Safety Inspections

Playground & Gym Inspections.

Play and gym inspections are visual safety inspections of your fixed outdoor and indoor play equipment, and gymnastics and sports hall equipment.

Regular inspections are the key to ensuring your play or gym area remains in good condition, safe and compliant; that may include any pathways, fences, gates and street furniture. 

During an inspection your equipment is carefully checked for vandalism, wear and tear and defects, in accordance with the appropriate compliance standards, which ensures that the equipment is completely safe for children and adults to use and prevents potential accidents. The purpose of the inspection is to identify as far as reasonably practicable the condition of the equipment, looking at major and minor wear, and long-term structural problems within the agreed site, whilst assessing the condition and making recommendations.

As inspections have a direct impact on the safety and condition of your playground & gym equipment it is important to ensure that they are undertaken correctly and by a certified inspector, of which we have many. 

Why choose Landscape Services for your playground and gym equipment inspections?

Landscape Services have trained and experienced inspectors across all our Kent-based locations, including Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling and Sittingbourne. Our staff are fully qualified, DBS registered, with ID and company uniform, and arrive early to ensure inspections can be carried out with the minimum disruption to those hoping to use the equipment. 

All inspections are completed to the appropriate safety standards outlined below and reporting is achieved either by using a tablet onsite – routine reporting checklist with instant email update to the customer – or via a full detailed report. This will vary depending on the type of inspection.

We can arrange a free site visit prior to quoting, to allow us to better understand the requirements for each site. We will then put forward our recommendations for a bespoke package of care, including a schedule of visits and areas where we may suggest additional works be carried out. Landscape Services are able to offer minor repair and maintenance as part of our offering to customers.

What type of playground and gym facilities do we inspect?

Landscape Services work with a wide range of customer sectors when it comes to play and gym equipment inspections, some of whom might be unaware that the equipment they have is non-compliant. This includes;

  • Schools, academies – Dependent on the type of school most, if not all, will have both indoor and outdoor play areas, and occasionally play apparatus too.
  • Nurseries and childcare centres – A nursery or childcare centre will be visited by lots of different children of varied abilities and understanding of safety. We can inspect all fixed equipment, including large play areas.
  • Restaurants, bars and pubs – It is not uncommon for many pubs, restaurants and bars to maintain an outdoor play area for the children of their visiting patrons to use. This may be a few basic items such as a seesaw and swings, or it could go as far as being a soft play area. All will need to be regularly checked for wear and tear.
  • Local authorities – Most local outdoor play areas, and public gym areas, are the responsibility of the local authorities for that area.

It is important to recognise that play and gym equipment does not necessarily have to be bright, colourful or made of metal and plastic to be a risk against compliance. We also consider the surrounding surfaces, any gates or fencing, goal or playing posts.


How often should playground and gym equipment be inspected?

We advise our customers to undertake play area or gym equipment inspections at least annually to ensure it is safe to use. However, in some situations – where equipment is heavily used, for example – we may recommend a more regular schedule. Landscape Services provide three main types of play and gym inspection;

  • Routine inspection – Routine inspections are the most frequent, often weekly, to monitor the continued condition of play and gym equipment. Our inspectors follow a set checklist and identify and report on any changes to equipment or potential safety concerns. They may also use this opportunity to report on concerns such as excessive litter, damage to nearby structures or vandalism.
  • Operational inspection – these are one to three-monthly inspections to closely monitor the condition of your equipment. Operational inspections may be called upon if a query is raised following a routine inspection or if your equipment usually sees heavy wear, unexpected bad weather or a sudden change of use habits.
  • Annual inspection – this is a base annual inspection of your equipment and surrounding surfaces or furniture. The annual inspection is an in-depth view of all furniture, surfaces and equipment. It will consider vandalism, wear and tear, structural changes and any compliance changes which may have been made since the previous year and could affect risk assessments, legalities, and safety.  


Following each annual, operational or routine visit we provide a factual report of our findings, along with a detailed breakdown of recommended remedial actions, plus itemised photographic evidence identifying areas of concern.


Play area and gym inspections legal requirements

There are several compliance considerations which need to be made when installing and maintaining play or gym equipment on your site. Due to the nature of playgrounds and play spaces, health safety remains the biggest consideration. 

The BS EN1176 Playground equipment standard is a representation of best practice for the care and continued maintenance of play and gym equipment. Alongside BS EN1176 play and gym equipment should also adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which requires employers to provide safe equipment not just for employees, but for visitors (including the community) too. This applies to local councils who also provide community playgrounds and outdoor sensory or gym equipment.

The BS E 913 standard relates specifically to gymnasium equipment and the methods for correctly assessing safety. BS EN12196 relates particularly to the maintenance of horses and bucks, and BS EN12503 to sports mats.

(This information is correct as of January 2023).