Tests of playing surfaces

The playing surface on which a playground and/or permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment will be located is of fundamental importance, since it will be responsible for attenuating possible blows and falls from the different heights of the playground equipment and/or permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment.

This means that it must be made of a suitable material, replacing hard surfaces (concrete, stones, etc.) with other more suitable surfaces such as rubber, sand, woodchips, bark, gravel, etc., which have the attenuation capacity and the properties specified in standard EN 1176-1 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 1: General Safety Requirements and Test Methods”, standard EN 16630 “Permanently installed  outdoor fitness equipment . Safety Requirements and Test Methods”, and in standard and standard  EN 1177 “ Impact attenuating playground surfacing. Methods of test for determination of impact attenuation”.

All of the surfaces and pavements defined above are apt for children’s playgrounds and outdoor fitness areas, but it is the maximum fall height of the different playground and fitness equipment that will determine how thick the surface must be and how much impact it must be able to absorb.

Therefore it is very important to perform laboratory tests that allow us to identify the critical fall height for an HIC of 1000 (Head Injury Criteria) that the surface has before installation, or to perform these tests “in situ”, primarily in surfaces that have just been installed and with the appropriate temperature and moisture conditions, in order to determine the level of attenuating properties ¿?it provides within the impact area of each  playground equipment and permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment.

These verifications must be carried out in any recreational area that involves a playing surface before it actually opens, in addition to carrying out annual tests to check that the surface still maintains the appropriate impact attenuation  properties for the playground and/or outdoor fitness equipment that has been installed, since over time the impact attenuation properties of these fabricated surfacing products, loose particulate materials or natural surfaces may be modified, whether by inadequate maintenance, poor installation, weather conditions, etc.

Services related to the testing of playing surfaces

We are an entity accredited by ENAC to perform tests on surfaces both “in situ” and in the laboratory, in accordance with applicable European standards such as:

  •  EN 1176-1 “Playground Equipment and Surfacing. Part 1: General safety requirements and test methods”
  •  EN 1177 ““. Impact attenuating playground surfacing. Methods of test for determination of impact attenuation”
  • EN 16630 “Permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment. Safety Requirements and Test Methods”.

Benefits of having playing surfaces tested

Safe playground

Safety guarantee in products and facilities
Minimising the risk of accidents
National and international reference laboratory for child safety

Being able to carry out tests to determine critical fall height and to obtain the impact attenuation benefits the person in charge of the recreational area or the manufacturer of the surfaces, since he or she is thus able to offer their client a guarantee through the test reports as to the  impact attenuation properties their surfaces have, as well as the critical fall height defined in the applicable regulations, providing their client with information on which playground equipment it can install, given that the surface may restrict the heights of the playground or outdoor fitness equipment itself.

We are a national and international reference laboratory for child safety. We perform the impact attenuation tests on surfaces according to European and international regulations and legislation, in order to be able to obtain the critical fall height.

How we carry out tests on playing surfaces

The test reports we obtain in our laboratory are accepted in Europe, due to our positioning, as we are recognised in both European and international forums as experts in child safety. AIJU is an accredited laboratory according to ISO/IEC 17025 for the performance of surface tests for playgrounds both in the laboratory and “in situ”, and it is a member of the working group of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), especially the playgrounds working group which is influential in the development of European standards applied to playground surfaces.

Nuestra experiencia en los ensayos de pavimentos y superficies de juego

We have more than 30 years’ experience in performing safety tests on children’s products and in their environments, and we are the only laboratory that is accredited by ENAC to test playground equipment and surfacing, and as an inspection entity.

Our laboratory has specific facilities in which we carry out these tests. Our technicians also travel to the actual playgrounds and to manufacturers’ premises.

Encarna Alemañ
Playing surfaces
+34 96 555 44 75