Specification for CSA Z614

Clause 10 Protective Surfacing

The owner/operator (O/O) is obligated to provide a protective surface that prevents serious and life-threatening injuries from a fall from the play structure to the protective surface. Some O/Os offer to provide significant better protection from injury severity as stated in their organizational Health and Safety Policies. CSA Z614-20, sets only minimum with Clause 10.1 providing that the surface shall not impart a linear acceleration exceeding 200g or a HIC (head injury criteria) value greater than 1000 with the testing being the procedure in ASTM F1292-99. Since 1999, the ASTM F1292, which is the original 3 temperature test, evolved to include a field test procedure. This field test has further evolved to be exclusively in ASTM F3313. Reference to testing in the field to ASTM F1292 or F3313 are interchangeable. This Standard encourages the O/O or their speci􀃽er to select drop heights for testing to be higher than the equipment fall height and select values for g and HIC that are lower than the limits of the standards to enhance injury protection and better asset management.

Clause 10.2 of the Z614-20 recommends that owner/operators should request a copy of the 3-temperature test for surfacing. The original 3-temperature test is ASTM F1292 and provides the critical height or the height at which the surface fails and needs to be replaced according to Z614, Clause 10.4.7. Recently ASTM has published a new Standard ASTM F3351, Standard Test Method for Playground Surface Impact Testing in Laboratory at Specified Test Height. This standard allows for a request with the submissions from surfacing suppliers to demonstrate their ability to perform better than the minimum requirements and at heights that reflect where children are likely to climb or to ensure many more years of functional longevity for the surfacing asset. To utilize this standard, the speci􀃶er must request the drop height and associated acceptable g and HIC values.

This document can be used by a specifier for any synthetic surface system. The submittals generally apply to all surface systems. For some systems, the base preparation will be different, such a tiles or mats with legs where a concrete or asphaltic surface is required to support the legs over the long-term. Inclusion of drainage systems will be determined by local conditions for soil, quantity of precipitation, winter snow melt, etc.

In determining injury prevention in relation to the “safety” strategies that an owner might have, the following provides the anticipated level of injury that can occur at the minimum protection values for the g and HIC limits of the Z614. The O/O must decide if these values or better performance is acceptable.

“Limiting the HIC value to a maximum of 1000 is equivalent to a 3% chance of a critical head injury (MAIS 5), an 18% probability of a severe (MAIS 4) head injury, a 55% probability of a serious (MAIS 3) head injury, a 89% probability of a moderate head injury (MAIS 2), and a 99.5% change of a minor head injury (MAIS 2), the average male adult.” (CEN En1177:2018)

The value of 200g is a 10% risk of skull fracture. (ASTM F08.65)


This surface is to provide functional impact attenuation and durability, meeting the performance requirements CSA Z614-20 at the time of installation and throughout the functional life of the playground. Impact testing will be performed at the time of installation and each year during the 5-year warranty period and periodically into the future at the discretion of the O/O

Where applicable the surface must also meet all the ground level surface requirements for accessibility as required in CSA Z614-20, Annex H. These are physical tests that will be performed at the time of installation and throughout the warranty period.

Reference Standards.

ASTM D2859 – Standard Test Method for Ignition Characteristics of Finished Textile Floor Covering Materials

ASTM F355 – Standard Test Method for Impact Attenuation of Playing Surface Systems, Other Protective Sport Systems, and Materials Used for Athletics, Recreation and Play

ASTM F1292 – Standard Specifications for Impact Attenuation of Surfacing Materials Within the Use Zone of Playground Equipment

ASTM F1551 – Standard Test Methods for Comprehensive Characterization of Synthetic Turf Playing Surfaces and Materials

ASTM F2157 – Standard Specification for Synthetic Surfaced Running Tracks

ASTM F2479 – Standard Guide for Specification, Purchase, Installation and Maintenance of Poured-In-Place Playground Surfacing

ASTM F3313 – Standard Test Method for Determining Impact Attenuation of Playground Surfaces Within the Use Zone of Playground Equipment as Tested in the Field

ASTM F3351 – Standard Test Method for Playground Surface Impact Testing in Laboratory at Specified Test Height

CAN/CSA Z614 – Children’s playground equipment and surfacing

CAN/CSA Z614, Annex H – Children’s playgrounds and equipment that are accessible to persons with disabilities

US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Handbook for Public Playground Safety


The definitions provided for in the CSA Z614 and various ASTM standards will be the definitions used in this specification.

Where applicable the surface must also meet all the ground level surface requirements for accessibility as required in CSA Z614-20, Annex H. These are physical tests that will be performed at the time of installation and throughout the warranty period.

Submittals at time of proposal

Submittals help outline and confirm the performance requirements for the Protective Surfacing.

Supplier Speci􀃶cation for the Protective Surfacing System and must include statements of,

  • Injury prevention performance in relation to the intended age groups for the play structures, such as g<100 and HIC <570 for structures intended for children under 5 or HIC <700 for
  • structures intended for children 5-12 years. (These HIC values are taken from North American
  • Automobile requirements as set minimums)
  • Sub-base and drainage requirements
  • Determination of thickness of surface, whether there is a minimum thickness that is increased
  • based on impact performance requirements
  • General description of the installation procedure
  • Constraints for successful installation including limits for temperature and humidity
  • Statement of treatment for bevels and transitions to other materials
  • Detail of any requirements for perimeter materials such as curbs and sidewalks
  • Warranty - stating number of years, compliance with performance, remedies and any exclusions
  • List of open warranty claims either in resolution or subject to dispute.

Certificate from the polyurethane supplier and system supplier,

  • That the polyurethane is the same formula as used in the samples for testing to ASTM F3351
  • That the polyurethane is intended for outdoor play and recreation surfaces and is UV stable with exposure to UV not detrimentally affecting the impact attenuation of the installed surface.
  • The polyurethane must not contain latex

Certificates from a third-party laboratory for the 3 temperature ASTM F3351,

  • The drop heights of 4.25m, 4.9m (14’ & 16’) indicating a g value not exceeding 100 and HIC value not exceeding 700.
  • The drop height of 5.5 (18’) indicating a g value not exceeding 110 and HIC value not exceeding 710.
  • Attestation that the binder, system components and installation technique utilized in the sample are consistent with the surface to be installed.
  • The test certificate is not older than 5 years.

Maintenance procedures for the system,

Qualifications for the crew leader and senior crew member indicating a minimum of 10 years’experience.

Test results to the 􀃽eld test in ASTM F1292-17 or earlier or ASTM F3313 for projects that at older than10 years and indicate compliance to the performance stated in the warranty requirements.

Shop drawings for any details not included in the supplier speci􀃽cation.

Third party certi􀃽cate for Testing to D2859 indicating a pass with no combustion propagation.

Submittals following award of Contract

Requirements for insurance, Workers Compensation and other local regulations as stated in the general Submittals following award of Contract Testing and Inspections conditions of the contract documents.

Testing and Inspections

Following the installation of the system and at a time when the systems are fully cured, the surface system will be inspected for the following,

  • Compliance for impact attenuation that the installed surface provides a g value <100 and HIC value <570 for structures intended for children under 5 years and <700 for structures intended for children 5-12 years.
  • The drop height will be the highest fall height within a play structure, any designated play surface accessible to play and any height that the contract documents have stipulated prior to purchase.
  • The testing is to be performed to the procedure in ASTM F3313, utilizing the Triax2010, Triax2015, or TriaxTouch, within two years of calibration and performance con􀃽rm with the performance of eference drops. The person performing the testing will be suitably trained by a competent body, as per ASTM standards.

Annually and at least 60 days prior to the end of the warranty, the same testing will be performed from the same drop heights and the g value will be allowed to increase to 120g and the HIC value will be allow to increase to 700 for structures intended for children under 5 and 850 for structures intended for children 5-12 years.

Failures for impact attenuation will require the determination of the extent of the failure across the surface and that area is to be replaced at no cost to the owner.

At the conclusion of the installation, the surface system that is designated to be accessible and compliant with Annex H will be inspected and any failures will be brought into compliance at no cost to the owner.


Each surface system will have standard colours, augmented with special colours, and textures that the speci􀃽er will select with the appropriate description.


The protective surfacing provider will cooperate and coordinate their work with those responsible for the installation of play structures, base materials, and surrounding surfaces. This coordination will extend to the provision of protection of the various component from damage by contractors or the public.

Protective Surfacing Installation

Base options – depending upon the choice of surfacing systems, poured-in-place and synthetic turf generally are installed on compacted granular, while tiles or mats are generally installed on concrete or asphalt to provide support to the leg or station system.

Protective Surface System – Poured-In-Place

The surfacing installer shall prime any surfaces that are identified for priming in their specification. They shall also provide a geotextile (Terrafix 200R or equivalent) as a separation between the poured-in-place system and the granular base.

The poured-in-place system shall be installed in a minimum of 2 layers, a cushion and wear layer, with the thickness for each determined by the supplier to meet the impact attenuation performance of this specification. All layers of the system will have polyurethane binder with no loose rubber being allowed. The installed surface shall provide a g value not exceeding 100 or HIC value exceeding 570 for structures intended for children under 5 and not exceeding 700 for structures intended for children 5-12 years old. The drop height for testing shall at a minimum be the fall heights for the CSA Z614, the highest designated play surface accessible to play and the tops of any structures intended for climbing.

The poured-in-place wear layer must be,

  • Seamless, particularly across designs or changes of colours
  • Slip-resistant
  • Vandal resistant
  • Utilize a UV resistant binder
  • 100% rubber granules (recycled tires for pigmented surfaces and EPDM for full colour surfaces)

Transitions shall be smooth and meet CSA Z614, Annex H. Where the surface transitions to Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF), the transition shall be as recommended in ASTM F2479.


The surfacing supplier shall ensure that the area is clean and free of any coating or materials used during the installation.


The warranty is for a minimum of 5 years and shall provide for repairs or replacement at no cost to the owner for any failures to the requirements of impact attenuation or materials and workmanship other than acts of God or vandalism. Failures shall include, but not be limited to seam separation, gaps, cracks, and changes in vertical height not related to failure of the sub-base.