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Ensuring safe construction for playgrounds in home and condo communities

In Florida, it is not only the summertime during which the living is easy. One of the state's main allures is that outdoor activity is year-round. However, summer does happen to be the time when children are out of school. It's not uncommon for homeowner and condominium owners' associations to address this reality by providing playgrounds in a common area.

Playgrounds are fun by intent, but they are not child's play. Swings, climbing walls, curvy slides, merry-go-rounds and jungle gyms pose risks by their nature. Any negligence in design, construction or equipment layout can create conditions that raise additional safety concerns. And there can always be legitimate concern about the quality of the equipment and how it's assembled.

If you are on an HOA or COA board that is considering a playground project - whether it involves repairing existing facilities or creating something new - it might be also wise to follow certain steps. If after performing this due diligence problems arise, consulting an experienced litigation attorney might be wise.

Get expertise

There is no shortage of regulation over playgrounds. To be sure that yours will meet requirements, you want to find a decent contractor. Florida has two types of licensees for the industry. Certified contractors have authority to ply their trade statewide. If a playground builder is registered, they are restricted to working within a licensing county or municipality.

Pay attention to ground cover

While the children will be on the equipment, they will be landing on the ground. Some will fall. Ground cover could be anything from sand to rubber surfacing. Some covers might be restricted by law. A better guide for deciding what to put down might be to find test results on which are safest and meet accessibility standards.

Schedule inspections

By setting up regular checks using reliable inspectors now, you are ensuring that design or equipment defects are detected sooner, rather than later. That should improve safety and reduce replacement or repair costs. These recommendations also apply if you already have a playground in place - especially where ground cover is concerned.

If you do encounter problems with playground repairs or construction, consult with an attorney who understands Florida construction law.

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