There are many elements that go into a land development project for which the design engineering company could charge you for its time.
The following are seven of these common charges.
1) Preparing engineering calculations
2) Drafting and designing the land development plans
3) Preparing review submission packages
4) Addressing review comments
5) Communicating with you, reviewers, municipalities, and contractors
6) Attending meetings
7) Preparing as-built plans
1. Preparing Engineering Calculations
For a land development plan, probably the most common engineering calculations would be for the stormwater management design. The civil engineer would have to provide to the reviewing agency a report showing that the design meets all regulatory requirements through providing the calculations that support the land development plans.
A floodplain study showing calculations for any floodplain analysis would also have to be prepared to be submitted for review.
2. Drafting and Designing the Land Development Plans
The bulk of a land development project involves the preparation of the land development plans which includes a lot of drafting using CAD (computer-aided drafting) software.
Much of the charged time you see on your invoices could very well be for the preparation of your plans which would include setting up the plan sheets, drawing your proposed layout, creating the grading plan, and adding construction details.
A lot of the design time involved with a project would also occur at the same time as the drafting of the plans.
3. Preparing Review Submission Packages
The preparation of submission packages to be sent to reviewing agencies would include the time required to plot out plan sets, print out engineering reports, complete application forms, and actually send out the full submission packages.
4. Addressing Review Comments
Time will also have to be spent addressing any review comments created by the reviewing agencies. Once these comments are addressed, revised plans and engineering reports would have to be sent back to the reviewing agencies to be reviewed again. These resubmissions might also include a comment response letter explaining to the reviewer how each review comment has been addressed.
5. Communicating With You, Reviewers, Municipalities, and Contractors
Any significant amount of time the engineer spends communicating with you, reviewers, municipalities, and contractors regarding the project will most likely be charged to you and be seen on your invoices.
6. Attending Meetings
The time spent by the engineer having to attend any meetings related to your project would probably be charged to you. These meetings would include field meetings at the project site and meetings with reviewers.
7. Preparing As-built Plans
If required by your local municipality, an as-built plan might have to be prepared by the design engineer using the as-built survey prepared by the land surveyor.
Talk to Your Civil Engineer
In order to avoid too many unexpected charges on your invoices, you should simply talk to your civil engineer about what engineering costs are typical and what costs could be out of scope for the project.