Once a landscape plan is accepted by a client and permit work is approved (if applicable, see upcoming permitting issues), the next critically important first step is to call Dig Safely to locate/mark utilities. Then install/erect site protection. Check the Town/State Building codes to determine what is required. Any area of disturbance should be protected during construction.
A term frequently used by engineers, landscape architects and contractors is BMP. BMP’s refer to Best Management Practices. These include but are not limited to: silt fencing, erosion blankets, construction fencing, geotextile fabric (filter fabric), hay bales, hydroseeding, mulch, piping, stone rip rap, etc. Minimum requirements/or suggested practices and methods to employ begin with building access roads, tree protection and soil erosion control to protect from storm water events. A practical approach to defining/outlining the work sequence begins with using a measuring wheel to locate property borders, easements, setbacks, limit of disturbance, utilities.
The volume/area of disturbance primarily dictates whether state permits apply. For instance any construction over 1 acre of storm disturbance requires a NYSDEC Swift water permit (designed by licensed engineer). Storm water and erosion permits may require licensed professional for monitoring daily or weekly, etc. A pre-permit interview with the Town Engineer/Building Instructor can avoid costly mistakes as well as establish a basis for good communication and trust with local officials who could be invaluable to your project and career track. See upcoming articles on bioengineering and advance erosion control products. Site detailing and directions for products and applications can be sourced from vendors, manufacturers, the internet, etc. GOOD ADVICE FOR, whoever is buying a product is to use your consumer common sense. If I’m paying, I want to let my money do as much work as possible not because I’m lazy but saving time saves money for more important big brain stuff.
Remember, photo document everything from ‘before’ you start to after everything is established. Pay particular attention to storm events and more complicated execution (ex: concrete and asphalt pours and deliveries). Pictures of stone in a quarry or yard, plants in the nursery, etc. are all helpful descriptions and informative of the special care and needs given to a project.
Although we have never had recourse to use photo/documents for litigation/liability purposes, we have frequently used photos by e-mail or disc for insurance claims or to communicate with out of town/state clients. “Pictures are worth a thousand words.” Videos can be useful to (if properly edited), see Youtube.
At John Jay we are often hired because of our reputed expertise in what we humorously refer to as ‘headache medicine.’ These are projects where we have utilized or employed design, products, technologies and construction methods/applications which have never been tried in the field. In real time this is the kind of challenging exciting creative risk management that keeps us awake and alive and in touch with the beauty of our natural and constructed landscape environment. We have positioned ourselves as a favorite and sometimes preferred go to contractor to experiment and spec new technology products and techniques by industry leaders. One of our best examples is our long term relationships with Bio Haven/Floating Islands International in designing and installing terrestrial and aquatic habits for restoration and storm water material. Stay tuned. A lot more exciting stuff to come.