The housing market is crazy right now – demand is high and supply is very low. The beauty of the mountains and rivers bring great views, but also great challenges to a potential buyer. It can be overwhelming trying to imagine your dream home on a piece of property, especially when the terrain is steep. Every commercial developer utilizes a civil engineer on their projects, and so can an individual to get the most out of their property. What does a civil engineer do? A civil engineer can provide expertise in multiple areas, from the design of a driveway, the location of the home, and even during the construction process to inspect the quality of work or modify plans.
- Site Layout
- Erosion Control & Storm (Runoff) Conveyance
- Water & Septic Layout
- Obtaining Permits
- Floodway Development Analysis (No-Rise/No-Impact Certification)
- Construction Inspections
If you are searching for a piece of property for a potential home or dividing off a section for a vacation rental cabin to generate some income, a civil engineer can help in determining the best locations and layout for your property. A civil engineer is helpful in obtaining permits and coordinating surveys and inspecting construction quality. Engineers are familiar with working with different municipalities, jurisdictions, and state agencies.
One thing that many people do not know is that if there is more than one acre of land disturbance, you must obtain an erosion control permit from the state or local jurisdiction (if they have their own regulations). Engineers can also help when building near a river or in a floodplain. It is recommended to build outside of a floodplain, but a floodplain development permit can be obtained through a flood study analysis and with the appropriate design for the house and surrounding lot.
When considering a new build, you need to keep in mind all the land constraints – topography (slopes), drainage, easements/setbacks, and water/septic locations. This all affects the possible layouts and designs. First, you need to determine the location of the home and the accessibility of it. The driveway needs to be designed to consider slope, drainage, and dirt needed for fill or removal. The house needs to be placed so that the location does not produce any drainage problems. You, especially, need to make sure the drainage is directed away from the house, as to not cause any water issues in the future.
When the desired house location is chosen, you need to ensure that a well and septic would be feasible. Typically, most sites can be done by just reaching out to the local health department for a septic and well permit. However, there are areas that will not be approved, or at least will not receive approval with conventional septic systems. An Engineer Option Permit (EOP) may assist in an alternative septic design system. This design option, while challenging, is not widely known. When a property brings challenges, an engineer can help “The One” not slip away.
With an engineer on your team, you can get more assurance in determining the right property for you. Maximize your possibilities and get an edge over the beautiful, but challenging, landscape. Whether big or small, let an engineer bring your dream to reality.