Ask Your Mates Open Forum

Sand Soft Fall Maintenance

  • 1.  Sand Soft Fall Maintenance

    Posted 06 January 2019 16:47

    Hi All


    Seeking information on sand soft fall maintenance frequency at destination and regional type Council playgrounds:

    ·        What intervals are sand pits being raked?

    ·        What maintenance occurs daily?

    ·        Method and frequency of decompaction works e.g. sand sifting and rotary hoe


    Thanks in advance,


    Aaron Pont

    Manager Parks

    Rockhampton Regional Council



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  • 2.  RE: Sand Soft Fall Maintenance

    Posted 08 January 2019 18:12
    Hello Aaron
    Sand soft fall for playgrounds is not common unless it is used in conjunction with sand play features
    Of the sand playgrounds that I am familiar with in NZ I understand the following service levels guidelines are used, these may vary slightly from municipality to municipality:

    Destination playgrounds
    Daily - visit to remove rubbish and rake landing zones / digging areas (where sand play diggers are installed) to ensure these provide safe fall zone area
    Weekly rake over of whole playground sand area to remove non-visible rubbish and provide mounded centre (sand is pushed to outside edge through play process)
    Monthly review of sand levels - top up when required to ensure that minimum depth of 40 cm is maintained across whole playground. In high use playground areas this may occur quarterly particularly over the summer period (November - top up/de-compact, February - refresh)
    Quarterly playground site audits.
    Sand de-compaction - dependent upon sand used, some sands compact hard, dependent upon particle size and wetness / rainfall. Normally only 1x per year
    De-compaction to a depth of minimum of 200 mm, then new sand overlaid. Easiest process is with rotary hoe but need good operator to ensure that depth maintained and soil and membrane layer is not broken / bought to surface. Need to be aware of removal of other organic debris in sand layer at this time, in particular animal faeces and leaf detritus. Sand sieving is time consuming in playgrounds where spaces are small and compact around play furniture / features.

    Regional playgrounds
    Inspections 3x per week, including 1x on weekend (Sunday) - removal of rubbish, filling of land zones and digging areas
    Weekly rake over of whole playground as per destination.
    Quarterly review of sand levels and playground site audits. Top-ups dependent upon playground use / dislodgement of sand from area.
    Sand de-compaction as per destination playgrounds - being 1x per year, during top up.

    Refer also to any IPWEA details on Service Levels.

    I trust this overview helps


    Eric Hamilton
    Senior Consultant -Parks and Recreation
    XYST Ltd
    New Zealand


  • 3.  RE: Sand Soft Fall Maintenance

    Posted 08 January 2019 18:29
    ​Hi Aaron,

    we use sand soft fall in some of our playgrounds. We make sure that it is tested to meet Australian Standards. it needs to pass a HIC test.

    if the correct sand is used it is a course sand that does not get compacted easily so there is little need for decompaction. we get our sand tested every couple of years and I cannot recall ever having to decompact it.

    Maintenance is basically daily rubbish removal  and raking it in around equipment as required to maintain an even depth.
    I am not a fan of using a rotary hoe. This would break up the particle size and then it would be questionable if it would pass the HIC test.
    we do remove the top layer 200-300 mm as it gets contaminated and replenish as required.



    Peter Kerstan
    Program Leader Parks and Reserves | Parks and Recreation
    City of Hobart
    Clearys Gates Depot, New Town, Tasmania, Australia, 7008|


  • 4.  RE: Sand Soft Fall Maintenance

    Posted 09 January 2019 16:06
    Hi Aaron

    i am with Peter.   Using properly tested sand and keeping it maintained is all that is required.

    i would put one more step.   I installed plimsol lines on the equipment so the maintenance people know where the sand needs to be.  Also check sand level as part of the 3 monthly inspection process.

    John Osland
    Director Infrastructure
    Hilltops Council.  NSW