Trusted Residential Design Services for the Delaware Valley

Residential Engineering Services

At Catania Engineering Associates, our professional engineering team has extensive experience with consulting on Delaware Valley residential construction projects. We work with property owners, builders, developers, contractors, community associations and architects to plan, design and implement their new construction, residential renovation, residential improvement or home addition projects. Our in-depth knowledge of permits, building codes and zoning regulations in the Delaware Valley area related to residential construction projects allows us to help our clients navigate the residential construction process from start to finish.

Our team of more than 30 employees with vast industry experience offers a full-service approach to clients for all of their Delaware Valley residential design needs. Some of the most common services we provide on residential construction projects include property line surveys, FEMA flood elevation certificates, grading plans and structural inspections. Given our large staff and extensive resources, we are capable of assisting with residential design and construction needs throughout the Delaware Valley region beyond those described below. 

Property Line Surveys 

A property line survey establishes the official boundaries between parcels of property. It includes the major structures on the parcel of land surveyed and their precise location in relation to the property lines. While plots and maps are available for basic real property information in the county land record office, they do not provide the same information regarding exact property lines and the location of major structures that a professional property line survey will show.

In addition to showing boundary lines and the relative locations of structures, property line surveys can define any existing easements on the property. This includes any recorded property right that others may have to access part of the property, such as for an underground sewer line. There may also be rules prohibiting building on or within a specific radius of existing easements.

It is crucial to have a precise and thorough property line survey conducted before any major construction work begins on residential land. Purchasing land for building or investing time, money and resources into planning a residential project without knowing exactly where building is permitted is a risky proposition. That is why it is imperative that the work is done with a dependable engineering firm so that it can obtain a property line survey.

When a Property Line Survey Is Needed

Home improvement and renovation projects that do not extend beyond the current structure of the home may not require a professional property line survey before the project is started. However, property line surveys are always necessary for new home construction projects. Other common residential construction projects for which one should obtain professional property line survey services include:

  • Demolishing and rebuilding an existing home
  • Building an addition that approaches the property line

Although a property line survey may not be required by law in other situations, it can still be valuable in the design and planning process of a residential construction project. The following situations are common examples of when a property line survey can be a useful tool:

  • Adding permanent structures to a property, such as a pool, garage or shed 
  • Installing a fence
  • Before buying a lot or home
  • Before subdividing land 

Contact us at Catania Engineering Associates for more information about our property line survey services. 

FEMA Flood Elevation Certificates 

FEMA flood elevation certificates (FEMA Form 81-31) are required for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to demonstrate that a property is in compliance with the local flood plain management ordinance. They are used to apply for flood insurance for the property and help insurers determine the risk level of the property for being damaged by flooding. They are required by most federally regulated mortgage lenders for homes in designated areas where there is at least a 25% chance of flooding before the mortgage is paid off. Additionally, the certificate may be submitted when requesting a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision (LOMR).

The certificate identifies the location of the structure in relation to the flood plain elevations established by FEMA. It must be prepared by a professional engineer, a licensed land surveyor or a certified architect. Catania Engineering Associates has a team of licensed professionals who can accurately survey properties for a FEMA flood elevation certificate. Contact us to discuss how our team of professional engineers and licensed surveyors can survey properties for a FEMA flood elevation certificate.

Grading Plans

Grading is how stormwater and other runoff is redirected away from a structure toward a street or road. It involves shaping the landscape around the structure to provide for the proper drainage of runoff so that it does not damage the property or cause flooding issues around the property. Residential builders for single-family, multifamily, mixed-use property and semidetached properties must gain approval for their drainage plans in accordance with local regulations before beginning new construction projects or major remodeling jobs. Community lot grading plans are necessary for new community construction and account for safely directing surface runoff between properties.

Developing an effective grading plan for a residential property involves creating landscaping that helps direct water away from accumulating near the foundation of the structure and preparing the appropriate soil elevation to make water flow into the designated drain system. Builders and contractors must plan their soil excavation and backfilling work, including allowances for erosion from rain, to account for sufficient soil elevation near the foundation. When installing the final grade, the builder may need to add hydraulic mulch to the top of the backfill to prevent erosion.

Failure to design a proper grading plan or follow its requirements may result in structural damage to the property over time. Excess moisture can accumulate near the foundation and eventually flow inside. A builder or contractor can avoid liability for major structural damage by working with a competent professional engineering firm like Catania Engineering Associates to develop an effective grading plan and ensure compliance with the plan before completing construction.

Grading plans are designed and submitted by professional engineers or licensed architects, such as the professional team at Catania Engineering Associates. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist with the development and approval process of a grading plan for residential construction projects in the Delaware Valley region. 

Structural Inspections 

Structural inspections evaluate the structural integrity of a residential property and identify existing or potential structural issues. They are useful before major renovation and addition projects to point out any structural issues that must be addressed and ensure that the project plans will not damage the existing structure. Structural inspections also confirm that the project plans comply with building codes and all local regulations.

Some of the common residential remodeling projects for which a structural inspection is recommended before construction begins include:

  • Removing or opening up a load-bearing wall 
  • Evaluating whether a structure can support an addition 
  • Replacing a roof to make sure the new roof is not too heavy

To make sure that homes are safe after a major storm or to assess damages for an insurance claim, a structural inspection may be needed. Additionally, homebuyers may need to supplement a home inspection with a structural inspection for a loan application or to confirm that the home is free of structural issues. Structural inspections can help contractors and homeowners identify and repair the cause of damage to the property, such as:

  • Cracks in the foundation, walls, ceiling or concrete parts of the property
  • Uneven or shifting floors

The skilled and helpful team of professional engineers at Catania Engineering Associates can assist with all structural inspection needs. Schedule a structural inspection from one of our experienced engineers by contacting Catania Engineering Associates today. 

Contact Catania Engineering Associates

For clients in need of an experienced, trusted professional engineering firm for a commercial project in the Delaware Valley region, Catania Engineering Associates is the quality option.

Call Catania Engineering Associates at (610) 532-2884 or email us at to find out how we can provide a partnership on a Delaware Valley commercial construction project.

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