Whether your homeowner’s association (HOA) is upgrading an existing playground or installing an entirely new one, maintenance efforts should be at the forefront of planning.
Upkeep can make your organization’s space more inviting and safe, so it’s important to prioritize it. We’re breaking down the best ways you can make your association’s play area more secure and fun for the kids in your neighborhood.
Learn more about maintaining your HOA playground and some key considerations for making it the best space possible for your community.
Starting HOA Playground Development
Before beginning any playground project, understand all regulations and standards. Depending on your organization’s location, there will be different rules your HOA will need to follow. Explore the standards set at every level of government, from federal to state and local.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) outlines best practices in the Playground Safety Handbook, which covers nearly every aspect of your HOA play space.
Each state has its own set of rules regarding play equipment. Conducting some research can help you familiarize yourself with what codes and suggestions your specific state has for your HOA playground. Your local municipality may also have its own regulations and standards that you must comply with when building or updating your HOA play space. Understanding the laws that apply to your HOA is essential for lawfully establishing your playground.
All playgrounds must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This federal law prohibits discrimination and ensures all people have equal access. Your association’s playground must abide by these regulations and do its best to accommodate as many individuals as possible.
Abiding by all these rules will be much easier with the help of a licensed attorney who has a better understanding of the law and what your HOA can do to protect itself and its community.
Considerations for New Playgrounds
Explore some of the top considerations for designing and installing a new HOA playground that will help you maintain it in the long run:
Finding a Credible Manufacturer
When browsing different manufacturers, you’ll soon learn not all playground equipment is equal. Your community will benefit from choosing a supplier that produces high-quality, long-lasting pieces that will endure lots of use and be easier to maintain.
Remember, your HOA playground is an investment for your neighborhood. Be wary of manufacturers with extremely low prices, as this could indicate that they’ve opted for cheaper and less durable materials.
Doing some research can be highly advantageous for finding an equipment manufacturer that understands and meets certain safety and accessibility requirements, especially compliance with ADA regulations.
Prioritize the comfort and enjoyment for the kids in your community as you comb through potential suppliers. Local kids will appreciate having a space with a lot of thought and care put into it.
In addition to traditional play equipment, also consider incorporating features to protect and enhance the playground, such as a custom shade structure, which can help minimize necessary maintenance down the line.
In addition to the equipment at your HOA playground, there are some other highly important decisions to make regarding this outdoor play space. The surfacing materials you choose matter and impact how the kids will play.
You will likely need to do some research to find out if there are any restrictions for surfacing in your location. Some ground materials are not legal because they don’t comply with accessibility needs, so ensure you find an option that’s accommodating and works for all members of your community.
Some popular playground surfacing materials include:
- Synthetic turf
- Poured-in-place rubber
- Rubber tiles
- Rubber mulch
- Wood mulch
What you choose will impact your HOA’s playground maintenance plan. Loose-fill options like mulch will need to be raked regularly to ensure the surfacing stays in place. You might also need to top up loose surfacing every now and then to maintain adequate levels. Uniform options like turf, rubber or tiles can be easier to maintain. You’ll need to check for cracks and holes and fill them to avoid further damage.
Safety Signage and Rules
When developing your HOA play space, find a way to communicate the playground’s specific rules and regulations. Adding dedicated signage to outline your board’s expectations regarding this area can be advantageous. By making your association’s playground rules well-known, you can help keep visitors safer and limit your HOA’s liability in the face of a mishap or accident. Your community needs to know what behavior is acceptable on and around the equipment.
Include signage that displays the proper way to use these pieces of equipment to promote safety and prevent damage to play components, limiting maintenance requirements over time. Ensure signs are simple and easy to understand. The more straightforward they are, the better. Determine what areas around your HOA playground can benefit most from having signs present, and be sure you choose locations that guests cannot miss. Add these signs to your maintenance plan to make sure they’re still in place and legible over time.
Once you’ve begun the development and construction of your board’s playground, consider the need for ongoing inspections. Establishing a routine will help your HOA monitor equipment more closely and stay ahead of maintenance needs.
Inspections are a critical part of playground upkeep. They are also legally required in some areas. Having a certified playground inspector check out the space can be highly beneficial for identifying and tending to potential issues early on before they become problems.
Create a schedule to outline your HOA inspection goals and expectations. You’ll want your board to have clear guidelines for how to maintain the play space. Regular inspections are the key to playground equipment’s longevity. You can save your HOA from costly replacements and simultaneously keep your community safer by carefully studying the play area routinely.
Consulting With an Attorney
Your homeowner’s association can protect itself by consulting with an attorney regarding the new playground. Having a professional on your side can help ensure you meet all compliance needs and are aware of all applicable laws and regulations.
You can benefit from having your attorney check out the following regarding your new HOA playground:
- Legal documents
- Insurance policies
- Building codes
Your attorney can help you ensure the play space complies with the CPSC’s Public Playground Safety Handbook. This handbook outlines maintenance and considerations to create the safest playground for your community.
With the help of a lawyer, your HOA can cover the bases and reduce the risk of injury while limiting liability if something were to occur on the playground.
HOA Playground Requirements for Maintenance
Another consideration for your board’s new play space is establishing your HOA playground’s maintenance requirements. Since your organization is creating something brand-new, you’ll need to also create official maintenance protocols and routines to follow.
Having an official checklist will help keep your HOA playground looking and functioning its best. This play area is an asset to your community, and looking after it ensures you provide your neighbors with a valuable investment and not an eyesore.
Considerations for Existing Playgrounds
If your community already has an existing playground that your board wants to upgrade, explore the following maintenance considerations:
Replacing Surfacing Materials
The surfacing is one of the most important parts of your HOA playground. The materials can wear down and become damaged as time goes on. Replacing the current surfacing with something safer and more durable is highly beneficial for the kids in your community.
The following are indications your HOA should replace playground surfacing:
- Wear and tear: As kids frequent playground equipment, surfacing materials can start to deteriorate or become uneven. Heavy wear is a telltale sign you need a replacement.
- Weather damage: Severe storms and inclement weather can damage playground surfacing over time. Heavy rains or winds can displace materials, and it may be best to upgrade to something new.
- Constant repairs: If you notice your organization’s current playground surfacing is in constant need of maintenance and repairs, it might be financially beneficial to replace it rather than repeatedly spending on quick fixes.
Remember that there are specific regulations regarding the necessary depth of the surfacing in some locations, as well.
Checking for Hazards
Another important maintenance consideration for your current HOA playground is checking around for existing hazards. Have a member of your team perform a visual inspection to identify any of the following hazards on a weekly basis:
- Insect nests: Whether they bite or sting, insects can hurt kids playing on the playground. Proactively look for nests and get rid of them before bugs can cause harm.
- Exposed or missing equipment parts: When a playground’s equipment is not in place as intended, it can be potentially dangerous for kids at play. Any missing or loose parts need replacing promptly before they pinch anyone.
- Tripping hazards: Whether surfacing is misplaced or you’re dealing with an exposed tree root, identify any areas that could cause kids to trip or fall.
While it may not be a major hazard, keep an eye out for vandalism, too. Your HOA put a lot of time and money into the playground. Be sure to monitor it for any signs of defacing to keep it in its finest shape, and promptly get rid of anything offensive or dangerous.
Along with inspecting your organization’s playground for potential hazards, your HOA will also benefit from performing in-depth inspections of the equipment.
You should have a professional look at structures and evaluate their stability. Small tasks like tightening nuts and bolts can be a great way to ensure these play systems are strong and ready for the kids. Look for evidence of rust or wear that may compromise the integrity of your board’s play area.
By having an inspection schedule, you can stay on top of your HOA playground’s needs and help prolong the working life of each piece of equipment while keeping everyone safer. Every HOA play area should have a definitive routine for maintenance in place.
Adding a Shade Structure
One of the most effective ways to boost your HOA playground maintenance is by installing shade structures. Every play area can benefit from having some space without direct sunlight.
Incorporating shade structures into your organization’s playground setup can offer these advantages:
- Lower temperatures: Having somewhere to escape the sun is helpful, especially when playing outside on hot days. Shade structures provide play areas with some relief from the high temperatures.
- Prolong the equipment’s life: The sun’s UV rays can fade and damage playground equipment over time. A shade structure can help block out harmful light.
- Improve the playground’s visual appeal: Custom shade structures can upgrade the look of the playground while enhancing its functionality for your community.
Benefits of Developing a Maintenance Plan
Having a plan for routine maintenance of your HOA playground has many advantages, including:
Managing Risks and Reducing Liability
Every playground can benefit from having a clear, well-thought-out maintenance plan with set schedules and checklists to follow.
These plans will help your HOA better manage risks by keeping the play space as safe and danger-free as possible. Ultimately, these ongoing maintenance routines can help limit your liability if someone were to get injured on your organization’s playground. Your HOA can also take advantage of detailed maintenance and repair records if an incident occurs.
Likewise, having an attorney weigh in on your board’s playground maintenance plan can further protect and safeguard your HOA from liability. Developing a maintenance schedule with a professional is one of the best things you can do for your HOA playground.
Protecting Your HOA’s Investment
Part of an HOA’s role is to do what’s best for the neighborhood. A playground is a major investment, and your organization should prioritize protecting it. A beautiful, state-of-the-art play area is more attractive and welcoming than an old, rundown setup. Your community will appreciate the effort put toward keeping the play area in its best condition. Doing so can add value to your neighborhood and ultimately save costs by reducing the need for replacement equipment.
Regular upkeep allows you to protect this investment and extend the equipment’s working life. With proper care and maintenance, each structure will look better and can be safer. Providing a beautiful, cared-for space is a great way to give back to your neighbors and ensure they have a special area to enjoy spending quality time outside and playing with their kids.
Improving Play Experiences
Your HOA playground’s maintenance plan will help provide the kids in your community with better play experiences.
Taking immaculate care of your association’s playground will allow the children to explore the equipment safely and gain more enjoyment from this space. Broken or worn equipment limits kids’ opportunities to make the most of their neighborhood play area. A well-maintained playground will hold its value to the community and be a lot more fun for kids and parents alike.
As you take measures to keep your HOA play space in tip-top shape, remember the reason for the equipment in the first place. You are serving the children who live nearby, and they deserve to have a clean area dedicated to fun and connection.
Choose High-Quality Shade Structures From USA SHADE
Shade can transform your HOA playground and create a more welcoming and comfortable space for your entire community. USA SHADE has been an industry leader in fabric structure design and technology since 1991. We provide high-quality shade structures that are durable and innovative.
If you have unique needs for your HOA playground, we also offer custom design services to ensure your organization gets the perfect solution for any special space. Our team will help you every step of the way to ensure we meet your association’s exact requirements.
Are you interested in getting started? Request a quote from USA SHADE today!