What is a Civil Engineering Master Plan?

Master Planning is often associated with the planning of a large development encompassing decades to build, but the concept also applies to simple projects which only take a few months to complete. A master plan in its simplest from is a plan which identifies a project’s development opportunities, infrastructure requirements, associated costs, and timing. This can take the form of an extensive report examining existing conditions, local codes, required infrastructure improvements, community concerns, and prospects for development. Simpler projects may just require a discussion of local codes, prospects for development, and possible timing.

Significant Range of Local Experience

We provide Master Planning and Design for projects of all sizes, from large developments like the Hilton Hawaiian Village to family-owned shops such as Matsumoto Store. Our surveying services also allow us to help developers to maximize use of their land by subdivision, condominium property regime (CPR), cluster development, agricultural use, or any combination of these options.


Hilton Hawaiian Village (Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii)

The members of our team were the key civil engineers and surveyors working with Hilton Hawaiian Village (HHV) on their various site improvements for over 20-years. We worked with the HHV staff and Hilton Corporation representatives to plan the HHV campus redevelopment, which included the Tapa Tower Bus Depot, Kalia Tower, Entry Building, Bridal Chapel, Rainbow Tower Loading Dock, Rainbow Drive redesign, Atlantis Submarine pier, Parking Structure redesign, Hilton Lagoon renovation, Lagoon Lawn, Lagoon Tower, Hilton Hawaiian Village Boardwalk, and Waikikian Tower.

HHV has a significant impact on all public infrastructure in the area with over 3,000 rooms, 1,800 parking stalls, and event spaces which can accommodate over 1,500 participants. Over the years, we worked with the State Department of Transportation (DOT) Highways Division, DOT Harbors Division, Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting, Honolulu Department of Facilities Maintenance, the Honolulu Mayor’s office, the US Army Corps of Engineers, US Department of the Army, and even private entities such as the Ilikai Association of Apartment Owners to build support for HHV’s aspirations for its campus and identify the needs and goals of these outside entities which could be incorporated into the HHV master plan. The resulting master plan addressed HHV’s vision of the future while also enhancing the surrounding neighborhood for all stakeholders.

The culmination of this master plan was the Waikikian Development. The entry to Waikiki is completely unrecognizable from the canvas that we started with in the 1990’s. Ala Moana Blvd. was realigned, the Hilton Lagoon reconstructed, Kahanamoku Street was widened, the Ilikai porte cochere was redesigned, new signalized intersections were created at Kalia Road and Kahanamoku Street, and extensive resort style landscaping areas were created in the median of Ala Moana Blvd. and along the Kalia Road and Ala Moana Blvd. frontages of Fort DeRussy. Less noticeable, is that the drainage within Ala Moana Blvd. was redesigned to significantly reduce ponding in the roadway. The redesigned drainage system also flushes the inner finger of the Ala Wai Boat Harbor to improve circulation and water quality.

Some of the surveying support that our team provided for the master plan included

  • construction stakeout,
  • boundary studies and stakeout,
  • setting street monuments,
  • shoreline certifications,
  • easement designations,
  • subdivision maps,
  • topographic surveys,
  • FEMA elevation certifications,
  • and right-of-way designation maps.


Matsumoto Store (Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawaii)

Matsumoto Store, as it is known locally, is a small, family-owned commercial strip mall in Whitmore Village outside of Wahiawa. The mall was built during the plantation heyday to support the residents of Whitmore Village. It was just a general market, a hole-in-the-wall eatery, and community meeting room back then. This was a time before zoning, accessibility laws, and modern building codes. The mall has remained relatively unchanged. It still has a general market and hole-in-the-wall eatery. Self-serve gas pumps were added, and the community meeting area is now used by a church.

The owner approached us to help him bring his facility into compliance with accessibility rules which came into being 30+ years after the store was built. We created an architectural barrier removal plan which is simply a master plan identifying non-compliant areas, ranking them in order of importance, developing conceptual plans with budgets, and providing resources to help the owner keep the plan up to date.

This was a small project with a limited planning scope, but the owner’s need for a master plan was similar to larger projects like the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We recognize that the budgets for small developments are often tight, so we take pride in providing the same, high level of service to all our clients, regardless of the project size.


Meheula Vista (Mililani Mauka, Oahu, Hawaii)

The project sits on a 10-acre site in Mililani Mauka reserved for a commercial mall in Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii’s (CCHH) development plan for Mililani Mauka. CCHH built a self-storage facility over 2-acres of the lot before being approached by a non-profit developer to use the remaining 8-acres for an affordable elderly housing complex.

The housing complex comprised of four separate buildings, each with 75 one-bedroom units and associated parking. The project was split into four phases for funding purposes. Our surveyors helped develop a strategy to subdivide the CCHH self-storage facility from the undeveloped portion of the lot which would later become Meheula Vista. Meheula Vista was further divided by phase into CPR units since each building and its associated parking were expected to be funded separately over eight to ten years. This setup completely disassociated the self-storage facility from Meheula Vista which gave CCHH the freedom to sell the self-storage facility at any time. Meanwhile, the CPR process created a clean demarcation for funding purposes while allowing the overall development to share site resources such as water distribution, fire protection, sewer mains, drainage, and green space.

Our civil engineers created a site design which minimized the utilities and site improvements needed to implement Phase 1 of Meheula Vista. The team also conceptually designed the remaining three phases for CCHH, who was the general contractor for Meheula Vista, to create construction budgets for these phases.

The site design concept was flexible to accommodate unforeseen delays in funding or changes in scope. The intent was for construction to be on-going, with a new phase starting construction upon the completion of the previous phase. However, the funding for Phase 4 of the project is currently expected to be released three years after the completion of Phase 3. The master plan accounted for possible funding delays and thus allows completed phases of the development to operate indefinitely without future phases. The developer is using the delay to enhance the site with additional parking and PV carports. These enhancements were not part of the original concept, but the changes were easily integrated into the master plan. 


The CM&E Advantage

The key to any successful project is to identify the often divergent goals of the developer’s idealized vision, limited budgets, community concerns, support of public infrastructure, and effects on the environment. Our staff has experience working with a wide range of clients, such as owners of single-family residences, municipal agencies, Federal agencies, resorts, affordable housing developers, churches, and commercial property managers. This experience gives us insight into the needs of our clients and helps us to identify issues that require special attention at the start of planning. Educating our clients on the process, timing, and possible complications is a core value at CM&E.

CM&E is staffed with civil engineers, land surveyors, construction managers, and inspectors with over a hundred years of combined experience. Even with this experience, we occasionally encounter issues outside of our expertise. We can help clients connect with architects, planners, specialized engineers, permit expediters, and contractors as necessary to make a project successful. We have strong working relationships with these outside resources which span decades. And as all relationships start somewhere, we always look forward to meeting and working with a new team if a client already has a team in place which needs civil engineering or land surveying support.

Explore the different CM&E Land Surveying Services below