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At adventure+, we have 38 years of experience designing and building public and school playground equipment in Australia, and we bring that expertise to every project we work on. It is our wealth of practical knowledge that allows us to help our clients achieve their vision in the fastest possible time frame and at the best possible price. For this blog, we have pooled our knowledge to share the five most common pitfalls that can cause your playground project to go over time and budget and how you can avoid them.
Even with direct experience building playgrounds, it’s easy to underestimate the costs of equipment. An element that seems like it would be simple or even superfluous to the overall project can turn out to have complex engineering, transport, or auditing requirements. The result is that the developers will go through the whole, time-consuming process of community consultation and official sign-off only to find that their playground is way over budget. The best way to avoid this? Never assume the price, always speak with your supplier to receive a budget figure.
Landscape architects might want to select their materials from different suppliers in order to find a specific item or get a better price. While this does have its benefits, such as selecting a piece of equipment that is unique to the supplier, it can increase the likelihood of cost and timeline overruns. Using several different suppliers also increases the risk of miscommunication, and you can end up doubling your work and costs. If you have three play equipment suppliers coming to one site, you could potentially be paying three lots of travel costs, three lots of admin costs, and so on.
You can reduce complexity and minimise miscommunication by sticking to a single supplier. If your preferred supplier does not have the specific item you want, where practical, you should ask them what alternatives they have.
We’ve had cases where a landscape architect has put a lot of time into customising a playground that incorporates timber, only to find out just before installation that the council won’t allow it. Similarly, this can occur with the heights of playgrounds. Make sure your projected playground is in line with your client’s policies and preferences to avoid having to go back to the drawing board.
Remember that your playground will exist in and for a community; it is important that you seek feedback from that community early in the planning process to avoid issues further down the line. Parents, teachers, and children are often not consulted – or not given adequate opportunities to provide input – when a new playground is being designed. As a result, the playground is often unpopular and underused. Neighbours may also have concerns about noise, crowds, or children being able to see into their backyards. We have found that it is best to initiate community consultation early on in the project; that way, you establish the parameters that you will work to and the community feels a sense of ownership over the project.
Compliance to safety standards needs to be front and centre on any playground project. Impact areas that overlap landscape elements will require redesign of the space or, in cases where the project is already at the construction stage, it will require expensive rectification. This usually arises due to miscommunication or lack of familiarity with the Australian Standards for playground equipment. Such problems can be avoided by working with a playground supplier who can double check your plans. Even better, email your plans through to adventure+ before the project goes out to tender.
The team at adventure+ will collaborate with you on your playground from start to finish. With our years of experience, we are able to identify and eliminate roadblocks and pitfalls before they have a chance to impact your project. Get in touch by phone or email to speak to one of our team members today.