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How to Make Your Playground ADA Compliant

By Whirl Construction (527 words)
Posted in Commercial Playgrounds on March 3, 2015

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Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act dictates what accommodations public and commercial areas must make in order to be fully accessible. In order to be compliant with the revised Title III guidelines, your local playground must meet requirements of access, ramps, transfer spaces, surfaces and activities at ground level. Below is a brief checklist of the Department of Justice's ADA criteria your playground must satisfy.

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Access and Ramps

Public playgrounds must provide access ramps to the play area that have a maximum of 1:20 running slope and a maximum cross slope of 1:48. The minimum width of access ramps must be 36 inches. In addition, access ramps cannot exceed a slope of 1:12. In the event of a slope of over 5%, there must be handrails and landings.

Access ramps within the play area must be at least 60 inches wide with a minimum clearance of 80 inches overhead. The exception to this rule is play areas that are no larger than 1,000 total square feet. A play area with a total of 1,000 square feet must include access ramps that are at least 44 inches wide.

Elevated ramps and platforms attached at ramp levels may not have any openings larger than ½ an inch and a vertical change in level less than ¼ of a inch and up to ½ an inch. Wheelchair accessible platforms must have guardrails or barriers in place.

Surfaces and Structures

Playground surfaces are subject to the ASTM F 1292-99 or 04 Standard Specification for Impact Attenuation of Surface Systems Under and Around Playground Equipment. These specifications are set forth for playgrounds in order to reduce the number of serious and life-threatening head injuries.

Composite play structures have a variety of special considerations for ADA compliance. Transfer surfaces as a means of accessibility on a composite play surface must between 11 and 18 inches high with a minimum width of 24 inches and a depth of 14 inches. Transfer steps must be no more than 8 inches high and must also include handholds to aid movement. Composite play structures that use elevated ramps to connect play components must have ramps that are at least 36 inches wide and can be no longer than 144 inches prior to supplying a landing. Elevated ramps must have guardrails and where they change directions, a 60”x60” minimum level landing must be constructed at both the top and the bottom of the run of the ramps.

Ground Level Activities

Ground level activities are an important aspect of playgrounds. In order to be ADA compliance, elevated play areas and ground level activities must be available on accessible routes. Each ground level play area must be on an accessible route and at least 50% of elevated play components must be accessible. Elevated play components must meet the above ramp criteria.

Public playgrounds provide innumerable benefits to local communities. Help provide emotional, intellectual and social learning experiences for as many children as possible by ensuring your local playground is ADA compliant. Not quite sure where to start? Contact Whirl Construction today and allow us to use our expertise to design a fun and functional ADA compliant playground. 

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