In the construction industry it seems like we are always looking to increase productivity through technology and some kind of a machine in the name of speed. But, is faster always better?
In the past two decades, the software landscape designers and architects use to create their plans has improved dramatically. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional drawings and color renderings are all now possible with the touch of a button.
The ability to quickly and accurately draw an idea on paper is becoming a lost art. Many great designs were created on a paper napkin over a meal or drinks, saving both time and money, but that will only take you so far.
Sooner or later the need for construction documents will come up. Do you take the time to input all the information in the computer or draw the plan by hand and hope there are no revisions?
An experienced designer can sometimes create a plan reflecting his and/or the client’s vision on the first try so drawing by hand may be the way to go.
Projects with large areas, multiple sheets and different trades will require the use of CAD that will allow revisions and updates to only take a few minutes instead of days to recreate.
And what about construction?
Just because you can get a machine like a skid steer in the back yard doesn’t mean you should! When taking into account the damage a machine can do to areas that are to be preserved, the risk of making more than a mess than intended, or having a rental sit on a rain day – sometimes using wheel barrels and shovels can be more cost effective.
There are some types of equipment that can help with productivity tremendously. A machine like a tree spade can move a tree in minutes that would have taken a half of a day for a four man crew. Trenchers can open up an entire site in the morning and the pipe can be laid that afternoon. Pending your soil type, augers (12”-36” diameter) can speed up planting times, but if used in heavy clay, can create a pit that sometimes won’t drain.
When considering man or machine, the choice isn’t always so obvious.
This post was written by Kevin McHenry, HighGrove Partners land services manager
Image credit: Bobcat Company