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The Church on the Hill: Preventing the faithful from sliding

The Church on the Hill presented a mountain of engineering challenges. For starters, the steep hillside wasn't exactly a friendly handshake. Add to this a nearby seismic fault line and the area's history as an ancient landslide zone, and we were faced with a shaky situation — literally. And it didn't end there. The site also had an undersized downstream storm drainage system. The headache potential for this project officially reached four-fold.

Where there's a will (and solid engineering) there's a way, however, so we began with the design.

Heeding the hillside

Using 3D design tools, we optimized the design constraints of the hillside development. From there, we fine tuned it using 3D modeling. These tools offered the kind of precision needed to ensure the ultimate in accuracy.

Design challenges invariably pop up in unexpected places, and we found a major stickler in the handicap ramp. Designing it to achieve ADA standards took exceptional skill.

No fault zone

Building near a fault obviously brings extraordinary considerations. In our case, we needed all habitable structures to be positioned horizontally and vertically, to ensure a critical distance from the fault line. Our survey crew carefully measured and collected data, which we then translated into our design drawings. We achieved the proper setback distance efficiently.

Landslide victory

To prevent further landslide movement, we implemented buttress fills into our grading design.

Success goes down the drain

The undersized storm drain system might have been located downstream, but it brought its problems to the hilltop. The likelihood of inundating the system with runoff was a tide we needed to tame. To do so, we designed a drainage detention system to store excess storm water runoff. The detention system consisted of oversized storm drain pipe with an undersized outlet structure to regulate the outlet flow into the downstream system.

Engineering solutions for The Church on the Hill proved tremendously successful — and gratifying. Churches serve to fortify people, and we enjoyed being able to fortify the church.

For this project we provided:

  • Conceptual site planning
  • 3D design and modeling
  • Topographic and boundary surveying
  • Civil engineering design
  • Subdivision mapping
  • Cost estimating
  • Construction staking