How to Hire an Irrigation Contractor
When searching for a professional irrigation contractor to install a system or service an existing system, there are certain qualifications you should consider. Use these tips as a guide to help you make an informed choice for your irrigation project.
- Certification and Licensing - Any person connecting an irrigation system to Fort Worth’s water supply or within the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) on or after January 1, 2009, must have a valid license, issued by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. View the Irrigation Ordinance for more information.
- Permit - Any person installing or altering an irrigation system by 20 percent or more in Fort Worth or within the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), must obtain a permit from the City of Fort Worth Planning and Development Department.
- Ask for References. You have a right and responsibility to ask for references and examples of completed projects. This will help you feel more comfortable with the contractors ability to meet your irrigation needs.
- Get a written proposal and copy of the irrigation plan. A professional contractor should provide a written proposal. In Fort Worth they are required to prepare an irrigation plan prior to installation or alteration of an irrigation system. The irrigation plan is a scaled drawing of a landscape irrigation system which shows the scope of the project, and the changes made in the installation of an irrigation system. View requirements: Irrigation Plan and As-Built Design
- Insurance - Reputable professionals will carry appropriate insurance policies to protect you and your property. Expect these minimums from a professional irrigation contractor:
- Contracts - This is a guarantee of professional work and a statement specifying mutually agreed upon standards. Insist on a written contract for your protection, regardless of the amount. After the contract is signed, any changes you and the contractor agree to make in the work or materials to be used must be in writing. This written “change order” must also include any additions or reductions in the total job price. Here’s a list of basic elements you’ll find in most irrigation contracts.
- Specific costs of materials to be installed
- Specified start date and an estimated completion date
- Statement regarding payments arrangements such as down payment, progress payment and balance due
- The name, street address and telephone number of the contractor
- Complete description of the work to be done and materials to be used (including quantities and brands of irrigation equipment)
- Guarantees of work and materials
- Statement that the contractor will do any necessary cleanup and removal of debris after the job is completed
- “Notice to Owner” explaining the state’s mechanic’s lien laws and the ways to protect yourself and your property
- “Notice of Cancellation” informing you that you have three days after signing the contract to cancel it
- Statement requiring the contractor to provide proper lien releases for suppliers
- Validation of any required license and certificates of insurance, not just copies
- Statement that the work will meet the standards specified in the contract
- Customer Service- The contractor you hire should be available if you have questions or if a problem arises in the future. Additionally, ask questions about how to reset the controller once your new turf is established.
- Expect a final walk-through - In Fort Worth, professional contractors are required to perform a final walk-through inspection with the homeowner or owner’s representative. View requirements: Walk-through with Homeowner
- Water Management - Water efficiency is critical in the design or alternation of an in-ground system. Ensure your contractor will design your system with water efficiency in mind, considering any opportunities to use drip irrigation in vegetable or garden beds that will require less water.
Report Water Waste
Fort Worth has year-round watering restrictions which include a no more than twice a week irrigation schedule. Please report water waste online or use the MyFtWorth app for smartphones. Questions? See Frequently Asked Questions.