Engineering

Overview

The Department of Engineering operates under the direction of the City Engineer who is both a professional engineer and surveyor. The Department designs plans for infrastructure improvements, construction administration and inspection. The Department also assigns house numbers within the City and maintains records of maps, plats, street plans, water lines, and sewer locations within the City.

Projects

The Department of Engineering oversees all major infrastructures projects within the City including improvements to roads, water lines, and sewer systems.

Annual Street Maintenance Program

The Engineering Department annually coordinates with City Council and Street Department personnel to compile a list of streets to considered for re-surfacing. Concrete repairs to streets, curbs and sidewalks will be evaluated and ongoing. Once finalized the chosen streets are paved over the course of the year.

General Timeline for a North Canton Project

There is a general timeline for a project to go from beginning to completion, most of which is controlled by Ohio Revised Code. A project can take anywhere from 11 months to 2 and a half years to complete depending on complexity and cost. Most City project take around a year and a half from initial funding to completition. This long timeline ensure projects are done correctly and are as cost effective as possible Generally, a typical project timeline is as follows:

Genesis

A project usually begins because of an event or newly realized need (for example a flood or specific complaints) or as a recommendation from a more generalized study.

Council Funding

A project is normally first presented to Council during the annual budget process to request funding for design (most often by an outside engineering firm, but sometimes a project is engineered by the City’s own staff) and potentially for the project itself. If funding is approved, the timeline begins. Time varies from time of genesis to initial approval.

Selecting and Engineering Firm (Clock Starts - 1 to 4 weeks)

Engineering firms are requested to provide the City with their qualifications to do projects. The qualifications the City is seeking varies by type of project ( water distribution, sewer line, road reconstruction, etc.). The City has reduced the time for this step by periodically asking for qualifications in advance so that when a project is approved initially by Council, an engineering firm may be chosen quickly.

After reviewing the qualifications of engineering firms, one is selected to engineer the project. Time elapsed usually does not exceed one month.

Developing a Scope and Price (2 to 8 weeks)

Before the City is able to negotiate a price to engineer a project, it must have enough detail in writing about a project to be able to know that a price it receives from an engineering firm is going to address the problem(s) the project is being pursued for and will satisfy the citizens and Council. 

Once a scope is established The City negotiates a price with the chosen engineering firm to prepare engineering drawing and specifications with which the City can bid out the project to be constructed.

Entering Into a Design Contract (4 to 12 weeks)

  • If the amount is under $50,000, the City can have a contract for engineering completed, approved by the Law Director, and approved by the Board of Control (Mayor, Director of Administration, Finance Director, and Law Director) and then signed by the City and the engineering firm. Time elapsed is usually one month.
  • If the amount is over $50,000, then an addition step of having Council approval for the engineering contract is required by Ohio Revised Code and the Charter. Time elapse adding Council to this step totals three months. (Council may reduce this time to one month by passing legislation on emergency).

Designing the Project (16 to 36 weeks)

The engineering firm develops plans and specifications for the project. This involves periodic review of their progress by the City’s Engineering staff. Time elapsed ranges from four to nine months, depending on the complexity of the project.

Council Funding (0 to 12 weeks)

If funding was not already allocated in the City budget for the project additional funds must be requested. During development of the engineering specifications (sometimes a rough estimate is made before engineering begins), a cost estimate is made. Once an estimate is made, Council must approve funding for construction. This step is done in conjunction with the annual budget when possible.

Advertising for Bids (4 weeks)

Council must approve the Director of Administration to advertise and receive bids. An advertisement must be placed in a newspaper of general circulation for two consecutive weeks and a bid opening scheduled no earlier than one days after the last advertisement. The Council also authorizes at the same time the Mayor through the Board of Control to enter into contract. Time for Council to pass legislation three months. (Council may reduce this time to one month by passing legislation on emergency). Time for advertising and receiving bids is one month.

Awarding a Construction Contract (8 to 16 weeks)

A contract is awarded only if the lowest and best bidder does not exceed the engineer’s estimate by less than 10%. (If the bids all exceed the estimate by more than 10%, normally the City must go back to and rebid the project). The City engineer reviews the bids and makes a recommendation to the Board of Control. The Board of Control then authorizes the Mayor to enter into/sign a contract with the lowest and best bidder to construct the project.

After the Board of Control authorizes the Mayor to enter into/sign a contract with the lowest and best bidder to construct the project, an actual contract is prepared, reviewed by the Law Director, and presented to the Mayor for signature.

Construction of Project (8 to 36 weeks)

A notice to proceed is issued and construction begins. Normally, construction is limited to be commenced and completed during one calendar year, after the snow has cleared and before it starts again. Depending on complexity, project construction can last two months to nine months. Rarely, a project can be so large and / or complex that it can last longer than one year.