Site Evaluations

Architectural Site Evaluations

Site Evaluations are a crucial part of the architecture process. It is one of the few venues at the Construction Industry where the contractors and the public alike can learn a great deal about a proposed construction project through the site evaluation. For this reason, site evaluations are often conducted before major construction begins. Although they are primarily done for environmental purposes, site evaluations can also be used for improving on-time performance. Ultimately, they help the Construction Industry to reduce overall cost and ensure that a safe and effective infrastructure is in place before space planning and construction begins.

Purpose of Site Evaluations

The purpose of a site evaluation is to evaluate a proposed site with respect to several key aspects: land use; zoning; access; utilities; and structural design and development considerations. In addition, the location of the proposed facility on the property must be evaluated as well. In all cases, the purpose of a site evaluation is to ensure that the proposed facility design provides for the desired outcomes – a successful project with an efficient schedule, as well as minimal environmental impacts.


Typically, before a site evaluation can begin, a property owner must submit an application to the local government in which the proposed facility is located. A number of factors will influence the decision as to whether the site is a good fit for the proposed facility. These include such factors as zoning regulations, architectural design characteristics, anticipated traffic patterns, proximity to utilities, parking considerations, and any restrictions placed on building design by local jurisdictions. The location for a new facility must be carefully evaluated, since different localities will impose different restrictions on building design.


Site evaluations are designed to determine if the proposed facility will meet its intended function – either residential, commercial, or industrial. Site evaluations also take into account the impact of the facility on the environment. Potential environmental issues include surface water runoff, nearby vegetation, the presence of utilities, and other natural environmental factors. Environmental concerns are especially important when evaluating the site’s proximity to existing facilities, regulatory compliance, cost of operation and other aspects of environmental impact.

What is a Site Evaluation?

An architectural site evaluation is a comprehensive study that evaluates the effects of the proposed facility on the environment. This report is often a draft presented to the governing body responsible for the area in question. It is then reviewed by the governing body and/or a committee appointed by the governing body. A final site report is then submitted to the governing body for approval before schematics are drawn up. The purpose of the architectural site evaluation is to ensure that the site has no significant environmental risks or impacts that will require immediate attention from a governing body.


The purpose of the site evaluation is not to single out a particular site for special consideration, but rather to provide a baseline for evaluating potential environmental impact. If the evaluation determines that the proposed site would have a significant environmental impact, the site will need to undergo revisions that take into account the final report’s findings. Additionally, a change in the location of the facility may not be justified based on the results of the site evaluation. Site evaluations are designed to ensure that no special environmental impact is overlooked.

Protecting the Public

Site evaluations also serve to protect the public from harm caused by proposed facility designs. When an environmental impact analysis is performed on a proposed site, any changes or alterations that might have negative impacts on the environment are presented to the governing body for review and approval before spatial programming takes place. If these modifications are found to be harmful, they may be required to redesign the site or pay strict penalties. In addition to stiff penalties, construction projects that cause undue environmental damage can be sued by individuals or groups that were exposed to the adverse effects of the site design.


Architectural site evaluations can play a vital role in protecting the environment from adverse site conditions. The design of a new construction site can sometimes be riddled with unforeseen or adverse effects that can later prove to be costly and difficult to remedy. By evaluating the existing condition of a site, an architectural firm can determine if the design of the proposed facility would be appropriate or dangerous for the surrounding environment. These evaluations can also identify the specific environmental impact an individual or company may be required to address during construction.