Timber in playground equipment

Date Published

21 August 2022

Document Type

Category

Author

TRADA
Summary

Timber and wood products are widely used in children’s outdoor play equipment. This is mainly because timber is a versatile, warm, robust material, which fits well into this environment. It is more ‘friendly’ in the playground context than many alternative materials and has been shown to be preferred by users as well as specifiers.

This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) discusses some of the more important factors to consider when purchasing or designing playground equipment components of timber or composite construction and wood-based sheet materials. The variety of equipment is such that a complete guide to specification of timber for components is unrealistic and anyway would inhibit innovation. Maintenance, both routine and remedial, is important with frequent and sometimes demanding use of playground equipment exposed to the weather. Guidance specific to the timber and associated components of playground equipment is included.

Key Information

Playground equipment must be robust and designed to minimise risk of injury and vandalism.

Remember that failure of a component in a playground could result in injury.

Careful design can eliminate moisture traps but is not a substitute for using adequately durable materials.

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Case studies

In the summer of 2015 the idyllic shoreline of Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve was home to a pair of lightweight timber cabins, known collectively as The Observatory.

Wintringham Primary Academy is a three-form entry primary school that uses cross laminated timber to create an inspiring learning environment, built to impressive sustainability standards.