Land development is the process of altering a landscape to better meet the needs of those who are looking to inhabit it and use it for residential, industrial, or commercial purposes. While most laymen attribute land development when they see tractors moving dirt, the process in most real estate developments starts much earlier with extensive land planning and design. A well designed parcel of raw land becomes the foundation to ensure an economically successful construction project.
Experienced developers know that implementing an effective land development strategy for a specific property takes a team, with numerous specialists who operate together and meet predetermined goals in order to facilitate development or construction work. Civil engineers play a key role in this process by providing effective design and inspection services that maximize project performance and ensure compliance with the relevant standards and regulations.
In the following article, experts from VERTEX will discuss the different roles civil engineers play in land development. Read on to learn more.
Whether it’s a road, a building or an entire subdivision neighborhood, before construction work can commence, the municipality or county needs to receive and approve project plans designed by a licensed professional. Since the planning and reporting stage is the basis for all future work, civil engineering design specialists are needed to develop these plans and submit them for municipality approval.
Having a local civil engineer in your corner is vital during the site development stage. By using their expertise to ensure the permitting and entitlement processes are performed correctly, the engineer can prevent unnecessary delays and ensure the project complies with other due diligence requirements.
Even an otherwise well-built structure can encounter numerous failures down the road if the land it’s built on wasn’t properly investigated and engineered before construction began. It could even lead to construction defect litigation. By taking a highly detailed approach to land development, experienced civil engineers can prevent these problems and ensure project success.
Drainage engineering design
A professional drainage engineering design must meet the requirements for drainage runoff and contemplate overall site function to ensure proper drainage and prevent inundating or otherwise negatively impacting downstream or upstream sites. This is another major element of land development that requires the expertise only a local civil engineer can supply.
Effective stormwater management is necessary to remove the largest volume of water from a site as rapidly as possible, while simultaneously preventing said water from negatively affecting other structures in the area. A professional stormwater management design provided by an experienced civil engineer removes water at an increased pace and prevents ponding, roadway flooding, and combined sewer overflows.
Floodplains are areas next to river beds that are often submerged under water in times of high water discharges from the nearby rivers. Civil engineers can provide a broad array of floodplain management services, including flood risk management and mitigation, floodplain mapping and analysis, hydrology and hydraulic analysis and modeling, and obtaining the necessary FEMA permits that are required to support the different elements of land development.
They can establish proposed floodplain boundaries and work alongside FEMA, municipalities, and flood management districts to ensure the safety of your project and prevent ecological damage from construction.
Dam design and compliance
Dam owners are responsible for ensuring that their dams are built, operated, and maintained in such a way that they do not pose a hazard to health, life, and property. Civil engineers are tasked with gathering record plan information and assessing the site to determine existing conditions. Based on these conditions, a dam safety permit may also be required to ensure it complies with regulatory requirements and pave the way for a complete dam safety inspection.
Routine engineering examination of dam conditions may also be mandated by the relevant safety regulations. In addition to regular inspections, civil engineers can also prepare Emergency Action Plans and Inspection & Maintenance Plans. Some regulatory agencies may also request Engineering Assessment Reports, which include documents such as Safety Inspection Reports, Hazard Classification Evaluation, Structural Stability Analyses, and more.
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