Making the most of site visits
A site visit is the first step in preparing a development proposal, and documenting this in a Design Statement. Seeing and experiencing the site for yourself is crucial to fully understand your site, and therefore to the quality and appropriateness of your proposal.
When you visit your site look at:
- Topography (slope, high points or low points)
- Orientation (where is north, how does the sun pass over the site during the day and where is the prevailing wind from)
- Shading (from neighbouring buildings, trees, landform)
- Existing buildings and structures
- Existing trees and areas of significant landscaping
- Any water bodies, including overland flow paths
- Significant views from the site (also consider any significant views to the site)
- Boundary treatment (clear demarcation, fencing, vegetation)
- Access (driveways, footpaths)
- Buildings and activities on neighbouring sites, including the location of private outdoor spaces for residential activities
- Any significant (positive) characteristics of surrounding buildings along the street (architectural character, common setbacks, predominant heights, building bulk etc.)
- Level of activity (including traffic and noise) on the street and surrounding sites.
Ideally, visit your site several times and at different times of the day, night and week to observe changes.Finding accurate information
There is now a wide range of online sources available for finding information on your site and surrounding context.
It should be noted that these should not be relied upon to replace a site visit. Often the online information is no longer current. For example Google streetview is often only updated over several years, and new developments are therefore not shown.