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Letters to the Editor

SPECIFICATION ADVICE

Dear Editor, As a "reformed" landscape architect who practiced for 13 years in both the private and public realm, I have had the experience of writing and editing a multitude of specifications for everything from arbors to waste receptacles. When writing specifications I would like to encourage landscape architects to include the name phone numbers, and fax numbers or e-mail addresses of the manufacturers representative in all of their specifications in which proprietary products are used.

Why? It makes acquiring timely, accurate quotes easier for the contractors. This results in tighter, more accurate bids, which will not only give the customer a lower price (typically), but will result in fewer headaches down the road for you, the specifier. Here's why: Usually, if the contractor has not had the time, or waited too long to get the quote from the manufacturer's rep, they will "ballpark" the cost of an item, making sure that they have the cost covered, i.e. assigning a greater cost than is accurate. This results in a higher-cost, less competitive bid. If they have "ball parked" too low, the contractor may take the four following actions:

Option one: The contractor will eat the cost.

If the contactor made a mistake--and as such should own up to it--it is possible that they will absorb the cost. This means no hassle to you, the specifier, and offers cost savings to your client--wahoo! Ask your favorite contractor about the likelihood of this course of action.

Option two: The contractor will ask directly for additional money to cover the cost of the products.

This results in more paperwork for you, and your client may end up paying the additional money if the contractor has explained the reason for his extra costs in a way that sounds reasonable. Don't get me wrong - it's not necessarily a bad thing to consider, as it could be argued that the client shouldn't get something for nothing.

Option three: They will bury the additional costs in a non-related change order. Again, more work for you, no savings for your client.

Option four: They will substitute, or attempt to substitute, a less expensive, and probably inferior product. Once again, more paperwork, only this time the quality of the project may suffer.

As a manufacturer's representative, it is my goal to help you make landscape architect's projects successful. By reducing the hassles of specifications, bidding and construction management, you can concentrate your valuable time and efforts on other important aspects of your job. Adding the names, phone numbers, and fax numbers or e-mail addresses of the manufacturer's representatives to your product specification can help you do just that.

Sincerely,
Jim Ringelberg, ASLA, Northwest Recreation, www.nwrecreation.com.



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KUDOS

Re: "Isamu Noguchi's Playground Designs," by LASN regional editor Leslie McGuire, September 2004 LASN article

Dear Editor, I absolutely love the September 2004 article "Isamu Noguchi's Playground Designs." I thought the article was very well done. I'd like to request extra copies and/or tear-sheets of the article.

You have a terrific publication.
Terry Orion
Alpine, California
(Letter summarized from Terry's personal phone call to LASN)



Terry, Thanks for the kudos! Leslie worked hard researching and writing the article on Noguchi's playgrounds and she appreciates that you took time out of your busy schedule to comment.

Tearsheets or extra copies of articles are always available by contacting Jody Henderson at jhenderson@landscapeonline.com.

Thanks Terry!



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EPA GREENSCAPES PROGRAM

Re: "GreenScapes Alliance Launched by the EPA" (LASN, Jan. 2004)

Dear Editor, Thank you so much for your article announcing the new US EPA GreenScapes Program, which is designed to help promote green landscaping practices and products. If your readers would like any additional information on the program or would like to join with us to in working to promote cost effective and environmentally beneficial landscaping–you can find us out at our web page: www.epa.gov/greenscapes.

Thank you again.
Jean Schwab, U.S. EPA GreenScapes program manager, Washington, D.C.



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