Site Plans – why bother?
Now before I go any further let me say straight up that there’s any number of reasons why you would bother and why you should bother.
Investment in a good quality comprehensive ‘Site Plan’ is one of the best investments you could make when it comes to improving real estate, whether it be building a house, renovating a house, subdividing land or especially developing a larger project.
Site plans, also known as a ‘Detail & Contour Survey’, along with engaging a competent Project Manager [PM] are without doubt one of the very first things you should commission before engaging other design specialists. The thing is – don’t skimp on it! Go for quality and be prepared to pay a reasonable price [your PM will know what that is and what’s needed] and you will be rewarded in spades. Every consultant you deal with after that point will be mightily impressed and you will make their job easier and save them time. They may even be inclined to give you a better price as a result. Again your PM will assist here.
Site Plans are like an Encyclopedia of your property
Site plans are like an encyclopaedia of your property – all contained on one page! But wait there’s more! A good site plan will have lots of information about things outside your property as well because proper planning requires detail about things external to your property, not just what is contained within your boundaries. [just look at the example in the header above] Things like power poles, fire hydrants, sewer lines, their depth, their fall, invert levels, street levels among many other things. In fact if you are seeking to build something like a multi-unit project or something that requires a Council DA a relevant site plan will include lots of information about neighbouring properties. Things like the location of improvements on neighbouring sites which may be useful for calculating things such as shadows, views, loss of views, privacy (e.g. where exactly are their windows located?) trees and such like.
Have you ever wondered why some properties sell for more money or perhaps sell quicker? I have seen properties well presented with a site plan as well as the usual photos achieve these sorts of results, especially properties with further development potential. A good quality site plan will quickly identify potential issues as well as possibilities with any property, so do not skimp – this is an area where you almost always should be aiming for quality.
Case Study in Nundah
We came across a site in Nundah some while back to give some advice on stormwater drainage issues. We had been approached by a builder (not the developer) who was underway with the project and was trying to install a complicated sump & pump system that was approved under an old DA. The owners had owned the site for some years, during the quiet times when things were difficult to ‘stack up’ and had been in two minds as to what to do – sell, keep, develop etc. They had paid too much in the previous rising market. Along the way they obtained planning approval to build and fortunately for them the new rising market enabled them to proceed.
Having checked the project and looking at the surrounding projects we wondered why they were not given ‘upstream stormwater disposal’ by the now finished project at the rear. On further rudimentary checking we found they had in fact been given it. This fact would have been picked up in a comprehensive site plan for an investment of around $2,000 which they had skimped on. The result was that they had to install a complicated and expensive sump and pump system that will involve ongoing maintenance and running costs which could have been totally avoided.
This is only one of many stories we come across like this where we are called into fix jobs that have gone off the rails. Our advice? Don’t try and cut corners at the start of a project – just like a building, projects need a good foundation.