What Engineers Wish You Understood Before Starting A Project

What Engineers Wish You Understood Before Starting A Project


Here at ORB engineering, we do many kinds of projects, be it commercial, residential, or industrial. While each of these projects are unique, having different codes and standards guiding them, there are some overarching similarities to any structural engineering project. We want you to know just what we do and what you need to do to in order to start a new structural engineering project. While we have many blogs on the different components of an engineering project, here is the detailed guide for getting your project out of the clouds and into the permit office.

The first step in any design project is to know what you want! While some people have a highly detailed vision for their project, others don’t even know the rough dimensions. We highly recommend looking for inspiration online, taking some measurements of your project area, and getting a solid idea of what you want. This process might be quick and easy, but other bigger projects may require a property  survey. If you are doing new construction on an undeveloped lot, a survey is certainly a good first step. While our engineers can definitely advise on projects and provide solutions to problems, we want to provide you with the best plans that match your vision. The best way for us to do that is for you to have as much data as you can on your project. Some information we ask for right up front are:

·         What are the dimensions?

·         What are the building materials?

·         Conventional roof or pre-engineered trusses?

·         Foundation-is there already a slab poured?

·         Are you hiring a contractor?

·         Do you have a survey of the property?

·         Do you have a soil report of the property?

These are generic and can apply to a lot of projects. But for other projects, say a new home design, we might ask for pictures of houses that you like, so we can match the design aesthetic. We will also ask for a desired layout, do you want a large open space, or each area to be its own room. We can come up with a layout for you instead, but we can save time on your project by knowing what you want up front.

Now that we have all the data and a good idea about what you want, we can start the design process. There are three phases to the design process: Schematic Design Services, Design Development Services, and Construction Documents Services. While we have articles on the in-depth analysis of these, roughly put the schematic is the first 30% of design, the design development, is the 80% drawings, and the construction documents are 100% done. We hash out all the little details in the first 30% and provide you with that before moving forward. This way we know we have a good base idea, before getting into the nit and grit of designing for the next phase. By reviewing between each phase, we can ensure that your final 100% drawings are exactly what you envisioned back at the beginning.

The last step in engineering design is getting your permit. Again, we have articles on that, but know that getting your permit is critical to your project. Local building departments review the plans and place their stamp of approval on them. While it might seem like useless re-tape, the review by building officials exist to protect the engineer, the contractor, and the general public. Having approved, permitted plans can save a lot of hassle down the line.

So that is everything we want you to know before starting your next project! More to come soon.