4 hour lunch

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by paul, Jun 7, 2001.

  1. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    Having had a nice 4 hr lunch today,with some players in the supply side of things and a maufactures rep, some things I noticed.

    They are looking for good erosion control contractors.
    Too many fly by night outfits that don't read the spec on jobs.
    Expect more regulations from Uncle Sam to happen soon.
    Product feed back....... they get little out of us.

    It seems We as contractors are still looking for the cheaper product, not products that can out perform the specs, written by someone that has never done any erosion control. By this I mean that you, as a contractor has the option to use a better product and get better results with no or fewer callbacks. This reflects better on our industry.

    I guess what I'm saying is it's time we get away from the dark ages,
     
  2. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,361

    So how many sales reps' expense accounts did it take to cover your tab today?
     
  3. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    I know what you are saying. A big part of the problem is that you are bidding against the cheaper product ! I am not saying you have to come in at the lowest bid, I am never the lowest bid, but rather it is often difficult to make the customer understand why one product is better than anouther and why the extra cost will benefit both of you.

    I have often watched a customers eyes glaze over when I try to explain to them why Rhodos don't do well in clay and why it is necessary to ammend the soil to accomodate plant material, or vice-versa. Someone has else has allready told them that Rhododendron will do just fine in that shady location, and that is what they want to hear. Bottom line is I don't get the job, or the headachs of a poorly done job.

    Jim L
     
  4. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    I do know it was less than the National Debt






    But some smaller countries would have been in good shape :)
     
  5. when you guys say erosion control, you are talking plant materials, or landscape timbers and stone? i am a bit confused on this subject.
     
  6. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 543

    Did lawnboy say(ugh) landscape timbers? If I read Paul right he's talking terracing with walls and groundcovers. Most of us eat this stuff up already. Its the part timer fly by nighter cut your throat no insurance guys who are having a hard time with this stuff.

    And, look at this. This post makes me a senior member. My parents would be so proud:cool:
     
  7. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    Erosion control is using a variety of material to control the effects of wind and water on soils. These might be soft surfaces, hard armor, or a combination of both. Products available to a contractor include but not limited to; concrete, steel, stone, fibers, cellular systems, blankets, grids, or wire baskets. Most times an engineer or architect give the contractor the material that they would like to use, it’s the contractors responsibility to install the product or make a suggestion on what to use or what will work better. This might mean that you need to bring in a product specialist that can give the owners a detailed analyst of their problem. The contractor should be well versed in all aspects of installation. Regional classes and help from suppliers and manufactures will add to your knowledge and expertise. Understanding laws and options that the laws provide enabling you to get work, that other contractors have no hope of understanding. Ones that make the mistake of taking a job, will do the work well under your price but most likely, their work will fail or be rejected because of not following rules or proper installation instructions. Understanding erosion control will give you a “leg up” and round out your company.
     
  8. The other contractors don't follow specs because of poor project management on the owners part, or incompetence and uncaring atitude on the part of the general. The general wants the cheapest price and if he can slip something by the paying party's project manager, if they even have one , and one that knows anything at all, then maybe they would have to stay on spec.

    I have seen a lot of jobs done in the past year by many contractors, large, small, mega large ( Big Green) that were low bids, then performed so far off spec that the low bid was probably a big profit maker. But then again, if there is no project management, tghey deserve what they get.

    I did some post project management consulting for a non profit corporation that really got taken by the landscape contractor, who will not be mentioned except (wink, wink) We presented a report that outlined over 400 non compliance issues and over 100 deviations from spec, too many deviations from industry standard to count, and a 12 page list of recommended corrective actions. We attempted to get a representative from the contractor to meet us on site, but they would not even return phone calls. We advised the owners to file with the state,and are awaiting decision where it goes next. This was a 300K job, so it was not small change. We estimate over 85K in corrective action required to meet spec. Guess they should have hired a project manager ???

    This is what causes shoddy work in the business. Until there is qualified project management either in house or hired, then these things will continue to happen. This has definetly increased over what it was like 12 to 15 years ago, when reasonable addherence to specs was followed. It is so much about the profit on the job rather than the quality of the work in commercial settings now.

    As far as the regulations from Uncle Sam and local agencies, these are only as good as the enforcement of them. They are all kinds of regulations regarding erosion control, but unless enforced they are worthless.

    I had a project several years ago that was a completed landscape in an upper class neighborhood . This house was the third house built, with 5 other lots and house under construction above it on a fairly steep slope. The contractors were supposed to have erosion netting, straw barriers and ground cover after Oct 15 on all unlandscaped areas.I told my client about the requirements, and I sent letters to the general contractors, subs,builders, the city, the drainage district and everyone elses I could think of to cover my ass. Everyone to a tee ingored me and the homeowner. Come 2 months later in a 100 year monsoon and the runoff from the undeveloped lots was enough to wash out $ 15,000 in landscaping from my clients back yard.

    They had to threaten lawsuits to get any remediation from anybody. It was a joke. But I got another 15k out of them to re do the landscape.

    Go figure.
     
  9. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    Dale, I understand what you are seeing, but in our conversation yesterday, water quality and management is going to start showing as more local groups start pulling GC and contractors to court. We see this happing here. In the past couple of weeks 2 GC were hauled in to court for not following guidelines, they had their bonds pulled and fined. Localy more goverment agencies are keeping a closer track of contractors. they have found out they also get hauled to court for not enforcing the laws :)

    If this keeps spreading you too will start seeing things turn around.

    We probley see more of it because we do work for the goverment:)
     
  10. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,361

    I see that school is still in session here, guys. :)
     

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