What is Wetpour?
Wetpour is a two layer rubber safety surface. : a larger grade recycled rubber particle is used for the base layer and a finer, higher quality granule size is used for the top layer. It is prepared on site ( rubber granules are mixed with a binder to form a treacle like material which sets within 12 hours). The process is similar to the preparation and installation of ready mix concrete.
The main advantages of wetpour are: flexibility with design and colour,
good drainage – providing base is prepared well
It is seamless – no joints.
Wetpour has been the choice for many public projects with large budgets to spend. Wetpour is expensive and can look stunning for the first few years, but many local authorities are now shifting to well made, large commercial safety tiles to surface their public playgrounds for the following reasons.
Wetpour looks great for the first 4 or 5 years then the colours can start to fade with exposure to UV light.
Use of low quality raw materials ( which is becoming much more prevalent as companies try to cut costs in order to win tenders ) or incorrect installation can result in the disintegration of the top layer of the wetpour safety surface within 5-8 years.
Durability: Wetpour is generally not as durable as well made commercial safety tiles: well made commercial safety tiles are produced in a factory controlled environment in hydraulic presses. Mechanical pressure is applied at a constant temperature and humidity. In contrast Wet pour is prepared and poured on site in 2 layers and is subject to changing temperatures and humidity, both factors can effect curing times. Exposure to rain or frost during the installation process can and does destroy the appearance and long term durability of wetpour.
Access to underground Utilities: Wetpour safety surface must be destroyed if access to below-ground services are required. Such as water and gas mains or underground electric cables. Repairing Wetpour requires a specialist team and it is virtually impossible to match the colour of new wetpour material to a safety surface that was installed several years previously.
Ease of remedial work: Well made, large commercial safety tiles can be installed by any competent tradesman or building professional compared to Wetpour that requires specialist equipment and training and is very weather dependant.
Lifting & replacement In the event, of an area of safety surface being vandalised or if utility services need to be accessed, large commercial safety tiles are easily replaced with relatively little effort or cost. Competent local authority personnel, crèche owners, school caretakers etc can undertake the remedial work themselves.
What is Eco rubber grass matting?
Eco safety grass matting is made from recycled rubber. This type of rubber safety surface is placed over existing grass areas. This type of safety matting has holes in it that allow natural grass to grow up through it. It also allows rain water to pass down through it and into the grass sod below. It has excellent anti-slip properties and an has excellent safety rating up to 3m Critical fall height (this is accomplished by the combined impact absorption of the rubber mat and the grass sod / topsoil working as one.
It is a very cost effective safety surface system as there are no ground excavation costs involved. Ground preparation is minimal;
Eco safety grass matting is an excellent product to use where retaining a natural environment and eco theme are important, such as parks, forest parks and schools.
This safety grass matting system requires relatively little skill to install correctly. This makes it a perfect choice for schools and communities that can organise a volunteer workforce.
What are Rubber safety tiles?
Safety tiles can have critical fall heights ranging from 60cm to 3.0m
It is important to select the correct depth of rubber safety tile to match the critical fall height of a particular piece of play equipment.
We supply only certified rubber safety tiles:
Our main safety tiles are the 35mm deep x 1mx 1m safety tile critical fall height 1.2m
and our 42mm deep 1m x1m which has a critical fall height of 1.45m
We do not sell domestic safety tiles as these are normally much smaller 50cm x 50cm x 25mm thickness and have a low critical fall height, if any
Our commercial rubber safety tiles are used for both commercial and residential projects. Domestic rubber safety tiles are not suitable for public playgrounds.
Playgrounds Direct commercial rubber safety tiles are made from recycled rubber
They are made in moulds for accuracy and quality. They are made on large presses under a lot of pressure, in a temperature controlled environment.
They are easy to lay down and do not require specialist machinery to install
Hey can be laid over stone, concrete or a tarmac base.
What is good playground design?
Below, we have listed a few of the considerations that constitute good Playground design.
The playground must be a safe place for children to play, in every respect.
It must have a range of age appropriate play equipment
Equipment will generally be zoned so that
a, particular age groups will associate with children of similar ages
b, aid supervision
c, improve safety eg older children don’t mix with younger children
d, maximise a positive play experience for each child.
It should contain a variety of play equipment to promote physical and cognitive development
It should be an interesting and exciting place for children and supervisors to enjoy
Good design will take account of the spatial distribution of the play equipment
It will try to avoid congestion or bottlenecks
It will locate equipment in such a way that minimises risk of collisions occurring between children.
It will maximise safety zones around equipment
How many supervision benches?
Supervision is an important aspect of playground design:
Where to locate them? Orientation ?
Visibility across and through the playground is desirable
Good playground design minimise hiding places or blind spots
Aesthetics: Will the playground enhance it’s location
Will the choice of play equipment blend / complement it’s surroundings
Playground management: How many bins are required? Where to locate them?
Who will empty them? How often?
How many entrances to the playground? Normally two
Good playground design will take account of any other risks:eg overhanging branches from trees that could pose a threat,
There is no substitute for Common Sens
How to build a playground on a low budget ?
You basically have 3 choices
Option 1: You can engage any one of dozens of playground companies to do the complete contract from start to finish.
Option 2: You can commission Playgrounds Direct to design, manufacture and install your playground from start to finish
You will get all the cost benefits of buying direct from our factory at factory prices.
All of our play equipment is quality assured, certified and complies with EN1176
All of our safety surfaces are quality assured, certified and complies with EN1177
Plus you will get the expertise of our experienced installation teams.
Plus our workmanship guarantees and warrantees.
Option 3: You can use a local professional builder ( local to you ) to install your agreed playground and save £1000’s in the process.
We at Playgrounds Direct can supply you or your builder directly from our factory at factory prices:
Safety fencing or security fencing
The most appropriate safety surface system for you project.
Rubber Pathway systems
Commercial playground equipment: low maintenance Eco play equipment
High quality steel equipment
Stainless steel play equipment
We can discuss the best option to suit your plan, site and budget.
We can provide layout plans
We can provide installation instructions.
We can provide guidance on layout and installation.
We can advise on equipment choice, safety considerations
We can advise on wording for playground signage.
We can arrange RoSPA inspection and certification
What are the main costs of building a playground?
It is good practice to set up a separate bank account for the project
particularly if the project is a community based project with a committee
and treasurer. It will probably involve some form of fund raising that may
be matched with government grants.
Firstly: The land upon which the playground is to be located
Purchase costs, lease contracts, legal costs.
Secondly: Ground survey costs,
Purchase and installation of land Drainage pipes / pathways.
Thirdly: Safety fencing and access gates ( purchase and installation )
There may be a busy road or car park close by, safety is everything.
Our galvanised steel safety fencing is available in 1m and 1.2m heights.
We also provide self closing, high visibility access gates.
Fourthly: Safety surface: Depending on what type of safety surface is opted for
will determine the level of ground preparation required and cost.
This category of cost is where £1000’s will be saved or spent.
Eco rubber grass matting is the most cost effective over established grass
For low maintenance
1m x1m giant rubber safety tiles are the most cost effective over tarmac
or concrete. We have a special 1mx1m safety tile for laying over a stone base.
In our experience wetpour is grossly overrated, expensive and does not
have the durability of factory made commercial safety tiles.
Last Play equipment:
Typically few playgrounds exceed 35% of the total spend on play
The number of individual pieces of play equipment will be determined by
space available: multi activity towers / climbing frames provide good use of space.
What age groups do you plan to cater for?
Are the areas to be zoned for 2 or 3 age groups?
Materials / aesthetics / yearly maintenance:
Low maintenance materials will outlast wooden play equipment and will
not require yearly treating or painting or sealing.
Urban environments will necessitate vandal proof equipment :
Steel based play equipment: galvanised and powder-coated will last up to
20 years Stainless steel play equipment is the ultimate in steel equipment. It is also
the most expensive. Durability will depend on the grade of stainless steel used
How much does an outdoor playground cost?
These figures are ball park only. They are however, based on hundreds of outdoor playground projects that we have supplied.
These figures are based on the assumption that you already own the land, that the playground is going to be built on.
The following total costings include Vat.
If your organisation/business is registered for vat you will be able to reclaim the Vat paid.
A domestic play area typically costs less than £2,500
In compliance with European Safety Standard EN71
A B&B, pub or small restaurant playground typically costs
between £8,000 to £20,000
In compliance with European Safety Standards EN1176 and EN1177
A primary school playground typically costs between £18,000 to £34,000
In compliance with European Safety Standards EN1176 and EN1177
A Community or holiday park playground typically costs between £28,000 to £60,000
In compliance with European Safety Standards EN1176 and EN1177
Local Authority Playgrounds normally range between £40,000 to £190,000
In compliance with European Safety Standards EN1176 and EN1177
What play equipment is inclusive?
Below are a few examples of our inclusive play equipment:
Inclusive means suitable for both typically able children and children with a special need requirement/s.
Birds Nest swing – can cater for up to 4 children at a time – simply great fun.
Raised roundabout – normally 2 – 3 children at any one time
Spring rockers – both standard and enclosed are very popular.
Multi activity climbing towers – a favourite with autistic and children with Down’s
Musical instruments and tactile panels – great choice for wheel chair bound children, children with poor eyesight or other special needs issues.
Three way ball catcher - set at various heights It can be used by occupational therapists to help develop hand to eye co- ordination.
Wheel chair accessible towers and ramps are inclusive play equipment.
Our in-house consultants can advise on the suitability of a specific piece of inclusive or specialist play equipment. Selection will depend on the specific nature of the special needs requirements to be catered for and budget.
What is inclusive play?
The Disability Discrimination Act part 3 came into force in October 2004. All public service providers have a legal responsibility to cater for disabled / special needs children as well as typically able children. Many of our play equipment items are suitable for both able and disabled children, they are therefore inclusive play items.
Design for inclusive play is no big deal, it just requires some additional thought in the planning and design stage. Wider gates and doorways for wheelchair accessibility are now standard. It may require additional seating for carers / supervisors, for example: choosing a raised roundabout instead of a ground level one ( so that a child may be moved across from a wheelchair onto the roundabout with the least amount of effort ).
Activity panels and outdoor musical equipment are inclusive items as they can be used by able and special needs children alike.
Birds nest swings are a very popular inclusive play item. They provide the sensation of movement, interaction and socialisation with other children and are simply great fun. Wheel chair accessible towers and ramps are inclusive play equipment.
In addition to Inclusive play equipment, specialist play equipment such as wheelchair swings, wheelchair roundabouts may be installed. these are fairly expensive and are generally only found in the larger public playgrounds or special needs schools. We can provide these items if required.
Our in-house consultants can advise on choice of inclusive or specialist play equipment, depending on the specific nature of the special needs requirements to be catered for; ASD, Down’s, impaired vision, mobility issues etc.
What regulations govern playgrounds?
EN1176 is not a legal requirement but it is good practice and prudent business. Playground providers do have a legal duty of care. Adhering to EN1176 and EN1177 demonstrates this,
Requesting an inspection from RoSPA and implementing any recommendations they make also demonstrates responsibility and legal duty of care on behalf of the playground provider. In the event of litigation, adherence to RoSPA principles for safe play and ensuring that a playground was designed and installed in accordance with EN1176 and EN1177 will help to provide a strong defence. Many Insurance companies will only provide cover once a playground has been inspected and approved by an independent third party inspector such as RoSPA
Legislation covering playgrounds in the UK include:
Occupier’s Liability Act (1957 )
Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
Management of health and safety at work regulations (1999)
Equality Act (2010) Disability Discrimination Act (amended 2005)
What are your guarantees?
Playgrounds Direct Ltd provides 10 year guarantees on all of our commercial playground equipment, that we install. In addition we also offer an extended warranty scheme.
In the event of our equipment being damaged due to an act of vandalism we will provide replacement parts at cost price. We will do our utmost to get your playground up and running again as quickly as possible.
Our low maintenance playground equipment is very easy to maintain: An occasional wash is generally all that is needed. Moving parts such as swing hooks and bearings that are subject to substantial wear and tear, may need replaced every few years. These are very low cost items and we will provide these at cost price.
Do you have projects that we can visit?
Yes, Depending on where you are located and the type of project that you plan to do, we will suggest a few of our projects, that are similar to the type of project that you, plan to do.
We will however, as a matter of courtesy and respect, contact the relevant managers or owners of the Park, Holiday Resorts, Hotels, Crèches or the Principals of Schools and Pre-schools to ask for their permission for you or your personnel to visit their premises / park or playground.
Are you Nationwide?
We have a network of surveyors and installation teams throughout Britain and Ireland. We would be happy to discuss your project, explore ideas for Design, layout, equipment choices, timescales etc. We could arrange to site visit your School, Hotel, Park etc to discuss your project further and take the project to next level.
Factory Head Quarters
Playgrounds Direct Ltd Factory Head Quarters is located in
County Tyrone, N. Ireland.
Playgrounds Direct Ltd
75 Coole Road
N. Ireland BT71 5DR.
UK & N. Ireland Rep of Ireland International
Tel: 028 87 741199 Tel: 048 87 741199 Tel: 0044 28 87741199
Fax: 028 87741199 Fax: 048 87 741199 Fax: 0044 28 87749140
Full Playground Projects
We provide full consultation, design, manufacture and installation of high quality, low maintenance "turn key playgrounds" to Schools, local Authorities, Hotels, Pre-Schools, Holiday Resorts etc.
Direct Supply only
We supply quality commercial play equipment and safety surfaces directly to the Commercial sector and the Construction Industry, throughout Britain and Ireland.
What is ROSPA ?
RoSPA stands for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Most insurance companies will insist on a third party inspection of a completed playground prior to taking the playground on, (providing insurance cover ).
Normally a ROSPA inspector will conduct a detailed inspection of a completed playground and the inspector will generate a report. Contained within the report will be an assessment of each piece of play equipment, an overall assessment of the playground from a safety perspective and most importantly, recommendations to further improve playground safety, if necessary.
In our experience, this inspection and report seldom exceeds £800 + vat, and is money well spent. Rospa has a network of inspectors throughout England, Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
Our in-house playground consultants are well versed in Rospa’s Guidelines and Principles for Safe Play. We would be glad to discuss any issues that you have, pertaining to a private, commercial, community or local authority playground or park project.
What are safety standards EN1176 and EN1177 ?
EN1176 is the European safety standards governing playground equipment.
EN 1177 is the European safety standards governing safety surfaces
Both EN 1176 and EN1177 should be used together when designing and building any kind of a playground particularly public and commercial playgrounds.
These safety standards were published to harmonise existing national safety standards across the European Union. The purpose of these standards is act as a set of common guidelines to maximise the safety of / minimise risk to, every child that enters / plays in a public or commercial playground.
EN1176 is a large set of standards (11 parts ). It covers not only safety aspects of the play equipment itself, but things like minimum safety clearances around each piece of equipment, distances between various pieces of equipment, access widths to towers, heights of guard rails. Suitability of play equipment to certain ages etc.
All of PlaygroundsDirect play ground equipment complies with EN1176, all of our safety surfaces comply with EN1177.
A full set of standards EN1176 andEN1177 are available from
BSI Publications, 389 Chiswick road, London, W4 4AL
What is low maintenance Eco play equipment?
Low maintenance eco play equipment is play equipment that requires very little maintenance from one year to the next. Low maintenance eco play equipment will not require treating, painting or sealing as we use composite materials such as Deck25 plastic wood composites. These composites are designed to last in excess of 25 years, they are a mix of recycled plastic; (from plastic bottles and yogurt pots) and recycled beech wood;(from the furniture industry, originally from managed forest plantations).
Our low maintenance eco play equipment has the appearance of wood ; natural look and feel but the advantages of plastic; in does not crack or twist like wood,It does not splinter and never requires painting or treatment with paints or chemicals ( which is safer for children and better for the environment ).
We use stainless steel fixings, brackets and bolts where ever possible. Stainless steel is more expensive than ordinary steel. Stainless is child safe and will outlast galvanised and coated steel by many times.
What is your playground wish list?
The typical playground wish list is to create a beautiful looking playground, that:
enhances it’s surroundings, is safe and secure, is maintenance free, has loads of activities for each age group, caters for children with special needs and is a pleasure to experience for both children and adults.
Additional requirements may be:
In the case of a Hotel, Holiday Resort or Restaurant to attract more families to the premises: generating additional sales through their restaurants, bar sales, health spas, golf courses, etc
In the case of a School: to increase the level of fitness among pupils, to improve behaviour or increase concentration levels due to improved fitness levels.
In the case of a Village: to provide somewhere for the children to play in a safe, secure environment.
In the case of a rural community: to create a focal point where families can meet and where children can play and socialise outside school hours.
Please read our Case Studies for a better understanding of the rationale behind each project.
What is an Eco playground ?
An Eco playground is a playground that has been designed and constructed using natural or recycled materials. An Eco playground should look and feel natural. A successful eco playground should be sensitively designed to merge with the natural environment. Eco Playgrounds encourage exploration and creativity as well as fitness, agility , co-ordination and general health. Eco playgrounds will generally contain trees, plants and wild flowers. They encourages children to experience play in a way that allows them to interacting with nature. The tactile nature and visual aesthetics of play equipment chosen is an important consideration
Eco rubber grass matting is an excellent safety surface for an eco playground as it permits grass and wild flora to grow through the holes in the rubber safety surface. After five or six weeks, the safety surface becomes invisible as the grass and wild flowers obscure the rubber safety surface.