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Playground Planning & Design Tips
15 May 2019
The playgrounds designed and built by leading Australian playground experts, adventure+, are in high demand thanks to innovative designs and streamlined systems that ensure a cost-effective, high quality result from ideation to installation.
adventure+ design, manufacture and install unique, iconic playgrounds all over Australia. They work with councils, developers, schools and landscape architects to create safe, enjoyable playground experiences with high-quality equipment, innovative design, Standards compliance and impressive service.
adventure+ excels in the combination of design with construction and provides an end-to-end service for its customers.
With over 35 years in the industry, they have devised and perfected a modular system engineered to conform to all required Standards and Regulations.
There are four stages to an adventure+ project – consultation, design, manufacture and installation.
The consultation or enquiry phase begins when adventure+ are approached by a landscape architect, council or school. Each will approach the process of acquiring a new playground in a different way.
Councils approach playground companies directly to tender or quote on a brief they provide.
Schools may involve students, parents and board of trustees’ members as well as the principal and staff in the process. adventure+ will measure the site, collect a wish list of items the school wants to include (e.g. ‘monkey bars, slides etc.) and choose a theme (e.g. boat theme or earth tones colour scheme). adventure+ then uses this data to create a playground that suits the school’s needs and budget.
At all stages of the consultation process adventure+ brings their expertise and knowledge to bear on such issues as site limitations, playground Standards, budget constraints, special client requirements and long-term wear and tear.
Stage 2 of an adventure+ playground project is design. During this phase, the company’s designers create a playground design that reflects the client’s brief.
When planning a new playground, customers’ pressing concerns vary from project to project but include value for money and aesthetics.
Landscape architects are also concerned at this stage about creating a playground that looks great and fits into their overall landscape plan. Their reputation is at stake and they want it to look impressive.
While adventure+ have choices from their catalogues that suit some applications, they most commonly take all the information collated in the consultation stage to create a customised solution.
adventure+ use a modular system to create customised playgrounds which is like building with Lego®. Items like guardrails, platforms, slides and other play elements come together in different configurations that make each completed playground different. A unique level of flexibility and customisation of the style, cladding (facade) and materials helps customers achieve the look they desire.
The modular system helps keep costs low, minimises construction and installation times, and combined with commitment to communication, gets the project completed with a minimum of fuss.
When designing a playground, adventure+ draws on a large range of products and construction styles, including spectrum+ steel playground equipment, symmetry+ timber playground equipment and many more.
The Steamrail Adventure Playground at Millars Landing in WA is an example of how the adventure+ process works.
The landscape architect appointed to the project came to adventure+ after seeing how they could create customised playgrounds. She had drawn a rough sketch which they transformed into a practical solution using the adventure+ modular system. Once the initial design was complete, the landscape architect took it to council for sign off where changes were sought. adventure+ worked the design to make all parties happy, which included using a different cladding material.
adventure+ has a team of five who design playgrounds and produce plans and illustrations to help customers visualize their new playground. Standards compliance, age appropriate play and good design practices are key elements their designers consider. Thanks to their design team’s experience and comprehension of the Australian Playground Standards, as well as their tried and tested construction methods, compliance issues such as neck and finger entrapments, fall zones, and gaps in guardrails are considered during the design process.
Once a playground design has been signed off by all the parties involved, the manufacturing process begins.
adventure+ has a manufacturing plant in Melbourne which offers significant benefits to customers compared to offshore fabrication.
When playgrounds are imported, it is much harder to make late changes – such as colour – as they may have already been shipped by the time the change is decided on.
The lead time for spare parts is much longer so Australian-made playgrounds are able to be repaired quickly in the event of breakages or vandalism.
adventure+ has its own powder coating plant. This cuts down lead times and provides more control over the process.
adventure+ prefers to install their playgrounds wherever possible as they have their own highly streamlined install process. This allows their experienced installation team to put in the modular system exceptionally quickly – usually just two to four days on smaller projects and up to two weeks on larger ones – thus minimising disruption, especially for schools.
Maintenance is always a concern on any infrastructure project and the adventure+ modular system solves this problem by taking it into account during the design phase. By manufacturing locally, replacement pieces are almost immediately available and able to be installed quickly, reducing downtime on equipment.
The secret to the success of adventure+ playgrounds is their exceptional organisation and project management skills. The systems they have in place make them among the best in the world and they are proud to call Australia home.