What is Topographic Survey?

Land surveyors’ workload consists of a wide range of tasks, but the main concept of their overall work is to prepare sites for construction. Topographic survey is one of the main types of services performed by land surveyors. According to civilengineeringbible.com, topographic survey is defined as a “method of determining the positions, on the surface of the earth, of human made and natural features. It also is used to determine the configuration of the terrain.” So, in other words, surveyors perform topographic survey to find coordinates and height data needed for construction sites.

The methods used for performing topographic survey include:

  • Aerial Survey: Aerial survey is also known as photogrammetry. This method allows surveyors to easily survey the ground by collecting high-altitude photos using a plane or drone.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS): This method is used in smaller areas where aerial approach is not necessary.
  • Total Station: This method is known to be the most effect method since it is performed directly by the field crew resulting in more detailed information being collected.

KC’s land surveying group consists of dedicated professional land surveyors, party chiefs, instrument persons, geographic information system (GIS) technicians, draftsmen, engineering technicians, and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) operators with experience researching and recording all types of survey data and providing field services in varying terrains and weather. To learn more about KC’s services, please visit our Services tab.


What is Inspection Software?

 

Inspection software refers to programs that allow inspectors to digitally submit invoices, signatures, work orders, and other documentation while in the field. This type of software can be accessed via smart phones or through various companies’ web applications.

In addition, aside from enabling inspectors to submit work, inspection applications have many cool features that allow inspectors to organize and plan their work on a day-to-day basis. For example, inspectors can use the applications to manage their schedules, create workload checklists, and follow up on previously archived / submitted documents. Each program has its own unique capabilities, but most of them share common features such as reporting and scheduling recurring tasks, setting reminders, and inspection task management.

Because of their efficiency, many companies are using these programs to improve their businesses and help them stay up-to-date with their competitors. Inspection software not only helps companies and / or contractors save time by speeding up the work process, but also helps them adhere to regulations. For example, these programs can store information that can be requested by authorities if the company and / or contractor is going through an internal audit.

If you are interested in utilizing inspection software for your company or if you are an individual contractor who would like to download one of these programs to your smart devices, here are some tips you should consider before you decide to make a purchase:

  • Ensure the application is fully accessible from smartphones / tablets;
  • Confirm the vendor offers 24/7 support; and
  • Research which category of software buyers you fall into, such as a small, medium, or large business.

When selecting an inspection software vendor, the goal is to select the one that best suits your business, because the goal of inspection software is to ultimately improve the way a business operates.

KC’s inspectors utilize a variety of inspection software to track data, which enhances the level of detail provided in our reports and ensures our clients stay abreast of project progress.


The Difference Between Septic and Sewer Systems

Did you know that plumbing processes date back between five to seven thousand years ago?

Ancient engineers developed irrigation caverns to supply water to agricultural societies. As towns and cities grew, they began to use those caverns to redirect liquid waste away from settlements. The Romans are largely credited with having pioneered this technology ahead of The Dark Ages, when all progress towards the development of wastewater management systems ceased entirely.

Today, septic and sewer systems are our two primary wastewater management methods. Although both collect, process, and dispose of the harmful pathogens in human waste, there is one major difference between them: sewer systems are provided and maintained by municipalities, while septic systems treat wastewater on-site and are the responsibility of a private homeowner.

In a septic system, wastewater is directed from a home or facility into a septic tank, where solid and liquid waste is broken down and released into a drainfield, a network of perforated pipes laid in gravel-filled trenches. Drainfields typically measure between 18 and 36 inches wide and are located up to 100 feet underground, and without them, septic tanks would overflow and create unsanitary runoff. Wastewater flows into the soil through holes in a distribution pipe inside of the drainfield, destroying residual bacteria and sewage solids in the process. Septic systems are more common in rural areas, which typically lack centralized sewer systems.

Conversely, public sewage systems are connected to thousands of homes and businesses. In a sewage layout, a network of pipes carry waste from lots to a municipal treatment facility, where it is purified before being released back into the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “the majority of Americans – or four in five households – rely on sewer over septic.”

Civil engineers are closely involved in the wastewater management process from beginning to end, providing designs for domestic or industrial treatment plants, pumping stations, and sewage systems and overseeing their construction; restructuring outdated layouts; and conducting feasibility studies for various wastewater-related projects. Civil engineers also prepare environmental documentation, help wastewater companies obtain the licenses and permits they need to operate, and collaborate with state agencies to ensure that water treatment plants adhere to federal regulations.

For more information about the difference between septic and sewer systems, visit https://www.epa.gov/npdes/municipal-wastewater.

Picture: Cloaca Maxima, one of Rome’s ancient sewer systems. Courtesy of Science Magazine.