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Where to Site a Sustainable Development

By: James Murray-White - Updated: 9 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Sustainable Development Siting

To site your building sustainably, several considerations must be made.

Firstly, it is crucial to take a long-term view of constructing a building on this piece of land. The nature of developing sustainably means that due consideration must be given to the future conditions (environmental, geographical, urban or rural, etc) of the landscape and the area.

For instance, how does building one structure here affect the surroundings immediately? And how could this building, with for instance, its issues of access, water use, drainage, potential pollution, affect the surrounding area in the future?

Issues to Consider when Choosing a Site for Construction

The selection of the site, as mentioned above, is perhaps the greatest impact that could happen to the landscape. Evaluation of the site should be done with a small team of experts, contributing their individual expertise to the decision taken.

Read through our pages on Greenfield Sites and Brownfield Sites - does the potential site fit into either of these categories?

If it is a Greenfield site, are there brownfield sites nearby that may be more appropriate? It may be neither, but you need to be clear about this.

What are the local planning regulations, or does this site come under the environmental plan of a Local Authority? An enquiry at the Local Council office can quickly clarify this. Local environmental groups should be consulted for further advice as well. There could be hidden environmental issues affecting the land and its future.

Are there any protection orders or protected species on the potential site, or in the surrounding area that may have an effect upon this site?Is it a wildlife habitat? Would some plant species need protection during construction?How much additional soil, if any, would need to be brought in to the site to aid construction? How could this change the sites eco-system?

Water is a key issue in assessing the site. Assess the site and its soil for drainage. Does the soil hold water, or allow it to drain freely?

What would be the impact upon the site of bringing in household water, and how will it be dealt with after use?

How much light & sun is available at the site? See the site at all times of the day to assess the potential position of the building in terms of access to light. Fully consider the possibilities for solar heating, as outlined on our website.

Deciding to Build

These issues listed above are just a few of the many factors that must be considered in assessing a sites potential for a sustainable self-built construction.

As well as the environmental impact of any potential construction, both now and in the future, it is also important to consider the human impact.

In terms of the human ecology of the site and its surrounding area, will a new-build here contribute to the establishment of a strong community and neighbourhood?

It is important to recognise that cohesive human communities are valuable and necessary. How effective are the local amenities? Where are the nearest public transportation routes? Is it possible to walk, rather than drive, to local services?

Commuting to work could also be reduced by enhancing communications networks within the potential build to allow tele-commuting.

Also consider the effective renovation of any old buildings on site, or adding a workshop space to your designs, to allow for the potential of small businesses on site.

There are so many factors involved in doing a site assessment for a potential new building project. This list above covers some of the crucial areas to consider, and this highlights why experts in the different fields need to be consulted before making the final decision on a sites suitability, rather than just relying on a gut instinct about a place, or just going by a sellers description. A considered approach to development, weighing up many environmental and human factors, is the sustainable approach.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Considering the environment should be, in my opinion, the first thing that people think about when planning a new build. Especially as there could be empty buildings not being used in the local area that could be 'recycled' and used for your business.
Marianne - 28-Aug-12 @ 5:18 PM
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