Site Analysis and Programming - Putting it All Together - Part 1

9m 56s

In this ARE 5.0 Programming and Analysis Exam Prep course you will learn about the topics covered in the ARE 5.0 PA exam division. A complete and comprehensive curriculum, this course will touch on each of the NCARB objectives for the ARE 5.0 Programming and Analysis Exam.

Instructor Mike Newman will discuss issues related to programming, site analysis, and zoning & code requirements.

When you are done with this course, you will have a thorough understanding of the content covered in the ARE 5.0 Programming and Analysis Exam including project type analysis, the establishment of qualitative and quantitative project requirements, evaluation of project site and context, and assessment of economic issues.

So we've talked about initial looks at the site and the initial idea of what the zoning and building codes are, and our initial thinking about what our site strategies are for sustainability issues and things along those lines. Understanding the site itself and kind of getting all that together, now we're at a spot where we're sort of saying, okay, in order to really dive from programming and finalizing the programming and starting to move into schematic design, really to be able to make that leap from basic thoughts and ideas into actual designs, now we have to stop and put it all together.

So instead of thinking about zoning as a separate issue, instead of thinking about sustainability issues as a separate issue, instead of thinking about what the soils are like, what the site is like, what the leel concept here is like, we're gonna think about them all together. How do we start to assemble this information in such a way that we are using graphic and written tools in order to really get this to make sense logically as an overall site analysis?

So we're going through this as a project and starting to think of this, not just as thoughts, as separate thoughts, but as an overall idea. And how we're gonna then use that to move forward with design. So for example we talked earlier about the idea that there's some sort of graphic analysis for the different site options that you've got.

So that's where we were talking about earlier where you got your building, you're starting to understand where the orientation of the sun is, we're looking at those issues about wind direction and what those issues might be. Is it important for us to worry about? Do we need to block it, do we wanna accept it? What are those kinds of issues? So we have that graphic analysis that we talked about earlier so we can understand what those issues really are.

But then there's a bunch of other issues we wanna make sure we're starting to feed into this discussion. And one of them is the environmental reports. So we've talked about those in other sessions about being the environmental report of a phase I and a phase II. So the phase I is that general description, that's where you go and check it out, you have a specialist who walks the site and they look at it and they did a little research and they make some recommendations. So they would look and check it, but not do the testing. The testing's very expensive, and so you don't wanna necessarily test everywhere because that'd just be over the top.

So the phase I, the idea of that is that's that spot where you're going and just checking it out. Does this seem like it's a problem from an environmental standpoint? Or does it actually look like it's really not gonna be an issue, there's not been a history of problems in the area or on the site and everything looks pretty good, they don't see anything?

Well if that's the case then they don't need a phase II because it all looks good, but if they did look at it and say, well that looks like asbestos and there's a history of tanks in the area and some problems here and some problems there, well then that would certainly kick in the phase II at which point you would come in with all the testing and all of that, and as I said, it's a much more expensive process and so you're always trying to not do that testing if you don't need it, but clearly it's the only way to know if things are safe so if you do need it, it's really important to do it.

So the environmental reports, the legal description which we usually think of as a survey, although it can actually be quite more complicated than that, could be a written narrative, it could be descriptive in numbers of ways especially when it comes to condos that are within a larger structure. The condo report acts like a survey but in fact looks quite different and a lot of it is in written form. Understanding the lay of the land, the topography, so that we're not just thinking about it from the standpoint of, alright let's think about topography all by itself, but now we're starting to think about it, how does it relate to the zoning issues?

How does it relate to the water run-off issues? How does it relate to all of these other, the graphic analysis that we've been doing about where the sun angles are coming and the wind is coming. How does the topography of the land impact that kind of thinking?

So you're bringing all of that stuff together, and then the soils report. Now the soils report sounds sort of odd, when you say that in this context you think, really? We're gonna look at the soils report? Soils report seems like such a detail element, why would we get into that level of detail when we're really talking about programming and schematic design, those kind of early phase thinking? The reason is because that soil, the specifics of that report can really dramatically impact where you can build.

Not that you can't build somewhere, this question is, can you build efficiently and cost-efficiently anywhere? So we have a site, it's got maybe good soils in one location and pretty terrible soils in another location. Well clearly, I'm gonna want to build in the place that has the good soils as the high capacity for bearing the load that is this building that's going to be. Or if I build it in the place that has the not so good soils, well that means I'm gonna spend a lot more money on my foundation.

So that system of understanding the relationship between these sort of big design ideas that have to do with all the goals that we're setting in the programming and all that, well it also comes down to these very specific issues of, is that sand? Or is that silt? Or is that clay? It becomes those very tangible aspects of the soil. So quick reminder, a bunch of this information, for example the environmental reports, the legal surveys, the soils report, those are all things that are given to you by the owners, by the clients.

When they sign the typical contract with you, that's something that they have to give you. They're giving you the site, they're giving you the information for the site, and it's important from a liability standpoint that that's in their wheelhouse. So they give those to you, each of these things, the environmental report and the soils report, both of those will come with recommendations.

So it's not just data, it's actually data with then, here's our proposal of what we think you should do. Now the environmental specialist and the soils specialist, the geotechnical engineers, they don't know what building you're gonna design. They don't even necessarily know what the occupancy of that building is gonna be. They don't know anything about it. All they know is from the soil standpoint or from the environmental standpoint.

So when they give you recommendations, it's not recommendations as in, here's what the foundation should look like, done. It's more recommendations in the sense that, this kinda soil in this sort of situation for typical kinds of loading, here's what would normally be done. And so you have a pretty good idea of the normal situation. If your building for whatever reason doesn't fit to the normal situation, well then you wouldn't follow the recommendations.

But that would be a very big deal to not follow the recommendations of a geotechnical engineer, or to not follow the recommendations of the environmental engineers. Because what you're essentially doing is you're saying yes I see the recommendations, I acknowledge those recommendations, and then, I'm going to ignore them or I'm going to dismiss them. And that's a pretty tricky thing to do. So in general, this information is given to you by the owner, they've contracted for it themselves. You're not really even supposed to help them contract for it, it's really their duty.

And then they're gonna hand those reports to you. And then you're gonna create a whole series of these other documents for the graphic analysis, for the site options, the thinking through from a sustainability standpoint, using the topography and trying to understand the lay of the land to find those opportunities in the land. So all those things that you're gonna be providing, along with the information that they're providing, and you're putting all of that together and analyzing it all and figuring out, well what are the driving forces?

What are the issues that are gonna make an impact on this particular situation? So you could imagine that you have a question that comes at you that says, here's a bunch of different pieces of information. Here's a geotechnical report, here's our program from a sustainability standpoint of what issues that we really want to attack for this project.

Here's a survey, here's a couple of other pieces of information. And you might have to scan through that information to find, wow, that geotechnical report has the area that I would have naturally assumed is would be where we'd build, as being a really bad and expensive area to build in. Maybe we have to put caissons all the way down to bedrock or something. And so you would have to scan through and find that outlier piece of information that then says alright, so that's not where we're gonna build, we'll build in this other location.

So you're looking for, what are the driving forces that are gonna place our building, that are gonna give us all those key pieces of information that we need in order to design the building that we want in an efficient and logical way? So let's take a look at a couple of these a little more closely.

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From the course:
ARE 5.0 Programming & Analysis Exam Prep

Duration: 19h 11m

Author: Mike Newman