NPCAI Programs

NPCAI Programs (9)

Monday, 24 November 2014 17:27

Education Series

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The new NPCAI Education Series is now available through the member-only section of our website. This series is developed to provide up-to-date, easy to read information on topics of interest to our industry. 

The format is convenient for on-line viewing.  When appropriate, it can be printed off for distribution to staff or customers. The layout is also conducive for use in a binder.


Click here to see our newest additions to the NPCAI Education Series on-line library.

Thursday, 20 June 2013 11:11

New Mission Statement

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Last month, the NPCAI Board of Trustees met at the new NPCAI Headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa, for a strategic planning session. The purpose of the session was to review the mission of the organization, make any changes to the mission, and develop and prioritize goals for NPCAI. The meeting was extremely successful as the Board worked together to brainstorm ideas about the future of the organization.  
The NPCAI Board of Trustees is very proud to announce the new mission statement of the organization:
A worldwide partnership advancing the recreational construction industry
 promoting qualified and dedicated contracting professionals who contribute 
to the design, 
installation and maintenance of parks, playgrounds, sports 
and recreation environments.
Following the revision of the mission statement, the Trustees participated in a SWOT Analysis exercise to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats affecting the organization. This exercise resulted in 23 major goals being developed and prioritized for the association. A copy of the goals can be reviewed by clicking here
In order to accomplish these goals, we need active committees. In order to have active committees, we need dedicated members. We need members who care about the organization and its future; members who want to participate in making NPCAI grow. Committee volunteers will need to commit to a couple of hours each quarter to participate on conference calls and in email discussions. Take a look at the Willingness to Serve and choose the committee that most interests you.
We encourage you to get involved in your professional association today!
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 03:00

RISC Registration

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Career Enhancing Recreation Construction Training

 A Three-Year Certification Program

Attend this course and gain knowledge regarding the following

Elements of Playground Site Design ● Pre-Construction Procedures ● Job Site Safety ● Blueprints/Specifications ● Pre-Manufactured Equipment ● Installation Manuals ● Installation Techniques ● Job Tools & Materials ● Safety Surfacing ● Job Completion Procedures ● Standards & Guidelines for the Playground Industry ● In the Field Installation Exercise

Learn the Real Dirt about Playground Construction

The RISC - Recreation Installation Specialist Course and Certification is a comprehensive course focusing on the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective Playground Installer. The curriculum, written and field-tested by and for the International Playground Contractors Association, is a must for all persons involved in building playground equipment or working with Installers.

Un-Earth the World of Playground Construction

RISC is not limited to playground contractors and installers. Attendees from municipal park departments have found the course most beneficial as they need to know what to look for when hiring playground contractors or inspecting newly installed play equipment and/or surfacing. You'll leave with more than knowledge, skills, and resources about playgrounds.

Dig Deep for Value Gained by Attending

  • RISC Curriculum - You'll receive a comprehensive RISC Curriculum including space for notes, an in-depth summary of the classes, notes from power point presentations, and suggested readings.
  • Resource Network - A valuable benefit of attending the RISC is the personal networking opportunities. You will discover that you are not alone!
  • Certification - By completing the entire course, you are eligible for the RISC Certification that is applicable to use for the Qualified Contractors Program with the International Playground Contractors Association and select manufacturer's certifications.
  • An Amazing Team of Playground Professionals.

The Recreation Installation Specialist Course sessions are taught by playground professionals reflecting the many facets of playground development: manufacturers, and professional playground installers with over 150 years of combined experience available for you. As a benefit of attending the RISC, you'll get expert advice for your toughest and most-unique playground challenges. At specified times during the school, you'll have the opportunity to share your concerns one-on-one with our playground safety experts and receive suggestions for change.  




Thursday, 22 January 2009 13:18

NPCAI Insurance Programs

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insurance banner



Don’t Let Your Insurance Coverage Slide!

Struggling with obtaining enough insurance to meet your contract needs? 

If you’re a U.S. member of the International Playground Contractors Association (NPCAI), Western Heritage makes getting insurance child’s play.

The Playground Equipment Installation program, which comes with your NPCAI membership, offers a deluxe set of features including:

  • A nonauditable policy
  • General Liability (occurrence form)
  • Available Errors & Omissions Coverage for Playground Safety Inspectors
  • Quick turnaround for certificates
  • Competitive Rates
  • No deductibles
  • $3,500 minimum premium

Don’t money around – grab hold of the most comprehensive insurance around the Western Heritage’s Playground Equipment Installation Program.

You won’t find this all –inclusive package anywhere else. Play it safe- apply today.

For more information, please contact

Steve Carraway 

Phone: 765-534-3152

You can download our application here

Insurance Testimonials:

Just a note to let you know what a GREAT job Steve Carraway is doing.  We are very fortunate to have someone like him assisting the members with their insurance needs.  Every year it seems to get more complicated and his 25+ years in the business are invaluable.  

Joining the NPCAI was the best thing we've ever done! - Karen M. Hickman,  Progressive Playgrounds, Inc.  2-2011. 





Ascension Insurance Inc. is a specialized insurance brokerage offering property & casualty, employee benefits and risk management services to privately-owned and small and mid-cap publicly traded businesses, as well as non-profits, municipalities and individuals.  We bring a combination of sophisticated national resources and specialized industry expertise to clients through the Ascension agencies throughout the U.S.  This combination of national resources delivers the best combination of insurance coverage, service and price, and helps our clients to address the needs of their businesses and employees. 

The NPCAI Worker’s Compensation Program is a members benefit program. 

Applications are available by calling Ascension Insurance Agency at 1-800-482-3461 or contact Millie Wood at

Ascension Insurance Agency, Inc., workers compensation program are offered through a Fortune 100 carrier that has been protecting the financial future of American for over 200 years, and has been listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s Most Reputable Companies (2008). This industry leader consistently drives aggressive investment in Worker’s Compensation product enhancements, helping to ensure the long-term protection of your employees when they suffer an injury.

Monday, 28 June 2010 03:00

Membership Benefits

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The NPCAI offers many benefits to its members.  Such benefits include:

       An International Playground Contractors Association (NPCAI) embossed membership certificate and a NPCAI membership card.

       A quarterly e-zine newsletter, "THE PLAYGROUND INSIDER", updating all members on the International Playground Contractors Association (NPCAI), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), American Standard for Testing Material (ASTM), ADA Access Board (ADA), International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA), National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI), National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS), and National Safety Council (NCA).

       Be listed in online membership directory as potential customers can search for your information and details.

       NPCAI is making Aflac’s accident and cancer insurance policies available to our members.  Aflac offers a distinct type of protection because unlike major medical health insurance, Aflac pays you (unless otherwise assigned) not the doctor or hospital.  For more information, contact Eric Treu at 801-860-9100 or Steffanie Staples at 801-674-6310.

       Access to the NPCAI's website that features, links to the playground industry, news, classified listings, members lookup, discussion forum, business tools, member benefits listings, and an on-line membership directory.  In addition, we offer a complementary e-mails that can be used for your company (example:

       Member discount cards for special money savings rates on business and personal auto rentals and office supplies ranging from 5% to 10% savings.

       Your company information is provided to any individual, requesting playground installers, inspectors, sales representatives, and associates.


The NPCAI Group Liability Insurance Plan and Errors & Omissions Insurance covers playground safety inspectors and applications are available on the NPCAI member section of the website or call 717-724-0594.  

Copper Insurance Services also provides customized Playground Insurance and risk management programs to meet the needs of both businesses and individuals. Please contact Steven Carraway at (800) 252-3153 or




The program is designed to pre-qualify contractors to industry standards for business operations as they receive exclusive permission for program participants to use the NPCAI Qualified Contractor emblem on printed material for company invoices, business cards, and letterhead. 


To participate, the contractor must submit current documentation for NPSI Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI), contractor's license for the states in which they operate, liability insurance (minimum $1,000,000 aggregate), worker’s compensation insurance as required by law in the contractor's state(s) of operation, and show completion of the Playground Construction School. Application available on the NPCAI website at  or call 717-724-0594.





The Recreation Installation Specialists Certification is a comprehensive program designed to introduce and develop specialized recreation equipment installation skills for the construction and maintenance professional and others involved.  


The school offers three action packed days and covers common industry practices, understanding blueprints, materials used in equipment construction, tools of the trade, jobsite safety, site analysis and preparation,  working with various surfacing materials, equipment maintenance, for manufacturers and their representatives, good business practices, and in the field training.  Current members receive a $100.00 savings on enrollment fees and please click here for additional information.



       International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA)


       ADA Access Board (ATBCB) 


       National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS)


       National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI)


       International Playground Safety Institute (IPSI)


       U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)


       Playground Magazine


       National Safety Council (NSC)


       American Society of Testing & Materials International (ASTMI)


       National Association for State Contractors Licensing Agencies  

Thursday, 18 June 2009 03:00

Playground Safety for Children

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Playground Safety for Children

In recent years, it is estimated that there were more than 200,000 injuries annually on public playgrounds access the country that require emergency room treatment. Most injuries occur when a child falls onto the playground surface. Check with school officials to make sure that equipment has been inspected and maintained. There should be at least nine inches of safe, shock absorbing surface material, and proper clearance around the equipment.

Make sure exposed hardware or free-hanging ropes are not part of the equipment.  Ropes and clothing catching on exposed hardware can be strangulation hazards. Elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, should have guardrails to prevent falls. School officials should be aware that shading at the playground with trees or other structures is an important consideration to reduce children's exposure to the sun. Schools should also be aware that hot sun can make playground slides and black rubber matting burn hazards for children.  

Below are CPSC Playground Safety Publication to help you keep your kids safe.

CPSC Publication 321 Little Big Kids (PDF) For parents to read with their kids (ages 3-5) on the topic of playground safety. 

CPSC Publication 327 Public Playground Safety Checklist (HTML) Use this checklist to inspect local school and community playgrounds and notify school or park officials about any hazards found. There is a new CPSC Handbook.  It is still publication 325 and the date is January 6, 2011.  They have taken the European Whirl off and added a composite structure.  Date on the inside is still Nov. 2010.

CPSC Publication 325 Public Playground Safety Handbook (PDF-SPANISH) (See Technical Reports and Handbooks for English) Presents playground equipment safety information in the form of guidelines. Intended for use by parks and recreation personnel, school officials, equipment purchasers, installers, and others interested in playground safety (60 pages). 

CPSC Publication 328 Soft Contained Play Equipment Safety Checklist (HTML) CPSC staff developed checks to help parents and children use Soft Contained Play Equipment safely. 

CPSC Publication 5036 Prevent Burns on Hot Metal Playground Equipment (PDF) Safety Alert.   

CPSC Publication 5065 Strangulation Hazard with Playground Cargo Nets  (PDF) Safety Alert.

CPSC Publication 5094 Strings Can Strangle Children on Playground Equipment (HTML)  Safety Alert. 

CPSC Publication 5119 Never Put Children's Climbing Gyms On Hard Surfaces, Indoors Or Outdoors (PDF) Safety Alert.

CPSC Publication 5121 Wear Bike Helmets On Bicycles - Not On Playgrounds (PDF) Safety alert on a hidden hazard.

CPSC Publication 6005 CPSC Staff Recommendations for Identifying and Controlling Lead Paint on Public Playground Equipment (HTML) Executive Summary.

CPSC Publication 6006 Recommendations for Identifying and Controlling Lead Paint on Public Playground Equipment (HTML)     

CPSC Publication 6007 Questions and Answers for Lead Paint on Public Playground Equipment Prepared by CPSC Staff (HTML)   

CPSC Publication 323 Home Playground Safety Tips (PDF) (PDF-SPANISH)  Reports that each year an estimated 51,000 children are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for home playground-related injuries -- mostly resulting from falls. Provides tips on protective surfacing, fall zones, reducing hazards, and maintenance.  

CPSC Publication 323 Home Playground Safety Tip SPANISH (PDF)  Reports that each year an estimated 51,000 children are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for home playground-related injuries -- mostly resulting from falls. Provides tips on protective surfacing, fall zones, reducing hazards, and maintenance.

CPSC Publication 324 Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook (PDF)  Safety information you need to know about planning, constructing, and maintaining an outdoor home playground.  

CPSC Publication 325 Public Playground Safety Handbook (PDF) Technical Reports and Handbooks Document Number Publication Description (the Spanish version is a Web exclusive, see above)  Presents playground equipment safety information in the form of guidelines. Intended for use by parks and recreation personnel, school officials, equipment purchasers, installers, and others interested in playground safety (46 pages). 



Thursday, 18 June 2009 03:00

Playground Grants

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Playground Grants.

Below is a list of playground equipment grants and fundraising resources  for your school, church, daycare or non-profit.  While every attempt will be made to keep this current, your support & response is appreciated to make sure all links are current.

  1. Healty Living Grant Program
  2. BCI Burke's Grant Resource Center
  3. Kaboom Fundraising Resources:
  19. CVS & Caremark
  20. General Mills-Champions for Healthy Kids
  21. NFL Keep Gym in School Grant
  22. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services source for federal grants
  23. Responsible Sports Grants – Youth Sports Grants from Liberty Mutual
  24. Youth Garden Grants
  25. Office of Head Start Expansion Grants Program
  26. Frosted Flakes – for baseball or football fields
  27. NFL Play 60
  28. PNC Grow Up Great
  29. Akron Community Foundation
  30. Shade Structure Grant Program
  31. Access to Recreation
  32. Federal Government Grants
  33. Home Depot Grant Opportunity
  34. Nike Grant Program
  35. U.S. Department of Education (ED)
  36. Grants for Shade Structure
  37. Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation: Quality of Life Grant Program
  38. Grant Opportunities Publicized by NRPA
  39. Lowe’s Outdoor Playground Grant
  40. Hasbro Children’s Fund
  41. CVS Caremark
  42. Land and Water Conservation Fund
  43. Recreation Trails Program
  44. Lowe’s Outdoor Classroom Grant Program
  45. Lowe’s Toolbox for Education
  46. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Bay Watershed Education and Training Program (B-WET)
  47. L.L. Bean Conservation and Recreation Grants
  48. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Education Grants
  49. Toyota Tapestry Grants
  50. Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation – Early Childhood Care and Education Grants
  51. General Mills Youth Nutrition and Fitness Grants
  52. NRPA Step Up to Health Healthy Communities Start in Parks Grants
  53. Reader’s Digest Make it Matter Grant
  54. National Education Association Student Achievement Grants
  55. American Academy of Dermatology’s Shade Structure Grants
  56. Youth Garden Grants
  57. Captain Planet Foundation Grants
  58. The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Educational Grant
  59. Lowe’s Outdoor Classroom Grant Program
  60. GreenWorks! Grant Program
  61. American Honda Foundation
  62. Staples Foundation For Learning
  63. Pay it Forward Foundation Mini Grants
  65. ING Unsung Heros
  66. Kids in Need Teacher Grants
  67. Education Mini Grants Funded by the Entomological Society of America
  68. The Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation
  69. Richard C. Bartlett Environmental Education Awards
  70. Operation Green Planet Free Seed Grants
  71. Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb to Support Garden Programs
  72. Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation Grants
  73. NIKE Bowerman Track Renovation Program
  74. Rapides Foundation Re-Opens Walking Trail Mini-Grant Program
  75. USA Football Equipment Grants
  76. The Finish Line Youth Foundation
  77. Women’s Sports Foundation Grants
  78. Tony Hawk Foundation Skatepark Grants
  79. The Wal-Mart Foundation Grants
  80. United States Soccer Foundation Program & Field Grants
  81. CDC(Center for Disease Control)  grants for nutrition and physical activity
  82. Grants up to $24,999 available to North Carolina municipalities
  83. Pepsi Grant Refresheverything

Wednesday, 24 June 2009 02:00

Specifying / Qualifying a Playground Installer

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One of the primary benefits of being a NPCAI member is the service of becoming a NPCAI Qualified Contractor. On the members’ behalf, the NPCAI maintains a database of information on each Qualified Contractor.  Stored in this database are all the minimum bid specification requirements you see below. 

Must be a NPCAI Qualified Contractor (Third Party Verification of Credentials)

  • Licensed to contract in state (if needed see State Listings)
  • Liability Insurance:  $1 mil per occurrence / $2 Mil Aggregate (NOTE: Manufacturers Product Liability Insurance is NOT the same as General Liability)
  • Project Owner to be stated as additional insured
  • Worker's Compensation: State Minimum
  • On-Site NPSI Certified Installer
  • Factory Certification with Equipment to be Installed, if Available
  • References of Completed Work of Similar Scope
  • 1 Year Installation Warranty 

Things to Consider in the Scope of Work:

Site Preparation

  •  Removal of Existing Equipment
  • Existing Surfacing / Drainage
  • Site Leveling / Retaining Wall
  • Final Grading
  • Base Preparation


  •  Receiving and Storage
  • Inventory
  • Verify it will fit in the area

Install of Equipment

  • Bringing it to Site
  • Securing the Site
  • Utilities - Public and Private
  • Time Frame
  • Access to Site
  • Compliance to Manufacturer’s Specifications and CPSC / ASTM / ADAAG

Installation of Surfacing

  • Bordering
  • Receiving / Unloading Materials
  • Timeliness


  • Cleanup
  • Backfill / Seed / Sod
  • Site Inspection / Punch lists


Thursday, 18 June 2009 03:00

The Playground Insider

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Are you interested in writing articles for The Playground Insider? 

We are interested in articles on the following; Playgrounds, playground construction, tools for playgrounds, special knowledgement, news about events or trade shows, or business practices. Any topic that would be beneficial to NPCAI members. Please send your manuscripts electronically as a Microsoft Word document. Article in the body of an e-mail message are also acceptable if word is not available. Please include your contact information.

We are also interested in photos, send them in 300 dpi. Involve people in every photo if possible. Identify the people in the photo. Show action and movement and attempt to do so from a fresh perspective. Send your article to:  International Playground Contractors Association (NPCAI) Email:  or call us at 1-888-908-9519. All articles are subject to editing by the International Playground Contractors Association staff and committee.  All photos submitted become property of NPCAI and subject to editing.