Planning and installing a new playground can be an exciting, if somewhat daunting task. To help you develop a better understanding of how much time the entire process takes we have outlined the basic phases of playground planning and installation. We will discuss how long each phase typically takes, as well as the various factors that may influence your project timeline.
This phase of playground planning is really dependent upon communication. It's not unusual for a custom playground to go through several incarnations before reaching a finalized plan and there are several steps along the way that are required before design can be finalized.
The entire process begins with a detailed conversation. Your playground specialist will ask you for details on where your playground will be placed, how many children will use it at one time and what you have budgeted. They will also want to know what types of activities are important to you and suggest potential components for your structure based on the ages and developmental abilities of the children who will use your facility. They will also ask you to provide measurements of your space as well as photographs.
All of this information will then be relayed to a playground designer who will create a series of renderings depicting your proposed playground. Your playground specialist will review the design with you and relay any changes you require back to your designer. During this phase you will also review color options and customized signage. Once your plans are perfect, your finalized playground design will be sent to you for review and authorization.
Once your playground is ready to be ordered there is about a week of other related planning that's needed before your order is placed. Your project manager will work with you to map out utilities, confirm color selections and iron out a firm timeline. Typically this entire process takes about 7 to 10 days.
Your city or state may require special permitting before your playground can be installed. Generally, your project manager will request that the permits be acquired before the order is placed and will help guide you through the process. Obtaining permits can add about 4 weeks to your project timeline.
It takes approximately 6 weeks for a custom structure to be manufactured and delivered to your site. Customers in a time crunch can work with their playground specialist to choose an in stock, pre-designed playground or design a playground that is comprised of stock parts to reduce the delivery time if necessary.
If your project needs to wait before installation can commence, your order can typically be held for up to 60 days. Anything longer than that and your freight costs may change or you may be charged a warehouse fee. Many locations choose to simply have the equipment delivered and stored at their facility until they are ready for installation.
The installation timeline will be established with your project manager before your order is placed, so you should have a good idea of how long your individual playground will take to install. Most playgrounds can be substantially complete within one week of groundbreaking. Substantial completion means that your playground will be ready for use but may require small cosmetic repairs before being considered finished.
As with any construction project, playground installations are subject to weather and occasionally equipment related delays. If you plan to host a grand opening or need to have the playground available by a certain date, you may want to give yourself a few extra days past the estimated substantial completion date just to make sure you're not caught in a bind.
Weather can certainly impact your installation. During the summer months there is a rush for equipment to be manufactured and installed and delays may occur on either front. Our playground expert recommends ordering equipment for summer installations by the end of April to assure that your project can be completed on time. During the winter installers aren't as busy and you may find some really good deals on equipment. However, if you live in a colder climate, your equipment will need to be anchored below the freeze/thaw line. Because winter weather freezes the ground, equipment installed during the winter months must be installed deeper than normal to prevent the footings from loosening as the water evaporates from the ground. This can add a little extra time to bigger installations and may slightly increase the price.
Once your playground installation is finished, you will be asked to meet a staff member at the site for a final look. Together you will go over the playground and review any concerns that you may have. If any equipment has become damaged or you notice any installation issues they will be corrected at that time if possible. On the off chance the something needs to be replaced, your issue will be documented and you will be contacted by your project manager to schedule the fix, which typically occurs within one week.
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"Everything was just wonderful! We would absolutely recommend BYO to others. Our playground is gorgeous."