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A buyer’s guide to choosing playground equipment

The important decisions you need to consider before you invest in a commercial playground.

Choosing the right playground equipment for shopping centres and commercial venues is a critical investment that can significantly impact customer satisfaction and business success. With a myriad of options available, it’s essential to make informed decisions that cater to both budget constraints and user needs. This guide covers the essentials of selecting playground equipment, from budgeting and supplier selection to the benefits of local versus overseas suppliers.

Setting your budget

One of the first steps in purchasing playground equipment is establishing a clear budget. This helps narrow down options and ensures you don’t overspend. Here are key factors to consider:

  • Initial costs
    The initial cost includes the price of the equipment itself, as well as any customisation and installation fees. It’s essential to get detailed quotes from suppliers to understand the full scope of these costs. Be sure to account for the costs associated with third-party suppliers who provide essential complementary services and products. This includes soft fall surfacing, which ensures safety by reducing the impact of falls, as well as potential fencing to secure the play area and prevent unauthorised access. Additionally, furniture and/or landscaping can enhance the overall functionality and comfort of the playground. By considering these supplementary costs upfront, you can develop a comprehensive budget that encompasses all necessary elements, ensuring a well-rounded and complete playground installation. A good playground supplier should help you significantly with this step, so you don’t face any unwelcome surprises.
  • Long-term maintenance
    Consider the long-term maintenance expenses associated with the equipment. Durable, high-quality materials might have a higher upfront cost, but can save money in the long run due to lower maintenance requirements. Choosing a local supplier will also make it easier to get spare parts and quick repairs.

Choosing the right playground supplier

Selecting a reputable supplier is crucial for ensuring you get high-quality playground equipment and reliable service. Here’s some of the ways to evaluate potential suppliers:

  • Experience and expertise
    Choose suppliers with extensive experience in the playground industry. Experienced suppliers are more likely to provide insightful advice, innovative solutions and high-quality installations.
  • Range of products
    A supplier with a broad range of products can offer more options tailored to your specific needs. This includes equipment for different age groups, themed playgrounds and various types of play activities.
  • Tried and tested components
    Choosing a supplier with tried and tested products is essential to ensure the safety, durability, and reliability of your playground equipment. Established suppliers with a proven track record offer equipment that has been rigorously tested to meet stringent safety standards and withstand heavy use over time. This reduces the risk of equipment failure, minimises maintenance costs, and provides peace of mind knowing that the play structures are safe and robust.
  • After-sales support
    Ensure the supplier offers robust after-sales support, including maintenance services and warranties. This support is essential for addressing any issues that arise after installation.
  • Local versus overseas suppliers
    When choosing a supplier, you’ll need to decide between local and overseas options. Overseas suppliers, particularly from countries with lower manufacturing costs, may offer cheaper equipment. International suppliers might also provide access to unique designs not available locally. Local suppliers, on the other hand, can typically deliver and install equipment much faster than overseas suppliers. It also simplifies communication and coordination, making it easier to address any issues or changes. Importantly, choosing a local supplier supports the local economy and reduces shipping miles, which is becoming increasingly important to consumers.
  • Reputation and reviews
    Research the reputation of suppliers by reading reviews and testimonials from other clients. Look for consistent positive feedback regarding the quality of their products and customer service.

Assessing equipment quality

High-quality playground equipment is essential for safety, durability and user satisfaction. Here’s what to look for:

  • Materials
    Check the materials used in the construction of the equipment. Look for durable, weather-resistant materials like stainless steel, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and treated timber. These materials ensure longevity and require less maintenance.
  • Safety features
    Safety should be a top priority. Ensure the equipment includes safety features such as rounded edges, non-slip surfaces and appropriate fall zones. Verify that the equipment meets all the relevant Australian safety standards.
  • Design and innovation
    Innovative designs can enhance the play experience and attract more visitors. Look for equipment that encourages physical activity, social interaction and cognitive development. Features like interactive panels, themed elements and multi-level structures can add significant value.

Customisation options

Customisation allows you to tailor the playground to meet specific needs and preferences, with themed playgrounds creating a unique and immersive play experience. Work with your supplier to develop custom themes that reflect the local culture, popular stories or educational concepts.

Age-appropriate equipment

Depending on your brief, it’s often important to select equipment that caters to different age groups. Separate play areas for toddlers, preschoolers and older children ensure that the playground is safe and engaging for all users. Be sure to work with a supplier who understands play values and has experience working with briefs like yours.

Choosing playground equipment for shopping centres and commercial venues involves careful consideration of budget, supplier selection, equipment quality, environmental impact, customisation options and maintenance. By following this comprehensive guide, you can make informed decisions that result in a safe, engaging and sustainable playground.

As a leading supplier of indoor and outdoor playground equipment, we are here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to explore our wide range of high-quality commercial playground solutions.


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