Experience and data gained over years of fighting fires have revealed that the size of the structure impacts the success in limiting damages and injury. The larger the structure, the greater the volume of water that is required in order to suppress a fire. Depending upon the location of your building site and the availability of water resources in order to fight a fire, additional fire-related features may be required in the design of the structure. Fire separation of spaces, the incorporation of fire-resistant materials, or even the addition of fire sprinklers may be required for your project. Check with your building department or fire marshal, especially if the structure you plan to build is relatively large. (Size may vary by location, but greater than 3,000 sq. ft. is often large enough to require such measures.)
The site plan drawing shows your property boundaries and the proposed position of the house, including its height. How much detail is needed on this drawing differs with each jurisdiction. Typically, an accurate outline of the house, including the location of the garage and overhanging rooflines, balconies or decks, is required. Dimensions from the house to the property lines will be required. Also, information about the slope of the property, such as elevation marks or grade contours, and the location and extent of the driveway, walkways and patios are typically shown. Check with your permit jurisdiction – they will often have a handout describing what is required on the site plan. Your builder may be able to coordinate this information for you.
In some cases, more than a basic site plan may be needed. If your house is not connected to a municipal sewer and water system, you will need to provide detailed information about wells and septic fields. Other items may include documenting site drainage, trees and vegetation; site surface grading; preservation of sight lines; shadow studies to verify solar access on adjacent properties; etc.