Understanding a Civil Engineering Project Schedule: Site Design

Understanding a Civil Engineering Project Schedule: Site Design

engineering project schedule

WLC Engineering and Surveying frequently assists and serves on site design projects. As a project owner or project manager, it’s essential to understand the overall civil engineering project schedule, the phases of the project, approvals, and other major steps needed for the completion of a successful site design project.


Without defining a specific civil engineering project schedule, losing sight of goals and deadlines is almost guaranteed. If a schedule does not provide the necessary details and level of complexity, its value is limited. At WLC, our site design schedules plan design activities, develop critical path methods, and outline project phases for the entire duration of the project. A good site design schedule will help get the project off the ground in time and also allow the design engineers to meet stakeholders’ goals through each project phase.

Site Design Phases

The phases of a site design project can be broken down into seven major phases.

  1. The first phase for any civil engineering project begins with planning and preliminary engineering. Studies are conducted, costs are evaluated, timelines are determined, and preliminary site design layout is developed with the client.
  2. Following planning and conceptual design is site design. During the site design phase, design engineers uncover challenges and present solutions to allow the project to continue. Challenges can include environmental impacts, permitting, zoning, etc. The design engineers will work with developers, architects, contractors, and subcontractors associated with the project to resolve or address any challenges.
  3. Grading and drainage design is an essential phase of site design. Land development should always include a layout that ensures safety, proper flow of water, adequate road and parking slopes, and elevations. The existing grade of the project site must be taken into account in the early design stages for proper site development.
  4. Environmental requirements of the project begin to be defined in order to understand the surrounding area of the project. Environmental clearance may be needed which includes knowledge about endangered species, project footprint, wetlands delineation, State Historic Preservation Office cultnation, and more. Both federal and state regulations must begin to take form during this phase.
  5. Once design is complete, the next phase of the project is bid preparation and opening. Once the final design is completed, bidding documents are prepared and reviewed before being made available to those interested in bidding for the construction work.
  6. Once the bidder is awarded the project, the construction can begin. During construction, WLC will provide as-needed land surveying, site monitoring and guidance as the design engineer.
  7. The final phase of the site design project is the close out of the project. Stakeholders should have what they need, and project and administration issues are finalized.


The greatest design projects cannot advance without the necessary approvals. Several stages of the project will require review and approval. Planning and zoning approval may be needed for land use applications. Typically, drainage and soil studies must be approved early in the project. Other approvals may be required from building departments, health departments, transportation departments, utility companies, and public works departments.

Site design is an integral part of the foundation of our society. By developing land for housing, roads, water systems, and more, WLC’s design engineering services provide critical infrastructure for our surrounding communities. Read more about design engineering and contact us to be a part of your site design project.