Two sessions scheduled for 2005
The National Playground Contractors Association (NPCA) has developed the first independent playground installer training course. The debut of the Playground Construction School was this past February in sunny Orlando, Fla. A second course will be held in an equally sunny part of the country, Phoenix, Ariz., on April 7-9. The International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) is the corporate sponsor of these events.
Anyone who builds play structures is invited to attend. Whether you install playgrounds as an everyday trade or if you build one every few years as a small part of your work for your city or school, you will find valuable information that will improve your skills for constructing playgrounds in a timely and accurate manner.
This three-day event is designed to be a comprehensive program for the playground installer. Here are some of the things participants will be involved in.
Day one starts with a forum of discussions about the history of playgrounds, playground construction and the beginnings of the NPCA, followed by a review of the benefits of playgrounds, the value of play, and the value of playgrounds to communities.
Next, City Securities, the insurance firm that represents the NPCA member liability insurance policies, will present a session on insurance issues for playground contractors and installers. Mary Lou Iverson, executive member of the National Playground Safety Institute, will give instruction on CPSC and ASTM as it applies to playground construction, followed by a discussion of installer responsibilities with regards to ADA.
The first day will end with forum discussion on the roles of the many organizations that make up our industry and how they relate to one another.
Day two will begin the topic of job site safety followed by an in-depth look at site design, pre-construction issues such as reading blueprints, understanding specification, working with contracts and constructors, other construction workers and the importance of job site manners and keeping a clean site. After having properly prepared the site using the pre-construction techniques, the equipment arrives and participants will inventory, check and accept a playground shipment after determining if there are missing or damaged parts. Special treatment by training staff as to the care of painted and plastic components and the organization of hardware is important as these problems lead to playgrounds being left unattended, un-constructed and are a safety hazard to children who may be tempted to “check it out.”
Moving right into building the playground, discussion from how to dig a hole using the traditional methods of a shovel to specialized equipment such as augers and backhoes, to cementing a structure using concrete prepared on-site or pre-mixed in a truck will take the majority of the day. Playground surfacing, a popular topic with playground builders, will be discussed. Constructing surfacing systems will be a demonstrated, as will surfacing options ranging from traditional playground sand to the new two-layer unitary surfacing systems.
At the end of the second day, formal classroom training ends with a lecture on job completion, cleanup, audits and inspections and maintenance of playgrounds. Of course, there will be a question and answer period for participants to field questions to the school staff.
Day three will find attendees and instructors on a playground job site under construction.
From site excavation to digging holes to setting and cementing the uprights and bolting components and everything in between, the day will be spent with a focus on quality workmanship, the assembly process, tools and materials of the trade. Money- and time-saving hints will be handed out like candy. The day will end with a social event sponsored by the NPCA’s insurance program operators, City Securities.
The NPCA Playground Construction School is a first-time opportunity for bringing beginning installers as well as contract professionals together to learn more about their craft. Participants can expect to come away with a greater understanding of what it takes to have a successful installation, happy customers, and patrons. To find out how you can be a participant in this year’s Playground Construction Schools, call the NPCA at 888-908-9519 or find them online at
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