Hesse daycare portal: increased game levels

Unlike playground equipment, play levels have no shock-absorbing surface. In the event of a possible fall, there is considerable risk of injury. The railing is therefore of particular importance. It must have a minimum height of 1.0 m and be designed in such a way that climbing and sitting on it is not favored. If there is furniture or similar objects on the level that favor climbing over the parapet, the railing must be raised (e.g. installation of a ceiling-high net).

Openings must be dimensioned in such a way that they cannot fall through or get caught with the head (max. Opening width 11 cm, when used by crib children 8.9 cm). The unintentional falling of toys is to be prevented by upstands etc. (2 cm high baseboard).

The installation of a play level can significantly impair the lighting conditions of a group room. Layers should therefore be set up in such a way that the incidence of light through the windows is not significantly impaired. Regardless of this, the lighting system will usually have to be adjusted anyway. Luminaire surfaces must not be accessible.

Luminaires and electrical installations must be protected against unauthorized access and mechanical damage (cable ducts, etc.)

Both stairs and ladders can be considered as steps on a play level. Stairs should be designed for children * and require a handrail on both sides at a height of approx. 70 cm (a handrail on the wall is sufficient for stair widths up to 80 cm). For longer stairs (from 18 steps) an intermediate platform must be provided.

Due to the higher risk of accidents, ladders should only be used if stairs cannot be installed. Ladders may only be used up to a height of 2.0 m due to the increased risk of falling. The drop area (impact area **) must be marked with a for the suitable fall protection (mats, fall protection panels). The entrance is to be equipped with a cross bar (height between 0.60 – 0.85 m). The clearance between the ladder rungs must be less than 11 cm (8.9 cm if used by crib children) or greater than 23 cm. Ladder ascents are not recommended for use by crèche children.

* For stairs that are not required under building law, the stair gradient should be max. 19 cm and the appearance should not be less than 26 cm. Stairs with a slope / step ratio of 16/26 cm have proven successful for galleries and 15/20 cm for playhouses. The clear opening width between the steps may be max. 11 cm (max. 8.9 cm when used by crib children). The steps must be anti-slip (min. R 9).

** The length / width of the impact surface depends on the drop height and is up to a drop height of 1.5 m – min. 1.5 m, for heights over 1.5 m the dimensions are calculated from the formula: L = W = 2/3 * height + 0.5 m.

If windows or other glass surfaces become directly accessible through the installation of a level, these must be sufficiently shatterproof and have parapet properties. This is achieved through the use of safety glazing or appropriate shielding of the glass surfaces (grids etc.).

Enclosures are to be designed in such a way that the lounge area can be seen immediately behind. This requirement is intended to enable any activities (climbing, etc.) to be observed in the parapet area and thus to enable the educational staff to intervene quickly.

Regardless of this, when planning the level, you will have to consider how the supervision should be carried out. In addition to appropriate rules of conduct, insight options can facilitate the necessary controls. In some cases, the fire protection authorities require visibility (as a means of checking the building clearance).

Game levels must be independent of type and size structurally sufficient dimensions.While smaller levels (playhouses) usually require a selection of the load-bearing cross-sections based on craft considerations, larger levels (high number of users, loads from furniture, etc.) must be verified. Galleries or similar must meet the building law requirements, for which purpose e.g. statics heard.

Depending on their size, game levels can be classified as furniture (fixtures) or as part of the building. Depending on this, certain fire protection requirements may apply – such as to fulfill a second escape route. As this is partly the case by the local fire protection authorities is handled quite differently, a corresponding consultation is already strongly recommended in the planning phase. As a rule, however, there is only a second exit at larger game levels and levels with other rooms required.

Light wooden constructions without (sound-absorbing) floor coverings increase the noise of trampling children’s feet and can thus significantly impair the use of space. When planning, you should therefore ensure that the construction is sufficiently stiff (not too light) and that a damping covering (carpet, etc.) is also provided. In addition (especially in gallery-like levels) the underside of the game level can be provided with acoustic panels.

The usable minimum height of the level (distance to the ceiling) should be 1.35 m. With room heights of approx. 2.80 m, this requirement can lead to a significant reduction in the usable height below the level. Experience has shown, however, that this lower area is used more "movement-intensively" (running, running), which increases the risk of bumping on beams etc. In these cases, it must be weighed how the height should be divided, if necessary it is more sensible to reduce the minimum height on the level.

Traffic routes, escape and rescue routes may not be restricted in height or width by elevated levels.


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Christina Cherry
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