10 Apr Preparing for landscape lighting construction on your property
By Mike Gambino
Selections are made, the Agreement is signed, and you’re ready to start your landscape lighting project.
Before work begins, make sure a few details are handled to help things go more smoothly. This often takes the form of a pre-construction meeting, which may be most useful when held at property before or the day of the start of construction to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Here are a few of the most important things to cover at this meeting:
Working hours and days- Most construction companies have standard work hours. These may vary depending on whether the home is vacant or occupied. Make sure you understand if the contractor or subcontractors intend to work into the evenings or on weekends. Having this conversation at the start will help set expectations.
Re-set Irrigation programming- Sprinklers should temporarily be programmed to begin their cycles shortly after work ends for the day and complete before landscape lighting comes on for the evening for the duration of the project. At project completion sprinkler schedules can go back to normal but should never be set to turn on simultaneously while lighting is on. When lighting is on, lenses are hot and irrigation water can dry and calcify on the lens , etch the glass cutting down on light transmission.
Parking and trash/recycling pickup days- Depending on where your project is, there may be ample parking or almost none. Neighbors may be territorial about their parking spots. You may even need a permit from the city where you’re working to park trucks or other equipment.
Make sure you also communicate when your trash or recycling pickup takes place. You don’t want your contractor to block the road or alley with equipment on those days.
Access and security- Talk through how the contractor should access your home and if a key will be kept; and review security codes for alarm systems. Many alarm companies will allow you to set a temporary code for your contractor to use that’s separate from yours, so that when the job is done, the code can be canceled. Also talk about where workers can use the bathroom.
Communication and contacts. Get a complete list of phone numbers and email addresses for the contractor who is your main on-site contact. Make sure the contractor has all of your contact information as well, including an emergency contact, so that he or she can reliably reach you.
Ask how information about the project will be communicated to you. This could take the form of an email summary every day or every once in a while. If you need communication in a way the contractor had not planned on, speak up and he or she may be able to provide it to you.
Site and landscape protection. It’s useful to walk around the property with your contractor to talk about where site protection will be so that everyone has the same expectations.
Walking around the property will also give you the opportunity to talk about where material can be staged, and which plants and trees should be protected. Expect to have to possibly re-sod or restore areas where material is staged and workers are walking.
Neighbors. If you haven’t told your immediate neighbors yet, now is the time. Neighbors may be impacted by parking and noise, and it’s best to let them know ahead of time. Alert your contractor if you have neighbors who may be particularly sensitive, so that he or she can tread lightly if possible.
Location of utilities. At your meeting make sure your contractor knows where all of the utility controls are: water, gas and electrical panel. They are concealed in some homes. Also, let your contractor know if there are appliances or circuits that cannot be turned off, like a deep freezer, computer, pool pump or fish tank./Koi pond etc.
Household workers and pets. If you have cleaners, gardeners or other household help, it’s important to let your contractor know when those people are scheduled to be on-site.
If you have pets and intend to keep them on-site during construction, talk with your contractor about how and where you will confine them. Your contractor is unlikely to want to take on the responsibility for caring for and keeping track of your pet, so make sure you have a plan.
Miscellaneous questions about billing, scheduling and anything else on your mind. You may be feeling entirely confident about how the project will go, or you may have dozens of questions — from how billing will be handled, to who will be there every day. This is your opportunity to ask any lingering questions ahead of start.
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 30 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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