When it comes to school enrolments, well-maintained playground equipment is appealing to parents and children alike. However, like anything with a limited life span, this equipment must be maintained and fit for purpose.
Equipment in a school playground in Australia generally lasts around 15-20 years. Most school playground equipment suppliers guarantee their equipment for 15 years.
Of course, this can depend on the location of the equipment, whether or not the equipment is maintained regularly, how it’s used, or if it is under a shade sail.
How to tell if it’s time to replace your school playground equipment
At a glance, it should be easy to tell if your equipment is due for replacement:
- Are there broken components?
- Is the paint excessively chipped or worn?
- Are you constantly replacing parts?
- Is the playground not measuring up when it comes to audits?
- Have the children stopped using the playground?
- Does the equipment look old, unsafe, or is it no longer fun to use?
Equipment that challenges children and offers an element of risk is essential in a school playground. However, user safety cannot be compromised by poorly maintained equipment.
Repair versus replacement: What’s the better option?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to some or all of the questions above, then we suggest it’s time to obtain some professional advice from playground equipment specialists, to determine the best course of action – repair or replace.
Repairing or restoring an old playground could cost upwards of $5,000, an expensive exercise especially if you can’t be certain how long these repairs will last.
Alternatively, the money spent on repairs could go towards a brand-new set of playground equipment for your school. You would have the certainty and security of new equipment, supported by the warranties of the playground equipment manufacturer.
Of course, every case differs and repairing a playground to extend its life span can sometimes be a viable option. Contacting a playground specialist will help you assess your situation.
Keeping your playground equipment in good order
To maximise your school playground life time and to ensure your school complies with Australian Safety Standards for playground equipment, we recommend the following:
- Complete regular physical checks of all equipment functionality – use a playground maintenance checklist to help you do this.
- Ensure equipment is maintained regularly, including topping up mulch, oiling timber components and tightening moving parts
- Ensure you conduct annual formal safety checks and a compliance audit every 5 years. These audits can help you to ascertain when it’s time to repair or replace equipment. Find out more about the audit and inspection services adventure+ offers.
- Keep all documentation relating to repairs, maintenance and safety checks of your playground for WH&S and insurance requirements.
How adventure+ helps schools with playground equipment
We have playground consultants across Australia who are up-to-date with Australian Playground Standards and can advise you on repair and replacement cycles. Inspection and audit services are also available to give you the peace of mind to know your playground equipment is compliant.
If you have any doubts about whether or not you should be replacing your school’s playground equipment, get in touch with us and we will organise a safety inspection for your playground.