What Is Low Impact Design (LID)?

Apr 11, 2019

Elliott Richter, RLA

Low Impact Design (LID) refers to managing stormwater runoff at the source (on-site) using green infrastructure techniques. Keeping water on-site reduces the need for much larger and more costly management systems. It also helps prevent flooding by reducing the amount of water that enters surface waterways during flash flood events. Conventional stormwater management uses a pipe-and-pond technique which replaces natural systems with concrete, pipes, ponds, and extensive infrastructure. These systems channelize the water and increase its velocity; thereby greatly increasing the risk of erosion. The goal of LID is to replace these pipes and ponds with soft engineering practices that: filter, infiltrate, store, and evaporate the run-off on-site. Incorporating LID early in the planning and design of a project has proven to be much more cost-effective while also providing a community benefit and a much better-looking project. Each of these major components of LID is discussed below. View Full Post

Working with Terrain

Apr 11, 2019

Shawn Massock, RLA

As land planners, 7gen starts every project looking at the opportunities and constraints provided by the land along with the related regulating government authorities’ (RGA’s) codes and ordinances. The land’s terrain plays a major role in the project’s design when these opportunities and constraints are considered along with the RGA’s codes and ordinances. Extreme flat or steep slopes increase the challenge of the design. Relocation of dirt, rock, or other land materials and construction of retaining walls and/or extreme building foundations increase construction costs of development. In today’s environment of limited attainable housing costs, development and building costs must be an important consideration when planning a neighborhood.  View Full Post

Environmental Constraints Aren’t Always Bad

Apr 11, 2019

Elliott Richter, RLA  

One of the first steps of every project is analyzing the site’s existing environmental conditions. Some of these conditions are regulated by city, state and/or federal agencies and can potentially kill your project before it ever begins. Too many existing protected or heritage trees may prevent a building from being able to fit on site. Too steep of slopes can also prevent buildings as well as roads from being constructed, or greatly increase the cost to build. Wetlands are an extremely regulated feature and must be protected or mitigated for. Other conditions such as depth to water table, depth to bedrock, soil composition, endangered species, karst features, and floodplain can all decide the fate of your project. View Full Post

Working with Nature – Outside of Your Job Description

Apr 03, 2019

James Parker, P.E.

In the field of land development, we typically take abandoned or previously farmed land and develop it into picturesque neighborhoods for families to have beautiful homes. During this process, we utilize many ponds and waterways that are natural habitats for numerous species of animals. Usually, we are prepared to deal with what nature has in store for us, but sometimes we get hit by surprise.  View Full Post

Lifelong Learning as An Engineer

Apr 02, 2019

Dustin O'Neal, P.E.

So, you’re fresh out of TAMU, U of H, Texas Tech, or one of a hundred other ABET accredited universities with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. You’re full of energy, new ideas, and motivation to take on any task thrown at you. You’ve spent at least four years learning about fluid dynamics, concrete design, and geotechnical properties of materials. You are a lean, mean, engineering machine. View Full Post

Financial Adulting

Apr 02, 2019

Daniel Cruz

Ah, you have arrived. You’ve spent the better part of the last five years, six in most cases, working to get to this point…to land your first job right out of college! You have your ideas of what this day and the future will be like. As you think back to your first day of freshman orientation, the freshman Dean creates visions of what awaits you. In a voice that could rival Thano’s from Infinity Wars, and with the wit of former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, the Dean begins to paint the tapestry of your future. “You will have an office that will overlook the city, a personal parking space, keys to the Partner’s restroom and last but most important…monetary reward, moola, cha-ching, and old fashion money!! The Dean continues, "You will no doubt be captains of your industry, way makers, big-baller shot-callers. Your name will be mentioned in the same breath as Buffet, Jobs, Gates, and Stark.”  View Full Post

Industry Collaboration

Apr 02, 2019

Harry B. “Hal” Walker, P.E.
You’ve heard the phrase “If you ain’t wit us, yore agin’ us!” which probably has its roots in the dialog from numerous old western movies or novels. Or perhaps the following meme has a familiar ring, “I’m an Engineer, to save time let’s just assume that I’m never wrong.“ Although I take it as a means to poke fun at ourselves, have you ever met a fellow engineer who believes in that statement? While I personally have not come across an engineer with such a lofty attitude, I have had stories relayed to me by non-engineers over the years of such individuals.  View Full Post

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