top of page
Site Plan 3.jpg

Site Studies

A site analysis is an important step, as it helps clients determine whether construction on the site is viable and if there are any potential construction site issues. Completing an extensive site analysis will also determine if the development is financially feasible, as well as set the parameters for suitable designs based on the physical and environmental features of the site.


Your property is an asset, but unlike some assets with a fixed value, the worth of your property depends on how you develop it. Make the right choices on what you build and how you build it, and you may see its value soar. Make uninformed choices, and its value can plummet. Consequently, in-depth site analysis and feasibility study isn’t just a formality, it’s an essential part of maximizing the return on your property investment.

Do I really need a site analysis?

Our site analysis is a holistic deeper dive into your property. It examines any development issues relating to site location, size, topography, zoning, land restrictions and climate. The analysis also considers any future developments or changes to the site’s surroundings, such as a changing road designation, cultural patterns, or other future building developments.

Motif’s responsibility is to factor into consideration all the above-mentioned issues that may impact your site. Essentially we place all the pieces of the puzzle together to guide us in our decision-making and solutions.


By knowing all of the site’s issues, we can maximize the site’s potential, such as determining the best size and orientation of the building(s), and to address all other site elements, from circulation and parking to utility connections and landscaping.

Key advantages of Site Study include:

Go or No-Go

A site study can be viewed as an empowering pause in the purchase process. The decision to purchase property is significant – one that shouldn’t be made hastily. Making a purchase offer contingent on a site evaluation and feasibility study allows you to have the time needed to make an informed choice, whilst still engaging with the seller.


It can also give you the confidence to continue in your proposed direction. Whether you own a property or not, you may not understand its full potential. A property evaluation gives you the insight you need to move ahead with no ambiguity.


You can also gain a complete sense of the project pricing. Knowing the location, size, and orientation of site elements is an important first step in pricing the design work, prior to officially engaging with architects and engineers.


A site study will also provide a list of options for existing structures. If you have an existing building with utility connections and circulation/parking, a property evaluation can inform you of the current property capacity, whether a change of use is possible, and if so, whether any special permits or variances are required.

We operate drones to capture the site context and capitalize on scenic views.


Project Brief & Program

We understand the importance of our role in designing your dream space. It’s why we take the time to listen, to truly understand your unique lifestyle and your dreams for your future. We start every project with a series of in-depth questions to get to the heart of your expectations for your additions. Our questionnaire will not only ask questions about your space needs and style preferences, but also about how you have been living in your current home, and how the new addition will improve your lives now, and in the future.


Following our questionnaire, we will have a conversation to fill in any information gaps and summarize your overarching goals, intentions, and motivations. The information from our questionnaire and discussions will be formalized in a Project Brief and program document. By summarizing the project requirements with your individual needs and desires into a document, we demonstrate our understanding of your expectations, the project objectives and the design challenges that may exist.

A Project Brief guides us during the project, so we can make quicker and better design decisions.
Questionaire and Programming.jpg

Review Survey and Site Photography

Surveys are often the first stage in a project as they are the driving force for the following stages. Property surveys yield a great amount of essential data for our team to review and consider. The information collected in the survey will guide us in determining the location of your project, including; easements, setbacks, protected views and tree preservations.

Photography is essential in documenting the whole site, including its context to the neighboring buildings and sites. The images collected will be referenced daily by the architectural team and consultants throughout the duration of the project. Images and drone videos are taken from various angles and distances from the site to ensure that records are maintained and to provide useful information to the design team.

Macbook 2.jpg

Site Analysis

Once we have a deep appreciation of our client’s project requirements, we conduct a site analysis to learn about the opportunities and potential constraints of the site. This information helps us understand not only what is possible, practical, and ideal, but also what limitations exist. 


We visit our client’s site, and we take the time to walk the property, listen, and observe. During this site visit, we also gather as-built measurements that would be utilized later in the design process.

Our analysis during the site visit often reveals many interesting and important elements about the existing conditions and the site that can influence the end design. We document information such as site boundaries, site areas, utility locations, contours, dimensions, site features, climate, and legal information on site analysis drawing for reference and consideration.


These early site investigations can determine which elements can negatively impact the site or proposed design. Conversely, our site analysis can also shed light on which conditions can positively influence the design, and what alternatives and opportunities are available. Knowing this information allows us to create a hierarchy of options and limitations, so we can systematically approach our data and create the design.


A site analysis is crucial for any design project. All the various nuances of the site and codes can have a dramatic effect on the final design (and price) of the project. Being fully informed and knowing these elements early in the design stage will save you time, money, and headaches in the long term.

​Analysis often includes

  • Location

  • Neighborhood Context

  • Zoning and Size

  • Legal Information

  • Natural Physical Features

  • Man Made Features

  • Circulation

  • New and Existing Utilities

  • Climate

  • Sensory

  • Sociological Aspects

  • Topography

Macbook 1.jpg


Motif designs work with the land, not against it. The site's topography is a blank canvas, it plays a critical part in the design and location of any home. A building’s relationship to the landscape can root a home to its surroundings, and connect it to the land and even the local culture. By working with the land, you can tell a story about the property and the space.


For example, a ranch-style home that unfolds onto the hill country landscape is a better strategy than leveling the lot like an urban dwelling.

Site Section.jpg

Key considerations of Site Study include:


Zoning regulations dictate as-of-right uses, uses permitted by special exceptions, and those where a variance will be needed. Not only does a site assessment determine if the property is permitted, but will also provide information about the current regulations for the district.


Depending on your intended use for the property and the utilities available in the area, the site may need to be improved with a well, a septic system, connection to gas, water, and/or power.


The zoning regulations are used to control the use and development of a property and are usually established by the city and county legislative bodies, to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Zoning regulations will be included in your project design, and will typically include bulk requirements for site setbacks, maximum building height, floor area, site coverage, required parking, etc.

Site Aspects

Site aspects such as the advantage of views, natural light, existing vegetation, solar radiation, and other natural features will be considered and maximized to suit your needs. Our recommendations for optimization are based on your unique requirements for the building. For example, you may prefer privacy in the design of a home, or in the case of a commercial building, you may wish to maximize visibility for a business.

Conceptual Design

All the work and information gathered previously will prepare us for the innovative design work. We will take your massing scheme and create a conceptual design that matches your site requirements, your lifestyle needs, and your desired aesthetics. The massing schemes drive our forward-thinking and intelligent design solutions, such as determining the optimal location and how to organize the various spaces.

Next Step:
Design Services

At this stage of the process, we typically conclude the site study service by organizing all the information, ideas, and resources into a comprehensive document that describes the project in detail.

As previously mentioned, our Pre-Design phase is the all-important stage to learn everything about the project before commencing the design process. With an in-depth understanding of all the variables at play, we’re able to create better designs that meet the goals of the project and ignite our client’s excitement.


​The actual design process begins with a concept design and sketches. During this time, we begin to experiment with fresh design ideas, incorporating what we have learnt about the site. We test out various elements, such as different space layouts and circulation paths, roof profiles and footprints, to align the design with our client’s goals. We study different configurations and stylistic ideas, we learn what is possible to create a remarkable space that is exceptional in form and function. 

Motif Architects - Canyon Lake Axon-02.png
Site Plan 3.jpg

Are you interested in learning more about what a site analysis and feasibility study entails and provides? Lets chat.

bottom of page