The key question Bob Scott, president at Conyers, Ga.-based Irrigation Consultant Services, asks of his clients is, “What do you want the system to do?” The main goal of his approach is to learn as much about the project and the client’s goals for it, so he can help direct them to the best-designed system – and not freak out when they see how much it will cost.
So he asks about what the turf areas will be used for, what kind of plantings they’ll have. If they had a system before, what did they like or not like about it? How did it deteriorate over time? What are your priorities for performance? Are you concerned more with water efficiency, or cost of materials?
“Try to get ahead of the game,” Scott says. “Because this gets the client involved. When you get them involved in the decision making, they take possession of it. That’s a critical item is getting that discussion going.”
Some commercial developers just want to flip the building in a few years, and might just want a basic system that works well for the short term. Golf course builders are typically more interested in the long-term performance and maintenance costs.
“I like to have that all kind of approved, because the number gets to be pretty healthy. I want to make sure that’s all preapproved before we get into our planning,” Scott says. “There might be changes up or down within a year, or five years on a commercial project, everybody has an understanding of where the dollars are and why this happened or why this didn’t happen.”