One question we often get asked in regard to our commercial playground equipment is “Is it easy to install?” And the answer is, of course, dependent upon you, the buyer. There are many faith based organizations that have bought a structure, but opted out of installation because a member of their congregation has the minimal expertise needed to begin the construction. The following pieces of information may help you to decide if you want to purchase installation services from American Parks Company, or if the money you save by performing the task yourself can increase your budget for equipment.
Preparing the Concrete Footers & Erecting the Steel Posts
The most difficult portion of installation, which in turn is also the most important, is the construction of the concrete footers for the structural steel posts. We provide a CAD layout of the footer size and spacing with some accompanying details, and most contractors have the experience needed to dig the post holes and prepare the concrete bases for the steel posts. Preparing the site and establishing an accurate layout of the footers will make the remaining tasks go much more smoothly, and will ensure the playground is safe from the ground up.
Connecting the Play Decks
After the steel posts are erected, the only other moderate challenge in installing our playground equipment is preparing the play decks. This step requires a couple extra sets of hands, and, if the previous steps to install the posts are not done correctly, can make it extremely difficult to connect the decks to the posts. However, if all is well, the only critical element in erecting the decks is making sure the height takes into account the depth of the safety surfacing material, and that all sides are level.
The Fun Stuff
Once the steel posts and play decks are in place, the rest of the play structure is fairly modular and can go rather quickly with the right amount of help from other people. The slides, climbers, activity panels, and other equipment clamp to the steel posts and/or decks in similar fashion. The only tools generally required are common wrenches and screw drivers, which don’t require any special knowledge. Some of our church and HOA customers often coordinate the entire congregation or neighborhood to come out and make it a community building activity.
Teamwork will definitely save time and installation costs, but more often than not our typical customers don’t have the luxury of coordinating a footer layout, erecting posts and decks, and reading installation instructions to make sure the entire playground is assembled correctly. We cannot warranty equipment that is not installed properly; and that is generally the decision making factor that determines whether or not a customer will purchase installation services from us. It is not an overly-complicated process, but there are enough opportunities for mistakes to occur that will result in inadequate safety for the users of the equipment. However, installing yourself does not void the warranty. You have no need to worry if we perform the install.
The Shipping & Receiving Process
Even if you’re prepared to build the playground structure yourself, or with a team of professionals in your community, there is still the matter of receiving the shipment. The freight companies that deliver the equipment from our manufacturing facilities to your site will not perform the offloading of the materials themselves. While most of the equipment can be pulled out from the shipping crates by your team of helpers, there are certain cases where that’s impossible. The safety surfacing material is a prime example.
If you’ve bought loose fill Rubber Mulch surfacing for your playground it will arrive to your site in 1 ton super-sacks which require a forklift to be removed from the freight vehicle. However, if you’ve ordered Engineered Wood Fiber, the loose fill will likely be emptied from the back of the truck to the most convenient and accessible site location. If the playground site is not accessible by truck from a roadway, you and your team may need to utilize wheelbarrows to transfer the fiber from a curbside location to the playground, and that can take some time. If you don’t have access to a bobcat or forklift, we can coordinate the shipment to arrive on vehicles with a lift gate. Keep in mind that these vehicles may have less carrying capacity, and if you’ve purchased several pieces of equipment they may require more than one vehicle thereby increasing freight costs.
Our customer service department will work with you to organize shipping and receiving in as timely a manner as possible depending on manufacturing and freight schedules. But when you buy installation services along with your playground, we will take care of all of the above. You can rest assured that a professional has performed the work, guaranteeing that your commercial playground is safe for public use.