Design or installation certification required?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Aran, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Aran

    Aran LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    Hello my name is Aran and I own an Irrigation and Landscape Construction company in Penticton B.C. Canada. I am a member of our provincial Irrigation Association and have an affilitation with the IA for my Landscape Irrigation Auditor certification. I am a certified residential and commercial designer with our local associaton. I have found that over the years going through the certification process has greatly increased my knowledge, and I continue every winter to work on other certifications and tickets. Although I have my certifications they are not required to do business in our area. As far as I know I am the only contractor in our city to have any certification. I was wondering if any of you in your areas are required to have any kind of certification for either design of installation. Our association is trying to get certification required for commercial jobs. It would be interesting to know what if any requrements you guy's have run into in your territory's. Thanks Aran :waving:
     
  2. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Aran,

    As you can probably guess by now I'm in a different boat. I design for our school district and have numerous projects under my belt including entire school sites and major athletic facilities. I'm not required to have a CID as we're basically "in house" and can do pretty much what we like. I even design a system and then we make extra copies. These are given to contractors that bid projects. Instead of saying "here's the area we want under irrigation" and then have them or someone else design the system we say "here's the system we want put in" and let them bid accordingly. :cool2:
     
  3. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Aran,

    Just a note. What program do you use to CAD your designs? Do you rely on the program's automatic zoning and material take-offs?

    Hayes
     
  4. Aran

    Aran LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    PurpHaze;

    Thanks for the response. Because certified designs are not yet required here and my main focus is installation I have not found it cost effective yet to purchase a quality CAD program. Currently I hand draft my designs. I do a fair amount of work for our city parks department, including design, installation and consulting. In the past I was provided with designs by landscape architects or parks technicians. Usually I end up re-designing part or all of the design. Over the years the city has appeciated my checking over designs and making suggestions and alterations to designs and scope of work in order to install a more efficient system. This has led to more work and opened more doors for me. I am a firm believer in design certification. It has made me a much more knowlegable contractor and I feel good at the end of the day knowing the systems we install will perform better, last longer and use less water than the competition in my area. Anyways can you tell I talk a-lot. If I did have a CAD program I would not rely on auto layout. I would use it to save time on layout but would still check the layout. What criteria do you use to pick a good contractor? :D
     
  5. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    I used to draft everything the old way on a drafting table. I'd taken design and drafting classes as part of my schooling and started designing systems for our district. It really helped that I had so many years of installation/maintenance already because I then was not relying solely on theory for my designs. Hopefully I don't piss anyone off but many Landscape Architects often lack the "trench experience" and sometimes come up with stuff I just can't comprehend.

    About five years ago I talked our district into purchasing an irrigation CAD program (RainCAD is what was chosen) and a large format printer (plotter). It has made designing life so enjoyable especially when there are changes to be made. No more erasing! Once you get used to the program it's a snap and designs can now be done in about 1/3 the time. Hardest part of the whole thing is measuring everything (pushing for GPS now) so the initial plot plan can be done up. I also don't use automatic zoning and I still do the materials take-off the old fashion way. I can do it so fast and it allows me to go over every pipe and fitting as I progress. I also use the CAD program to do up "site zone maps" that sites attach to work orders indicating an approximate problem area. Really helps the crew know roughly which controller and which zone is the problem. (One high school has been added on to over the years and has 8 controllers.) One thing to note when I design for our district is CHANGE. Things are always changing (buildings, hardscapes, ply boxes, etc.) that I oversize main lines and main laterals and then undersize zones (don't max out a zone's GPM) so sprinklers can be added on later when changes occur. We also do not use 3/4" or 1" valves on any turf areas for this same reason.

    If we have a larger project that is to be contracted out we have several in our area that have done good jobs in the past. However, contractors are only as good as the employees and foreman they have on a particular project. They're inspected regularly to insure that they are adhering to our specs that they bidded on. Besides, when they're installing a system that I have designed I can spot an installation "abnormality" immediately.

    Anyway... I'm getting lengthy myself now. :cool2:

    Hayes
     
  6. Aran

    Aran LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    Hey PurpHaze

    Sounds like you have similar experince to myself. I also find that my installation experience makes me a better designer. There is no substitute for the experince gained by starting in the trenches. I hope to one day gain the CAD experience such as yourself. I know how much time it would save especially on revisions. I also agree with over designing the system and leaving room for expansion or future pressure drops due to development. It's nice to see an organization such as yours being pro-active and thinking about efficiency, and the future. They are lucky to have someone with your skill set and experience on board. :waving:
     
  7. hunter

    hunter LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 254

    In the state of Texas you have to be licensed by the state to repair, install and design a system.
     
  8. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    California is moving in that direction. In fact, the latest IA "Statesman" webletter had an update on the fact-finding. Even if they enacted statutes tomorrow most likely it'll be awhile before things filter down to the "local government" level where everyone will have to abide. (This is the way it was with pesticides awhile back.)

    Personally I'd like to see it happen. Maybe a lot of the crappy systems will go out the window and professionals like those on this list would increase their value. When it does happen I'm sure my employer will pay for my certification process.

    I've been interested in IA CID certification for some time now but just can't afford it. I did pay my own way for QAC Pesticide certification many years ago and that was a pinch. LOL
     

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