Once the contractor is selected, whether by a bidding process or by direct selection, the owner should enter into a written contract with the contractor. Then, the contractor can proceed to implement the design. There are two major steps within the implementation phase:
Construction refers to the building of structural design elements such as pavements, decks, walls, fences, steps, benches, railings, and trellises (the hardscape). Installation, on the other hand, refers to the planting of plant materials (the softscape). Some contractors specialize in the implementation of the hardscape and others specialize in the softscape. Still other contractors work with both the hardscape and the softscape.
Questions and problems typically occur during implementation that require the designer’s attention. It is not unusual that something unforeseen happens or that additional information is needed to facilitate the design’s implementation. The
designer’s role during implementation may vary depending on whether or not the designer is part of a design/build firm. As a member of a design/build firm, the designer may closely supervise the implementation of the work and be on the jobsite to answer questions directly and quickly. As a member of a design firm, the designer may be hired under a separate contract to periodically observe the implementation to make sure everything is going as intended. In either case, the designer should continue to keep abreast of a project after it has left the drawing board.