By Christopher Lyon
President at Tournesol Siteworks
In the first part of this article, I explained what goes into custom manufactured products and why they cost what they do. The usual response we get receive is, "how can we get to our design intent at a lower cost?" The good news is we have an answer for that.
If you're reading this, you may already know that Tournesol Siteworks manufactures a broad range of standard commercial landscape products and solutions. While we do offer and manufacture complete custom-built-to-site requirements, we've developed two levels of customization based on our existing standards.
Level one (we call it C1) modifies existing products, and in most cases, we've created standard part numbers and pricing to make the process simple. Examples include adding custom accessory pockets to planter walls (great for lighting, speakers, power access, etc.), adding casters to a planter, custom colors, adding a donor plate (to a bench, table, etc.), the list goes on.
We add a line item with a nominal charge, then send the contractor a form to be returned at time of order to give our manufacturing team the customization instructions they need. The result is you get the products you want customized for your site design. It’s a straightforward process that’s inexpensive and easy, plus there's virtually no engineering required.
Level two of customization (C2, logically enough) typically involves modification of a standard design. We refer to these as "platform modifications." These changes might be making a non-standard size of an existing planter shape, creating a curve or radius bench, or converting a bench into a swing. While it typically requires participation of an engineer, much of the work is already done. Which equates to a faster, simpler process, and a lower cost compared to “completely custom.”
The range of options for C2 is wide, so you’ll usually begin by talking with a Tournesol representative to understand the scope of your project. Next our Customworks team gets involved to help identify the right solution to bring your design to life.
For example, the original plans for the pocket parks at LaGuardia’s Terminal B called out that curved wooden benches be mounted to the custom concrete planter elements. In order to facilitate the project’s shortened lead time, we suggested that a modification of an existing standard bench might make sense. The designer liked our Esplanade bench, and felt it fit in well with his overall design. While it still required custom curves and a unique mounting bracket, the overall solution was faster, easier and less expensive to modify than creating the custom bench from scratch.
The best part of our customization process is that we handle all the details for you. Let us do the heavy lifting - we've done the design, engineering and tooling up front, so you don't have to. You can save time and feel confident knowing that your project is in the hands of a team of experts. The result is your client gets a custom-like design, in shorter time frame, and spends less money. I see it as a win-win for our customers, and another example of why we always say Successful sites start here.