New guidance on selecting and installing playground surfaces is now available from the Access Board. Developed by National Center on Accessibility (NCA) at Indiana University with funding from the Board, the guide, "Seven Things Every Playground Owner Should Know About the Accessibility of Their Playground Surfaces," (also available in PDF) outlines key considerations and steps in selecting, installing, and maintaining playground surface to ensure accessibility and compliance with accessibility standards, including those issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA ) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).

The ADA Standards, which apply to many types of facilities in the public and private sectors, and the ABA Standards, which cover federally funded facilities, include provisions for play areas and play surfaces. These requirements address running and cross slopes, changes in level, openings and apply industry standards for accessibility and impact attenuation issued by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

The guide describes the most popular types of playground surfacing materials, such as poured-in-place rubber, rubber tiles, engineered wood fiber, and hybrid surface systems. It compares information on each of these material types, including installation methods, accessibility issues and considerations, maintenance, repair methods, and cost. This guidance is intended to help playground owners and operators make an informed choice in selecting surface materials and ensuring that they are properly installed and maintained for accessibility. It is based on findings from a Board-sponsored study by NCA completed last year that assessed the performance of different surfacing materials at 35 playgrounds over a 3-year period.

For further information, contact Jennifer Skulski, CPSI, Principal Investigator, at [email protected] or (812) 856-4422, or Peggy Greenwell of the Access Board at [email protected], (202) 272-0017 (v), or (202) 272-0075 (TTY).

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