Four main areas of decking were conceptually designed by the Architects at HMY Architects. Made to create raised playtime platforms for the children at Gordons School in Rochester in Kent.


The Decking Structural design

The project, well planned with time for meetings to discuss the finer points of the structural design. Use Class 4, essential for the posts with C24 timber joists. These are the choice of the day with Thermally treated red wood pine for the decking. The overall performance of the decking, designed to a 4kN use loading. The star of the show Millboard in the vertical; Carefully designed with the impact resistant acrylic windows custom made with Millboard Framing them. Furthermore, the limed oak in the first instance would have been the wrong choice but as the natural thermo timber will weather to a grey, thus creating a much more harmonious combination of colour.

The front of the school had a very steep change in elevation, almost 1 metre in 4 metres, a level platform was very much required. Again, surrounded in a vertical cladding of Millboard.

My favourite platform in this arrangement was in the centre which was in two parts. The circular performance area for the children to act out their playground X-Idol or Pop-factor… the best part as the seated amphitheatre style viewing platform.

Karl Harrison said “These essential platforms provide a safe environment for the children to enhance their social skills which are also being diminished with the rapid proliferation of modern technology”.

Material Selection

A semi-circular arrangement was the third platform in this playground of problem solvers. This was more for use as an exterior classroom area; Semicircular in form with that Millboard wraparound, plenty of windows in this one.

Finally, the last platform surrounded newly refurbished classrooms. Sensible in form with a substantial playground area for the very small kids. Surrounded where required with a regulatory .75kN use balustrade in matching timber to that of the thermo decking.

Some 460 sq, the school benefited in a project that removed the vicious areas of undulating playground; these replaced with usable terraces. Well designed and long lasting with minimal maintenance for thousands of tiny feet over the next 25 years

The decking oil was with kind consultation from Owatrol UK. A special thanks to Ross for his professional assistance.

Credits and Further information

Completed                              2015

Client                                       Gordons School

Decking material                   Thermo Redwood Pine

Specialist wall feature          Millboard® Enhanced Grain

Structural design                   Karl Harrison

Architect                                  HMY Architects

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