5 Key Factors to Successful Site Planning

5 Keys to a Successful Site Plan

Are you planning to construct a building or house but not sure how to decide its location? No matter the function of your building, the location you select can make or break its success. 5 key factors we discuss below can help ease the decision process.

1. Location, location, location!
Find a geographical location that serves the purpose of its existence. Are you located in a location your clientele wants to go to? How about your employees? Can your distribution fleet easily access key roadways? Will people pay the rent you intend to charge for with the surrounding amenities that are offered? Determine the most crucial aspect of your building use and do not consider a site that does not complement that asp

2. Local Zoning
Most municipalities have some type of zoning ordinance. If you look at a zoning map it will depict zoning classifications for every property. One element to these classifications is the use type. Uses are what the building’s main function will be per the municipalities predetermined (for most activities) use categories, such as residential, multi-family, retail, commercial, industrial, etc. Then, each of the use types will be categorized as By Right use, Conditional use, or will require a variance. By Right means your use will be allowed at that property location. Conditional Use means there are several conditions you must meet in order for that use to be allowed on that property. The last is a variance. This means the use is not allowed on that property and you are applying for an exception, and you appeal to the municipality to decide if it should be allowed. Some variances have no chance of being approved, while others, depending on the situation, have a much better chance of approval. The variance process is not always, but often becomes very expensive and drastically extends your timeline. Find a property that allows what you intend to use it for and be sure the municipality and your intended use classification is aligned.

3. Utilities
A car wash will use a lot more water than a house for example. Think about what utilities your building will need to operate. Then analyze if any of those utilities will have a large service requirement. Be sure your business type’s typical utility demands can be easily met and installed for the property you choose.

4. Building Layout and Orientation
Determining the layout of your building (which is called programming by architects) can decide the success of a structure. Think about the building’s intent, and how that intent can be efficient. Create relationships of operations and their importance. This will build your key aspects of the layout. World renowned architect Louis Sullivan created the phrase “form follows function”. Think of your building in way. For example, consider the flow of traffic inside and outside your space. What makes the site and its interior space most efficient for its users?

5. Future Endeavors
Even though you’re planning your original structure, think about what happens down the road after this is built. If your 10-year business plan is met in 5 years you may be forced to expand early and quickly. What does that expansion look like? If it means enlarging your current building does the property allow it and allow enough? Does the layout/programming allow for said expansion where it must occur due to site constraints? Maybe expansion means a second location in a different geographical region. Does your first structure allow for efficient operations and deliveries to the second sight within a timeframe that is acceptable? Can the second location succeed with the original location? Nobody knows what the future holds, but not planning guarantees failure.

Think about how you want your structure to be. Find a place that allows it to flourish and grow harmoniously. A tree thrives in its intended environment. To keep flourishing it sometimes must adapt, just like architecture and its design. If you are ready to start the design process of your next endeavor, contact us here at JL Architects. Our 35 years of expertise in design and planning can help your dream become a success.

-Nate Houser, Project Manager