Site Analysis

Understanding all the features of a site, using and protecting the best, and minimising the impact of the worst.

Site Analysis

Understanding the site is the first step towards designing or substantially renovating a house that will minimise its impact on the environment, minimise the use of resources and be comfortable and healthier to live in.

You will need to distinguish between macro (regional or large-scale) effects and micro (site-specific) effects.

You will need to understand site characteristics that are specific to the site (such as topography and landscape features) and broader local or regional effects such as regional climate.

In addition, it will be necessary to understand relevant Resource Management Act and District Plan requirements.



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    New Zealand climate and environmental zonesClimate should influence building size/form and location on site, material choices, window/door size and placement, bracing requirements and Building Code compliance.

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    SunUtilising the availability of the sun on a site can increase the energy efficiency and comfort of the building.

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    WindBuilding design must take account of wind direction, speed and frequency.

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    RainThe amount, direction and intensity of rainfall on a site should influence several aspects of a building’s design.

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    Plants, trees and landscape featuresIdentify the impact or benefit of plants, trees, landforms and adjacent buildings on sun, shade, shelter and a site’s intrinsic value.

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    HazardsAssess potential risk from earthquakes, floods, slips, slumps and erosion, and contamination or pollution.

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    Services and infrastructureDetermine the availability of and access to water, energy services, sewer and stormwater drainage, vehicular access, phone and other services.

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    Site conditions and ground stabilityAssess stability of ground and banks/cliffs, acceptable soil bearing pressure and soil types and water table.

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    Culture and heritageConsider the historical and cultural context of the site – building style, materials, scale, protected structures and trees, and permitted development.

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    Site analysis checklistSummarising the documents that need to be obtained and the information to be collected on site.