How Not to Install a Playset
Act Three: Scene One: The Inept
This was the work of a careless untalented handyman hired by a nice woman who owned and operated a daycare. She was sure the equipment being built by this handyman was dangerous. She pointed out obvious problems and he continued to build and told her he knew what he was doing. (Playset Services enters and takes center stage) He was onsite and beligerent when we arrived. It was shocking just how proud he was of his work. He was insulted when we told the woman to ask him to stop and even more insulted when we told him he should be ashamed for charging someone for such poor work and he should go home.
This was a poorly executed version of a DIY swingset kit from Swing n Slide purchased at Home Depot. It's a complete kit with fasteners, plans, a wood list and a cut list. It should have been easy to build for a person who knows how to read and use basic tools. The heavy duty brackets intended for use with this a-frame assembly were still sitting in the box along with the fasteners the manufacturer provided. The wood list calls for the use of a 4" x 6" for the swing beam, he used a 4" x 4". The overhead structure was just as bad. It's disappointing to know he makes a living doing this.
Act Four: Scene One: The Careless Care Less
This playset display was at a business in the Houston area. It was meant to showcase the manufacturers swingset design and act as an ambassdor to purchase. Admittedly, it was a display, not for play, but it was still bad. We saw it as an opportunity to offer our services, so we approached store management and they told us that contractors for a national company put this up and the same contractors also performed all of their wood playscape installations. As a courtesy we asked to fix this and they declined saying it would be fine, they were going to sell it soon anyway.
We contacted the local distributor because we were concerned for customer safety, it was a bad showing and we wanted to get their business. They informed us that it wasn't their equipment, it belonged to the store selling it. We once again offered to fix it, but were turned away. This brand of playset is nationally known and this store was a satellite location for one of their Houston distributors. A short time later, this local distributor solicited us to be an installer for them, but for reasons shown here, we declined their offer. They closed down years ago. Wonder Why?
This is the left ladder upright of the monkey bar/ swingset combo. It attaches to the overhead assembly with a few bolts and a triangle bracket. This particular manufacturer usually uses a t-nut and a thru-bolt to make this connection which recesses the threads of the bolt and eliminates a hanging hazard.
This is the right ladder upright of the monkey bar/ swingset combo. It also attaches to the overhead assembly with a few bolts and a triangle bracket. These opposing bolts are useless when used together. A nut or t-nut is required to secure the connection. Besides being wrong the effort was poorly executed.
As we made our way around the playset, checking for sturdiness and making note of the quality and any issues we found, one of the rails with a hand grip used to pull yourself into the fort, came right off and fell to the ground. You can see another board that was on the ground when we got there.
Things to think about before your hire a playset installation company
- Do they have a website? In the 21st century, what real business doesn't?
- Beware of swingset installers who don't list a phone number or an e-mail address. Where will they be next month or next year?
- Is that guy you hired to build your family swingset a criminal?
- Finding the cheapest deal isn't always the best thing. Beware of installers who don't charge enough. They could be hard up for cash and don't care what happens after they're paid. Playset installation is always a mental challenge and hard work. A true professional will know their value.