What is a Site Plan?

What is a Site Plan?

site plan, also known as a plot plan, is a diagram which is meant to show proposed improvements to your property. A site plan is important because it also includes information in regards to the landscape features of a given parcel.

A site plan typically shows what already exists on a specific property, in addition to presenting what you are proposing to build on that specific land. This could, for example, include a building addition on a specific property, such as a garage.

One of the most important features of a site plan is to show the relationship between what already exists, and what is it that you are planning to have built. Site plans are all created differently; they will not all be designed equally. This is because different building authorities will require different things.

Governments require site plans in order to ensure that both local and state building codes are adhered to when it comes to making changes and additions to a specific property. Another reason why site plans are important and necessary is that governments typically retain site plans for historical records, especially in the circumstances in which homeowners construct rather significant changes to their properties.

In general, a site plan is a detailed plan, that presents the diagram of proposed improvements or additions to a particular tract of land.

Related: How do I get a Plot Plan for my Property?

The Purpose of a Site Plan

hand writing a site plan

The main purpose of a site plan is to show the exact way that the intended land use relates to the features of a parcel and its surrounding area. Beyond simply showing how your proposed structure or structures relate to what already exists on your property, however, a site plan will give your building officials the ability to check local building and zoning codes.

The site plan will help to ensure that what you will potentially add to your property will fall within existing authoritative codes. Another important feature of a site plan and a building plan, in general, is that it ensures that local services such as schools, sewers, roads, water, and emergency services are adequate for what you are planning to build.

Compliance with zoning will also help to ensure that you are less likely to encounter lawsuits due to improper land use. Additionally, compliance with zoning will help to ensure that your project will be covered for potential future law sets, such as in the case of insurance coverage.

If you add something without a permit, or in a manner that does not comply with the appropriate zoning and building codes, you may not be covered by your insurance policy, in the case where you do have a loss.

Site Plan vs Floor Plan: What is the Difference?

What is the difference between a site plan and a floor plan? A floor plan is a scaled diagram concerning the arrangement of rooms in one particular story of a building. If you are interested in creating a floor plan, here at MySitePlan, we are able to take a rough sketch that is provided by you and can recreate your floor plan in AutoCAD, as part of our additional services. If you would for us to conceptualize a space, we are able to take the exterior wall dimensions and create living spaces to your specifications.

Do you have a 1000 square foot residence, and want a two bedroom, one bath with kitchen living area? At MySitePlan we can create a series of options for you to understand the use of that particular space. This is also a popular service for commercial applications for tenant improvement possibilities. We have created a great number of large scale conceptual layouts for proposed Hotels, Apartment buildings, Elderly care facilities, and much more.

On the other hand, a site plan focuses on depicting everything within the property lines. This includes topography in regards to building structures, pathways, etc.

In most common cases, floor plans will not be included with site plans, unless the property is expected to undergo proposed changes with significant alterations to the residence’s footprint. Floor plans are fairly technical, but will typically be more understandable and more relatable an individual who is not specialized in the field of site planning.

Are you wondering whether or not you need a site plan? At MySitePlan, we offer three types of site plans: the Basic Site Plan, the Medium Detail Site Plan, and the Detailed Site Plan.

Do I Need a Site Plan?

You may need a site plan if:

  • You are looking to understand your property dimensions.
  • Show your home relative to your property lines.
  • You want a road map for having yard work done. Mark up your instructions to avoid any confusion.
  • You are looking to Sketch out a new roof line.
  • Having encroachment issues with a neighbor? Submit a drawing of the overhanging encroachment to the city as an exhibit.
  • Thinking of re-doing your landscape? Start with a site plan to begin your process of what to keep and what to eliminate.
  • You are applying for a building permit for a new outdoor structure.
  • You are applying for a demolition permit for the demolition of your house or another structure.
  • You are applying for building permits in cities with tree protection requirements. Planning departments find it useful to determine if any extra protection is required for trees on the property.
  • You are looking to remove or remodel your swimming pool.
  • Conditional Use Permit for Commercial Properties.

Take a look at our three standard site plans, to learn more about each of our site plans, and to be able to choose the site plan that is best for you. We also provide custom hourly work, to better suit your specific preferences.

Site Planning and Design

construction worker creating a site plan

What Does a Site Plan Include?

There are certain guides that site plans must follow in terms of site planning and design. Below we provide a list of features that site plans should typically include.

  1. Your Name and Address: These are the most basic and fundamental things that you must include on your site plan.
  2. Legal Description: This will include things such as your range, your township, your tax las, and your section.
  3. Scale: The site plan diagram must be drawn to scale.
  4. Cardinal Direction: The site plan must include the North cardinal direction, to show how your property is oriented.
  5. Property Lines: Your property lines must be included on the site plan.
  6. Location Details: The site plan should include the location of your driveway, for example, and adjacent streets
  7. Existing structures and Proposed Structures: The site plan should include both your existing structures and your proposed structures.

Depending on where the property is located, certain building authorities may require more or even less information than what is provided in the above list. Additional information that may be required by authorities can include lighting, trails, landscaping, draining facilities, sanitary sewer lines, garden elements, utility services that include electrical service lines and water service lines, sidewalks and other walkways. Although our drafters at MySitePlan.com would not be able to pick up on things such as utilities, those items can be added at the client's direction under our Detailed Site Plan

Site Plan Software and Site Plan Rendering

AutoCAD Site Plan Rendering

Here at MySitePlan, we make sure to use the best and most efficient software to create your site plan. Your site plan will be designed using AutoCAD: a professional, computer-aided drafting software, that is known to provide “CAD expertise to Global Customers since 2000.” The great thing about AutoCAD is that it can easily render 3D models, in order to help in the visualization of the end product. This creates a level of engineered accuracy that you will not be able to find through a regular 2D site plan diagram. Please inquire about having your custom 2D or 3D rendering quoted.

How To Create a Site Plan

hand writing create on a piece of paper

The purpose of your site plan is to show an aerial view of your property, with existing structures and property features drawn to scale. Your proposed structures must be included in the diagram and drawn in a way that clearly demonstrates how your proposed specific structures will relate to what already exists on the lot.

Site Plan Guidelines

There are certain guidelines that site plans must typically adhere to, depending on the building authorities. The first and most important thing is that a site plan should be a diagram that is drawn to scale. Secondly, each and every dimension must be shown and labeled on your site plan. You should always double check with your local building authorities to ensure that this is done in a sufficient manner.

A site plan has to show both property lines, all of the appropriate dimensions. It is very important to be able to distinguish the difference between what already exists and what is proposed. This is where dashed versus solid lines, to distinguish proposed versus existing structures, comes in handy.

Additionally, a site plan must always show the necessary existing structures, such as proposed walkways and patios. Large trees on the property should also be included, as some building authorities will want to see it drawn on the site plan. Generally speaking, if your tree is has a diameter of more than two feet, then you will want to include it, showing both its diameter and its species. You would need to provide these to us. 

Site preparation is extremely important. Once your plans are approved, a site plan will serve as a layout map for your proposed addition of a garage, a new room, a new driveway, or whatever else it is that you are creating.

Where Can I Get a Site Plan for My Property?

If you’ve decided to make alterations to your property, such as adding a shed or in-ground swimming pool, or if you’re planning on selling your home, you’ll need a copy of your site plan.

Your site plan is a document that shows an overhead view of your property’s structures and topography, and if you haven’t ever needed to have it on hand before, you might be understandably confused about where to find it. Fortunately, there are a few different places you can get a site plan, and in some cases, you may already have the document without even knowing it.

Closing documents. When you bought your home, a copy of the site plan should have been included in the paperwork you received. If you can’t find it in your closing documents, your mortgage lender or title insurance provider may have copies that they can send to you. However, if it’s been years since you purchased your home, you should look it over to ensure it’s still an accurate representation of your property.

County government. In many places, the county government will hold copies of residential site plans in order to ensure that they conform to building regulations and city ordinances. Your local government may be able to provide you with either a hard copy of your site plan or a downloadable copy that you can print. If you decide to get your site plan from the county government, you’ll need to double check that it’s up to date, and you’ll probably have to pay a service fee.

Building company. If you know the builder or construction company that built your house, you can try contacting them as they may have your house plan on file. Again, depending on the amount of time that’s passed, you should verify its accuracy.

Online services. If you can’t track down your site plan from any of the above sources, you may think that hiring a surveyor to draw up a new site plan is your only option. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly expensive, so it’s best to avoid it if possible. Instead, you can order a site plan online from a company like MySitePlan.

At MySitePlan, we use up-to-date satellite imagery, county parcel maps, and other resources to create your site plan at a much lower price than a typical surveyor. The site plans are accepted nationwide for over-the-counter permits and other minor alterations.

Why Choose MySitePlan for Site Plans

We Make Site Plans Quick and Easy!

We are a team of highly experienced CAD designers and provide drafting services to anyone who needs a site plan but doesn't have the time or experience to draw one.

We remotely create site plans in all of Canada and the US using GIS, public records and client provided information.

Site plans are our specialty, but our skills do not stop there. Ask about any our 3D renderings, conceptual layouts, floor plans, and any other CAD-related projects you might have in mind.

At My Site Plan, we have:

  • Drawn 1,000's of site plans for a wide range of project types and sizes
  • Over 20 years of drafting experience for large and small construction and landscaping firms
  • Had our site plans accepted by building departments nationwide

We are proud to have grown to be the nation's largest provider of remote site plans.

How We Work

You start by selecting the level of detail you require for your site plan. If you are unsure, your building department is the best source of information.

Then you will be asked to provide the property's address. You may also provide any additional information you may already have, such as surveys, deeds, or sketches.

You will have the option to select the specifications for the final site plan, such as file type and dimensions.

From there, the order is assigned to one of our experienced designers. We will look up information about the property from existing data, such as satellite imagery, GIS information, county parcel maps, and other public information sources. If additional information is required, we will follow up with you via email.

In rare circumstances, we are unable to find the information we need. When this happens, you will be notified as soon as possible, and you will receive a full refund. However, this does not happen very often.

Once the required information is gathered, our designer works in AutoCAD to create the site plan.

Then the site plan is delivered to you. You have the chance to review the site plan. If you need any adjustments, we will make them for no additional charge.

Learn more about how we work today.

5 Things to Know When Getting a Plot Plan Online

If you wanted to get a plot plan of your property 20 or even 10 years ago, you would most likely either have to cross your fingers that the city development department or title company had one on file, or you would have to hire a licensed surveyor to draw up a new plot plan for you. Now, however, there’s another option: you can order a plot plan online from AutoCAD professionals such as MySitePlan.

Here are a few things you should know if you decide to order your plot plan online.

You won’t need to have someone physically come to your house. Online plot plan providers use a combination of satellite imagery, GIS information, county parcel maps, and other available information sources to create an up-to-date plot plan of your property without ever actually coming to your house. They can simply combine the information sources, use AutoCAD to draw the plan, and send you the final plan as a PDF file.

There is a quick turnaround time when you order a plot plan online. Since MySitePlan is able to email plot plans to our clients as PDF files, we can get your plot plan to you within two business days at most—and oftentimes it only takes one.

You can still make adjustments to a plot plan that you order online. Some people might worry that if they order a plot plan online, they won’t be able to ask that adjustments be made to the final PDF. However, if you find any errors or need specific changes made to the plot plan you receive from MySitePlan, you can request to have those changes made at no extra charge.

The cost of an online site plan is significantly lower than the cost of hiring a surveyor. According to the most recent data from HomeAdvisor.com, the national average cost of hiring a land surveyor is $775, with most homeowners spending somewhere between $644 and $906 for a certified plan. As you can see My Site Site Plan's pricing for a non-certified plan is considerably less. So always make sure to verify whether you need a certified plan or not.

Online plot plans can be submitted with building permit applications. You’ll want to do your research on site plan providers and make sure you’re working with a company that has years of professional experience, but as long as you choose a reputable site plan provider, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting your application for a building permit approved (MySitePlan has never had an over-the-counter permit denied in the past 15 years of creating plot plans).

If there’s anything else you want to know about ordering a plot plan online versus hiring a surveyor, check out MySitePlan’s FAQ page or contact us today.

What Is a Site Plan, Also Known as a Plot Plan?

A site plan is an accurately scaled drawing showing the existing conditions on a unit of land, including property lines, and detailing the location of any proposed and existing development, such as structures, paving, and uses of land.  

Every city has their own requirements, so make sure to check what they are in your city. We have been drawing site plans for over 15 years and have never had one denied for an over-the-counter permit. If you take one of our site plans to your city and they deny it, we will give you a full refund. 

When Is a Site Plan Required?

  • For any building permit for new development
  • Any redevelopment that includes exterior work
  • Many types of land use applications, such as site plan review, conditional use, or land divisions

All site plans require accurate property line locations in relation to any existing and/or proposed structures, parking, or other site features, but they may have more detailed requirements as well. To determine what's required for your project, refer to your city or county application packet. This will include a list of necessary items that must be shown on the site plan, and you can use that information to determine what type of site plan you require. 

If you're not sure, reach out to us with this list of requirements, and we can guide you to the most cost-effective solution.

What You Need to Know about the Site Plan Review Process

You’ve decided to make some big changes to your property, applied for a building permit, and submitted your site plan… and now the waiting game begins.

You may not be thrilled about having to wait to start your home improvement project, but the site plan review process is necessary to ensure you’re complying with all land development regulations and building codes for your city. And waiting to have your site plan reviewed is much better than paying a hefty fine for failing to get a permit.

Of course, you may be wondering what’s actually happening while you’re waiting to hear back from your city’s building department. The specific details will vary from city to city, but the general site plan review process is outlined below.

You submit your preliminary site plan. The first step, of course, is to submit your preliminary site plan along with applications for the necessary permits to your city’s building or development department. In order to ensure a smooth review process, you should make sure your site plan includes all information that may be reasonably required for making an informed building decision, such as topography, walkways, drainage, structures, landscaping, and entry and exit points.

Your site plan goes to the appropriate officials. Your County Administrator will designate a group of officials to review your site plan and make sure it complies with all the county’s ordinances and regulations. The review committee may include government members from:

  • Public Works
  • Fire Prevention
  • Zoning
  • Survey Review
  • Health Department
  • Land Development
  • Real Estate Services
  • Construction Services
  • Environmental Review
  • Landscaping Review

County officials approve plan and issue permit. Once the county officials have determined that your building plans are up to code, they will be able to issue you the appropriate permits. Depending on the project, you may just need a building permit, while other projects might require something like a demolition permit or a plumbing permit.

From our 15 years of experience in the industry, we’ve found that professionally drawn plans are more likely to go through the process faster. Since they are clearer and easier to understand, officials typically have less questions or concerns, and it makes the site plan review process more straightforward for them.

You will receive a decision by mail. The officials will mail a letter of confirmation to you (as the applicant) and your agent (if you have one). In most cases, you should hear back within one week of the group’s scheduled review of your site plan, unless you’re told otherwise.

Once you’ve received the necessary permits, you can go ahead with the property changes you’ve envisioned. And remember, if you haven’t even gotten to the point of submitting the proper paperwork for review yet, you can get a PDF plot plan within two business days when you contact MySitePlan.

How Do I Get a Plot Plan for My Property?

If you’re applying for a building permit, organizing an event in a rented space, or working through a boundary dispute, you may be asked to produce a plot plan. While this can cause some confusion, a plot plan is really just the same thing as a site plan—it’s a two-dimensional, overhead view of a property with details like property lines, structures, and landscapes.

If you don’t already have a plot plan in the closing documents for your property, the main two ways of securing one are having someone come out to draw one or getting one through an online resource like MySitePlan. Here’s what you need to know about both those options.

Working with a Surveyor

If you want to have someone come out to your property to draw up a plot plan, you should work with either an experienced architect or a licensed surveyor. You can find surveyors locally by searching for the phrase “land surveyors” online or by looking in the yellow pages.

When you contact a surveyor, be sure to ask what will be included in the plot plan and get a fee estimate. The fee will be based on the size and location of your property as well as the rate charged by the individual surveyor. Rates can be upwards of $1,000, so make sure you are comfortable paying for the plot plan before you commit to hiring.

Once you’ve hired a surveyor, they will often come with a field crew to inspect your property. They will also use resources such as county maps and property deeds to determine the boundaries of your property. Based on their observations and research, they’ll produce an up-to-date plot plan.

Working with an Online Plot Plan Provider

For many, ordering a plot plan online is the better option because it is typically less expensive and takes less time than hiring a surveyor to come out. You should, of course, compare the cost of online plot plans with the cost of hiring a surveyor. But for many projects, a simple plot plan can cost just $79 rate, and you can have it delivered in two days or less from MySitePlan.

All you need to do to order a plot plan online is to decide how much detail you need, place the plot plan with that level of detail in your cart, and purchase. If you order with MySitePlan, we’ll use a combination of satellite imagery, GIS information, county parcel maps, and other information that you provide to get you a PDF of an up-to-date, accurate plot plan in two days or less.

However, this method isn’t suitable if the permit for your project specifically asks for a land survey, so check the requirements. If you’re uncertain, feel free to reach out to us, and we can help guide you to a solution that will fulfill the requirements set out by your location.

What You Need to Know about the Site Plan Review Process

You’ve decided to make some big changes to your property, applied for a building permit, and submitted your site plan… and now the waiting game begins.

You may not be thrilled about having to wait to start your home improvement project, but the site plan review process is necessary to ensure you’re complying with all land development regulations and building codes for your city. And waiting to have your site plan reviewed is much better than paying a hefty fine for failing to get a permit.

Of course, you may be wondering what’s actually happening while you’re waiting to hear back from your city’s building department. The specific details will vary from city to city, but the general site plan review process is outlined below.

You submit your preliminary site plan. The first step, of course, is to submit your preliminary site plan along with applications for the necessary permits to your city’s building or development department. In order to ensure a smooth review process, you should make sure your site plan includes all information that may be reasonably required for making an informed building decision, such as topography, walkways, drainage, structures, landscaping, and entry and exit points.

Your site plan goes to the appropriate officials. Your County Administrator will designate a group of officials to review your site plan and make sure it complies with all the county’s ordinances and regulations. The review committee may include government members from:

  • Public Works
  • Fire Prevention
  • Zoning
  • Survey Review
  • Health Department
  • Land Development
  • Real Estate Services
  • Construction Services
  • Environmental Review
  • Landscaping Review

County officials approve plan and issue permit. Once the county officials have determined that your building plans are up to code, they will be able to issue you the appropriate permits. Depending on the project, you may just need a building permit, while other projects might require something like a demolition permit or a plumbing permit.

From our 15 years of experience in the industry, we’ve found that professionally drawn plans are more likely to go through the process faster. Since they are clearer and easier to understand, officials typically have less questions or concerns, and it makes the site plan review process more straightforward for them.

You will receive a decision by mail. The officials will mail a letter of confirmation to you (as the applicant) and your agent (if you have one). In most cases, you should hear back within one week of the group’s scheduled review of your site plan, unless you’re told otherwise.

Once you’ve received the necessary permits, you can go ahead with the property changes you’ve envisioned. And remember, if you haven’t even gotten to the point of submitting the proper paperwork for review yet, you can get a PDF plot plan within two business days when you contact MySitePlan.