Skip to main content

4 essential elements of site analysis

Site analysis is a crucial first step in creating a viable building design. Consideration of site location, topography, zoning regulations, traffic conditions and climate allows a designer to maximize opportunities and anticipate potential problems. The following four factors are crucial to getting the most out of site analytics.

Factor 1: Climate trends

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Glenn Murcutt has been known to camp at a site before beginning design in order to understand its climate – a feat not all architects have time to accomplish. We now have 3D modeling technology that can provide information on site conditions around the world. Assessing your site through the lens of climatic factors gives you the best chance of exploiting opportunities and mitigating less favorable factors.

4 Essential Elements of Site Analytics - Image 4 of 9
Courtesy of SketchUp

PreDesign helps you integrate climate analysis into your design story, offering features that filter through different combinations of glazing ratios and shading options to present the ones best suited for your project based on an analysis of historical climate data for your site.

Second Factor: Social Considerations

Good design should improve users’ quality of life. Barton Malow Company used SketchUp to develop 3D and 4D models of Frostburg State University Education & Health Science Center.

4 Essential Elements of Site Analytics - Image 5 of 9
Courtesy of SketchUp

Using SketchUp, the team developed 3D models early in the process, exporting images to showcase the proposed build and 4D animations for added impact. They phased the project to ensure that its neighbors would not be negatively impacted. SketchUp Scenes illustrated the construction process, effectively communicating and staging logistical plans, allowing students to live and study during construction. They exported site plans from SketchUp, which mapped key areas, ensuring that access points and storage of building materials did not interfere with pedestrian/vehicle traffic. A fine example of building with the human element in mind!

4 Essential Elements of Site Analytics - Image 6 of 9
Courtesy of SketchUp

Community buy-in is essential to creating integrated neighborhoods. Urban planning firm Houseal Lavigne Associates has delivered a stunning urban redevelopment plan for the downtown core of the City of Oshkosh. The project has been a success, garnering community support, catalyzing economic growth, fostering job creation, and instilling civic pride and community.

The project team used SketchUp to iterate and present the value in response to community concerns. Technology is essential to their workflow – rapid 3D modeling facilitates design development, and compelling renderings help planners and designers communicate effectively with clients and the community. They believe that with technology, city planners can take the guesswork out of city planning.

4 Essential Elements of Site Analytics - Image 9 of 9
Courtesy of SketchUp

Thoughtful buildings celebrate the culture of the surrounding community. Lund and Slaatto Architects’ award-winning Ulstein Arena is a gathering place for the city of Ulsteinvik that integrates the surrounding landscape with city life.

Factor Three: Zoning and Regulations

The right-of-way, site history, state of conservation, condition of listed buildings, tree preservation ordinances, and building performance regulations all come under zoning and regulation. 3D technology helps integrate building performance analysis early in the design process for maximum impact.

Architectural designer, Scott Miller of Remington Development Corporation, uses the SketchUp suite of tools to perfect the conceptual design process.

4 Essential Elements of Site Analytics - Image 3 of 9
Courtesy of SketchUp

He reviews the placement and dimensions of doors, stairs and windows to ensure that the buildings he designs meet building code standards.

Using Sefaira helps the Remington Corporation team start meaningful conversations with their sustainability engineers. They can identify energy loss issues through the building envelope, required equipment/lighting power limits, and minimum values ​​for building assemblies and glazing systems.

Factor four: infrastructural

Costly mistakes can be avoided by using the right technology to understand your existing site conditions, especially the location of existing utilities and infrastructure. The success of construction company FMT AB is based on the use of interoperable technology. FMT AB kicks off each project by sending a drone to collect point cloud data on site. They use Scan Essentials, Trimble Business Center and RealWorks to import drone data and transfer it to SketchUp.

4 Essential Elements of Site Analytics - Image 2 of 9
Courtesy of SketchUp

This exclusive use of Trimble technologies makes the company approximately 30% more efficient than its competitors. Start a 30 day free trial today.