Throughout the development process, a quality engineering provider will ascertain their clients’ goals and desired project success criteria to ensure client satisfaction. While most engineers and land surveyors are technically proficient, finding a consultant willing to think outside the box can be difficult. That is where an open-minded and collaborative approach improves results. In doing so, there are times it is possible to provide increased value on a project that was unknown during the early, proposal phase. Here’s a recent example:
Weihe Engineers’ client requested a proposal for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) submittal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The project seemed straightforward and, to our advantage, we already had some historical information in the area with the same client. The development plan required an additional seven or eight single-family lots along the shore of a large lake. FEMA shows the lake being covered by a flood zone and the mapping appeared to include some areas above the 100-year flood elevation (a flood zone designation provided by FEMA that requires specific building construction techniques along with flood insurance coverage for buildings below the 100-year flood elevation).
Several conversations with the client took place to determine the exact scope of work deemed that a topographic survey, preparation of land descriptions for the areas to be removed from the flood zone, and Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) submittal packet would be required. The Weihe Engineers’ team expedited the project kick-off as our client was ready to start construction on one of the homes, but needed documentation certifying the house would be built out of the flood zone for the bank to approve the mortgage.
As our surveyors headed to the site, our engineering team researched files we had and reached out to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, FEMA and the local jurisdiction. As quickly as we started, information was uncovered that provided a quicker path to approvals. FEMA had actually approved a LOMA for the property several years ago, but they failed to re-authorize the LOMA through two revisions to the local Flood Information Rate Maps. Eureka! We just discovered a way to save significant time on the approval. Immediately, our project manager reached out to FEMA to request they consider re-authorizing the previously approved LOMA. Within a few emails and phone calls, we were able to get the necessary approval and shorten the timeline for the project significantly from 60 days to 10 days. We reached out to the client with the good news, provided some updated exhibits for the bank, and closed the book on the project while reducing the budget by about 50% of the anticipated cost.
Weihe Engineers is excited to find these types of wins for our clients. By keeping an open mind, we are often able to discover new paths as projects unfold. We’re even more excited to beat initial budgeting expectations and timelines. Anytime we can provide increased value, we consider it a job well done. The next time you have a project that needs an open-minded, unique perspective, consider the Weihe Engineers team.