Topographic Land

Civil Engineering plans, reports, specifications, and certifications are required by the local agency in charge (County or City) for all new Construction Projects to meet new code specifications and construction standards. Civil engineering takes place on all levels: in the public sector from municipal through to federal levels, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international projects.

Research is a fundamental task to improve engineering design, and avoid conflicts during the construction phase of a project. Utility Research is very useful for civil plans to show lines such as gas, water, storm drain, fire, sewer, irrigation, or dry utility lines. Research is also performed for surveying, to analyze the property in question, its boundaries, easements, dedications, benchmarks, GPS coordinates, and then used to start all field-work activities.

Conceptual Studies, reports, are performed mostly for the feasibility of a project in order to determine the basic requirements of the governing agency (local agency in charge of reviewing & approving projects), and show the agency with a preliminary engineered design on plans of what the owner wants develop and communicate to the client any constraints, fees, proposals, and requirements prior to any actual design for the purpose of the project’s budget.

Site layout plans are designed to comply with regulations regarding number and size of parking stalls, building area, pervious areas, building ratios, green area rations, and handicap ADA requirements. Area distribution. Typically over a survey to assure line-work as shown will work in the actual dimensions of the property. Also called horizontal control plans, these plans show planimetric lines showing the site’s traffic, stripping, dimensions, signs, areas, and other useful information for the contractor during construction.

Grading plans are prepared to establish a structure finish floor elevation & to grade the surrounding site to avoid flooding using drainage slopes and/or devices. Grading plans have to comply with several regulations and several reviewing departments, also with, the American Disabilities Act (ADA) a federal law to achieve the use of the facilities by disable people. Grading plans are typically designed over topographic surveys. Grading plans are designed having in consideration water quality requirements, WQMP or SUSMP reports, for appropriate treating and infiltration of storm water before discharging into receiving waters. Larger Projects require the preparation of rough grading plans prior to the final grading design, to accelerate grading permits, and grading operations.


Retaining Wall design is often required for walls retaining more than 3 feet of dirt. As a separate approval, and separate submittal to the agency reviewing the plans. The structural design of retaining walls sets the reinforcement (steel), the footing size and specifications for the wall to be built per code. Seismic Forces and lateral support are considered for the sizing of the structure.

Storm Drain plans are prepared for the installation of storm drain pipes to carry storm water into the municipal drainage system. A hydraulic design is required to size the sections of the pipes used in the project, and a hydrology report to quantify the amount of storm water to be drained. The design of storm drain is a gravity design, which makes it a challenge when trying to avoid crossings with other utilities such as water, and sewer.

A hydrology/hydraulics report deals with the quantification of storm water during a designed, by probability, storm event, 10 years, 25 years, 50 years, or 100 years storm event quantifying the flow of storm water during the designed event. The hydraulics portion of the report deals with the sizing of the drainage pipes or devices to be used in the project.

Waterline improvements are always part of a set of plans when doing land development projects specially subdivisions. It is of most importance to identify the existing water connections and avoid crossing with other utilities like sewer, storm drain and gas. When waterlines are public it should be understand that waterlines shall be shown with a vertical profile to identify other utilities on-site.


Fire plans refer to fire protection systems to be constructed in any commercial site where fire hydrants, or fire sprinkler systems are to be installed. These plans are reviewed by the local agency in charge of the project and the local fire authority for the project site. These plans are designed in a loop system that connects and returns to the main fire waterline on the street. If the line is required to be public, an easement shall be proposed along the loop and also a profile shown along the line. Fire regulations apply to the design.

Most sewer systems are designed as gravity systems, and tied in the main sewer on the street. Sometimes lift stations are required to accomplish the flow of sewer into the main, when that happens extra calculations and permits are required to obtain a workable sewer system. These plans are prepared with city or county standards to accommodate the standard details and specifications of the reviewing agency.

These plans are designed to show an overall of the wet utilities on the site. Showing all major crossing elevations for utilities and basic information on its design. The intent of these plans is to resolve issues that are not seen on the construction plans for water, sewer, storm drain, and other utilities.

Street improvement Plans are designed when working in a state, county or city public right of way. These plans are designed to incorporate public agency standards and specifications, APWA, and ADA standards. Plans are prepared for the construction of street driveways, curbs, sidewalks, ADA ramps, paving, canals, water, sewer, and storm drains located in street right of way and shall be prepared as a separate set of plans to the reviewing agency.

Erosion control plans are prepared to contain erosion and sedimentation of the project and are required by federal law by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to avoid any storm water exiting the site during construction. See also SWPPP report.

Engineering cost estimates are usually required by the public agencies from the design professional to provide an estimate of the real cost of construction. Said estimates are based on tables provided by the city, and engineering quantities gathered from the plans and usually signed by the civil engineer.