Irrigation Checklist

From How to select an Irrigation Contractor
A guide for Ontario homeowners, courtesy of the Landscape Ontario.
Irrigation Checklist
What to look for when you hire an irrigation contractor
 
This list identifies the important criteria for hiring an irrigation contractor.
If you wish, rate the contractors you are considering, and add up the points to compare.
Scores under 45 indicate a mark below 75 per cent.
 
Proof of Workers Safety and Insurance Board standing
Except for single-person companies, irrigation contractors are required by law to pay WSIB premiums on behalf of their employees in the event of a workplace injury. Hiring companies that are not in compliance makes the project owner — you — liable in case of workplace injuries. Ask to see a Certificate of Clearance.

Mandatory: Rate 0 or 5 only

Proof of liability insurance
All contractors should carry liability insurance to protect themselves and their clients from the expense of any unforeseen workplace incidents that might damage your own or neighboring properties. Ask to see a Certificate of Insurance; it should state the name and address of the contractor, the fact the company carries a minimum of $1 million commercial general liability, including coverage for bodily injury and property damage, and the effective and expiry dates of the policy as well as the date of issue of the certificate.

Mandatory: Rate 0 or 5 only

Winterization
A contractor should stipulate the winterization procedure and associated fees. Clarify if the first winterization is part of the installation contract.

Rate 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent)

Contract
A written and signed contract will protect the interests of both the contractor and the homeowner. Contracts should clearly stipulate all details such as payment schedules, work start dates, and the complete scope of the project. Areas of responsibility, such as the provision of underground service locates, permits, etc. should also be stipulated. A good contract will also define procedures for the approval of change orders and costs of extras.

Rate 1 to 5

Warranty
The terms and conditions of an irrigation contractor’s warranty should be clearly spelled out in writing and should specify if the workmanship is warranted and for how long and the length of the guarantee on materials.

Rate 1 to 5

Human resources
The number of employees, including the number of supervisory personnel should be adequate for the size of the project. Remember, a small company with a single crew may well be sufficient for smaller projects, providing they have adequately scheduled their projects. Client references are the best indicators of scheduling ability.

Rate 1 to 5

Employee experience, education and certification
Determine the level of training and experience of key and supervisory personnel. Certification through the CIT and/or CIC programs indicates skilled, committed employees. A credible contractor will be pleased to promote proof of certification.

Rate 1 to 5

Equipment resources
The contractor should have adequate equipment resources to complete the job efficiently. It is important to remember that it may be more cost-effective for certain or specialized pieces of equipment to be rented on an as-needed basis.

Rate 1 to 5

Scope of expertise (including sub-contractors)
Determine which specific disciplines are required for your project. The company should be skilled in all aspects or have access to and use reputable sub-contractors for those areas in which they have no expertise. These include disciplines such as:

• Plumbing and backflow installation

• electrical

• Tunneling and boring

Rate 1 to 5

Years in business
How many years has the company been in business under the current company name?

Rate 1 to 5

Company facilities
Determine if the company has an office, administrative personnel, equipment storage facilities, etc. These facilities may indicate a company’s ability to deal effectively with problems during or after the construction process, return phone calls promptly, etc.

Rate 1 to 5

Association membership
An accreditation procedure is part of the Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association membership application process. Landscape Ontario members are required to follow a Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct. Association membership is a very strong indicator of a company’s commitment to professionalism.

Rate 1 to 5

The benefits of irrigation are real
A well designed, properly installed and appropriately maintained irrigation system can be the most efficient way to keep a landscape healthy. The benefits of an automatic irrigation system include:
 
• Reduced labor for watering
• Convenience
• Full landscape coverage
• Easy control over irrigation timing for early-morning watering
• Added value to your home or business property
• Minimized plant loss during drought
 
With irrigation systems that deliver exactly the right amount of water at the right time to lawns, plants and trees, you can be assured of environmentally sound and efficient results. The irrigation industry offers reliable options and affordable technology (such as rain sensors) for water conservation and efficient water distribution to protect landscaping investments.
 

 
Selecting the right contractor for your project!
Courtesy of Carolinas Irrigation Association
©2000 Irrigation Association

Choosing the right contractor to design and install your irrigation system is a more serious project than you may think. Whether you are searching for a professional irrigation contractor to install a system or to service an existing one, any professional you consider should have certain qualifications to do your work. 

The bottom line is that you are not just buying an irrigation system, but you are also buying the services of a contractor. Your job is to find the professional to do the work that will satisfy you.

How the system is designed and installed can make a big difference A properly designed and installed system doesn’t only add 10% value to your property, or protect your landscape, it also helps to conserve water. That is why a certified irrigation contractor’s expertise and skills are so important in guaranteeing a successful project.


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