Site Search & Selection
This service, typically for new construction, allows your to leverage our experience and knowledge. When you share your program, you share your vision for the project. When we understand and see your vision, we can help you select a property by forecasting specific attributes about what you need: location, lot size, terrain, orientation, available utilities, soil conditions, existing trees, etc.
We can help narrow the selection of available properties by generating a sketch of how your program might fit on each property you’re considering. Once you’ve narrowed the selection, we prefer to walk the site with you to find the corner pins and observe the natural features. This allows us to alert you to any perceived developmental difficulties. For example, surface water typically brings a collection of regulations, including significant buffer zones, with which you might not be familiar.
An absolute necessity before you buy or build, site analysis is intended to collect all the rules and regulations governing the development or further development of a property. These rules and regulations are often diagrammed, resulting in a drawing that shows the “buildable area” of the site.
Site analysis often reveals crucial details that are not apparent from a site visit: zoning requirements, easements, covenants, community development regulations, overlay district regulation, historic preservation regulation, storm water concerns, utility issues, etc. The goal of the site analysis is to be sure that the proposed construction will comply with all the applicable rules and regulations. Simply stated, site analysis allows the Owner to determine the potential of any given site.
Site analysis typically builds on a survey of the property. Not all surveys are alike. We maintain working relationships with surveyors and frequently commissions surveys on the behalf of our Owners. We prefer to commission the survey so that we can provide input on the amount of information collected and the final deliverable from the surveyor. By providing specific up-front instructions, the survey crew can collect only the necessary amount of information in the least number of site visits. This helps control the cost and schedule for the work.
You’d probably be surprised how many properties look like they have potential for renovation or addition yet the site analysis reveals the property is at or over the floor area ratio, maximum lot coverage or encumbered by some other issue like an easement. New construction projects can encounter similar issues. You can protect yourself by writing a (“successful”) site analysis as a condition in your purchase agreement for a property so you don’t get stuck with someone else’s problems!
Building Evaluation Assistance
A building evaluation is not a home inspection. It’s an opportunity for us to visit a property, with you or on your behalf, to evaluate and document the existing conditions so we can discuss the property with you. Though we may record conditions that would be reported by a home inspector, we can also work with you to address issues like zoning, architectural style, renovation or addition strategies, energy upgrades and other issues outside the expertise of a home inspector. This evaluation can also be paired with a site analysis if you’d like a holistic view of the property.
Tear-Down vs. Renovation Evaluation Assistance
Can you realize the vision described in your program through renovation|addition of a property or should the existing building be torn down? Which of the two options is more cost effective? Which of the two options will fit within your schedule? We can assist you in answering these questions with the combination of a site analysis, building evaluation, schematic design and bidding. Those four steps are enough to give you a design and preliminary cost estimate that will answer your questions. In some cases, we can’t find a successful design for the renovation|addition so you don’t need to go through the bidding portion of that process.
As-Built Drawings|Field Surveys
Most of the Owners with whom we work don’t have the contract documents (drawings and notes) for their home. Even if you do have the contract document, most buildings are not constructed exactly as they are drawn by the Architect. Discrepancies between the contract documents and the actual construction are often the result of construction tolerances, misinterpretation of contract documents, material shortages, change orders or other issues typically encountered during the construction phase. In large homes, the cumulative result of these changes can be significant.
Renovations and additions to existing homes require the creation of “as-built” drawings that document the actual conditions so the design team can accurately depict the scope of work for your project. This is crucial in renovation and addition projects because it allows the Contractor to accurately bid the required material quantities. To create the as-built drawings, we visit the site to survey the conditions, record the conditions in a computer drafting program and publish them to the design team for use as “background” drawings.
As building codes have become more and more sophisticated, jurisdictions have responded by requiring more elaborate drawings to insure your project complies with the regulations. The required drawings typically must be at a set scale on certain size sheets with required information so it’s now common for us to start a renovation or addition project with the creation of as-built drawings.
Master Planning & Subdivision
Common practices in master planning and subdivision of properties hasn’t kept pace with the needs and wants of society. Many Owners still look at the property in survey form: a piece of paper that doesn’t convey the changes in terrain, trees, vegetation and natural amenities. Additionally, many Civil Engineers who develop site plans aren’t trained to understand the details of building orientation, building spacing and the requirements of sustainable building systems so design opportunities are missed before the Architect is involved in the project.
You can realize significant value by getting us involved from the beginning. We think you’ll be amazed at how much more integration you can accomplish and, like the site analysis, you can study the property to be sure you know its potential before you buy or build. As an added value, our explanations for the “how” and “why” of what we do will help you (and your sales team) set your property apart from others. You can find an example of a subdivision study on our Projects page.
The term “placemaking” became popular in the 1970’s among Architects and Urban Planners who understood that connecting us through public spaces would make us better, more social neighbors. This community engagement gives us a chance to meet our neighbors rather than just waiving to them while they’re walking their dog or retrieving their mail. Even small properties can be connected through simple, common spaces that encourage interaction and give access to spaces that might not otherwise be available to all residents.
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