Is your site where and what you think it is? Surprise!

LINE Elementary School, Limerick-Newfield, Maine
LINE Elementary School, Limerick-Newfield, Maine

As the owner or leader of the ownership entity, you may think you are pretty familiar with your site and the parcels that make up that site. When you’re thinking about new construction or an addition on your property–that is the time to do some thorough site investigation. If you furnish thorough, accurate site documentation at the beginning of the project, that will make it easier (and cheaper!) for the design team to advise you about what can and cannot be done on that site.

Surprises do happen along the way, and as with all construction projects, the sooner you find them, the easier they are to address. Here are a few examples we’ve seen over the years:

* Health Center expansion meets Electric Eel: Investigations found that decades earlier the local utility had fed the larger neighborhood of commercial properties through a power main that cut across the site (with no easement). After considering numerous creative approaches to rerouting the power main, we “rerouted” the building up to the required clearance.

* The map is not the territory: One of PDT’s principals was surprised to find, on walking the proposed site of the Biddeford Primary School years ago, that those contour lines on the map had been transcribed down instead of up, so the hill he’d been planning to flatten so he could locate the building there was actually a pit. Fill instead of blasting--

* Zombies!?!? Well, not really: But disturbing the dead is never a good idea, or legal. As the construction crews were clearing the site for the LINE Elementary School in Limerick/Newfield, they came upon a single century-old grave marker. Maine law requires that construction stay 100 feet away, so the building footprint was simply slid sideways so Lovina Piper could rest in peace.