Do I need to hire a stormwater engineer?

Most people think that an architect’s job begins and ends with the design of a house.

On the contrary, an architect’s job includes coordinating the construction of the house with all the applicable engineers. Down here in Florida, that often includes a civil or stormwater engineer. A stormwater engineer works to control flooding and erosion through the use of swales, ponds and other “green” infrastructure or “hard” drainage systems such as pipes and concrete channels. Swales and other “green” infrastructure plans contour low lying areas so they will collect water and spread it out in an area that does not pose any risk to homes, natural ponds or other properties. In many cases, the stormwater plan is then sent to a landscape architect so he or she can call for certain plants that help filter water and can handle large influxes of rain.

It may not sound like much, but a properly designed stormwater system can mean the difference between a water soaked front yard or a water soaked living room.

In fact, several local communities, stormwater system plans are required by the development to ensure water runoff from homes and driveways are contained on each lot and do not flood neighboring lots or spill polluted water into local wetlands and ponds.

So the next time you consider a renovation or new home, be sure to also ask your architect about whether your lot require a stormwater engineer and what considerations need to be made to handle the water on your property.

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