Our Process


  • Get a Head Start! Perform site visits and meet with agencies as quickly as possible after authorization.
  • Create relationships with ALL stakeholders! Develop project schedule with agency staff, commit THEM to it, and then work to improve it.
  • Control Expenses! Innovation in controlling expenses (low-bid repro, take a less convenient more economical flight, minimize hotel costs, etc.)
  • Be Aggressive! Complete all surveys and due diligence within two weeks of site access authorization.
  • Flexibility!  Develop multiple site layouts using real world and legal constraints unearthed during due diligence; knowing where and when we can be flexible.
  • Be Proactive! Engage stakeholders and nearby residents prior to public hearings.  Make active presentations at public hearings specifically addressing the concerns voiced in these earlier meetings.
  • Lead Coordination! Organize and lead design coordination calls prior to all submittals to ensure all consultants’ plans match in both design and style.
  • Cardinal Rule! Small errors stay small when addressed during design.
  • Partner! Create relationships with the contractors; work out solutions before they become formal RFI’s or change orders.
  • Improvement! Facilitate project close-out discussions with all stakeholders to learn from any mistakes and inefficiencies and also to recognize Innovations or aspects that worked particularly well.

Meshing Art and Science

As Engineers, our job is to break complex problems into smaller, simpler pieces. We filter through all of the available information, isolate the relevant data, and with the application of appropriate principles, the solutions are derived. Clients bring us their vision and we take care of the rest.

Project Definition and Contract Negotiation

The foundation of a successful project is a detailed project description or definition.  We work with our Clients and Partners to help develop a strong and straightforward project definition or Scope of Work prior to beginning any work.  Once the scope is defined, we seek to negotiate contracts that are clear, concise and fair to both parties at the very beginning of the project.  This allows team members to focus on the design as opposed to potential gray areas or holes in the scope or in the administration of the project.

We research the regulatory requirements and speak with the regulators themselves before we write the proposal, not after we sign the contract. A CaliChi proposal is comprehensive and can be used as a project road map from inception to completion. We understand the metrics by which you and your projects are judged, and we understand how critical it is to be able to gauge design costs, and limit change orders.

Pre-Design and Due Diligence

We have developed a comprehensive due diligence and site analysis program that identifies the permitting, design, and regulatory constraints that may apply to a site.  We are committed to being on-site and to meet with relevant agencies within 72 hours of site access authorization wherever your project is in the country.  We work with our Clients and Agency Staff to develop a realistic project schedule, and then we commit to it.

The end product is a comprehensive report detailing the existing site constraints, the political and regulatory hurdles that the project may face along with an aggressive schedule with buy-in from everyone including permitting agencies.

Schematic Design, Planning and Entitlements

The Schematic Design (SD) phase of a project (0% to 30% completion of the design) is the period when we work with our Client and other consultants to establish the potential locations of the structures and the conceptual design of the site using the constraints and other information uncovered in the Due Diligence phase.  The conceptual design will typically be submitted to the Planning Department for private development projects for review and approval of the “entitlements” or the development rights of a piece of property.

During the SD phase, CaliChi strongly recommends an early proactive engagement of nearby residents and business owners long before any public hearings are held. Allowing stakeholders to voice their concerns early gives the design team an opportunity to address those concerns at the formal public hearings.

Design Development and Design Coordination

The Design Development (DD) phase of a project (30% to 60% completion of the design) is when the “broad-brush” ideas presented in the schematic or conceptual design are refined and the major details and coordination with other consultants (architectural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, geotechnical, and landscape) begins in earnest.

DD is the time to involve a Contractor in the project to help set budgets and schedules, and provide advice on the constructability of the design before a large amount of effort is spent completing the design.  CaliChi project managers are committed to organizing and, if requested, leading design coordination calls to ensure all consultants’ plans have been coordinated for both design and style.

Construction Documents, Building, Grading and Encroachment Permits

The Construction Documentation (CD) phase of a project (60% complete to permitted and ready for construction) is the time when the design team completely works out the details needed to physically construct the project. As Civil Engineers, we are typically responsible for the design of the Horizontal Control, the Paving and Site Features location and type, the Grading and Drainage of the site, the Utilities that serve the building and site, the Storm Drainage and Erosion Control both during and after construction, and the Civil Details and Civil Technical Specifications.

Depending upon delivery method, construction bids are often solicited during this phase to both ensure the project is within budget and to further discussions regarding constructability issues, if any exist.

Construction Support, Administration and Close-Out

The Construction Administration (CA) phase of a project is when the project is physically constructed.  CaliChi can observe the Contractor’s interpretation and progress of the Construction Documents and Specifications and report those observations back to the Client and the design team for discussion. We also review Contractor’s Requests for Payment to verify conformance with the progress of construction, budget, and schedule. We strive to create relationships with the selected contractor early on so that we can work out solutions to minor issues before they are formalized as Requests for Information (RFIs) or become big issues.

The construction phase of our projects give us the opportunity to get onto the site and get our boots dirty. In many instances, CaliChi will be required to certify that the drainage improvements and the building pad have been constructed in substantial conformance with the grading plans. We may also prepare a “Punch List” to identify any issues with the site construction when the construction is complete.  If requested, we can supply other administrative support (pay certs, material spec review, etc.).

Finally, we facilitate project close-out discussions with all parties involved to ensure that accurate records of the great work that was done is documented for the team to design the next phase or iteration.