter of the timber.

'Stepping Logs' are supplied in 200mm diameter 'landscape grade' timber. These products are only used for the purpose of stepping and therefore have no structural requirements placed on them. It is perfectly normal for landscape grade timber to open up more than 8mm under extreme conditions, however this should not affect the performance of the product.


Splintering
It is possible that in the event of air cracking that the timber itself will generate splinters, these can be easily remedied by a quick rub with sand paper along the crack.

 

Decking
On occasions it is possible that a timber decking area can become slippery due to a number of factors such as buildup of algae, rotting vegetation and leaves, damp environments and snow/ice. We recommend that wooden surfaces should be frequently brushed throughout the year with a stiff broom to remove any build up; care should be taken to remove fallen leaves and other organic matter from the beam surface. Seasonally you should clean the decking timber off by brushing down and hosing off with water any residue, power washers (low setting) can be used, however care should be taken not to damage the deck.

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Rot and Infestation

As part of your inspection you should check for rot and infestation. The timber we use is pressure treated and protected with a preservative to prevent this from occurring. Care should be taken when maintaining the ground around any timber equipment, should a timber be damaged from the use of machinery (such as a strimmer) this will allow water to penetrate the timber and rot and infestation can then take hold. If the timber has been damaged in this way, it will invalidate the warranty. Please note- If the timber is altered, drilled, cut or shaped in any way exposing the timber and allows rot or infestation to occur this will invalidate the warranty.

 
Ropes

Our ropes are designed specifically for the playgrounds and are strong and durable.

As part of your inspection routine particular care should be taken when inspecting ropes, the following should be checked:


• Ensure that the fibres of the rope are intact, free from fraying, cuts or significant damage with no
steel wire exposed
• All rope fixings, ferrules, connectors and thimbles are intact and correctly positioned
• Eyebolts are intact, tightened and correctly positioned
• All nut covers are in place and no fixings are exposed
• Should the fibres of the ropes be excessively worn and/or strands of the steel wire core frayed, cut
or damaged in any way the ropes should be replaced immediately.
• Please note that our guarantee does not cover ropes that have been accidentally damaged or
vandalised.

Tightening of Fixings on Equipment

The fixings used in the manufacture of PGCO Ltd products are vandal and weather resistant zinc plated, galvanised or Stainless Steel bolts, screws and washers. The fixings are recessed and capped for safety and conform to EN1176 standards.
Plastic bolt covers are used which fit over the tops of all exposed bolts. This prevents them being a hazard, reduces maintenance and prevents stops vandals tampering with the fixings.


We use two types of plastic bolt covers which comprise of either a countersunk cap or a two-part cap. To access the fixing in order to check or tighten it, the plastic cap should be carefully removed using a flathead screwdriver and kept to one side. A 13, 15 or 19mm Box Spanner or Long Reach Socket should be used to tighten or loosen nuts, bolts or coach screws. The size required will depend on the size of the fixing.
As part of your inspection you should check that all fixings are in place, tight and in good condition. If any fixings are found to be missing or damaged they should be replaced immediately and where bolt covers or caps are missing these should be replaced as soon as it is convenient (please note charges may apply).
DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN fixings during hot, dry conditions. During cooler damp weather the timber will expand again and over tightening may result in damage to the timber or fixings.
Replace the plastic cap with a wooden or rubber mallet to gently tap the cap back into place.

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE panels are durable and colourful; they are also 100% recyclable. HDPE is a strong material that will not rot, delaminate, splinter or crack and is stain and graffiti resistant. It will not fade in the sunlight and requires little maintenance. Should it require cleaning this can be done using clean hot soapy water.

Thermoplastic Playground Markings

Thermoplastic Playground Markings require little maintenance as they are manufactured using a hard-wearing thermoplastic material. To keep their vibrant colour the markings can be cleaned using warm soapy water and a yard brush. During the Summer months you may find that the playground markings may soften due to heat, they will still be safe to use during this period.

Tyres

Our recycled tyres are used on Tyre Parks, Trails and Tyre Crossing Traverse, they are sourced from our local recycle resource centre ensuring that they are clean, safe and ready for outdoor play.
Check tyres for splits and exposed wire caused by wear & tear or vandalism. Periodically paint the tyres with a good tyre paint to help reduce black rubber marks on clothing. Damaged tyres must be replaced.

Metalwork

Our metalwork is fabricated from galvanised or zinc primed and powder coated steel to give a smooth finish. Inspection of metalwork should fall within your general maintenance checks but this can be dependent on the location of the play equipment, if equipment is installed in a coastal location it should be inspected more frequently to ensure that no corrosion is present, our recommendation is every 3 months.


Things to check for:
• No cracks or corrosion are present in the weld and there are no sharp parts
• No deterioration, rust or damage to the surface paintwork
• All moving parts are secure, and there is no excessive movement between parts that could cause finger entrapments


If there is any bare metal exposed this will need to be re-treated. It will require sanding to remove any rust (if present) and remove loose scale. 

Slides

HDPE and Stainless Steel slides.

Particular care should be taken with metal slides in sunny weather as they can become hot to touch, they should not be located in a south facing position.
Slides require little maintenance, but we recommend that they are clear from any obstruction and that the landing area is clear from all debris. Extra attention is required to inspect the surfacing at the end of the slide as this will be an area of heavy wear.

Cone Climbers and Climbing Nets

As part of your daily and routine visual inspections of Cone Climbers and Climbing Nets particular care should be drawn towards ensuring that:
• Parts are not missing or damaged
• Surface finishes are not damaged, rusting or deteriorating
• Connections and bolts are secure and tight
• Bearings are free running
• Foundations are not exposed, loose in the ground or cracked
• The equipment and surface are clean
• Equipment ground clearances are maintained


The frequency of inspection can depend on the following factors; heavy use, levels of vandalism, coastal location and age of the equipment. Climbing Nets are relatively low maintenance items once installed and periodic checks have taken place to re-tension the ropes. If the ropes are maintained and re-tensioned at regular intervals, this will assist the durability of the product.
After the Climbing Net is installed and initial tension is complete, the net will settle over the first 2 weeks of use and will require re-tensioning, this is normal behaviour. This can be done by releasing the locking nuts and evenly retightening the rigging screws. We recommend that this should be monitored monthly and adjusted as required. If any part of the above equipment is found to be unsafe during an inspection and the part cannot be repaired or replaced immediately we recommend that the equipment is taken out of use and that we are contacted for further advice.

Monkey Bars, Trapeze Traverse and Monkey Ladders

Children love using climbing apparatus such as Monkey Bars, Trapeze Traverse and Monkey Ladders and they build upper body strength and agility while using them. Children of different ages (or the same age) can have varying physical skills so it is important to ensure your playground includes graduated levels of risk or challenge or that you provide different playground activities for younger and older children.


In order to minimise the risk of injury whilst using this equipment:
• Children need instruction on how to use this equipment safely, learning good technique and the 'do's and don'ts will help reduce the likelihood of accidents
• Children should play on age-appropriate equipment, suitable and sufficient risk assessment should be carried out
• Daily visual inspection of this equipment and the safety surface should be carried out as part of your maintenance schedule.
• Make sure an adult is supervising the children
• If the equipment is wet, ensure it is properly dried off prior to allowing the children to play on it. Ensure children do not wear gloves that could weaken their grip on this equipment. During periods of sunny weather ensure children's hands are free from sun protection which could compromise their grip on this equipment
• Climbing on top of this equipment should never be permitted

Fitness Equipment

All Fitness equipment are supplied with labels which have clear, concise instructions with pictorial explanations. The equipment gives attention/warning advice to help reduce the risk of injury during use and have colour coded ability levels with recommended usage.
Regular Inspections and maintenance of your outdoor fitness equipment is essential to ensure safe use and longevity. Warranties are provided subject to regular maintenance regimes, please ensure that the following is adhered to:
• Keep areas around the equipment free from broken glass or litter
• Carry out a visual check to find any obvious damage and isolate the equipment if deemed unsafe
• Ensure that all moving parts are running smoothly and at the same time check that restrictor
blocks/limiters are working correctly
• Tighten any loose bolts or nuts and replace caps
• Check for damaged or missing caps and replace accordingly
• Ensure that surface around equipment is free from trip hazards and generally in good condition
• Should any major faults be found firstly isolate the piece of equipment and then contact us for advice

MUGAs and Sports Equipment

Multi-Use Games Areas (MUGAs) will require maintenance with regards to the metalwork, component parts and the surfacing (please see maintenance information for the type of surfacing installed below). The following checks should be undertaken as part of your routine maintenance inspection:
• Survey the area and remove any hazards from the site and from the equipment. Ensure that any entrance grids or drains (if installed) are free from rubbish and weeds.
• All fencing panels, posts, parts and fixings are present and secure. Ensure that fixings are tight and capped where appropriate
• Check all painted surfaces and components for scratches and chipping
• Check any fixings and welds for corrosion
• Check for any sharp edges or protruding sharp parts, if present these should be remediated by a
competent person
• All foundation posts are secure with no movement present, foundations are not exposed, and no
corrosion is present on exposed posts
It is recommended that before re-treatment of any metalwork that we are contacted so that we can advise on the most suitable primers or paint to carry out the works required.

Sand Play

Sand is an important natural play medium which enables children to dig, move it around and experience how its tactile qualities change from wet to dry. Sand play is one of the most popular means for providing children with the opportunity to create their own imaginative patterns and landscapes in your playground. The sand must drain properly otherwise it becomes saturated and stagnates. All our sandpits comply with the European Safety Standard EN1176.

To maintain the sand within your Sandpit, a daily visual inspection should be carried out following the
guidelines below:


Type of Sand: Always purchase 'play sand'. 'Builders sand is not suitable and will stain.

 

Orientation: Shade during the summer months and maximum light in the winter, this will help to ward off the formation of mould. Ideally, locate the unit under a waterproof structure, if available. Excessive rainfall combined with water introduced during the play session could cause the sand to become saturated.

Drainage: The sand box must be allowed to drain properly. Remove any leaf matter or similar debris and also any sand play accessories, such as buckets, after each play session. Sandpit tables have a series of holes drilled into the base of the sand box; brush the base regularly with a stiff hand brush from the underside of the unit to ensure these do not become blocked.

Maintenance: Regular forking of the sand is required and is recommended on a weekly basis to prevent the sand from becoming compacted. Depending on the frequency of use the sand will need a regular disinfectant treatment. A weak solution of child-safe household disinfectant should be sprinkled on using a watering can or similar. Children should be kept out of the sand for a day following treatment.

Sand Replacement: Topping up and replacement will be required as felt necessary.

Use of Tools Please use appropriate play tools with our Sandpits as this will protect the lined base from tears and will prevent the loss of sand through the drainage holes.

Artificial Grass

The maintenance of Artificial Grass is very straight forward.
Following installation there is very little you need to do on a day to day basis. However, to keep up the appearance it is recommended that from time to time leaves and other debris are removed from
the surface with a yard brush or blower.
If the surfacing needs a more thorough clean the area can be hosed down and a diluted solution of disinfectant can be used, which will not harm the carpet.

Grass Grow Through Mats

Rubber Matting should be inspected as part of your routine visual inspection. Any rubbish or debris should be removed from the surface. Check that the mats are not separating at the edge and if there are any ground anchoring pegs that are protruding above the matting these can be knocked back into the ground using a rubber or wooden mallet.
The grass should be mowed on a regular basis using a conventional rotary petrol mower or similar, a
strimmer may be required to reach into inaccessible places or around posts, but care should be taken to avoid damage to the structure of the matting and to the timber posts. If the matting and timber posts are damaged because of the above this will void the warranty of the product.
Monitor for signs of subsidence and areas where there is grass growth. This may occur in areas of heavy use resulting in compaction of the soil and may also indicate that the critical fall height (CFH) may have been compromised. If this should occur, we may recommend the Grass Grow Through Mats are reinstated. This will involve the lifting or removal of the matting in the critical areas and the ground being re-levelled. The area can then be returfed or re-seeded before the matting is re-laid.

Bonded Rubber Mulch

Resin Bound Rubber Mulch requires very little maintenance but we do recommend that some maintenance is carried out which will enhance the durability and the appearance of the product.
There will be some minor dislodgement of the rubber shred or fretting of the surface this is quite normal and will generally sit amongst the bonded material, this adds to the natural effect and the critical fall of the surface is still maintained.
The surface will need to be kept clear from dirt, debris, weeds and other vegetation particularly grass cuttings. These can be removed using a powered leaf blower or by hand, however please ensure that this is not done too vigorously as this can dislodge the rubber shred and allow vegetation material to settle.
At times it is possible that weeds may occasionally appear on the surface usually as a result of wind-blown seeds, no matter how much care is taken to maintain the surfacing. It is recommended that they are removed ensuring that the full root of the weed is extracted and not broken off, this can be done by hand. If weeds are deep-rooted it is advisable that they are killed off with an appropriate weed killer. Please note that care should be taken with the above so that it does not cause damage to the
surface. Please note-The following should not be used on your surfacing as it will invalidate the guarantee: Solvent or petrochemical and oil based products (including some weed killers).
If the above is carried out and adhered to this will ensure that the surface traction is maintained and drainage will not be affected.

Wetpour & Polymeric Sports Surfacing

Wetpour or Polymeric Sports Surfacing is generally a maintenance free product which should be kept clear of debris and detritus such as leaves at all times. Any vegetation that overhangs the surfacing should be cut back to allow sunlight onto the surface, this will prevent sap or any other fungal growth from building up.
The surface may be prone to frost and/or ice in wintry conditions. The surface will not be affected if an
application of grit or salt is used and then brushed to remove any grime or spoil that may build up. Metal shovels or scrapers may damage the surface and should not be used.
Please note - If the play area is used when the surface is in a frozen state, the degree of shock absorption will also be substantially reduced.
At times it is possible that weeds may occasionally appear on the surface usually as a result of wind-blown seeds, no matter how much care is taken to maintain the surfacing. It is recommended that they are removed ensuring that the full root of the weed is extracted and not broken off, this can be done by hand. If weeds are deep-rooted it is advisable that they are killed off with an appropriate weed killer. Please note that care should be taken with the above so that it does not cause damage to the surface.
Please note-The following should not be used on your surfacing as it will invalidate the guarantee: Solvent or petrochemical and oil based products (including some weed-killers).
If your Wet pour or Polymeric Sports surfacing becomes damaged due to vandalism, misuse or general wear and tear we recommend that is repaired as quickly as possible to prevent further damage to the surfacing.

Shade Sails

Shade Sails are highly tensioned fabric structures and our recommendation is that they are only removed by trained experienced people. Other than re-tensioning and replacement of fixings (if required) the shade sail should be kept in situ for any other maintenance tasks. Please note that if you are working at height a suitable risk assessment should be carried out before maintenance works commence.
We recommend that the following maintenance is followed for your installed Shade Sail:

3 months

  • Check steel fittings for any corrosion and clean back with a wire brush where required or consider replacement. Ensure fittings are kept lubricated with a 3-in-1 or similar suitable lubricant

  • Turnbuckles should be cleaned and lubricated periodically. Use lubricants sparingly and be careful not to get any lubricant on the sail fabric

  • Check Shade Sail for any sagging or flapping. If re-tensioning is required, please arrange for an Installer to carry out the works

6 months

  • Inspect the edge webbing, stitching and corner attachment rings for any signs of deterioration

  • Check for any debris or bird droppings and remove

  • Clean using a mild detergent, warm water and a soft bristle brush. Please note vigorous scrubbing could cause damage to the weave of the fabric, therefore please take care when cleaning. Do not directly spray the fabric with a high pressure hose and this can also cause damage to the fabric

12 months
Check posts for scratches, chips and scuffs to the powder coating and check that the galvanising has not been penetrated. Rust should not occur on galvanised posts, if present please advise.
Shade Sails are engineered to withstand snow fall; this relates to fresh snow only. All frozen snow and ice must be removed straightaway. Never use a heat source underneath your sail, the fabric is not heat resistant and could become damaged. Ensure that trees or foliage do not come into contact with the sail. Prune back branches or foliage when required.

Timber Shelters and Gazebos

Our Timber Shelters and Gazebos are constructed on site to your specific requirements using tanalised pressure treated FSC timber, therefore the maintenance of each Shelter or Gazebo will differ.
Please note that if you are working at height a suitable risk assessment should be carried out before maintenance works commence.
Timber- ensure that there is no movement in the structural upright timber posts, if there is movement present please contact us for further advice. If there is air cracking and splinters present, please refer to point Timber Maintenance.
Timber for information on this.
Fixings - ensure that all fixings are secure and if required tighten them if necessary.
Guttering- ensure that all guttering and drainpipes are clear of leaves and debris. This can be done by using a small trowel to scoop out loose debris, working away from the drain outlet. Once the debris has been removed the gutters can then be cleared with a hose pipe working towards the drain outlet. If the drainpipes are obstructed, try flushing the debris down with the hose.


Polycarbonate Roof and Windows- in order to allow light through whilst blocking virtually all UV radiation, we recommend polycarbonate is cleaned as per the following:
Rinse the roof or windows with clean water, use warm soapy water to spray onto the surface and allow it to work its way into the dirt, then repeat the process. Any stubborn grime can be gently brushed away with a very soft bristled boom or hose attachment, a soft cloth or with a soft sponge. Avoid using any common household cleaning products on the polycarbonate as this could damage the coatings which protect it from UV damage. Avoid washing the polycarbonate roof on very warm days, and dry it as much as possible after cleaning and rinsing.

Download our free standard daily inspection sheet!