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ARCH 2614/5614 Building Technology I: Materials and Methods

Fall 2017

Jonathan Ochshorn

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Assignment 2: Allowable areas on a real site

Issued Sept. 6, 2017
Due Sept. 13, 2017 (in class)

Prepare a feasibility study consisting of a site plan along with zoning and building code data for a professional office building on a hypothetical 200 foot x 200 foot site in Ithaca, NY. with access to a street on the site's southern boundary. The developer (well, really, it's just me) wants to know the maximum floor area that is possible on the site and, secondarily, the least expensive construction type compatible with that floor area, based on the Ithaca Zoning Ordinance and the 2015 International Building Code.

For the purposes of this exercise, assume that 800 square feet per floor is assigned to non-office purposes (e.g., stairs, elevators, bathrooms). This assumption is important since requirements for parking are determined, not by total building floor area, but by total office floor area. Assume that the building is rectangular, with a minimum dimension of 30 feet in any direction. Also assume that a minimum of 10 feet width should be provided between the building and any parking spaces or parking aisles. Finally, assume that all off-street parking must be on the ground and not under, on, or in the building itself.

Your proposal must satisfy requirements of both the Ithaca zoning ordinance as well as the NYS Building Code, as described below.

On 11" x 17" paper, answer the following questions and draw a schematic site plan:


  1. Assume that your site is in a B-1a zoning district, as shown on the City of Ithaca Zoning map. You can find all the regulations that apply to professional office buildings on the City's zoning district regulations table (PDF).

  2. For each off-street parking space provided, how many square feet of office floor area is allowed? Find out from the zoning district regulations. How many off-street parking spaces, and how many square feet of office area are provided in your proposal? Adding in the assumed 800 square feet of non-office area per floor, what is the total building area provided? Assume that each regular parking space is 8 feet wide and 22 feet deep, and that 2-way aisles between parking stalls are 20-feet wide. For handicapped spaces, see the next item.

  3. How many accessible (handicapped) spaces are required, and where should they be located? Refer to Sections 4.1.2 and 4.6 of a version based on the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). Also see the official U.S. Access board site.

  4. Based on the zoning district regulations, what are the minimum and maximum height requirements for your building (in feet and stories)? How many feet high and how many stories is your proposed building? Note that this may well be different from the height limits contained in building code.

  5. Based on the NYS Building Code, what is the specific occupancy group for your project (letter and number, if any; e.g., B, A-1, A-2, H-1, etc.). The latest NYS Building Code can be found here. Occupancy groups can be found in Chapter 3.

  6. Based on zoning district regulation, what are the minimum yard dimensions for your site? Assuming that only the building footprint itself determines the boundaries of the yards, and not the parking spaces or aisles, what are your actual proposed yard dimensions? This will be important when you compute frontage.

  7. Based on the NYS Building Code, what is the frontage coefficient, If for the building and site plan dimensions in your proposal? Show all calculations.

  8. Based on the NYS Building Code, and assuming that the building is unsprinklered, what is the "least expensive" permitted construction type (i.e., the first construction type that works as you move from right to left in all three of the appropriate tables in Chapter 5: (1) height in feet, (2) height in stories, and (3) allowable area (where the tabular area shown in the table is added to NS x If). For this exercise, exclude Type IV (Heavy Timber) from consideration. Show the allowable area calculation.

    Show that your assumed construction type works for (1) height in feet, (2) height in stories, and (3) allowable area by comparing all three "allowable" parameters (i.e., allowable height in feet, height in stories, and per-floor and total area, with the actual heights and areas you have proposed. Explain why construction types (if any) that are less "expensive" (i.e., to the right of the one you chose) do not work.

Feel free to check your calculations using my allowable area calculator.

Site plan

Draw a site plan showing the property in context (similar to this plan) at a scale of 1" = 30'-0" (a common so-called "engineering" scale for site plans in the "Imperial" system —). Show all parking spaces, including the handicapped spaces; show the building outline as a roof plan; and show all necessary curb cuts connecting the parking for the building to the existing streets. Include a north arrow and a graphic scale. Use "notations" to indicate typical and handicapped parking spaces, as well as the building itself. Number all parking spaces. Show basic site, yard, and overall building dimensions.

You are encouraged to work in groups consisting of 2 to 6 students. To facilitate NAAB documentation, each group should consist of either undergraduate or graduate students, but not both.


Format the assignment on "ANSI B" 11 x 17 inch paper, with a border and title block following the guidelines in the National Cad Standard (see week 3 readings for details).

Examples of site plans

Here are some examples of site plans (try to find others in books, magazines, or online for reference): ARE Design Guide (scroll down to the end); Iron Bridge examples; parking in relation to zoning rules.

ARE Design Guide site plan example
Site plan example from ARE Design Guide