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.

Construction Surveying, including a Form Survey when Building a Foundation for a Home or Commercial Building

If you are in the process of planning a new home, one thing to keep in mind is that you will want to have a surveyor layout the locations for the form-work that is used to build the foundation of your home. Why is it important to have a surveyor locate your new foundation? because you want to make sure the foundation is built where your architect intended. Construction Surveying is important because structures must be built in exactly the right place.  Your lot may have set-backs or easements that no structure is allowed to encroach into. If your house gets built in an easement or a building setback, you may even have to tear down the house! Even worse, if you are not sure where the property line is, you could build a structure on the wrong property. It sounds unlikely, but it has happened before. Surveyors can research the deed or plat of your property, find the setbacks and easements, and confirm that you are building within the correct building envelope. As part of the Construction Surveying work, the surveyor will also set the locations for the building so that they match the plans for your home or commercial building. Surveyors also layout the locations of roads and utilities prior to to construction.  Construction Surveying includes setting “blue-tops”, which are special stakes that establish the final grade elevation when a contractor is grading a property.  As the contractor grades the area near the blue-top, he exposes the blue fibers at the top of the stake, and he knows he is at the proper grade. If you have any questions about construction surveying, feel free to call us at The Moore Group!

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.

Our New Project on Lake Austin, “Laguna Terrera”, is Under Construction!

It is great to see a project that you have drawn on paper become a reality.  Laguna Terrera is a high-end residential project located on Lake Austin near the community of West Lake Hills.  Our survey crew is on-site now providing locations for pilings.  Soon the utilities will be constructed. I’ll keep you updated on the progress! .

We can now Announce it: The Moore Group is obtaining the entitlements for the Austin Curling Club

We recently represented the Austin Curling Club before City Council.  Based on the reception we recieved, we are now obtaining entitlements – including site plan approval – for a unique new sporting facility.  This will be the only true Curling Arena within a thousand miles of Austin. The Curling Club will include a restaurant and bar.  The facility also includes three regulation sheets of curling ice and dressing rooms for the competitors.  The facility will draw Curlers from across the country and abroad from Canada,  United Kingdom (especially  Scotland), the United States, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Japan, all of which compete in the world championships. In addition, the facility will showcase “green” construction components, including rainwater harvesting, solar cells on the roof and the re-use of heat given off by the ice refrigeration compressor to provide heat for hot water. We are very excited to be chosen to work on such a unique and environmentally progressive project. .

Construction Administration

The Owner of a Development Project needs someone to represent his or her interest during construction of the project.  Our firm provides Construction Administration services that benefit Owners of development projects.  We provide Construction Services on Commercial, Industrial and Residential projects of all sizes.  We measure the construction quantities, so the Owner only pays for the amount actually built.  We prepare the Construction Contract using Unit Prices, so that the Owner pays by the Unit, thereby eliminating the possibility of overpayment.  We obtain competitive bids from several Contractors in order to get the best price.  We conduct the bidding and assist the Owner in the selection of a Contractor.  When construction begins, we make sure the proper authorities are notified and invited to the pre-construction conference.  As construction progresses, we observe the construction  When the Contractor submits an Application for Payment, we go to the Construction Site and check to see if the work that the contractor is seeking payment for has actually been completed.  Often times at this point, we will ask the Contractor to reduce his request for payment to the amount actually completed.  In this way, we make sure the Project Owner only pays for work actually completed and in place.  We also with-hold a Retainer, usually 10% of the amount approved for payment, in order to protect the interests of the Owner.  As the project nears completion, we prepare a Punch-List of final items that must be completed for the Contractor to collect the Retainer.  When the project is substantially complete, the regulatory authorities are invited to the Construction Site for a final walk-thru.  At this point in the process, we often must interact with the inspectors and regulators to assure the Owner obtains his Certificate of Occupancy.  (For Public Improvements, Project Acceptance is the goal, because then the improvements are accepted for maintenance by the Public, ending Owner responsibility for the Improvements.)   We have successfully completed many Construction Projects.  Some types of projects we have completed include: Residential Subdivisions Mixed-Use Subdivisions Commercial Site Developments and Strip Centers Office Developments Schools Institutional Projects including Hospitals and Government Buildings Warehouse Developments Apartment Projects Hotels and Motels Restaurants Major Utility Projects Water Treatment Plants Water Wells and Pump Stations Wastewater Plants Floodplain Improvements & Flood Control Drainage Projects Marinas Floating Docks Road Projects Approach Mains Water Quality Ponds and BMP Controls Erosion Control Installation Single Family Homes Septic Systems Park Improvements  The above projects are only a representative example of the types of projects we have completed.  Call us at 512-442-0377 before your next project to make sure your next project is a success. .