FAQ’s

1. What States is Austin Engineering Licensed in?

We are Licensed Professional Civil Engineers in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida. We have Licensed Land Surveyors in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and Florida.

2. Are you open to recommendations during the planning process?

Absolutely, without a doubt, YES!  At AECI, none of our Engineers, Surveyors, and Planners work in a box without outside assistance.  We are working for you and we want to know your thoughts and opinions on the design choices and product selection for your project.  We may not always agree on the best option, but often the client has several choices that can be made regarding the quality of the end product.  Some people want nothing but the absolute best and highest quality project design components.  Think of all your choices for a vehicle to drive.  You have a specific set of needs and you could choose a Ferrari or a Chevy.  Both can get you from point A to B, the decision is how fast, at what expense, and in what style.  For many projects, the Chevy is the best choice and good is good enough.  The design does not always have to contain the greatest and most expensive product choice out there.    We work closely with you to make these decisions based on your specific situation and the factors that should be considered based on your needs for the end use of the development.

3. How can you help me control my project costs?

There are many ways that we can help you control your project costs.  The first step is to complete a thorough project feasibility analysis before we even begin to prepare any drawings or specifications.  Once we know your project is feasible for you, the next step we take to help control your project costs is to prepare a very detailed set of construction plans and specifications.  With these documents, we can solicit multiple bids from qualified contractors of your choosing.  Alternatively, if you already have a contractor in mind for your project, a great way to control project costs is to hire us to work with your contract in a “Design-Build” format where we both put our expertise to work for you to control your project costs.  Austin Engineering has worked with multiple contractors in a design-build format with great success.  Lastly, we can help control your costs by providing construction observation for your project.  Through these services, we make sure your project is completed in substantial conformance with our plans and specifications.  This helps ensure you receive a quality product and we help your contractor look for ways to save time so that your project is completed on schedule and within budget.

4. Why should I hire Austin Engineering if your proposal is higher than a proposal from another firm?

When choosing to hire a professional engineer, many factors should be considered.  Of course, the price is one of them.  We strive to be a great value to our clients.  Often our proposals are the most cost-effective, but we are not always going to be the “Cheapest Engineer in Town”.  To be honest, we do not want to be the “Cheap Engineer” and you should not make your decision on price alone.  When you hire a doctor or a lawyer or another profession that you are placing your trust in, the cost may be one of your considerations, but the most important factor in determining your decision to hire a professional is their qualifications and reputation.  When comparing us to another firm, please take the time to be sure they have prepared a detailed and thorough proposal and that you are comparing our price for the same scope or amount of work that we propose to provide.  We do our best to include every design service in our proposal that your project requires, and to also note those services that are not provided by us but will be required of other design professionals to make your project a success.  Typically, Engineering fees are 15% - 17% of the cost of construction that is detailed in their construction plan documents.  So, if the Civil Site Infrastructure components for your project are estimated to be $250,000, you can expect the Civil Engineering and Land Surveying fees to be in the order of $37,500 to $42,500 for a typical project.  Of course, every piece of land and every project is unique.  Give us a call and let us learn more about your needs and your project, and we will prepare a detailed proposal for your review and consideration at absolutely no up-front cost to you.

5. How often should I expect communication from you?How often should I expect communication from you?

During the initial stages of the project, communication is more frequent as we try to dial in the details of your project and complete the list of deliverables and the completion of each task that the project requires.  It is not uncommon to send multiple emails or make multiple calls in a singled day during this stage of the design process.  Once we move into the preparation of detailed construction plans, the communication becomes less frequent.  We will contact you when important information becomes available and at a minimum, we will set up times for you to review our progress on our plans, typically at 50%, 75% and 95% completion of the plans.  If you hire us to provide construction observation for your project, we can communicate with you as frequently as you like.  The design process is a partnership.  We must work together if we are both to be successful.  If you ever want to know how things are going, just send us an email and ask for an update.  We are happy to send you a quick note to let you know how things are going on your design project.

6. What are your typical response times to Phone Calls & Emails?

At AECI, we understand time is money.  We strive to offer every client the same level of service.  We typically answer emails within hours if not minutes and we do our best to answer the phone each time you call.  That being said, we are in a business that requires much communication with our clients, plan reviewers and local authorities, just to name a few.  Many times, when you do not reach us on the phone, it is because we are on the other line or in a project meeting.  If you leave a voicemail, we do our best to check our voicemails regularly.  Email is often the best way to get in touch with us.  Just drop us a quick email and let us know if it is urgent that we speak with you.

7. I am considering a construction project and I need to know how much the site improvements will cost. Can Austin Engineering estimate the construction costs for my project?

Austin Engineering specializes in aiding developers and individuals who are contemplating construction projects, large or small.  A very important part of the construction process is determining whether the project is feasible.  A projects feasibility is dependent not only on the physical constraints of the size of property, but also the economic feasibility of the project.  Many factors are at play and whether you are a seasoned developer, or this is your first development project, finding all the factors that affect your land can be extremely difficult.  Local Zoning rules, State & Federal regulations and building codes all play a part in how a piece of land can accommodate a desired project.  At Austin Engineering, our Engineers, Surveyors and Land Planners work with you at each step of the design process to ensure that your project remains a feasible project.  Contact us today to schedule a no obligation, no cost project consultation.  Once we know a little more about the land you want to build on and your needs, we can prepare a detailed proposal for our services for your approval.  Land development can be very risky.  Let us help you minimize your risk by putting our professional experiences to work using our proven step by step process for determining the feasibility of a project.

8. When should I have a land survey performed?

  There are several circumstances in which we recommend having a survey performed. Here are the most common reasons our clients have requested our services:

  • During the purchasing process of a property as a part of your due diligence: A survey at this stage can alert you, as a buyer, to any potential issues that may be present that would not otherwise come up during the purchase process including encroachments and/or issues with the description of the property.
  • Prior to making any improvements to the property such as installing a fence, room addition, or landscaping: Having a survey done prior to these projects will ensure that you are not placing any of these costly improvements over or too close to your boundary lines.
  • When you are dividing up a larger tract of land into smaller parcels for sale: Dividing up a large tract of land into smaller parcels will always require the services of a licensed Professional Land Surveyor to mark the boundaries of the new lots and prepare a Plat describing the lots that will be filed at the Recorder of Deed office. The procedures for creating these plats vary depending on location, so it is always best to contact us in the early stages of planning so that we may assist you with budgeting and timelines for approval.
  • When selling a parcel of land not previously surveyed: When selling rural acreage, it is common to do so based on a price per acre of ground. Because the original surveys of these parcels in Illinois were so long ago, it is not uncommon to see large discrepancies between the reported acreages and the actually surveyed acreages.
  • When you believe that a neighbor may have encroached onto your property: Having a survey and plat drawn of your property will mark the line in the field and document the encroachment within a legal document that may be then used as evidence in legal proceedings if necessary.
  • To assist with the purchase of a flood insurance policy or to provide documentation to FEMA that your home is above the floodplain and hence not required to purchase flood insurance:  Even if the elevations around your home or building are too low to be officially removed, having an elevation certificate prepared ensures that you are being provided with an insurance policy that is based on the appropriate level of risk that your property has of flooding.
 

9. How much does a land survey cost?

The cost of a land survey is dependent on a variety of factors including:

  1. The type of survey requested
  2. Our general knowledge of the area
  3. The availability of previous survey records and documentation
  4. The terrain and site vegetation
  5. The liability expected to be incurred
Our team of professionals will gather the appropriate information from you, perform some preliminary research on your property, and then prepare a formal proposal which takes into the consideration the factors listed above. This proposal will detail the items which you can expect to receive from us, the costs you will incur, and the timeframe for delivery of these services.

10. Does it cost anything to get a proposal for Land Surveying Services?

No. Our team is happy to provide you with a no cost no obligation proposal for your project.

11. What is a Plat of Survey?

A plat of survey is a map that is drawn to a specific set of standards outlined by the State of Illinois and shows the boundaries, dimensions, and area of the property survey as well as any potential encroachments or title issues. This map is signed and sealed by a Professional Land Surveyor and will serve as proof that you had your property surveyed. This map is also suitable for recording in the office of the Recorder of Deeds and can serve as evidence in court during a boundary dispute.

12. Do I need to have a Plat of Survey prepared of my property?

Generally, if you are having an existing piece of property surveyed, a plat of survey is not required to be prepared as a part of the survey process. However, we highly recommend adding this additional service as it provides you with a level of detail above and beyond that of simply having your pins marked. The plat will show the boundary lines, dimensions, and area of your property as well as serve as proof that you had the property surveyed by a Professional.  Additionally, the plat will detail any potential encroachments or title issues and will assist in the future should you ever need to have your boundaries marked again.

13. What is an ALTA/NSPS Land Survey?

An ALTA/NSPS survey is a detailed survey which, in addition to the Illinois Minimum Standards for Boundary Surveys, adheres to the jointly adopted standards set for by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). These surveys are typically ordered during the due diligence phase of a commercial real estate transaction and can serve several different purposes including satisfying lender requirements, assisting with due diligence, providing clarification of the items listed as standard exceptions to the title insurance policy, removing the standard survey exception from the title policy, and providing sufficient detail to assist with planning and design of proposed improvements to the property. The level of detail provided on an ALTA/NSPS survey is highly dependent upon its anticipated use. It is highly recommended that you contact us early or in the purchase process so that we can understand your needs and provide you with a detailed proposal which will include the cost and timeframe of the project.