Site develop lays the groundwork for a project’s overall success, by surveying and preparing the land prior to demolition and construction. And when it comes to green building, a comprehensive approach that includes site development is can not only improve the environment, but also increase energy efficiency.

Take the site development goals during the rehabilitation of 522 S. Gharkey:plans.PNG

  • Manage storm water through on-site water retention, rain gardens, pervious paving, and plans for a green roof on a future garage.
  • Construct compost bins from discarded wood pallets for organic kitchen, yard, and garden waste. By composting, less waste ends up in landfills.
  • Create space for a garden, including fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs. Cold frames extend the growing season while providing healthy food at low cost.
  • Develop outdoor clothes drying area that uses solar heat and wind as an alternative to using clothes dryers powered by fossil fuels.
  • Pervious and durable ground covers are an alternate to turf grass, which improves storm water drainage. By managing storm water on site, in lieu of sending it down the combined sewer system, we decrease the demand on treatment plants and helps manage potentially hazardous overflow practices in cities with combined storm/sanitary sewers.

Read more about our other rehabilitation projects, all which include comprehensive and sustainable site development.

Additional site development considerations include:

FILLING-  if the shallow upper levels of soil or an insolated pocket or pockets of soil contain too much organic material to support a structure or contain other soils with undesirable characteristics, they can be excavated and replaced with more suitable soils which are compacted in 6” layers until they exceed 98% of the density of virgin soil.

CUTTING AND FILLING – Leveling a site by cutting down the high part of the site and filling the lower part until a level pad is achieved.

SURCHARGING – Compressing a soil until it is dense enough to support the weight of a building by placing fill or debris on the site and waiting until the desired compression is obtained.  The more weight, the less time is needed.   Only suitable where there is adequate time (9-18 months is not uncommon).

PILINGS – if the soil is not of sufficient strength for load bearing of the building, or if the building is over several stories, pilings are common; pilings can be of wood poles, cast concrete poles, steel pipe, or steel H-beams; they are typically driven into the ground by a noisy steam powered hammer mounted on a crane; occasionally, they are placed into holes drilled by a crane-mounted earth drill, then backfilled with concrete; once the piles are driven, they are cut off to equal, level height and capped to form a foundation; the number, type, and depth of pilings are dependent upon the size and type of building and soil conditions as determined by the project engineer.


BROWNFIELDS- The redevelopment of contaminated sites.  Many states are encouraging this and have developed programs to encourage the redevelopment of such sites especially in urban areas with both incentives and protection for the developers.

WETLANDS- These are defined by soil conditions, as well as fauna and flora and protected by the Federal Government under the Clean Water Act as well as by state legislation.

FLOOD PLAINS- These are defined by Federal Maps.  Development in the Floodway is prohibited.  Most areas have minimum elevations above the 100 year floor plain and some have “no net fill” regulations to prevent the importation of fill into a flood plain.

BIOFILTERS – a portion of the landscaping dedicated to cleaning impurities (such as phosphorus from yard fertilizer) from the storm water prior to releasing into the storm water system, typically of grass lined swales or stream beds which contain water only for brief periods after rainfall; impact to project costs due to a) dedication of land for them and b) construction cost.

RETENTION AND DETENTION FACILITIES- Containment areas designed to prevent the flow of water off the site after development from exceeding the flow of water prior to the development.  Size varies with the amount of impervious surface and is impacted by the water table.  In areas where the water table is high, these facilities can impact a substantial amount of the site since they must be shallow and cannot be below the natural water table to be effective.