First let me start by saying that being a reletively new employee in the position of Irrigation Manager for SSC Services for Education at Texas A&M University that the system quite simply is a Behemoth. We are talking about approximately 293 controllers, 8,700 zone valves spanning some 5,200 acres plus/minus of turf, and another 43 acres of ornamantal planting beds for main campus alone. In addition to these totals we also manage the 2,000 acre Rellis campus home to another 13 controllers,and approximately 400 zone valves and growing. That being the case it is paramount that each and every component of the system be installed exactly as the irrigation designer and maintenance staff intends with materials specified to the letter. This will insure that every irrigation system installed has identical components throughout. I like to refer to this as system uniformity

This uniformity can only be achieved through detailed design guidelines and specifiactions. Because there is a miriad of extreamly different yet the same irrigation components in the market today i.e. spray heads,rotary heads, valves, controllers etc., you could inherit irrigation systems that function and perfrom completely different from one new installation to the next. This can easily happen because installers and designers alike tend to use materials that they are familiar with, or they happen to like for whatever reason such as cost, ease of installation,performance,or simply what was in stock at that time. I say all of this to let it be known that without providing very detailed component specific information, you literally don’t know what you will inherit in the form of an irrigation system.

In an effort to achieve that end goal of system uniformity we at SSC Services For Education have developed a set of Design Guidelines and Specifications that leave no aspect of a new installation to the discretition of the installing contractor. Every component is specified down to the manufacturer, trade name, identificatiuon number, size, pressure rating, and in some cases even the color.

In conclusion, as the end user you can never be too specific when developing irrigation specifications. Designers make it clear to everyone exactly what components are to be utilized in the installation of new irrigation systems. Most installers will apppreciate clear directions and knowing up front the designers intentions without having to guess what components are preferred, and how to proceed with the installation. Having detailed specifications and design guidelines will help facilitate a win win for all parties involved.

submitted by Darrell Bunch

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