Engineering is the application of science to achieve a set of objectives. Therefore, our first role in a project is to understand our client’s goals. What are the short-term and long-term desired outcomes? Who is going to use the facility? How will it be profitable to our client’s business? What is the impact on the surrounding features? All while working to strengthen the relationship to a neighborhood, and minimize (hopefully eliminate) negatives.
Goals are achieved through varying solutions, which often leads to competition between them. Our purpose is to establish priorities and relative importance of each goal. For example, it is counterproductive to design a site that has optimal visibility and parking, with limited access. We work to balance the building placement (visibility), access (driveways), parking (which often drives density), environmental (drainage and landscaping) and utilities (water, sewer) with the economics of construction cost, schedule and use of the facility.
Even though it may seem to be outside the scope of an engineer’s practice, we also seek to understand the financial aspects of each project, such as the the cap rates, equity and mortgage concerns. Through active participation with Urban Land Institute, we are broadening our view of the land development industry. We believe that a more complete view of the whole leads to more effective solutions at each level.