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November 4, 2013 / Brandon

Grading Design in Highland Park – B+W Engineering and Design Blog

Grading Design in Highland Park #CivilEngineer

We are in the beginning stages of designing a grading plan in the very trendy gentrifying as we speak Highland Park.

The lot starts off as a steep hillside until the middle of the property where the contours start to make their way higher and higher towards the East of the property. This should be lots of fun to regrade the lot following the Los Angeles retaining wall rules. The other issue is that we are trying to minimize the cut into the hillside. Less cut is always better when dealing with hillside grading projects.

To start analyzing what we need to minimize the grading, we input the Architect’s siteplan into 3D and run the existing and proposed surfaces against each other creating a volume surface. After creating this volume surface we can input grid ticks in order to see the depths of cut across what we want to look at. The picture above shows a quick version of this. As we get to the revision of the building we will input much more detail into the 3D model. But for now this is good enough to get an idea of how to slide the building around along the hillside. This also helps me visualize what we can do about that pesky retaining wall that will most likely need to be built in the backyard setback area.

I have also asked the client does he want to push the backyard as far back as possible? Or does he want to maintain the minimum setback? This will also change the design of the lot. We can either use two max 10′ high retaining walls in a stacked orientation or we can use a single max 12′ high retaining wall. If we are going for the biggest backyard we may be able to push the grading further back at most likely a greater expense. We try to give options when we come onboard at such an early stage of a grading plan.

There are a few techniques that we can use to make sure we don’t have a bust in our 3D model. The easiest method is by recreating the existing and proposed contours from the surfaces that we built. This gives a good visual representation of what is going on with the grading. As you can see above it looks like we got the building stacked correctly as the proposed contours look good and match into the 3D elevated building. And don’t forget to finish off the border with a daylight line to connect the existing and proposed surfaces together. A nice neat dugout building into the hillside shows up and everything looks fine.

I can’t wait to get started on the actual grading plans, as that means we will be that much closer to seeing this project in real life. There is a lot of thought being put into this particular project and how to maximize building space and utilize the lot in the best way possible. The grading will be done in the same manner.

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