Don't Skimp on Small-Site Evaluations

Architect Ken Newberry, principal with Newberry Campa Design Studio in Houston, has a motto: 'Everyone deserves a great architectural design.'
By Bob Sperber, Senior Editor | December 31, 2003

Ken Newberry, principal with Newberry Campa Design Studio in Houston, has a motto: “Everyone deserves a great architectural design.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s on a 50x100-square-foot lot or 9 acres,” he adds. The problem is that smaller sites don’t always get the evaluations they deserve for cost or other reasons.

Mainly a custom home designer, Newberry believes that knowing the steps of a site evaluation can help this cause.

“Let no stone go unturned,” he says.

A client interview, an initial site visit and some paperwork should produce a current survey, identify critical tree locations and account for local deed restrictions, site requirements or preservation codes applying to existing structures. Get a feel for the surrounding landscape, adjacent buildings, streets, lot orientation, drainage, utilities and power lines, and know the rules on locating them relative to driveways and construction.

Although information gathering “is something everyone should do, not everyone does,” says Newberry. For his custom clients, a site visit lasts “a couple of hours, more or less. Each site has its own issues, so it’s impossible to list every scenario for every site, for every condition.”

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