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3 Common Overlooked Factors When Evaluating a Site

by nicola on June 13, 2018 in Blog

Whether buying a building or a parcel of land, its location often has a biggest influence when we make a decision. Other factors such as size and price also come into play (are we getting a better deal?).

However, there are other important factors that will determine if the property is truly a worthwhile investment. Aside from the financial aspect, your peace of mind and possible legal consequences are equally important before signing the papers for the purchase of the property.

That’s why in this article we’ll discuss those other important factors that determine the true value and potential of a building or parcel of land. If you consider these commonly overlooked factors, you’ll gain better peace of mind and possibly spot other opportunities competitors might have missed.

1. Natural lighting and sunlight path

This is an important long-term cost factor whether it’s a residential, commercial or government building. This is about maximising the natural light coming in while still keeping the heat out. Cooling costs can rise dramatically if the building’s interior are always directly exposed to sunlight. This is an engineering and cost priority that developers pay special attention to.

Aside from cost and engineering concerns, the path of sunlight throughout the day can be used to make the building stand out further. How the sunlight “falls” to the building can have a huge effect on its aesthetics.

For instance, the orientation of the building with respect to the sun can influence design decisions of the building (especially the facade). Even how the shadow is cast is being considered by architects and engineers. These are large details that are important during the planning phase of the project.

Aside from how the natural light affects the interior, engineers and architects now also consider how the sunlight flows inside of the building (including each room and office). When the sunlight hits, how does the light “penetrate” through the building and which parts of the rooms and offices are getting illuminated?

Why is this important? People now pay attention to more details when choosing an apartment, townhouse or office space. They’re now also aware about the positive effects of natural lighting. It’s the current trend (and will likely to go on for decades) that people prefer taking advantage of the natural as much as possible. Aside from saving on energy costs, taking advantage of natural lighting can also promote relaxation and positive mood. The closeness to nature might be one of the most important factors when residential and commercial tenants choose a space for their family or business.

2. Hydrology and ecology

As mentioned above, people want to get closer to nature and another way to help achieve that is by choosing sites with nearby natural bodies of water (rivers, oceans and lakes). The water features on site may increase the appeal of the resulting building, especially if the site will be used for relaxation and recreation.

Perhaps we’re already wired to seek bodies of water whenever possible. After all, many tribes and ancient civilisations thrived near rivers because of the need for drinking water (and food such as fish) and irrigation. Orderly living and settlement became possible because the bodies of water served as a consistent source of food and water.

It doesn’t completely apply today. But nearby bodies of water might make many people feel relaxed and safe. In addition, the aesthetic value of the building and the whole site will be higher because of the lake or river. A great view of the ocean can also be one of the main selling points of residential and commercial buildings.

More and more property developers also consider the existing ecology of and near the site. After all, there’s now a need for responsible development especially in construction. There should be zero or minimal ecological disturbance before, during and after the completion of the project.

As a result, this presents many constraints for the engineers and architects. Good thing is this also becomes an opportunity because many people now value ecological protection. If the team successfully created and executed a design that highlights its ecological value, potential tenants would certainly notice that.

Take note though that many construction and excavation activities have a direct and indirect effect to the surrounding ecosystems. For instance, earthworks can alter the elevation of the area and movement of essential water. Some creatures might also migrate or become endangered because of the disturbance and resulting lack of food source. This can have a devastating impact on the whole ecosystem because each creature is a part of the food chain (many other creatures depend on plants and smaller animals).

Many organisations and government agencies have already stepped up to address these concerns. They’re continuously gathering more data and formulating policies to protect natural habitats. Fortunately, many property development and construction firms also contribute to protection and preservation of the natural ecosystems in each site.

3. Site history

Aside from natural lighting and ecology, experienced engineers and architects now also consider the site’s history when they start planning. Other teams fail to account for this because the present appearance and condition of the site is already good enough to get started.

However, failure to account for the site’s history might cause serious problems during and after the construction. For example, if the site was previously used for chemicals and mineral processing, the soil and the groundwater might be heavily contaminated. This makes it undesirable for natural developments because contaminants can prevent growth of trees. Also, there would be additional requirements for the treatment of groundwater before it becomes fit for use.

Aside from studying the history to determine the present condition of the site, the past can also give clues on what the future will look like. For instance, wind and erosion might have heavily affected the area’s topography. This might also have a direct or indirect effect to the site’s appearance and its surroundings. This trend will continue unless engineers accounted for these factors. Although this could be a challenge to forecast, considering the site’s history can result to better planning and anticipation of future problems.

Overlooked factors when evaluating a site

Natural lighting, ecology and site history are also important factors in evaluating a site. Considering these factors would help architects and engineers realise the full potential of the area.

To achieve better planning, the optimal way is to study the past, present and future of the site. In other words, the team should have ideas on how the site has evolved and will evolve through time. This results to better anticipation of the problems and challenges ahead.

This is long-term thinking which could also benefit the environment. In addition, the developer could realise long-term cost savings because of the minimal need for major repairs and reconstructions in the future. That resource could be better invested into the site’s further improvement (or developing other sites for expansion).

It’s a difficult and long process because we’re going beyond the obvious of focusing on the site’s location to know its possible return of investment. But further analysis of the site almost always leads to a more accurate evaluation and planning of the construction project no matter the nature and scope.

Whether it’s the construction of residential and commercial buildings or major roads, there are always overlooked factors that can have a huge impact on costs and long-term results. This is a challenge itself which is why property developers only work with the best to ensure accurate and optimal planning.

That’s why here at Geosurv, our Land and Construction Surveyors have already worked on a variety of sites and projects (apartments, subdivisions and warehouses). In each project we’ve focused on accuracy and the client’s requirements. We also heavily contribute to better assessment of the site with our topographic survey (determine and locate features and details of the land) so your team will know how to best position and orient the resulting building.

Since 2005, we’ve been handling the surveying aspect for small and large construction projects. Aside from professional and timely completion of surveying, we’re also committed to sustainability. We minimise environmental impact by using sustainable resources and engaging in proper recycling and waste reduction measures.

Call us today at 1300 554 675 and let’s discuss your project (site address, description of services required). Our experienced team will then promptly arrive and use the most modern tools to assess your site.