Creative problem-solving is often confounded by the phenomenon psychologists call “functional fixedness,” the inability of people to see uses for an item beyond those they are accustomed to. True creativity requires looking beyond what has become obvious, toward the obscure, the abstract. We find that effectively defining performance features is one of the most overlooked aspects of civil project engineering analysis and design. The complicating factor is that in the real world, true functions are not easily discovered. They are even less easily quantified. Because of that reality, it’s sometimes tempting to skip actively seeking out those functions that don’t immediately fit the mold. Too many times, this step is skipped and at the end of the project, a key stakeholder states, “That is not what I expected to get.”
The complex definition process that goes into answering that deceptively simple question begins by engaging stakeholders in a kickoff meeting with all key stakeholders and decision makers present. There, we honestly lay out specific milestones and deliverables for the project, phrased in terms of what it must accomplish to succeed.
Because WRS engineers are experts at hydrology and hydraulics, they see beyond the commonly applied engineering methods, breaking them into component expertise and recombining them in value-based functional reorientation. They specialize in creative adaption of hydraulic modeling utilizing many varied tools, including computer-assisted two-dimensional and three-dimensional numerical hydraulic modeling and, when called for, physical hydraulic models, all of which has saved clients millions of dollars on their infrastructure projects.
As engineers, we offer design expertise in not only flood-control and stormwater systems and structures, but also the bridges, streets, curbs, utilities and sidewalks surrounding them, making us the natural one-stop shop for water and street projects. Our masterplanning view helps cultivate the longterm, trusted relationships critical to helping communities in their journey toward ownership of a watershed’s problems and solutions. Outside the cities, we bring an agricultural perspective to the conservation-related projects we undertake, including streambank stabilization design and construction, waterway and terrace design, agricultural waste system design, wetland design and construction, and other water quality and soil conservation study, analysis, and designs.
From project scoping to construction close out, we have designed solutions to civil engineering and water resources problems ranging in scope from $2,000 to multiple millions, satisfying each equally by devoting the same level of individualized engineering expertise and information, backed by unwavering devotion to communication that keeps clients involved.