Choosing a site and things to consider when building

Before designing the perfect building, it is critical to find the right location to build on. The location selected will determine aspects of the structure, including its size and building materials to be used. Below are a few of the factors to consider when selecting a site to build on.

1. Purpose of the building

This is the most important factor to consider before purchasing or selecting a site. Knowing the purpose for the site will help to effectively plan the design. Consider property rights and considerations such as zoning, height restrictions, bulk limitations, coverage, building lines and servitudes. The legal and financial aspects, which dictate ownership rights and costs, should be given due consideration before the purchase of a plot.

2. Location and accessibility

Any building project must be carried out in an area with easy access to infrastructure and utilities in order to be successful. There should be electricity, running water and a proper sewerage system.

3. Local climate

Every location has weather conditions peculiar to it and these must be determined before starting any plan. Note the orientation of the site and ensure that the opportunities for warming and cooling are possible and appropriate to the climate.

4. Geology

The underlying geology of the site will influence construction costs and energy used in excavation. Ground conditions influence the type of foundations and disturbances to the site. Different soil conditions such as rock, sand, clay, or wetlands, place different constraints on design requirements. The ground soil of the site should be good enough to provide economical foundations for the intended building without causing problems.

5. Environmental Conditions

The site should maximise natural beauty with the man-made environment to create healthy living and working conditions. The environment is also affected by nearby factories and industry and should be considered when selecting a site. If the chosen site already has good environmental values, retain existing, native plants and fauna habitat where possible. Surrounding vegetation can help to keep the building cooler and mitigate urban heat effects. In certain areas it is forbidden to remove certain plant species. If it is in the way of your building, this will add to the cost of obtaining permits to remove and replant, with additional costs for a specialist company to perform this task on your behalf. Extensive vegetation removal can result in soil erosion and a reduction in soil quality, so this should be avoided wherever possible.

6. Landscape, size, shape, and topography

In South Africa, the best orientation for a home is north. It is therefore important to consider orientation when choosing the ideal stand, as orienting the building on a stand correctly, allows as much natural light as possible, and natural light contributes greatly to the thermal comfort as well. Natural light has a different effect on different rooms based on their orientation and eliminates the need for artificial (electrical) lighting during the day. The slope of the land, if sloped, is also important as it will influence inter alia the design and therefore the cost.

Site Plan Conclusions

If all these factors are successfully considered, the site will be a masterpiece and will continue to appreciate for decades to come.

Remember to choose an architect and building contractor that are knowledgeable about the area, and experienced in the type of project to be undertaken to help determine the scope and what is possible.

For expert advice on the correct cement products to use to achieve the best possible results contact the Sephaku call centre on 0861 32 42 52 or speak to your technical representative.

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