Back to All Blog Posts

Developing a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER)

Posted By Kwabena Adu-Sarkodie on June 05, 2018

business documents on office table with smart phone and digital tablet and graph financial with social network diagram and man working in the background

In order to obtain most state and federal funding for your community's project, you will need to complete a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER). But what all is a PER useful for? And what are some common questions that community leaders might have? Find out below!

A Preliminary Engineering Report, or PER, is a very useful document for:

  • Assessing the condition of an existing Water/Wastewater/Stormwater system
  • Understanding any deficiencies within the utility
  • Prioritizing infrastructure upgrades
  • Evaluating alternatives for addressing system needs
  • Developing a cost estimate for the selected improvement project
  • Communicating required capital improvement needs to the residents of a community and other stakeholders

Here are some questions that community leaders might ask about a PER:

How much does it cost to develop a PER?

The cost of a PER depends on the scope, and the complexity of the analysis. Some PERs require an extensive assessment of a system using modeling software, such as Waterworks®, Biowin® or HEC-RAS®. Other PERs can be developed using existing monthly reports of operation (MROs), sampling information, utility mapping and record drawings of existing treatment plant processes.

How long does it take to develop a PER?

This varies and depends on the complexity of the project. However, 60-90 days is typical.

How can this document be used to secure funding to get my project done?

State and federal funding sources require that a PER be developed before granting funding for a capital improvements project. Depending on the income bracket of the community and current user rates, low interest rate loans may be available for capital improvement projects. Additional deductions in interest rates may be available if a project is environmentally friendly.

What is the link between a PER and a detailed design?

With the selected alternative, preliminary drawings are often developed in the PER and reflect the recommended course of action. These drawings typically show the location of the upgrades and can indicate the footprint required for installation. These preliminary documents can be used as a basis to develop more detailed, bid-ready documents.

A thorough PER lays a solid foundation for a well-engineered design and properly phased construction of a project. Additionally, a PER can provide you with a clearer scope and potentially limit - or even eliminate - any major unforeseen costs. It is important to make sure the engineering firm you have selected for your PER, or any project, is familiar with your community and provides you with actionable insight on every project.