As part of our effort to break down the value of hiring different professionals (such as general contractors or architects) to assist in the development process, let’s look at a profession that’s been crucial in just about the entire built world: the civil engineer.
Hiring a quality civil engineer is critical to achieving success in a new commercial development project. Let’s break down some of the specifics of what civil engineers do, how the search for one is narrowed down, and how they ultimately provide value to a development project.
The Role of a Civil Engineer
Civil engineers conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct, and maintain infrastructure projects in the public and private sector. A civil engineer can identify many of the technical issues relating to the property such as the topographic, environmental, or utility constraints.
Typically, services include master site plan support, master grading and drainage plans, utility plans, preliminary water and wastewater plans, off-site earthwork analysis, among many others.
But profiling a site may also be just a part of a civil engineer’s role. They may also be responsible for evaluating zoning restrictions, analyzing existing utility capacities, and determining appropriate building maintenance.
Factors in Hiring a Civil Engineer
Typically, there are several things to consider when reviewing potential civil engineers to work with. Those factors include:
First and foremost, it’s imperative to confirm that the civil engineer has the applicable licenses and permit issued by the appropriate government agencies. This ensures the engineer has the verified credentials to do the job properly, which should ultimately help reduce liability.
Einstein was right when he said, “the only source of knowledge is experience.” The amount of quality exposure to design teams that the engineer has is a sign of experience and knowledge.
Particularly, it’s important to look at recent experience, as requirements, regulations, and methods are constantly changing.
Due to the constantly changing land-use regulations, civil engineers must be up-to-date with the most recent regulations and knowledge of proposed regulatory changes. Knowledge and experience in grading, drainage, and utility plans are major factors.
As it relates to experience, it’s important that engineers have filed submissions recently because land-use regulations can change drastically in short periods of time.
A good civil engineer will have the ability to provide creative solutions to complex development problems. Civil engineers must be able to envision how the interrelationships change when one or more individual aspects change.
Additionally, the intricacies of financial and site restraints take unique critical thinking skills to develop site concepts that significantly increase the land's value.
The Value of Hiring a Civil Engineer
A civil engineer provides the critical skills necessary to assess raw land and the infrastructure that supports development. A civil engineer’s role encompasses all aspects of commercial development projects from concept through completion. And through all of these phases, they provide tremendous value in adding value to your project.
Hiring a civil engineer can provide:
Because civil engineers specialize in monitoring development operations and addressing issues, their use adds an extra level of oversight.
The knowledge of regulations and requirements that civil engineers have provides expertise and assistance in helping projects meet those regulations.
Civil engineers may also be hired to manage the implementation of each phase of construction to ensure the specifications noted in the project proposal are appropriately carried out.
Civil engineers can perceive problems early in the development process and save companies money. They offer the ability to effectively maximize value while minimizing development costs. For example, they might address whether the cost of necessary earthwork exceeds the overall benefits.
The use of an experienced, capable civil engineer can determine the direction of your project and is crucial to the quality and success of the development plans.