Editorial: 07.09.2024

Start Smart: 5 Benefits of Engaging Castle Early

People working in the office.

Castle is fortunate to work for a wide range of clients, including owners, developers, general contractors and MEP contractors. 

While each client has unique goals and preferred ways of working, most of them have similar expectations: they want our team to deliver high-quality work — on time, on budget and safely.  

Beyond those outcomes, they also appreciate it when Castle team members offer ideas or recommendations for saving time, money and other resources. 

From our experience working on projects at various scales and levels of complexity, we know that the earlier Castle is engaged on a project, the greater the positive impact we can have.   

Because Castle has an in-house civil engineering team, some clients choose to engage us to oversee both the design and construction phase of projects as a civil design-build contractor. 

But clients can also harness the benefits of our early involvement by bringing us in as a design-assist partner during design. 

Here are five benefits of engaging Castle early in the project lifecycle:  

1. To uncover potential efficiencies 

Our team’s involvement in the early stages of a project enables us to identify potential opportunities to improve the efficiency of specific project elements. 

As an example, when our team evaluated the site grading requirements involved in expanding the Saint Louis University Medical Center Recreational Complex, we proposed raising the site slightly to eliminate the need to haul excess site material to a landfill. After consulting with the project designers, they agreed to elevate the site by three inches to simplify the process and ultimately save the owner money.  

2. To validate constructability 

We can provide a constructability analysis of designs to make sure they are workable and efficient. Our construction professionals are skilled at providing input to designers to make sure work can be put in place. Too often, earthwork and utility construction scope is hard bid and the civil contractor is not brought in to collaborate early to provide valuable input and help develop creative solutions. Work commences on site only to discover there are problems after we put a bucket in the ground. Our constructability analysis expertise provides owners with third-party validation that they are getting the most effective design solution that will achieve their overall project goals. 

3. To remove bottlenecks 

When Castle has early and direct access to the civil engineering team, we can collaborate closely with them to discuss issues and collectively devise potential solutions. As a result, we avoid the cumbersome, inefficient process of relying on intermediaries to facilitate these interactions.   

4. To streamline design changes 

Designing a site in a studio is very different from building it out in the field. Our civil construction team may discover unexpected site issues such as existing structures or utilities that the designers didn’t know about.   

While recently working on the expansion of a manufacturing facility, our team discovered that the building lacked a fire department connection. We quickly identified a cost-effective solution to circumvent the months-long redesign process and solve the issue within a week.  

5. To fully tap into our expertise and ingenuity 

Clients who engage Castle during the early design phase can fully leverage our specialized expertise and on-the-ground experience.  

On the University of California Riverside Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Facility project, the civil engineer initially developed a plan to create four stormwater treatment areas onsite.   

After studying the as-built drawings, soils report and existing conditions of the natural terrain, we proposed consolidating the stormwater plan into a single treatment area along one side of the site and installing an underground infiltration system. Not only did this solution save significant project costs, but it also simplified and improved constructability from the original design.   

Our team’s ingenuity also led to an innovative approach to the repair and stabilization of three creek bank slide failures and a collapsed trail in the City of Brentwood, Missouri after a major wet weather event. When conventional approaches to completing the work weren’t feasible, Castle devised a solution that utilized the SCOURLOKÒ engineered bank stabilization system and Muscle Wall portable barrier system. This approach helped accelerate the construction schedule by four months and saved the city significant money from a more protracted solution. 

By engaging Castle early in your project, especially as a civil design-build or design-assist partner, clients can tap into the full breadth of our experience, expertise and resourcefulness. 


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