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If you have questions before starting a construction project, DeMarr Engineering’s land development specialists can help. Our team of licensed professional civil engineers and land surveyors specialize in site planning, land surveying, stormwater management, construction support, permitting, and more. As your land consultant, we have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions.

Our surveys are only provided as part of our Civil Engineering Plan Services, we do not provide standalone surveys at this time. We primarily work on projects from start to finish, so we have more control on the design quality and end result.

In Northern Virginia, DeMarr Engineering handles the site plan submission and grading permit approval process. The builder typically handles the architectural plan submission, building permit, and VDOT permit. The site contractor typically handles the demolition and applicable trade permits. In Washington DC, we typically prepare the site plans for the architect or developer to handle the permit submissions. Our professional civil engineers are familiar with the various regulations that apply to land development projects in Northern Virginia and DC and can help consult or handle the permitting on an hourly basis. Read more about obtaining the proper permits.

Anything involving land disturbance over 2,500 Square Feet in Northern Virginia or 50 Square Feet in Washington, DC we can survey and prepare site plans for. We just need the footprint and elevation drawings from your architect so we can incorporate what you want to build on our site plans. Our job is to bring your site development ideas to fruition in an environmentally sustainable way. DeMarr Engineering specializes in projects including:

  • Design-Build Construction
  • Townhouse Renovations / Additions
  • Single-Family Home Renovations / Additions
  • Home Tear Down & Rebuild
  • New Home Construction
  • Mixed-Use Development
  • Commercial / Industrial Development


Our Civil Engineers visit each and every one of their project sites before moving on to the design phase of construction. We will send a survey crew to the site to collect the Existing Conditions data, and our civil engineers will use this survey data to produce the site plan designs. Our Civil Engineers return again to these sites to physically assist our survey crews for construction stakeout and quality control. Read more about our on-site construction support.

Yes, you will at least need a building permit before starting construction, which will be handled by your Architect or Builder. A site plan and disturbance permit requirement will depend on how much land is disturbed during construction, which the threshold is 2,500 Square feet or more in Northern Virginia. If your project exceeds 2,500 Square Feet in Land Disturbance, we will be able to help with the Site Plans and Land Disturbance Permitting. For more information refer to our blog, 4 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Construction Project and Obtaining the Proper Plans, Permits, and Approvals.

Some of the permits you may need include: residential building permit, land disturbance permit, demolition permit, and public space permit. DeMarr Engineering can prepare all the site plans needed for approval and permit. 

Our blog posts, 4 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Construction Project and Obtaining the Proper Plans, Permits, and Approvals, explain the permitting process in more detail.

It is critical that every new home build project starts off with a proper Boundary Survey from the beginning to avoid any costly mistakes during construction. A Boundary Survey helps determine the legal property line limits and monumented corners of a parcel of land. Having a House Location Survey will help us determine if a formal Boundary Survey is needed or not. If we can see on the House Location survey if most or all of your property corners have been located, then you might not need a Boundary Survey. If most of your property corner pipes are missing, you will most likely need a formal Boundary Survey to re-establish the missing property corners with new iron pipe monuments.

Before we can begin on the site design for your property we need accurate topographic and existing conditions data. The more detailed survey data we have to work with, the better our civil engineering designs will be. Therefore, it is very important to have a detailed Topographic Survey performed before beginning site plan drawings/designs for proposed improvements.

In most cases we will need to perform our own topographic survey to prepare site plans. The only times we will use a survey performed by another firm for our design plans are if the surveys meet the following criteria:

  1. The topographic survey was recently performed within the past 12 months. 
  2. The Licensed Professional who prepared the topographic survey will stamp and certify the topographic survey, for use in our site plan submission, with the minimum accuracy statement certification below: 

A statement, in the following form, shall be shown on or contained in plats, maps, or digital geospatial data including metadata:

This ________________ (provide description of the project) was completed under the direct and responsible charge of _______________________________ (Name of Professional) from an actual  Ground or  Remote Sensing (check the one that is applicable) survey made under my supervision; that the imagery and/or original data was obtained on ______________ (Date); and that this plat, map, or digital geospatial data including metadata meets minimum accuracy standards unless otherwise noted.

If the firm who prepared the topographic survey for you cannot stamp and certify the survey with the above statement for use in our site plan design, we cannot use their survey. We can only stamp and certify work performed under our supervision. Therefore, for most projects we will have to perform a new topographic survey.

Our licensed civil engineers have to meet the following requirements to become a Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) in Virginia: 

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from an ABET Accredited College. (4 Years of experience).
  2. Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam upon graduation.
  3. Apply to the State Board to obtain an Engineer-In-Training (EIT) Designation. 
  4. Complete a minimum 4 Years of qualifying engineering experience under the supervision of a Licensed Professional Engineer. 
  5. Character References from three licensed Professional Engineers that have known the applicant for at least one year. 
  6. Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. 

To work for our firm as a civil engineer, you must at a minimum have steps 1 & 2 above completed. Visit our Careers Page for more information.
To become a Licensed Land Surveyor, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Official high school/college/university transcripts/ 
  2. Pass the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam. (NCEES FS)
  3. Apply to the State Board to become a Surveyor-In-Training (SIT)
  4. Complete a minimum 4 years of qualifying land surveying experience under the supervision of a Licensed Land Surveyor. 
  5. Character References from three licensed Land Surveyors that have known the applicant for at least one year. 
  6. Pass the Principles and Practice of Land Surveying exam. 

To work for our firm as a Land Surveyor, you must at a minimum have steps 1 & 2 above completed. Visit our Careers Page for more information.

Based in Arlington, VA, we serve all the major counties in Northern Virginia and Washington DC. We provide a full range of Civil Engineering services to clients of all types in the following locations, and more: Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, Alexandria, Falls Church, and Washington DC. Read more about the Areas We Serve.

No, DeMarr Engineering is a Civil Engineering Firm for Land Development Projects and does not provide Structural Engineering services. Reports or analysis on the structural stability of buildings or retaining walls will need to be provided by a Structural Engineer. A few Structural Engineering Firms we recommend are Soil & Structure Consulting, Inc. for Virginia Projects and Field & Tung Structural Engineers for DC Projects.

Soil Reports are prepared by Geotechnical Engineers. DeMarr Engineering is a Civil Engineering Firm that prepares Site Plans for Land Development Projects and we do not provide Geotechnical Engineering Services. The one exception are infiltration tests for stormwater management facility design, in which case we will handle contracting with a soil scientist for the infiltration testing needed to show on our civil engineering site plans. All other Soil Reports, we recommend contracting directly with a Geotechnical Engineering Firm. A few Geotechnical Engineering Firms we recommend are: Soil & Structure Consulting, Inc. and MTI Engineering and Testing, Inc.

Our civil engineering firm charges a mix of lump sum, hourly, and reimbursable expenses.

We provide a project specific proposal for every project we bid on. To request a proposal, please fill out the form on our Contact Page or send us an email to [email protected] and include your project address. If you have any site specific information such as a House Location Plat and/or a Concept Architectural Plan, that would be helpful for us to review. 

After contacting us, we will set up a quick intro call to gather more information and determine the scope of work we can provide on your project.

Lump Sum Pricing

We charge Lump Sum pricing for any PDF drawing deliverable we produce. We have a standard range of pricing for typical project sizes. However, specific pricing will depend on a number of factors such as lot size, complexity of proposed improvements, location of project relative to our office, and expected performance timeframe. We will need to evaluate those site specific factors before we can give any Lump Sum pricing. Our Lump Sum pricing does not include any direct job expenses, which we will expect our clients to pay directly or reimburse us at a markup rate if we pay with our company funds.

Hourly Pricing

After our Lump Sum deliverables are produced, any Plan Revisions, Permitting, and Consulting Time are charged by the hour. Since every project is different and the amount of hours vary, we cannot give Lump Sum pricing for Plan Revisions and Consulting Time. However, we can give a current hourly rate with a budgeted estimate of hours. Plan Revisions are any requested changes to the finalized Site Layout and any updates to calculations or drawings associated with the Site Layout. Permitting time can vary depending on the type of project and type of permit and is therefore best billed by the hour. We typically don’t bill for consulting and meetings involved during the initial design process. However, with more than 2 site layout options/changes, we will charge hourly for additional meetings and consulting time spent. After plans are approved, we charge by the hour for construction support and consulting time. Most experienced contractors are able to execute our plans without any questions. If you hire an inexperienced contractor, they may have a lot of questions and cost time for us to explain something that an experienced contractor should already know. Either way, we are happy to answer any Requests For Information (RFIs) with phone calls, emails and in person site-visits, but we will include this time in our monthly invoices. 

Reimbursable Expenses

We do not include any direct job expenses (County Application/Review/Permit Fees) in our Lump Sum pricing. For these direct job expenses, we will forward to our clients to pay whenever possible. Any direct job expenses we pay with company funds will be added to our monthly invoice as a reimbursable expense, typically at a 15% markup to account for our costs of paying with our company funds.

No, all county review and permit fees are “direct job expenses” which are paid directly by the property owner. In certain cases, we will pay for submission fees with company funds, but these will be added to the client’s monthly invoice as a reimbursable expense.