“New state government figures reveal that over three times more homes were completed within the City of Sydney’s boundaries during the first seven months of this financial year than in any of the 41 other Sydney councils . The City of Sydney, which covers just 26 square kilometres, is adding new homes at the rate of 100 per week. The figures underscore the growing dominance of multi-unit housing in the Sydney property market. In the first seven months of 2014-15 more than two thirds of all dwelling approvals in greater Sydney were for multi-unit developments.”
- If you’re building your centre on a concrete slab, whether that be on ground level or the 5th floor, involve your landscape designer before the building is constructed. This way prior discussions can be had as to the types of play elements that will be required in the design and how details for water/electrical, access, drainage, waterproofing, soundproofing and slab structural integrity can be accommodated.
- Council requirements for adequate light and ventilation are important, if you don’t have them then it’s odds on that you won’t get construction approval. It is a lot easier and cheaper to choose or design an appropriate building for a childcare centre than attempt to meet council requirements by retro-fitting it to meet these requirements.
- If you’re going to have plants as natural elements in your playspace seek advice as to what plants will be appropriate, they need to be able to establish and grow in semi shaded to shaded areas, be non-toxic and child friendly.
- Plants also require water, nourishment and maintenance. It is not enough to depend on children or a horticulturally gifted staff member to provide these services. Engage a suitably qualified horticulturalist (with an up to date Working with children check) to provide a maintenance plan and services. It shouldn’t cost a lot and the benefits to your playspace environment will be pleasantly noticeable.
- You can’t depend on staff or children to water the plants and air conditioned environments dry out soil and plants very quickly. The solution is to invest in a sub-surface drip irrigation system set to an auto timer that can be installed during the construction phase. The system should be installed by a suitably qualified plumber or tradesman with TAFE certification and should contain a back flow prevention valve and an auto shutoff valve to prevent flooding in case the system is damaged.
- Whether plants are installed as natural elements or in an internal green wall they require sufficient sunlight to photosynthesis. Plants with limited sunlight will grow slowly and will not flower or fruit. In an internal environment you can provide sufficient sunlight by positioning plants near windows, under skylights and utilizing low thermal emissivity glass. You can also utilize plant grow lights. There are a number of different types of grow lights, some specifically for types of vegetation. The lights should be chosen by a suitably qualified horticultural specialist and installed during construction by a qualified electrician.
- A number of centres may chose to install a green wall to increase the natural elements in a playspace. The rate of plant failure of green walls that are not designed and installed properly is high. Green walls are not a low maintenance feature. They may require both irrigation and lighting systems and the plants should be chosen by a suitably qualified horticulturalist and be non-toxic and child friendly. A number of Councils will also require you to submit a plant maintenance plan as part of the DA process.
- A number of centres are choosing to utilize artificial grass, installed over soft fall, in their playspaces. There are particular standards for grass that is to be used in an internal playspace. To be compliant to the BCA (internal floor coverings) the grass needs to meet appropriate fire resistance standards. We also specify Australian made grass, to ensure a lead free product is installed.