Because the landscaping for the sales models must make an immediate positive impact on the visual appearance for the multi-unit tract housing or condominium project, the builder should take an active role in the sales model landscaping selection and planting.
The sales models complex should look its best in time for the project grand opening to the buying public, which can be better accomplished by including two provisions within the landscaping contract.
The first provision is for the builder to have the option of selection approval. This can involve personally going to the nursery with the landscaping contractor to help select plants and trees, or reviewing and approving plants and trees shown in photographs taken by the landscaping contractor.
This active role not only allows the builder to help select good plants and trees, but also enables the builder to ensure that the project is getting actual 5-gallon trees in 5-gallon can, for example.
Typically, growing trees are transferred from 1-gallon cans to 5-gallon cans legitimately…but for the sales models, the builder wants mature 5-gallon trees planted as specified on the landscaping plans, for example, not younger trees recently transferred into larger cans or boxes.
The second provision is for the builder to be able to approve the planting spacing in place. If the size of the ground-cover plants and shrubs are too small as purchased by the landscaper, or installed farther apart than specified in the landscaping plans, the builder should be able to require that more plant material be added to achieve the desired effect.
The point here is that the landscaping requirements for the sales model complex is different than the landscaping for the production units for a large condominium project.
For the production units, the landscaping can take several months to mature with the landscaping contractor maintaining the planting and trees, allowing for an economy in the purchasing of the production landscaping.
An immediate “splash” of greenery and color is still important in common areas at the beginning of homebuyer occupancy.
But for the sales models landscaping an immediate impact of mature trees, plants, and flowers is needed in a short amount of time, therefore requiring more attention to details, pre-planning, and quality-control supervision.
Finally, some jobsite construction superintendents are very expert in the nuts-and-bolts of the building construction activities, but not as strong in terms of landscaping.
This is where the builder can fill any gaps in field expertise by including in the landscaping design contract and the landscaping subcontract, a provision for a field inspection of the landscaping by the landscape architect. This informs all parties…especially for the all-important sales models grand opening, that an expert will be inspecting the work and noting any deficiencies.
From Lessons-Learned for Builders, Architects, and Interior Designers in Housing Construction, Book 6.