Under BSEN16630 - 'Permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment - safety requirements & test methods' regular maintenance checks are rightly identified as being vitally important for the safety of users of the equipment. Although the frequencies of inspections must be determined by customer's own risk assessments taking into account the design, materials used and the age of the equipment, in line with BSEN16630 our recommendation is that components should routinely be checked weekly.
BSEN16630 however states that 'for routine visual inspections facilities subject to heavy use or vandalism daily inspection to identify obvious hazards can be necessary' It also states that 'Operational inspections, more detailed than routine visual inspection should be carried out every one to three months to check the operation and stability of the equipment. In addition there should be an annual main inspection intended to establish the overall state of the equipment with regard to operational safety'.
Check for any rot or damage to the protective treatment envelope regularly. Treat any damage immediately, using a recommended proprietary preservative only. e.g. Tanalith Ensele® . Check for any damage or vandalism to smaller hand dowels and report this as soon as possible. Check all fixings and fitting points for signs of wear in pre-drilled holes.
Structural timber components are treated with Tanalith-e pressure treatment. Timber uprights are also fitted with Postsaver® Sleeves - see our separate Fitness Trail Product Specification data sheet for full details. Tanalith-e is a timber treatment against rot and decay but is ineffective if the timbers outer treatment envelope is damaged. Postsaver Sleeves are also ineffective if damaged. In accordance with our Fitness Trail Product Specification Data Sheet if grass cutters / strimmers are used around treated timber uprights they will irreparably damage, the treatment envelope leading to reduced life expectancy. Any such damage also invalidates the 15 year Tanalith treatment guarantee. Timbers must be regularly checked to ensure that there is no rot or damage, which should be treated immediately with a suitable timber preservative such as Ensele.
The natural movement of timber products will not affect the protection of the pressure treatment as this is applied under pressure which also naturally forces the Tanalith-e treatment into any flaws in the material so the treatment envelope is not affected.
Round timbers are a natural organic material that will swell when becoming humid and shrink when dry, and that is when cracks will occur. It continues to expand and contract 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Cracking, unless very severe, is normally cosmetic and not structural. To the untrained eye however, any split will cause concern, although when normal climatic conditions return the vast majority of cracks heal up. Pine also sometimes produces resin, which is another natural phenomenon.
Although our Fitness Trail equipment is subject to BSEN16630, by way of comparison under the European standard BSEN1176 for play equipment for children under 14 a crack tolerance up to 8mm is permitted but we would recommend that Fitness Trail timbers are re-monitored at 5mm with consideration given to changing affected timbers if they do not heal during normal climatic conditions. However as our Fitness Trail equipment are not intended for use by children under 14 or for use as play equipment BSEN1176 is not applicable. Under BSEN16630 there is no limit on the extent of cracks in timbers, unless it becomes structural.
An alternative Radiata Pine log option is available on all of our products for clients who may be concerned about the potential of splitting timbers, or where timbers are installed into very changeable climates. Radiata Pine is regarded as being less prone to splits and shakes than European timbers and is consequently widely used in play equipment.
Check for signs of rust or wear to any plated components. These can be maintained by touching up any damage to the surface immediately using rust preserving paint such as Hammerite. The majority of steel components are stainless steel and will therefore need no maintenance.
All bolts and screws should be tightened when necessary. Loose fixings are a hazardous safety risk, particularly those in timber components and those with moving parts. Check that no bolts or screws are missing. A hole means something is missing. Check bolts and screws weekly. Check plastic bolt covers are in place, replace any that are missing.
Check all anchoring points for stability and anchor posts for signs of damage close to the ground.
Lubricate all moving parts regularly and make sure there is no risk of entrapment between moving parts and fixed parts. All worn parts should be replaced immediately.
Check for any wear or deterioration of ropes and chains especially at fitting points. Replace as necessary. Check for any fraying points on ropes and nets and replace immediately if fraying is found. If the steel core becomes exposed on combination rope work it should be replaced immediately.
Natural Manila Climbing Ropes in particular should be regularly checked for signs of wear and rotting and replaced every 2-3 years if permanently left outside.
Refer first to any specific maintenance instructions relating to surfacing provided by the surface supplier / installers. Make sure that there are no hard or hidden sharp objects such as broken glass or contaminants that could be considered dangerous left in either loose-fill or synthetic surfacing. Loose-fill surfacing should be regularly maintained by raking level, topping up and checking for and removing sharp objects when necessary. Check synthetic surfacing for signs of damage, vandalism and cracks. Compliant Grow Through Grass Tiles should be checked periodically for wear and to check that all fixing pins and ties remain in place. Grass surfaces within Compliant Grass Tiles must be well maintained.