25 May Site conditions that landscape lighting design build specialists look for when doing a Design consultation Walk-Through
By Mike Gambino
As all landscape lighting design build specialists know or should know, there are a significant amount of obstacles and small details to keep in mind when surveying a property for a new landscape lighting system installation . If you want to avoid surprises come installation day, all of these little details must not be overlooked. This is time well spent and will save both time and money. Documentation and inspection of a property is one thing, but actually taking the time to thoroughly walk-through and track the details of a property is a completely different requirement Here are 7 things an experienced landscape lighting design build specialist looks for when walking-through a new property:
Short of being given an accurate site plan complete with exact location of sleeves. Documenting things like the locations of artificial lawn, large tree roots, boulders, driveways and walkways and other obstacles, especially how they will be dealt with when the necessity to pass conduit and power cable under them is required will save a huge amount of time. Or the extra labor and materials that may be required to avoid or go around them must be taken into account for proper job costing. So, making sure you are being extra observant when inspecting a property is paramount.
- Slow or low production:
With commercial properties if the retail property you are servicing is open 24 hours, your production rate will be quite slow. Reason being that people will be going in and out of the business until the wee hours of the night. Doing a little stake out and find out when the slowest times are so the business does not suffer from our working in their space and we will not suffer from being slowed down from doing our job. Are they all retail shops? Is there a bar or restaurant? We make sure that during our walk-through to document high-traffic times in order to save time and energy by showing up at the wrong time for work.
- Uneven work surfaces
If differences in surfaces aren’t noted and documented, the type of work terrain won’t be clear. This will affect the efficiency of the job. With uneven surfaces, slopes and hillsides, efficiency is decreased and production time will increase. If the surface is level however, things will go faster saving our time and thus, our client’s money. The purpose of a walk-through is primarily for bidding and determining the price of the project, so it becomes obvious quickly how important this step is. Documenting the design of the lighting system and the surface levels extensively in your notes. You’ll thank yourself later for being so detailed.
- Soil conditions
Savvy landscape lighting design build specialists know that documenting and paying attention to soil conditions is very important. Hard pan, dry soils or rocky conditions make for some very difficult and time consuming digging. In extreme cases jack hammers may be needed to be brought in to break through the ground. These difficult soil conditions not only take more time but are exhausting for work crews diminishing productivity levels across the board. Sandy or loam soils are much easier to dig but might propose their own set of challenges like lacking the ability to provide a sturdy and set fixtures level.
It is important to note where will the work truck be parked. If the area is not very safe or there is heavy traffic these kinds of hazards can become a liability. And if the truck is parked far from the work area the time you spend backtracking will extend the amount of time it will take to complete the project. Wear and tear on team members spent walking back and forth carrying heavy materials back and forth to and from truck will also affect productivity.
6. Existing Electrical:
Where are the locations of the main electrical panel and sub panels(if any). Are their existing electrical outlets in the yard that have extra capacity to power the new lighting system or portions of it. How difficult will it be to power up this system with the electric that currently exists and how will it be integrated with a control system. Which leads us to number 7.
How does the owner want this system to be controlled. Timer, motion sensor, manual on/off switch, smart phone device. Is there an existing control system already in place that the owner already is familiar with and has the capability of being added to. Or will a new control system need to be installed.
These conditions and more factor into the basis for how much a new custom landscape lighting system will cost on any given property.
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.Gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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