Construction and contracting is a great deal more technical than many people imagine, and it's becoming almost essential that you qualify by studying the subject at a university or a technical college. One thing that stumps many students new to these courses is site analysis.
So what do you need to do to really knock the ball out of the park for these assignments?
Choose your site carefully and get in touch before you visit.
You're probably going to need to approach a site yourself and ask them for permission to come and perform a test analysis. Don't just turn up on the day—make arrangements in advance, and put a little thought into the best site for you to choose. You don't want one that's either too basic and straightforward or too overly challenging and complex.
Make sure you pack everything you need.
Only shoddy workmen blame their tools, so make sure yours are up to scratch! At the very least, you should make sure you've got a notebook and pen, a decent camera and a tape measure. You might also want to pack a spirit level and any specialised tools you'll need to complete the parameters of your assignment.
Work through a checklist of things to look out for.
As you're a visitor to this site, you probably only get one shot at this—so it's important to gather all the data you need right away. Your particular course will likely specify which features you need to concentrate on, but as a general rule of thumb you'll want to make sure you check out at least the following:
- Precise details of the site's location
- Details of the surrounding buildings
- Anything pertaining to the site's planning permission
- How visitors and traffic 'flow' around or in and out of the site
- How exposed or well-shaded from the elements the site is
- Whether or not the site is particularly noisy or polluted
- Any potential hazards: telegraph poles, lakes, sub-stations etc
- Where the site's best views are
- How accessible the site is, and how that can be improved
Never underestimate the importance of extra research.
Not everything you need to know will be researchable while you're on-site. When you're back at your computer, look up a few extra important details to add to your report: the most vital are the site's usage history, local authority restrictions, elevation above sea level, average climate conditions and aerial photographs.