sprinkler plans - photo: Mike McCune, http://www.flickr.com/people/mccun934/

How to choose an irrigation contractor?

The installation of an underground sprinkler system is an intricate undertaking. Many issues need to be addressed to install a complete, properly working and legal system. System layout, site conditions, soil type, plant water requirements, permits, water pressure and volume are all considerations that are involved in designing the perfect sprinkler system. These are just a few of the reason you need to hire an experienced irrigation contractor.

A professional irrigation contractor should do a site visit with you. They should request information such as problem areas, specialty water requirements for the landscaping and/or gardens, and potential plans for the yard. A water pressure check should be taken as well as a look at the water source. They should inform you on how the process of the installation will take place.

What a contractor should provide

    • A written contract that details the work that is to be performed and product quantities.
    • Obtain all necessary permits. Note: The party that is responsible for the installation of the backflow device should obtain the plumbing permit.
    • Have the Public Utilities located, homeowner maybe responsible for any private utilities.
    • Coordinate the installation of the backflow device by the plumber.
    • Provide a written warranty.
    • Provide proof of insurance.

      Beware of contractors that

        • Ask you to get the permits. Often this is a way for some contractors to sneak the plumbing in without hiring a Licensed Plumber.
        • Ask you to have the Public Utilities located.
        • That only gives a verbal price.
        • That only gives a verbal warranty.
        • That does not visit the site prior to submitting a bid
        • Give very low bids. They often take shortcuts to reduce the price. This also reduces the quality of the system.

          State and local requirements

            • Minnesota requires that a rain sensor must be installed on all new sprinkler systems.
            • Minnesota requires that all irrigation contractors that install low voltage wiring to be a Licensed Technology Systems Contractor with a Licensed Power Limited Technician on staff. This law also requires that the contractor’s vehicles display the company name and license number. (Master Sprinkler Systems license number is TS00390)
            • A backflow device is required on all irrigation systems unless the water is being pumped from a lake, pond, or river.
            • Most cities require a plumbing permit for the connection of the backflow device to the water source.
            • Most cities require that a Licensed Plumber install the backflow device.
            • Some cities also require additional permits for the irrigation system or for working in the “Right of Way.”
            • The contractor doing the work is the responsible party to have the Public Utilities located prior to digging, not the homeowner.


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