September 17, 2021

Site feasibility and master planning

Project type and scale

Typology: Residential, Apartments, Low rise

Location: Chennai, India

Site area: 2,365 sqm

Target FAR: 2.50, i.e., 63,630 sqft of built up area

Maximum height: G+5 floors

The project brief called for 3 blocks of apartment buildings on the tapering site, to maximize the built up area under FAR. The property has a 33' wide access road on one side and a 24' wide road on an adjacent side, with residential low rise development on the other two sides. Site setback of 3.5m is considered on all sides of the property. Parking is expected to be on the surface.


  1. As the starting point, the team imported topographic map of the site in the Vadapalani neighborhood of Chennai, and overlaid it with a scaled image of a survey plan. This allowed the team to study any discrepancies with neighboring parcels.
  1. The terrain was rotated as per convenience. The extents of the site and setback were drawn out. Site area determined by Snaptrude was verified with survey measurements.
site plan 4
  1. Planning options were drawn out, and copied to multiple storeys. For each option, each block was copied to as many storeys as to maximize FSI within limits.

areas sample


Snaptrude's calculations of Built Up Area and FAR were used to narrow down on master plan options. Staircases, lifts and shafts were excluded from FAR as per regulations, enabling accurate FAR values at this early site feasibility stage.

Building footprints in each option were tweaked to maximize buildable area based on these calculations.

The 3D imported terrain was used to assess the options based on cut and fill requirements. The dip in the central portion of the site made Option 4 unfeasible.

Option 1: Discreet blocks with peripheral service core

option 2

Option 2: Connected ground floor, shared terraces on first floor

option 4

Option 3: Discreet blocks with central service core

option 6

Option 4: Continuous single block with staggered and tapering balconies on each floor

option 3

Option 5: Compact blocks connected with bridges, and large front green space

option 1

Option 6: Podium ground floor with connecting bridges at the 4th floor

option 5


The team was able to create and present multiple, design options that had been both, well thought through in terms of basic design considerations, as well as achieved FAR targets.

The entire feasibility and master planning process was completed in under 20 minutes. The process would have taken 3-4 days with other standard tools.

The team was able to explore more interesting, non standard layout options, which were preferable to the client. The client chose to take Options 1 and 6 forward to the next stage of the design process.

on site 3