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5 Basic Site Conditions that You can Check on Your Own

As you plan for your project or scout for a new real estate, you may probably find yourself asking questions like, “What conditions should I be looking for in a property?”, or maybe, “What are the strengths and weaknesses of my site?”.

It is important to personally experience the site

Once you engage an architect, one of the first steps that they'll do is visit your site to learn about the project’s context as we've discussed on our EAST Design Process article. However, you may also have some free time to do this on your own.

We’re sharing here some of the basic site conditions that you can look out for and consider prior to investing in a property or hiring an architect:

1. Solar Orientation

Observing the sun and how it passes through trees on-site

Knowing the orientation of your property in relation to the path of the sun provides you and your architect the opportunity to properly integrate natural daylight in your project. As general rules, the east side receives the morning sun, the south side usually receives the midday sun, while the west receives the harsh afternoon sun.

In the Philippines, the north side is usually the area with the softest daylight so it’s usually best to locate your windows on this side.

2. Prevailing Winds

Taking notes on the direction of the wind in the vicinity

Same with the solar orientation, visiting your location gives you the opportunity to observe and incorporate natural and cross-ventilation into your structure. We have two prevailing winds in the Philippines, the SW Monsoon (Habagat) and NE Monsoon (Amihan). Habagat season usually brings heavy rainfall from May to early -Ber months while Amihan usually arrives during the -ber month until February to early March.

Knowing these directions can help you and your architects know where to put windows and openings to allow natural ventilation into your property.

3. Views, Vistas, and Existing Structures within and around the property

You can incorporate the views in your project

Why are views important? Maybe you’d like to lounge while looking towards that mountain in the distance, sip a cup of coffee on your balcony while admiring that mango tree. Also, take note of how your neighbors could potentially have views to your space. Maybe you’d want to keep their eyes off of that open-air bathroom that you’ve always wanted to have?

Visiting the project site lets you observe and take note of which of the views, vistas, and existing structures you’d like to incorporate in your project.

4. Topography and Existing Vegetation

A step towards sustainable development is by minimizing site disruption

Is my property on a flat terrain or is it sloping? Are there existing trees on site? Knowing the slope of your project site and the vegetation lets you and your architect plan with the terrain considering design and budget. Generally, a steeper slope will offer more interesting design possibilities but will also cost more to develop.

You can verify these by hiring a Geodetic Surveyor to do a topography and tree tagging survey during the early stages of the Design Process.

5. Existing Utility Lines

Knowing your tapping points is crucial for your engineering drawings

Is there readily available electricity for my property? Are there water lines and sewer lines near my lot? You’d be surprised that some lots even in the city do not have these connections at the get-go. Knowing if you have these utility lines available let’s you plan your finances accordingly if you’ll need to apply for a connection from the respective utility providers.

Whether you conduct your own site visit and observe the things that we listed above or have a professional do it for you, understanding the conditions of the site provides you and your architects the opportunity to create better experiences.

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