How a Site Analysis Can Shape Custom Home Design

May 6, 2021

If you own a piece of land (or are thinking of purchasing one) and are wondering how to go about building on it, one of the first things you’ll need to do is a site analysis. Doing so can inform your decisions when it comes to choosing the right land and designing your own home.

What Is a Site Analysis?

A site analysis is a research activity that examines the conditions of a building site, as well as any potential future conditions. This helps you assess whether construction on the site is viable and if there are any physical and environmental features of the site that should be taken into account when choosing and building a home. Ideally, a site analysis is done as part of the initial design thinking about a site.

An architectural site analysis will evaluate the site location, size, topography, zoning, traffic conditions and climate. An analysis should also take any future developments into account such as changes to the roads, significant building developments and changes to the sites surroundings.

Once completed, a site analysis will better inform your decisions when it comes to building on a piece of land or choosing whether to purchase it in the first place.

Characteristics Of a Good Site Analysis

It is important to perform a complete site analysis that looks at both soft and hard site data. Soft data is concerned with site conditions that can be changed whereas hard data looks at things like utility locations, dimensions, climate, legal information and zoning, site boundaries etc.

A good site analysis should evaluate the following:

  • Location: where the site is.
  • Physical Features: land features such as trees, rocks, rivers, drainage and topography.
  • Man Made Features: existing buildings, walls, materials, landscaping, scale and setbacks.
  • Climate: information such as snowfall, rainfall, winds, seasonal temperatures and sun exposure.
  • Zoning & Size: Dimensions, boundaries, easements, building height restrictions, site area and access.
  • Neighbourhood: the immediate surrounding of a building site such as other buildings and future developments.
  • Utilities: Access to any electricity, gas, water, sewer systems and phone services that are on or near the site.
  • Circulation: Vehicle and pedestrian movements in and around the site such as traffic or road developments.
  • Legal Information: Any restrictions, covenants and council information that could affect future development plans.
  • Sensory Information: the visual features of the land and any noise or smells that should be taken into consideration. This includes views, noise from traffic and smells from agriculture activities etc.
  • Human and cultural: What is the community like? What is the population density? What is the employment, income level, cultural and ethnic background and values of the other residents. Are there lots of young families or retired people?

How a Site Analysis Can Be Used

After taking all these factors into consideration you should be able to determine whether a piece of land is suited to the home you have in mind, or if you already own the land, what type of home is suited to the land you have.

When considering the climate and natural features of the land, the aim should be to build the best home possible when it comes to access to solar gains (passive solar design), daylight and energy efficiency. The building can even be oriented to take advantage of wind direction to lower cooling costs during the summer by aligning it along the axis with the prevailing wind direction and adding deep overhangs for shade. For homes with harsh winter climate exposure, you may consider creating protected external spaces such as courtyards where cold winds are blocked by the surrounding building.

Land features can be taken into account when customizing your home design to ensure glazing is appropriately placed to optimize views and beautiful land features such as blossom trees are taken into account.

At Lamelli, all of our prefab modular homes can be designed to fully take advantage of all the great characteristics your building site has while minimizing the negative. Browse our website to learn more about how our manufactured home building materials, technologies and construction methods can bring your vision to life and contact us to get started on building the home of your dreams.

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