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Ask the architect: 5 keys to a great location

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We're ready to build a new facility. What are the most important things to look for in a location?

Q: We're ready to build a new facility. What are the most important things to look for in a location?

A: Here are five factors to consider when scouting a location for your construction project, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Wayne Usiak, AIA, senior partner with BDA Architecture in Albuquerque, N.M.

1. Size and shape. Your site must accommodate your building, parking, landscaping, required yard setbacks, exercise yards, and future expansion. A site seven times as large as your building will provide for all these elements.

2. Location. Is your site easy to find, accessible from both directions, free of easements or excessive rights-of-way, and not hindered by ecological issues such as wetlands? If so, you may have a winner.

3. Zoning. Your site should be specifically zoned for veterinary use—boarding, too, if applicable. Zoning will also set standards for parking, landscaping, trash and delivery services, signage, building height, future development, and even architectural style.

4. Soil. Look for any soil deficiencies that might affect the building foundation or site drainage. Either of these conditions can have expensive hydrological consequences, affecting your stormwater retention and requiring excessive foundation design and installation considerations.

5. Utilities. Check the availability of water, gas, sewer, fire protection, electricity, telephone, high-speed Internet, and TV services at the site. Next, check for suitable size and connection costs, as well as related impact fees.

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