How to Plan a Construction Site


Construction site planning can be critical to the success of the project. Proper planning helps ensure the site is laid out safely and efficiently. This can reduce injuries while allowing workers to access materials and equipment as needed. Site planning is typically done by the general contractor, who must balance requirements from OSHA and local building codes with the specific needs of the project.

Things You'll Need

  • Building plans
  • Project schedule
  • OSHA standards
  • Applicable building codes
  • Review the building plans and layout. You'll need to leave sufficient space on the site to accommodate the footprint of the building along with any structures or outbuildings. Leave additional space around the building for lifts, cranes or scaffolds as needed.

  • Examine the project schedule, including any phasing requirements. This will help you determine how fluid your site plan needs to be. For example, if the first six months of the job will focus on one specific area of the site, you can move elements such as trailers or storage units to a different location as needed for each phase.

  • Include all applicable OSHA site planning guidelines. This includes emergency egress paths for workers, adequate space for moving equipment and materials and proper lighting to allow employees to work safely. OSHA guidelines may also require stabilization techniques to be implemented to protect against erosion or other soil-related dangers.

  • Consider how vehicles will enter the site from local roads. Determine where workers can park without blocking construction activities or damaging their vehicles. Decide on the best path for delivery trucks to take to place materials where they will be safe and protected, but also accessible.

  • Determine the best location for job site trailers, offices and portable toilets. You will generally want these components to be far enough from construction activities to allow meetings to take place, though they should also be close enough for easy access. Toilets must be close enough to the job that time is not wasted traveling back and forth. Consider delivery and maintenance of these toilets when determining their placement.

  • Plan for hauling and storage needs. Many materials will need to be protected from exterior elements, which is often accomplished using a storage shed. Provide a clear path for cranes or forklifts to transport these materials to the building.

  • Add a fence to protect and secure the site. Check the approved building plans to see if there are any requirements for environmental protection elements such as silt fences. Add signs throughout the site to help direct workers and visitors according to your construction site plan.

Tips & Warnings

  • When considering OSHA site requirements, check that your state does not have its own OSHA program. Only about half of U.S. states have their own program, while others rely on the federal model. The OSHA website can provide information on state versus federal standards.

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