The Art in Fine Grading

Grading is an art. The goal in grading and drainage should always include the integration of aesthetically pleasing design strategies into the landscape context. The role of the Civil Engineering consultant is to guide the owner, developer and/or team of consultants through the process of selecting alternatives to better suit the property. Grading Plans are required by public agencies in order to ensure consistency with the municipality’s grading and stormwater ordinance as well as to closely monitor earth-moving operations so that problems can be prevented.

Every project is unique; the shape of the land, the character of the area, the existing natural features, etc. Throughout the plan approval process, most municipalities pay close attention to the neighborhood character. It is important that the applicant, the civil engineer, and the approving agency have a common understanding about the key features of neighborhood character so that the residential development proposal respects the existing or preferred neighborhood character and satisfies all the requirements of the residential development provisions in planning schemes.

"The key to understanding character is being able to describe how the features of an area come together to give that area its own particular character. Breaking up character into discrete features and characteristics misses out on the relationships between these features and characteristics. Understanding how these relationships physically appear on the ground is usually the most important aspect in establishing the character of the area."

Just like other consultants in the project, civil engineers should be selected based on their strengths in design and based on matching those strengths to the specific project needs. With regards to budgeting, special attention should be required to the engineer’s track record of keeping projects within budget as well as being able to meet deadlines. Upon an analysis of the above, the selected consultant should be able to maintain a high level of professionalism in pursuit of solutions that adapt to the project’s budget, yet keeping a strong connection with the aesthetic component that should always come from precise grading.

– – – – –

KPROX is a small Civil Engineering consulting firm dedicated to providing high quality professional services in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. If you need help with your project, please contact us via phone: (650) 549-4249 or via email and we will be glad to assist you.