New Playground Standards

May 12, 2014
The long awaited new Australian Standard on Playground Design (AS 4685:2014 Parts 1 to 6) has been released. Two of our staff members, Jason Isaks and Katherine Masiulanis, who work most intimately in this field, attended a briefing on the Standard in Melbourne on the 6th of May in the beautiful art-deco Richmond Town Hall, along with about 200 other people keen to hear about the changes and opportunities in the new standard.

Organised by Play Australia, we heard from Paul Grover of Play DMC, Mary Jeavons of Jeavons Landscape Architects, Elizabeth Cummins of Bricolage Design, and Rob Hamilton from the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

“One of the joys of Australian childhood is being outdoors racing around and having fun with your friends in playgrounds. Far from wrapping kids in cotton wool, this standard is all about challenging kids and developing important skills for life,”

Dr Bronwyn Evans,
Chief Executive Officer, Standards Australia.

We understand that the new Standard has been adopted to remove trade barriers between countries, and based on the European experience, it will allow for greater freedom in playspace design.

Some of the main changes are to allow higher structures (up to 3m high surfaces), and more scope for natural elements and sculptures, without the need for formal fall-zones (now called impact areas) below 600mm high. Importantly though, there is a differentiation made between ‘easy to access’ structures and those which are more difficult, which is intended to give kids greater freedom and challenge, while protecting small children from reaching parts of the playspace where they will be exposed to dangers they cannot perceive.

As designers, this opens up lots of exciting new possibilities, and we look forward to working with the new Australian Standard to design more engaging and inspiring places to play.


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