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June 17, 2013 / Brandon

Designing Grading Plans on the Edge of Sanity

Designing Grading Plans on the Edge of Sanity

For some reason multiple grading plans that we were waiting for over the last 6 months to a year have all become ready to start. This is not a bad problem to have. But each of these jobs is complicated in respect to the Drainage Design, Driveway Design, SUSMP Design, LID Design, Hillside Grading Design, or even all of the combined.

So here I am this morning meeting a client for a new job that has been six years in the making. Only to come back to the office to make a four way conference call on another project that is going for a rush submittal. Nothing wrong with rush projects as we can handle whatever we are given. The hard part about some of these rush projects is that not everyone is 100% ready with their plans. Thankfully in this case the Architect has done a good thorough design with enough detail to make our grading plans easier to work on. But there is one slight hitch. The driveway design to make it into the proposed basement garages is an issue.

Originally I designed the driveway using a 20% max grade which barely worked. Only to be told by the City Engineer that they will only allow a 15% max grade. I could have sworn we had another project in the City of Redondo Beach get approved with a 20% max grade. I am probably imagining things. So onto how to design this driveway with a 15% max grade. I make my way down the driveway starting from the street’s flowline until I hit the corner of the basement. This doesn’t look good. Not enough grade to hit the target elevation.

So onto the conference call we go. Talking over the phone with the client and Architect we come up with an idea. Possibly raise one of the garage basements while allowing me to make part of the driveway as narrow as possible, 11′. After a couple of iterations I have come up with something that works on paper using max grades, max cross-slopes, and nearly max grade breaks. Technically the site works now. I even threw in the idea of now raising the garage so the water will flow away from one of the buildings so there is one less trench drain to install. Some money saved in the process. As I am staring on this project I am thinking is this something that is driveable. That is the next step in these grading plans. Because as I will say over and over driveability is key to our grading plans.

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