Since 1998, the European standards EN1176 (equipment for playgrounds) and EN1177 (coating of playground surfaces) regulate the technical characteristics of the equipment and the UNI 11123:2004 standard regulates the design of parks and outdoor playgrounds.
The UNI 11123:2004 standard “Guide to the design of parks and outdoor playgrounds” provides guidance for the design and construction of parks and playgrounds, both newly built and intended for modifications, improvements or reconstructions.
The main objective of the standard is precisely to define criteria for the design and construction of safe playgrounds, of adequate size, easily accessible from the living areas. In particular, the standard lays down the following criteria:
– Accessibility (children must have safe access to playgrounds, even if they are not accompanied);
. removal of architectural barriers (accesses and internal paths must not present obstacles for disabled people or mothers with prams);
. sizing, positioning and orientation of the playing area (which must offer sunny areas, shaded areas and areas protected from wind and rain);
. areas or spaces for the development of the senses and motor skills (the standard requires the use of materials such as sand, clay, stones, gravel, wood, plants …);
. mobility areas or spaces for adolescents (e.g. equipment and areas for skating, basketball, volleyball, table tennis…);
. general safety of the playground (an aspect that must be considered at every stage, from design to construction and maintenance of the area).
In parallel, new editions of the technical standards of the EN 1176 and EN 1177 series on playground equipment have been published at European level, providing specific safety requirements for slides, swings, castles, swinging games, cable cars, rides, three-dimensional climbing nets, etc., in order to ensure the safety of the playground.
The safety standards EN-1176:2018 came into force definitively last October, and of course they are not retroactive: therefore the operator of the playground (which is often the public body) is not obliged to immediately adapt its structures to the rules in force, being able to plan the replacement over time, starting with the older structures.
All new constructions, starting from last October, must instead comply with the updated standards.