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


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


Structures Need Rehab - Part 1

Oct 14, 2015


Corbett Freeman, P.E.

Money for infrastructure always seems to be scarce, but our great “Bayou City” continues to grow and, at the same time, continues to age. Without needs-based programs like ReBuild Houston that prioritize replacement of crumbling infrastructure, a full eighty percent of drainage structures and streets will outlive their useful life in the next 20 years. Nationally, the last increase in the gas tax, which generally pays for our transportation system, was over 20 years ago. That bill, however, was passed to balance the budget, not to pay for new and replacement infrastructure.  View Full Post


When It Floods In Houston, The Aquifers Are Recharged…Right?

Sep 08, 2015

full service engineering and surveying firm
Michael J. Turco
 
The Houston area receives more annual rainfall than nearly all of the other large cities in the State of Texas. With nearly 50 inches of rain a year as the norm, you would think that, since our rivers, streams, and bayous flood frequently, some of that extra runoff would make its way to the aquifers in the region. Unfortunately, that is not the case…to understand why that is, we have to discuss the hydrogeology, surficial geology, and where our groundwater comes from. View Full Post


Detention 101: Detention vs. Retention

Jun 22, 2015

full service engineering and surveying firm Detention vs. Retention
Lacey Bodnar, E.I.T., CFM
 
While detention and retention may sound the same, the terms cannot be used interchangeably. Detention and retention both refer to storing rain water on-site during a storm event, when the risk of flooding is highest. The difference is that when water is detained, it is slowly released into a stream or river and leaves the site. When water is retained, it is not intended to leave the site. Instead, it is infiltrated into the ground or evapo-transpired into the air.  View Full Post


Do You Live in a Flood Plain?

May 26, 2015

Do You Live in a Flood Plain 
Greg Frank, P.E., CFM

"I’m not in a flood plain…or am I?"

Unfortunately this question is way too timely. Many Houstonians may have thought they were not in a floodplain, and yet found their homes underwater this past week.  I attend several flood plain related conferences each year and this question is asked by any number of speakers.  Each time, only a few of us raise our hands, after all we ARE flood plain managers and flood control engineers, so we should know better, right?  But the brutal truth is that we are ALL living in a flood plain of some sort.  I like to use the analogy ‘Noah built the ark for a reason… it rained for forty days and forty nights’. View Full Post


Using GIS to Facilitate Development within Floodplain

Aug 29, 2014
Using GIS to Facilitate Development within Floodplains

Lacey Bodnar, E.I.T., CFM  

and Chris Shannon, P.E., CFM


Using GIS to Facilitate Development within Floodplains

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The demand for new homes is increasing as Houston’s economy continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Locations next to a creek, stream, or lake are attractive sites, as access to water provides many recreational and enjoyment opportunities. However, these days it’s nearly impossible to find land that does not contain a floodplain within its boundaries.  GIS is utilized to facilitate safe and cost-effective development on lands encumbered by flood hazard risks, allowing for safe and sustainable growth in our region.

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