Planning: Be proactive and carefully consider your specific site needs, goals, and vision
for your project. Consider the following items as you begin planning your
playground in order to be better prepared to discuss options with the vendor.
  • Determine how surfacing will be used.
  • Determine what age group will use the play area.
  • Determine the compatibility with the area topography and weather.
  • Determine if an architect will be involved.
  • Solicit community input.
  • Determine site requirements.
  • Determine who will install equipment surfacing.
  • Define budget and obtain necessary funding.
  • Explore existing state procurement contracts
    or waste management grants.
  • Consider maintenance and longevity and create
    a master plan.
  • Review products available (loose-fill and unitary)
    and determine which options will be used.
  • Collect and determine scope.
  • Determine how play value will be strategically
    incorporated.
  • Determine special features, graphics, or design
    considerations.
  • Choose colors.
  • Know fall height of equipment.
  • Research and determine durability, drainage,
    and accessibility.
  • Determine if product will be installed on a hard
    surface such as concrete, asphalt, or compacted sub-base aggregate. Some surfacing requires this type of sub-base. Surfacing such as Engineered Wood Fiber requires other sub-base preparation.
  • Create an overall site plan and determine
    accessible route of travel.
  • Determine what playground equipment will be used.
Purchasing: Once you have determined your budget, goals of project, and overall
scope, it is important to take the following steps prior to purchasing your surfacing investment.
  • Draft a published bid document/specification tmeet your needs.
  • Organize the decision and selection process.
  • Discuss other hidden details or other needed site work – outside the scope of work.
  • Obtain required licenses, permits, insurance, fees/wages.
  • Secure credit and funding approval.
  • Collect vendor/installer warranty requirements, test data identifying the critical height rating of the desired
    surfacing, and credibility/certification.
  • Make sure the product and installation is IPEMA/ASTM compliant and will meet ADA guidelines
  • Insure material selected meets or exceeds the fall height of the equipment.
  • Prepare the site.
Protecting: It is essential that you protect the playground users and your surfacing
investment. This requires careful and ongoing maintenance to ensure
compliance and documentation of the work completed.
  • Ensure that installation is being followed per manufacturer recommendations.
  • Maintain good files and photographs on the entire project (start tfinish).
  • Ensure the completed project meets spec.
  • Make sure you received what you paid for and sign-off.
  • Discuss initial and continuous scheduled inspections.
  • Establish a maintenance plan/program.
  • Secure all paperwork and documentation.
  • Obtain letter of compliance.
  • Obtain a project-specific warranty.
  • Conduct routine safety inspections and ADA compliance inspections.

 

“Excerpted from Strong Foundations: Planning, Purchasing and Protecting Playground Surfacing Investments. To order a copy, click here >>