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Ground Level Accessible Routes in Playgrounds

Understanding the Requirements & Options for ADA Compliance and/or Compliance with CSA Z614, Annex H

Removing architectural barriers is not only a public good, in many jurisdictions it is the law as with the ADA, or Building Codes in places like California and then generally stipulated by many public agencies. The regulations and standards provide for minimum requirements, which are mandatory where they apply and then there are best practices and options that provide life-style benefits to children and caregivers with different abilities.

In the playground there is a balance that the professional designer and owner/operator must consider, the performance of surfacing materials for access to the play components and the prevention of injury. The selection of surfacing materials will affect the performance and need for maintenance. Certain performance requirements will involve material testing in the laboratory, while others need sophisticated instrumentation and still others can be measured with readily available tools and devices. The level of training field staff has affects the choices and these can be costly and limiting.

Depending upon materials selected and the frequency of maintenance that an owner/operator is prepared to perform, they may have to consider surfacing options for the accessible route. These options are either poured-in-place or rubber play mats that can provide both firm and stable surfaces as well as meet impact attenuation concerns, provided a testing system is in place. Generally, budgets do not allow for a total synthetic surfacing approach, making the combination of loose-fill playground with synthetic surfacing on the accessible route the reality. There are solutions that can be applied to meet these needs.

This course has the following learning objectives;

  • Understand how to determine the number of elevated components that must be on accessible route and that any elevated component that returns to the ground will require transfer to a ground level accessible route connected to beginning of and perimeter of the playground.
  • Understand how to calculate the minimum number of ground level accessible components are required once the minimum number of elevated accessible components are determined.
  • Understand the performance and physical definitions for various barrier free design requirements including; clear width of the route, allowable changes in surface grade, (maximum allowable running slope, cross slope, vertical rise in any surface or transition, max. opening or gap within the accessible route, minimum overhead clearance over width of the route and how much and where clear space and parking space is required adjacent to equipment for wheelchair access.
  • Understand the requirements to meet ASTM F1292, field test procedures and the content for reporting compliance.
  • Understand the minimum requirements to comply with ASTM F1951 for the determination of firmness and stability and the option of determining firmness and stability in the field using the Instrumented Surface Indenter.
  • Understand options for synthetic surfacing choices for the accessible route within a loose-fill surfacing area.

Canadian Playground Advisory Inc. is a LA CES CEU provider and this course does meet the HSW (Health Safety and Welfare) definition and upon completion of the course and achievement of >75% on the competency test 1 CEU will be awarded and registered with the ASLA or your associated organization.

We look forward to your participation and offer additional courses that are also LA CES registered. We will also provide consultation to better services to help raise knowledge and understanding.


Accuracy Through Compliance to Standards & Testing