When it comes to commercial playground equipment, quality products can last up to several decades or more. However, there comes a time in the life of every playground where it is important to ask, is it better to make repairs, or is it time to replace the equipment? After walking many organizations through this process, we have several discussion questions that may be helpful to consider.


1.      What is the age and current compliance of the equipment?


Age is important, but even more critical is the safety compliance of the play equipment. Safety standards for playground equipment have evolved over time. It is important to ask if your equipment is meeting the current playground safety standards? A Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) would be able to help you answer this question if you are not certain.


2.      How frequently is it in need of repair?


Repairs can be costly, especially if the structure is outside its manufacturer warranty. It can also cost valuable time of those coordinating repairs and equipment downtime for kids who want to use the equipment. Broken parts can create safety issues. Finally, consider how easy it is to get replacement parts if it does need repairs.


3.      Is it fitting the needs of the community?


Perhaps the community is looking to support a different age range, to be more inclusive, or more multi-generational, than the last time the playground was updated. Sometimes there is a need to change the playground location.


4.      How does it look and is that aesthetic important to the community?


We live in a visual world and appearances can be important. Age, quality of equipment, and color choices can all impact how a playground appears over time.


5.      Is it innovative? Do kids want to use it?


The playground industry is constantly evolving, creating new products that allow kids to explore their senses, take risks and enhance movement. The types of play events, or lack thereof, can impact the frequency of use. It is important to have equipment that incorporates developmentally appropriate risk-taking to promote cognitive, physical, and social growth. However, the equipment must still adhere to strict safety standards so that it eliminates hazards.  The latest IPEMA certified playground equipment offerings include those appropriate risks without sacrificing safety.


6.      What kind of budget exists for repairs or replacement?


Because playgrounds are an investment, budget is a strong consideration for the timing of a replacement. Many organizations consider playgrounds in future budgetary plans for this very reason. Some of the questions posed here can help inform your decisions about future playgrounds, especially regarding quality and access to replacement parts.


We have been helping our customers through decisions like this for over 30 years. We would love to hear from you if we can be any assistance on your next project.