8 Types of Engineering Studies You Didn’t Know Existed

The world generally experiences an engineer’s work through visible outcomes like bridges, skyscrapers, and machines. But, behind these structures and devices are detailed research planning and analyses. Various types of preliminary engineering studies help to test the viability of a client’s project idea and to scope out the costs involved.

With help from Lithon’s resident studies expert, Frikkie Holtzhausen, we’ve compiled a list of the most common engineering studies you’re likely to come across. You probably didn’t know some of them even existed, but now that you do, you can be better prepared for your next project!


1. Situational Analysis

A situational analysis investigates the current situation on the ground surrounding a potential project. It involves research into the existing services and planning, future requirements, and stakeholders’ expectations. This type of study reveals pertinent issues that might affect the planning and implementation of the new project. 


2. Due diligence on Existing Engineering Infrastructure

A critical analysis to assess the condition and compliance of existing infrastructure. This study determines whether the infrastructure was constructed in compliance with recognised standards, and according to approved design drawings and specifications.  


3. Project Due-diligence

This type of study is often used on existing projects that have come to a halt for various reasons. It involves assessing the current status of the project and identifying what is needed to restart or complete it.

4. Concept Design and Development

Concept design in engineering involves creating a visual representation of a product, building, or whatever the project entails. This usually involves some detail and can be used to check the project’s initial viability and elementary costs. Generally, a concept design helps both the engineer and the client figure out whether their visions for the project are matched. Once agreed upon, they develop the design in some more detail. 


5. Pre-feasibility Study from an Engineering Perspective

A pre-feasibility study works alongside the concept design drawings to analyse and investigate all the engineering-related components of the project. It usually involves multi-disciplinary engineering work, depending on the project’s needs. From the pre-feasibility, engineering components and work can be quantified to work out preliminary cost estimates. 


6. Feasibility Study

Essentially a much more detailed version of a pre-feasibility. Engineering designs are further developed into more detail and comprehensive cost estimates are provided, giving a more rounded picture of the cost of the entire project. Feasibility can also include additional studies such as marketing, financial modelling, environmental, and legal considerations. 


7. Inundation Studies

Especially pertinent in areas prone to flooding, like the north of Namibia, where annual heavy rains bring floods to large areas. This ‘slow’ flood or ‘efundja’ has been known to cause serious property damage, and in the worst case, loss of life. When working in projects in these areas, it’s important to determine which specific areas will be affected the most, how the floods can be mitigated, and how development and services are planned to accommodate such events. 


8. Flood Line Studies

For developments near river banks, flood line studies are a must. They determine the maximum average water level likely to be reached by floodwaters once every 50 or 100 years. Namibian regulations state that no development may take place in the once-in-50-year flood line, because flooding in these areas poses a threat to property and people. Ensuring development stays within the least flood-prone areas is beneficial for all. 


Get to Grips with Studies with Lithon

We believe that thorough engineering studies underpin every successful, on-budget project.

With years of experience putting all kinds of studies together, we see the real benefits of our preliminary work in many fruitful projects. If you’re embarking on an engineering project and need expert guidance, reach out to us at info@lithon.com.