Some of what a civil engineer does to contribute to a successful, enduring development or community is hidden underground where it cannot be seen. While this same statement was also true 50 years ago, records weren’t kept as accurately then as they are now, leading to what can be one of development’s biggest challenges as well as one of Humber Design Group’s biggest strengths – what lies beneath.
In comes HDG’s specialty: urban civil engineering. For us, urban civil engineering is defined as working within the fabric of a built environment. Any site that is not raw land has the potential to have pre-built challenges hidden beneath the soil, including utilities that weren’t mapped and archived – such as domestic water, fire protection, sewer, storm water, and others. These sites also have existing infrastructure that surrounds them, into which a new development must connect. This type of engineering comes with tough challenges, but that’s what sets us apart. The harder the project, they more excited we get to provide an effective and unique solution. Our staff has a breadth and depth of experience that allows us to assess as-built documents and existing properties and determine how best to craft creative and efficient solutions to placing new projects within or adjacent to existing infrastructure and development. With all the research that can be done and the knowledge a team can have, not every project goes without issues. When those unknowns do arise, we respond in a timely manner with pertinent information to help solve the problem and keep the project moving forward.
While some of what we do lies beneath the soil, civil engineering is predominantly above ground. Whether it’s streets, sidewalks, pathways and pedestrian zones, bike lanes, roundabouts, bollards, and parking, or grading, drainage, and stormwater retention, our work can be very visible and very functional. It can also have an impact on our environment. Stormwater retention gardens are a great example of retaining and treating stormwater before it’s release into the larger drainage basin, while also contributing to the natural beauty of a site. In other cases, the natural grade of a site can not only create an opportunity for the development but capture a site’s unique beauty, turning a grading challenge into a project feature. The circumstances and factors will be different for each site. Whatever the project goals, our civil engineering design team focuses on turning our clients’ challenges into opportunities. With each client and with each project, we listen and offer strategic thinking, strong technical competency, and efficiency with minimal errors.
Working in collaboration with architects and other team members, our work includes many different aspects of site design and development, from demolition and renovation to additions and new construction. Regardless of building use, our services generally encompass the following range of analysis and design engineering:
We also coordinate with others regarding: