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The 2010 Americans with Disabilities act (ADA) standards for accessible design require new playground constructions and those that are altered to be compliant with the law. The safety surfacing must comply with ASTM 1951-99. Several studies were conducted on the most common playground surfacing materials and for obvious reasons, unitary surfaces always perform better. Tools such as "rotational penetrometers" are used to study the impact of the surface on a turning wheel chair.
Poured in place rubber is one of those surfaces that does very well with ADA standards. It is seamless, and if installed at the right grade, and access to the playground surface is beveled the right way, provides easy access and navigation for kids with crutches and on a wheelchair. That's all good, but the surface has to be well maintained to avoid developing holes. We have discussed on other blog posts how holes appear on a poured in place rubber surface. And while the holes constitute a system failure, they pose a bigger risk to the owner: You fail your ADA , compliance. If the wear layer is compromised and the base layer is exposed, the surface texture and depth is changed dramatically, the unexpected hole also becomes a tripping hazard to the kids. If the hole is at the entrance of the playground, it is now interfering with accessibility to the playground.
Next time you see a hole in your playground rubber surface take immediate action to repair it. There are cheap do it yourself patch kits that will allow you to fill the hole and solve the problem. Of course you need to look a the larger picture of why you are getting holes in your rubber surface to begin with. We find that most of the time it is because you haven't reconditioned the rubber surface. This is where a product such as the poured in place rebinder can come in handy. If you are not sure if your damaged rubber surface affects ADA compliance, give us a call at 203-659-0456. We'll be happy to take a look at it and tell you what we think.