View Full Version : productivity ( how many heads per hour)

08-20-2002, 09:16 PM
I am having a great year, just wanted to know what is a realistic expectation for heads per hour installed. I am looking at my process and it seems that everything goes smooth until it comes down to installing heads, were painfully slow, on established lawns using tarps( thanks to HB FOXX) I think 6 heads an hour per man is realistic using poly insert fittings and cut off risors, what is a reasonable expectation? I have tried the blazing saddles as reccomended but dont think I have the right pliers for getting it on the pipe and clipping it toegether P I T A
any tips on putting toegether better installation processes

08-21-2002, 09:14 AM
6 heads per hour is about maxxed out for just heads. And that would be sandy easy digging. I was on a job with 2 guys a few years ago, pipe was in, turf was good, soil was sandy. I dropped a pre-nozzled rotor, saddle ( 2bolt and core hole) and fittings at each hole. The 2 guys did 10 total heads in one hour including head holes, trenches to offset over utilities, back fill and replace sod.

Real world is less when you include 12" heads, risers, roots, lateral line fittings such as a "T" to branch off etc.

You can do some time trials on this stuff but I don't think it pays to figure the fine nuiances unless there are many in the job. The info is worth knowing.

You need to use swing pipe or swing joints and not cut off risers. They serve a useful purpose in keeping heads plumb, preventing break offs, controlling head depth at installation and over time. Future head adjustments can be accomplished with out fittings, minimal digging and no risk of dirt contamination. Heads can easily be set to the proper angle on slopes.

Blazing Saddles are a one hand operation. If you use 2 hands or tools you are doing it wrong. Read the instructions. Practice on a pipe scrap held in the other hand. Put the outlet against your palm and wrap your fingers around to the snap/flap side and squeeze. Easy!

Below is a picture of how we install our heads. We also retrofit swing pipe assemblys on systems when we do head replacement or raises where they were not previously installed. We put 2 elbows under the heads rather than a single spiral barb el. tThis allows full head adjustment in any direction. That extra el plus installing the T oulet horizontally gives us any adjustment we want and negates any of the crooked head problems associated with using tubing with a mind of its own.

08-21-2002, 12:06 PM
That definately is a first class set up. Is that the way contractors typicaly do it in your market, or is that your own niche. In my market area that would be a good way of doing an athletic field or commrcial site, but it looks very pricey over just an insert by insert by fpt and a cut off risor. Oh by the way i didnt get any instructions with the BST's and i think the problem I was having was i wasnt taking the threaded barb out first? It is much easier after it is removed. Thanks again Foxx .


08-21-2002, 04:22 PM
The set up is too small for high gallonage heads in athletic or or other large turf areas. For those we use regular 3/4" or 1" sch 80 nipples and the same in Marlex street elbows to fabricate the assembly. More often than not we now go with 1" Spears prefab swing joints with o-rings in the els. We buy them 1" male thread on both ends or better yet 1" male for the head end and plain pipe on the other ready to glue into a T.

As for cost, the spiral els are $.14 @ x 2, funny pipe $.14/ft and a 3/4m x 1/2f street el is $.50 so you have $.92 per head to do the job right.

Trust me, it is the way it should be done. Every one here uses funny pipe assemblys but many just use a thread x barb el on each end and they get crooked and they cut them too short and the mount the T straight up like you and it ain't nice.

If your taking the money for the work, take pride in the work.

08-22-2002, 03:10 PM
So they do it both ways in your area?? swing joints or barbed t's
I will definately consider this for my future bids, seems like a good way to differentiate myself from the competition. My main concern is if it allows you to raise the heads with minimal effort? what do you do just stick a shovel under the head and assembly and leverage it up, or do you actually have to excavate a small hole around the swing pipe and head? It sounds like you could get them to trade up on the basis of 'pay me know or pay me later'... if you have to go back and add a longer risor to elevate your head above the turf after 5 years.

Thanks again Bruce

08-22-2002, 06:56 PM
Just cut a large donut around the head, with the head being the hole. Split the donut in half with the shovel and pull out half and put on a tarp. Do what ya gotta do, drop the half back and voila, complete. A regular sharp digging shovel is all you need. If you change head brands or models and specs are different on height it makes an easy swap. We retrofit ALL heads not installed this way the first time when we change them.

If you are servicing your work and care about aggravation and your reputation this is a must do. There should be no options about it. I mean a buck a head to do it right? It's a no brainer. If a buck a head costs you sales your doing something wrong.

03-22-2003, 07:51 AM
The pic in the previous post shows how we use them.

03-30-2004, 07:46 PM
Harold (or anyone),

I see and understand what you are doing here. This should indeed be the way to go, but I have a question:

Let's say I screw the barbed ell into the saddle and when tight it points straight down as opposed to being parallel to the pipe as you show in the picture. And when screwing the barbed ell into the Marlex ell the head points straight down when tight, instead of up as in your picture. Pardon my ignorance but do you keep on screwing the ells in past the "seal" point or "bottom out" point. If so, how much more can they be tightened? I'm sure that you do not unscrew them to position them. Maybe I'm wrong.

Just wondering? Am I missing something? :confused:

I was an engineer for 28 years and dealt with NPT threads all the time (but all of the threads were in brass and steel and when they bottomed out (or sealed) that was it). My brain must be short circuited and I am missing something.


03-30-2004, 10:08 PM
we aim for four heads installed per laboerer. dig, install, backfill, & tamp.

if you get six installed per hour, pleae come and show me how you do it.


03-31-2004, 07:21 AM
Swing joints are (or should be) an industry standard. This is a basic that is taught at Rainbird irrigation classes. When I do a repair to a head, 9 times out ot 10, it was damage due to not having a swing joint installed.

03-31-2004, 09:10 AM
Heads per hour would realy depend on soil type, moisture content, pipe depth , and lawn conditions and type of pipe used. And especially if you trench or plow . I base productivity on the total job time based on site conditions. Mondays job , 12 zone , 1800 ft PVC pipe plowed 1 man 6 hours, tuesday 40 heads set ,2 sidewalk bores , rain switch set . controller hung 2 men 7 hours.
And barring problems on the next day thats its not raining 2 men approx 5 hours to finish. Thats aprox 30 man hours for a 12 zone system . Taking in sales time , start ups and winterizations the total time of job will be 40 man hours.

05-13-2004, 02:06 AM
we do it the same way hbfox does it, maybe its a northeast thing. if the holes are dug it should take 2 mins a head to set , back fill and clean up. we complete 2 jobs a day, avg 25-35 heads each job. 5 man crew a 35 head job takes us about 4 hours to be %100 complete