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  #11  
Old 02-05-2011, 12:01 PM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Originally Posted by tallrick View Post
Irrigation is not rocket science, I personally feel that anyone with simple understanding of hydraulics and gardening can successfully design and install an irrigation system. Licensing is just a way of controlling the market to keep prices high. Otherwise, a set of tests freely administered would be all that is needed for qualification. Experience requirements allow tradesmen like plumbers and electricians to command top dollar while excluding others to black market lowball projects.
True .... not rocket science, but not simple either. If designing and managing irrigation systems was so simple, then why are there so many irrigation systems that are woefully inadequate at properly irrigating a given site?

I am curious though, what would you include in a set of tests?
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2011, 12:21 PM
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Ric Ric is offline
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Licensing tests for irrigation only cover the very basic knowledge needed, if they didn't, almost no one would pass the test. The knowledge required to service irrigation systems isn't all that extensive. On the other hand, designing and managing irrigation systems requires extensive knowledge and is anything but easy.
Kiril

In you infinite Wisdom I believe you are missing the point that there are 100 different manufactures of plumbing parts. While basic plumbing theory is fairly easy, the knowledge that comes with experience of these different manufacture is what makes an accomplished journeyman.
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2011, 12:40 PM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Originally Posted by Ric View Post
Kiril

In you infinite Wisdom I believe you are missing the point that there are 100 different manufactures of plumbing parts. While basic plumbing theory is fairly easy, the knowledge that comes with experience of these different manufacture is what makes an accomplished journeyman.
Regardless of how many different products there are, they all operate on the same principles. The experience factor (with respect to service) comes into play on knowing how these products typically fail, how to identify products that are close to failure, knowing how certain products will perform under different scenarios, how to repair these products, etc.... Regardless, you can have 100 years of experience in servicing irrigation systems and still not have a clue on how to properly design and manage them.
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  #14  
Old 02-05-2011, 12:59 PM
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Ric Ric is offline
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Originally Posted by Kiril View Post
Regardless of how many different products there are, they all operate on the same principles. The experience factor (with respect to service) comes into play on knowing how these products typically fail, how to identify products that are close to failure, knowing how certain products will perform under different scenarios, how to repair these products, etc.... Regardless, you can have 100 years of experience in servicing irrigation systems and still not have a clue on how to properly design and manage them.
Kiril

And you have all those years of experience and can recognize different manufactures products. All you have to do is buy the same Make and model number to change out the guts instead of re-plumbing the system RIGHT????
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"Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.” John Wayne.
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  #15  
Old 02-05-2011, 01:14 PM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Kiril

And you have all those years of experience and can recognize different manufactures products. All you have to do is buy the same Make and model number to change out the guts instead of re-plumbing the system RIGHT????
What are we talking about Ric .... valves? Why would you re-plumb the system because a valve failed?

Lets say a valve is weeping. How do you spot a weeping valve, what are the most likely causes, and how do you fix it? This is where the experience factor comes into play.
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  #16  
Old 02-05-2011, 03:05 PM
tallrick tallrick is offline
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Originally Posted by Kiril View Post
True .... not rocket science, but not simple either. If designing and managing irrigation systems was so simple, then why are there so many irrigation systems that are woefully inadequate at properly irrigating a given site?

I am curious though, what would you include in a set of tests?
Since I am not in the industry I do not have a set procedure for tests. When I buy a property the first thing I do is look for a system and attempt to power the pump. Most of the time the system that is there has been neglected for 10 years or more. I try and see if there is a controller and if it works. Most of the systems I find have manual valves or an indexing valve to control zones. Several turn out to be black poly pipe which is totally worthless and means I will put it all in new. The PVC systems are invariably shallow buried and have been cracked and torn out by trees falling in storms or by vehicles driving around the yard. I get a good laugh out of some of the rigs I see, one home had garden hose as a makeshift "funny pipe". The only system I have been able to save was a galvanized system installed sometime in the 50's that was almost complete except for some broken off heads and the main feed broken off so vehicles could drive to the backyard. Whoever installed that system was a true professional and buried 11/2" pipe 18" down as a main line and had the spray heads and impact sprinklers on risers with street elbows as a swing joint. Although the crack heads stole the brass heads they could not break the risers off. I replaced the risers with Toro rotors at ground level. The brass spray heads were replaced with some Toro pop-ups I got at the flea market. I put in barriers to prevent tenants from driving on lawn areas. Gate valves and indexing valves I replace with solenoid valves and my valve boxes are made from concrete. That system is the only working one on the street and there are no dry spots.

For any other system it is just easier to install new than repair. After calling 811 and following the marks I try to figure out where the sewer line or septic is, as well as any lines going to sheds or garages. I do a flow test with the meter as I close the valve, and see how fast the pump can fill a 55 gallon drum. After drawing a layout of the yard I try to place the sprinklers in groups that can match the demands, and group only like types of sprinklers in a zone. Because they are cheap and I have a lot of them from the flea market, I only use 1" jar top valves. For a controller I use a PLC logic board which has RS 485 capability and place an outdoor phone plug if I need to program the system. I do not use moisture sensors, just time programs. Installing a system is usually a weekend job, I bring the ditch witch to trench, cut and glue PVC then after installation use the bobcat and a shovel to finish it off. A truckload of muck finishes the job and within a month the lawn looks presentable. Since I bury all lines at least 12 inches deep, I have not had one fail yet. One of my best tenants is a gardening enthusiast so I changed from rotors to spinners on risers. She is very nice and always gives me some of her choice backyard produce. Since I added compost, the lines are now 24 inches deep.

If not for the ridiculous licensing requirements I would probably be in the business. Neighbors always compliment the landscapes of the homes and ask who did the installation. This is even the case for a home I bought for 25K in a really nasty area to rent for 450 a month. You know its bad when you find burned soda cans used to smoke crack around the yard.

If I designed a license program it would involve a practical installation project as well as servicing an existing one. Several written exams on irrigation, basic electricity, plumbing with both plastic and steel pipe, as well as basic botany and landscape plant identification. The first tests would be free, and upon failure fees would be added for re-takes. The practical installation could be at the applicants own home or at a training center, for which fees would be charged for materials used and instructor pay.

Last edited by tallrick; 02-05-2011 at 03:13 PM.
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