When considering the design and construction of a child care facility, the first thing that comes to mind is probably safety; children are smaller, more fragile and less likely to consider risk than adults, so the environments they spend time in need to be carefully planned and built to keep them safe to play and learn. Because of this, there are a number of laws and standards in place to ensure that child care and day care design puts safety first. But there are also other things to take into account before embarking on your build, like how you’ll keep your facility secure and what its overall aesthetic will be. Here are 9 things to consider when building a childcare facility.
Does your building fit the definition of a childcare facility?
The Department of Social Services defines a child care facility as ‘a building or place used for the supervision and care of children that provides long day care, preschool, occasional care or outside school hours care.’ If your facility falls under this definition, there are a number of regulations you’ll need to follow for your building and grounds to be legally compliant.
Have you undertaken a feasibility study?
A feasibility study determines whether your child care facility project is even possible, and if so, identifies any potential issues that might arise during the design, build and fit-out process. Examples of considerations addressed during a feasibility study include your budget, the proposed location of your facility, and how you will make sure you’re adhering to local and national laws.
Does your building design meet national Building Code requirements?
Each state in the country follows the national Building Code of Australia, which is a set of rules that must be followed to make sure that building work is, among other factors, safe. Each state has its own variation of the Building Code, so it’s important to adhere to the rules set out by the state you will be building in. Requirements not specified in your state’s Building Code can be additionally enforced by something called the National Quality Regulations.
Are you complying with national laws and regulations?
The standard for children’s care across Australia is set by the National Law, and details about how to adhere to the law are outlined in the National Regulations. Child care centres that have been approved are regulated by the National Quality Framework and measured against the National Quality Standard. Under the regulations set by the National Quality Framework, childcare centres must meet specific requirements.
Are you working alongside local regulatory authorities?
Your local regulatory authorities are responsible for making sure all childcare facilities in your state are compliant with the National Quality Framework. For your facility to operate legally, you are required to provide the regulatory authorities with plans, permits and compliance documents relating to your build.
Is your site appropriate?
The site you’ve chosen for your child care facility should be large enough to hold the building itself, an outside learning space, parking for staff and visitors and, ideally, room to expand in future.
Does your childcare centre design prioritise good natural light and ventilation?
Along with providing a comfortable environment for the children in your childcare facility, good ventilation is essential for mitigating the spread of airborne illnesses. While artificial lighting is a good complement to natural light, it’s a good idea, for the well-being of people using the building, to prioritise the latter.
Does your child care fit-out consider security?
Security refers to both the safety of the children in the facility and of the site itself from burglary and vandalism. Your child care facility design should ensure that care is taken to use fencing, security screens, CCTV cameras and gates to best advantage to keep children and facilities safe.
What do you want your childcare facility to look like?
Perhaps the most enjoyable consideration to make before embarking on your child care design, build and fit-out is its look and feel. Maslow (the creator of the Hierarchy of Needs, well known to educators worldwide) identified three needs in addition to his original five – one of which was aesthetic needs. It’s important to prioritise a fit-out that is stimulating, welcoming, and nurturing to young minds.
With so much regulation to consider, as well as vitally important considerations like security and aesthetics, it’s crucial to engage a professional and experienced team to handle your child care facility design, build and fit-out. Cyclo Group, with our extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of regulations and certifications, can help you every step of the way. Get in touch and rest easy knowing that your childcare facility project is in experienced hands.