Construction in a Floodplain

The Moore Group is currently obtaining variances and permits for Construction in a Floodplain for a residential project. Our client owns property that is in a floodplain, and the client wishes to construct improvements to the property. City code normally does not allow for construction in a floodplain, so we are obtaining a variance to allow the construction to proceed. In order to obtain the variance, we are engineering the project in specific ways that meet city requirements. The city desires to maintain the current stormwater volume within the floodplain. Our proposed construction will use some of the floodplain volume. In order to balance the floodplain volume, we are removing an unneeded structure from the property. We have prepared calculations that show that there is a net increase in floodplain volume as a result of the project. We are preparing construction plans to raise the foundation of the existing structure and proposed addition to an elevation above the floodplain elevation. Our surveyors will prepare a drainage easement to contain the floodplain. The easement will exclude the building footprint, effectively removing the structure from the floodplain. We will represent our client at a public hearing before the city council to request the variance. At the public hearing, we will provide justification for the council to grant the variance. We expect to have city staff support for granting the variance. With the support of city staff, there is a good chance the variance will be granted.

Ed Moore, P.E. – Expert Witness

Mr. Moore has provided expert witness services in lawsuits involving Land Development, Storm Water Drainage, Flooding, Utility District Engineering and Marinas.  He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants.  His ability to clearly communicate engineering concepts both verbally and in writing has made him a successful expert witness. He is a professional civil and environmental engineer with over 30 years of experience.  He has supervised the planning, design and construction of hundreds of projects involving all branches of civil and environmental engineering.   Some areas of expertise include: Streets, Drainage, Marinas, Water Supply, Wastewater Collection, Water Treatment, Wastewater Treatment, Water Wells, Stormwater Quality Practices, Stormwater Pollution Control Practices, Erosion and Sedimentation Control Practices, Revegetation, Development using Municipal Utility Districts, Construction Management, and Construction Contracts. In addition to his Land Development experience, Mr. Moore has extensive experience in Marina Engineering, and has acted as an expert witness in cases involving Marinas.    Mr. Moore has a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Memphis and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Texas.  

Land Development Engineering for Residential Development on Lake Travis

The Austin Real Estate market continues to improve.  As evidence of the improvement, The Moore Group has been retained to provide land development services, including land planning, land development engineering, surveying, and construction administration for a new residential development on Lake Travis just west of Austin.  We are preparing the site plan for this development. L There is no sewage collection system in the area, so the land plan includes on-site sewage treatment.  The treated effluent will be used onsite to irrigate landscaping. We are also designing an innovative storm water treatment facility.  The water quality pond system will use ponds in series and vegetative measures to remove pollutants from stormwater.  Grassy swales will convey storm water from rooftops to the water quality ponds, which are also called “Best Management Practices” or “BMP’s”. The roads in the development will be private drives.  the use of private drives allows us more flexibility in laying out the land plan.  The building sites are carfully chosen to optimize the views of Lake Travis. If you are contemplating a development in Austin or anywhere in Texas, give us a call.  We enjoy discussing new projects, and we can offer you some free advice as you select your project site.

Site Development Engineering & Planning for a Wedding Event Facility

The Moore Group has been retained to provide planning and site development engineering for a wedding event facility in the Texas Hill Country, northwest of Austin.    The project will include 26 stand alone houses and an event center.  The buildings will all be designed to take advantage of passive solar heating and cooling. The buildings will be designed utilizing innovative insulation techniques and will provide natural air movement through the building by the use of carefully located vents.  The Moore Group will design water amenities and water quality controls that work together to provide function and beauty.  Site runoff will be collected and used to irrigate the on-site landscaping.    We will also design a Fire Protection system that will include a water storage tank and pump system.  This is needed because the facility will be located where the existing water system is only capable of providing domestic water service.   The Moore Group will provide site development permitting for this project through a local municipality and Travis County.  We will post more about this project as it proceeds and is permitted for construction.  

New Office Development in Northwest Austin

The Moore Group has recently been retained to do land planning and prepare a Site Development Permit Application for a new office development off Research Boulevard in northwest Austin. The project is in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, so a Water Pollution Abatement Plan has also been prepared and submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).  An innovative Water Quality Pond has been designed to take advantage of the terrain surrounding the proposed building. This is an “infill” project in an area that is mostly already developed, so there were challenges regarding the means of handling the offsite drainage coming from the existing developed properties.  We were able to design a combination of diversion structures and detention that meets all requirements. We certainly are excited about the resurgence of the Austin Real Estate Market.   Onward, into 2013!

Foundation Care Tips- Simple ways to help keep you level

All homeowners dread the day when they will need to have their foundation repaired, but did you know that there are ways to prevent foundation problems? It’s actually not all that difficult either. Save some money and put-off the day when you’ll have to repair your unlevel home. Before you know how care for your foundation, you need to understand why foundation problems occur in the first place. Foundation problems are generally caused by water developing in uneven amounts under the foundation structure. Changes in the moisture levels of the soil can cause it to shrink when dry and expand when wet causing the house to move up and down. When this change in moisture is uneven, the house can become damaged, twisted or strained. The key is to keep the moisture levels under the house consistent. Here are some ways you can keep your moisture consistent and your house level: Get rid of standing water. This can be caused by gutters and down spouts when they aren’t directed away from the house by a splash block. Even those of us in the dry state of Texas have to worry about this from time to time. Water your house. When you water your lawn and garden, make sure to water the area around your house evenly. This requires balance. During our hot Texas dry seasons, we have to soak the perimeter of our homes thoroughly without over-watering. However, keep in mind that certain areas of your perimeter will need more water than others. This is often because the area is more exposed to the sun. Lawn Care! A healthy lawn is vital to preventing evaporation of water from the soil and can help to keep consistent moisture levels in the winter. Keep trees away from the house. The general rule is to plant them as far away as they are tall (or as tall as they are expected to grow). Trees have extensive root systems that need a lot of water. They absorb large amounts of water from the soil which can make the area around the tree dryer. If you already have a tree that is too close to the house, try and keep it pruned. This will keep it from growing excessively and interfering with your home’s moisture consistency levels. Foundation maintenance can keep you from having to make costly repairs. If you have any questions about foundation care or know you may need some foundation help, call us at The Moore Group. We’ll answer your questions and engineer a new foundation if needed.

Get the Most out of Your Civil Engineer

When you start a business or even add a new branch to your existing business, you have a lot to think about and a cornucopia of decisions to make. How will you find key employees? Who will be your Clients and how will you find them? You also have to answer mundane questions such as “Which light bulb should you use since there are going to be thousands of them in the building?” Or, when you create the website for your new company, what font should you use on the menus? Forest green or Kelly green? I can’t help you a lot when it comes to those vital decisions (though I can tell you that you should NEVER use Comic Sans on a menu). I can, however, tell you about how choosing a civil engineer can make or break your business and I can bet with all of those other decisions, that one may not have occurred to you. Many businesses just use the engineer their architect or investor suggests and usually whoever suggests the engineer is getting something out of it. Great for them, but not necessarily great for you. Why are civil engineers important? If you find out about problems mid-way through your project, or worse, after your project is finished, it can cost you thousands of dollars to fix the problem. An experienced engineer knows what things need to be taken into account to preempt such costly issues. An engineer can perform a feasibility study to determine if the site where you have chosen to build your facility can meet city requirements for site area. An engineer must take into account things like permitting, utilities, parking, drainage, growth, erosion and flooding. Another problem that can pop up is that of permitting. A good engineer is an expert at getting you the permitting for your project. Without that permitting, your project could fail without ever even getting started. A good engineer will have good relationships with the people in charge of approving your permit. Many types of permits must be signed and sealed by an engineer, or the permit will not be issued. A good engineer will do more than give you a drawing or a signature. The best civil engineers will make sure your project is a success and try to save you money long term. So don’t always go with the guy your architect hands over to you. Do research to see if the engineer has some good reviews or testimonials. Look at that engineers previous projects. Do they have experience working with a project similar to yours? If you are looking to start a new development project, make sure you choose the right engineer. It could mean the difference between success and failure for your project.