A playground maintenance plan is the best way to set yourself up for safety and success. Appropriate maintenance can prevent injuries, limit liability, and extend the lifespan of your playground equipment. Here’s everything you need to know about creating a maintenance schedule and keeping your playground in tip-top shape.
Why Do I Need a Playground Maintenance Plan?
Many playground managers don’t see the need for an ongoing maintenance plan, figuring it will save them time and money to simply complete work as needed. However, regular inspections and preventative maintenance will save you money and keep children at play safer over time.
Proper inspection and maintenance will also help limit your liability in the case of an injury or accident. And, keeping your playground in good shape will extend its life and help you avoid major unexpected repairs that can break your budget.
6 Steps to Creating a Playground Maintenance Plan
If you haven’t performed maintenance on your playground in a while, the idea of creating a maintenance schedule may be daunting. Follow these six simple steps to get your playground in the best shape of its life!
1. Know Your Budget
The first step to a successful playground maintenance plan is to understand your budget. Whether you own and manage the playground yourself or need to check in with a team, figuring out how much you can spend will set you up for success.
2. Assemble a Team
Now that you understand your budget, you can begin to assemble your team. If you have a maintenance or parks and recreation team at your disposal, you’ll want to understand each individual’s strengths and where they can assist. If you’re a team of one, you’ll need to be strategic about where you need assistance from a third party to complete your playground maintenance plan.
3. Create a Schedule
Perhaps the most important part of creating a playground maintenance plan is setting a schedule to keep you on track. This schedule should contain estimated or exact dates for:
- Playground inspections
- Cleaning and sanitizing
- Repairs and maintenance
- Playground surfacing repair (for unitary surfaces) or refill (for loose-fill surfaces)
In addition to the tasks themselves, you’ll want to include supporting information so that everyone is on the same page about the task to be completed. This information may include:
- The date and time of each maintenance task to be performed (consider times when the playground will be empty to avoid closures)
- Who is responsible for the task
- The budget (time, labor and/or materials) allocated
This schedule will serve as your master playground maintenance plan to keep your equipment safe and clean for children at play, so take your time and be as thorough as possible.
4. Plan for the Unexpected
Severe weather affects playgrounds around the country and often leads to closures while waiting for inspections or repairs. The best way to avoid closing your playground is to plan for these unexpected circumstances as best as you can.
For example, if you manage a playground in the southeastern United States, plan for twice as many playground inspections during hurricane season. And, leave room in your budget for any related repairs. While severe weather is unpredictable, taking a few extra steps to prepare for the worst will prevent extended playground closures and keep you from breaking your budget.
5. Keep a Record
One of the most overlooked playground maintenance tasks is keeping a record of inspections and repairs. Having a record can not only help with insurance, but it can predict issues sooner and avoid unexpected costs.
You can keep your record on paper, in a spreadsheet, or you can purchase software that will guide you through the inspection process and keep complete digital records for you.
6. Consult the Experts
If you're overwhelmed by any of the tasks in your playground maintenance plan, our certified inspectors are here to help. Whether you need assistance with inspection, sanitization, restoration, or repairs, Playground Guardian can improve the safety of your playground.