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Use A Certified Irrigation Professional To Install Your Irrigation System


Selecting and installing an irrigation system is an important investment for any homeowner or business. An irrigation system ensures that your other investment — your lawn or landscape — is nurtured and sustained.

When it comes to who you contract to do the work, their qualifications and expertise matter. Certified irrigation professionals have demonstrated expertise to assess your specific needs and design and install a system that will maximize both your water savings and the needs of your landscape.

As a consumer, you have the right to conduct thorough research to ensure the professional you hire will perform the job to the standards and quality you expect. Use this guide to determine whether the irrigation professionals you interview are right for the job.

Qualifications

Start by assessing the professional’s qualifications. A certified irrigation professional should be able to tell you about their formal training, references, certification by the Irrigation Association and contractor’s license. These items show a contractor has demonstrated basic knowledge and skills required for the job.

IA certification means the contractor has passed exams that demonstrate in-depth knowledge of proper irrigation practices. To maintain their certification, contractors must complete continuing education, helping to ensure that they are up to speed on new developments in irrigation practices. Other qualified organizations that offer irrigation training include irrigation equipment manufacturers, colleges and trade schools.

A contractor should also have a basic business license. Belonging to various trade associations shows a contractor’s commitment to the industry and desire to keep up with technological advancements and irrigation standards and trends. In addition, a professional irrigation business should be able to discuss how it provides safety training and education for its employees to ensure they perform their work in a safe and consistent fashion.

A contractor should be able to readily provide proof of professional certifications, training, and any state or local government-required licensing.

Insurance

Reputable irrigation professionals will carry appropriate insurance policies. The contractor should have worker’s compensation insurance to protect you from potential liability if one of the contractors working on your property gets hurt while on the job. They should also have general liability insurance with limits between $300,000 and $500,000 for residential work, to protect you in case of unexpected and unintentional problems on your property, like flooding or landslides.

Any professional irrigation contractor should be able to provide you with certificates of insurance.

Bids & contracts

When seeking a professional irrigation contractor, obtain more than one bid so you can compare prices and work offered. Request all bids in writing and make sure they include the same details, such as irrigation product brands. The lowest bid is not necessarily an indicator of the best value. Contracting with a licensed and certified professional may cost more, but the value of an appropriately chosen, correctly installed irrigation system can make up for these extra costs over time.

When you do choose a contractor, insist on a written contract for your protection. The contract should include proper identification of workers (including names and licensing numbers), a complete description of the work to be done and materials to be used, payment arrangements, details on product or work guarantees, approximate date when the work will be completed, and a statement saying the contractor will clean up and remove debris after the job is finished. If any changes are made, ensure they are made in writing.

Expert knowledge

Most importantly, an irrigation professional should have in-depth knowledge of how to properly assess the water needs of your property, how to design an efficient system that saves you water and how to instruct you on proper system use.

A smart irrigation system is only as smart as the professional who installs it and the customer who uses it. Make the most of your investment and hire a  certified irrigation professional. To find an IA-certified professional to design, install, maintain or audit your irrigation system, visit www.irrigation.org/hirecertified.

Thank you to the Irrigation Association for this important information.

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Richard Restuccia

Richard is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. Richard is a spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. He served on the Irrigation Association's Board of Directors and is a University of California Master Gardener. Richard also writes for other publications and is an award winning contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine. In 2014 his efforts were recognized with a “Leadership in Landscape” award. He has a great interest in the supply of clean water for people in developing countries and as an outdoorsman, spends his free time running, swimming and surfing.

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