Tips for a Successful Community-Build Playground

Tips for a Successful Community-Build Playground

Most playground projects are installed using a general contractor through your SRP Certified Partner. However, doing a supervised community-build playground can help save up to 20% on installation costs. With savings that large, you are able to get more playground for your money. Hosting a community build also helps you and the volunteers deepen their roots within the community by putting in time and labor. This also builds lasting, genuine relationships with everyone who participates! With a community-build playground event, everyone can take pride in the accomplishments they have received.

What is a community-build playground? A community-built playground is when the community comes together to install a commercial-grade playground with the supervision of a professional installer or Certified Playground Safety Inspector. Here are a few tips on how to build a playground to make your community-built play area a success.

Create a committee.

Recruit the help of your local organizations and neighbors with the skills needed to complete this task. Some places to start could be partnering with local construction companies, schools, or child development centers; these types of places have good connections in the playground industry and may be able to lend helping hands for the project.

Have proper guidance and supervision from a CPSI-certified installer.

It is best practice to have a professional CPSI-certified installer on-site during a community build so they can manage and supervise the installation process. A CPSI is a Certified Playground Safety Inspector. With their guidance, your playground will be installed safely and correctly according to the current safety standards. Locate a local CPSI using this tool provided by the National Program for Playground Safety.

Ensure the space is prepared.

Prepare the space for the installation by doing the following items:

  • Prior to digging into the ground, locate any underground lines by hiring a utility locating service. If you are unsure how to locate ay underground utilities, call 811 before you dig.
  • Remove all debris, concrete, and asphalt from the space.
  • Grade the ground as close to level as possible for optimal safety.

Check inventory and safely store play equipment.

  • Use the packing list and installation instructions that ships with your playground equipment to ensure all parts are accounted for and undamaged.
  • Install should start within a few days of the play equipment being delivered to your site as the packing material is not designed to be stored in an uncontrolled environment for a long period of time.
  • Large sheets of plastic such as panels, arch bridge panels, slide hoods, etc. should be stored flat or well-supported in order to prevent warping.

Start constructing playground structures from the inside out.

Install play structures in a radiating fashion starting from the inside. Begin by installing a single post or deck in the middle of the structure in order to create a base to build from. Specific installation instructions are included for each piece of equipment.

Wait until the play structure is completely assembled until you set any posts in concrete.

To make sure your playground posts stand straight for many years, be sure to set them with concrete. However, do not pour in the concrete mix until the playground is assembled. If you pour the concrete into the post holes while you're assembling the structure, you won't be able to adjust the playground posts if needed.

Leave the worksite covered and roped off.

For safety, be sure to not leave the worksite unattended without first covering up all open holes (with material such as plywood) and roping off all unfinished equipment until installation is completed. Doing so will greatly reduce your risk of liability should anyone attempt to climb or play on the playground structure unattended.

To make sure your playground is always safe, download our free playground safety checklist and inspect your playground on a monthly basis. We also offer Maintenance and Supervision Guides. This detailed guide includes over 40 pages of useful information and instruction that is especially helpful for schools, daycare centers, and parks to keep playground equipment safe for children to play.


Ready to get started?Find Your Nearest Representative

For more information to aid in your community-build project, contact a SRP Certified Partner in your state.