For architects the most common source of getting projects built invariably comes from undertaking a feasibility study at the start of a commission for a site or building to establish the viability of a project. The profession is notorious for undertaking feasibility studies either for free or on a no win no fee basis. With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, we’ve found this practice to be both somewhat soul destroying and on many occasions non-beneficial to all parties. As the old saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for’ and if you pay nothing or very little one can’t expect to be provided with a first-class service in return.
For the next few minutes of your precious scrolling time, we will talk you through what we at
wr-ap see as the important aspects of a good feasibility study, all in the hope that if you commission one, you understand the value and merit of architects assisting you.
Understanding Architectural Feasibility Studies:
Architectural feasibility studies are in-depth assessments conducted by architects to evaluate the practicality and suitability of a proposed property development project. These studies should consider various factors such as site conditions, regulatory requirements, financial considerations, and design constraints. By undertaking a feasibility study, property developers and clients can make informed decisions, mitigate risks, and optimize the chances of a successful project outcome.
Top Ten Elements of a Comprehensive Feasibility Study: A well-prepared architectural feasibility study should include the following key elements:
1. Site Analysis: A thorough evaluation of the site's characteristics, including topography, environmental factors, access to amenities, and transportation links, helps determine its suitability for the proposed development.
2. Planning Regulations: An assessment of local planning regulations ensures compliance and identifies any potential challenges or limitations that may impact the project.
3. Market Analysis: Understanding the current and projected market conditions, including demand, competition, and pricing, provides insights into the project's potential profitability and marketability.
4. Financial Projections: Feasibility studies should include detailed financial projections, considering costs such as land acquisition, construction, legals, professional fees, and potential returns on investment to assess the project's financial viability (additional consultancy support could be required for this).
5. Concept Design: A set of preliminary concept designs helps visualise the proposed development, allowing developers/clients to assess the design's feasibility, aesthetics, and functionality.
6. Regulatory Compliance: An assessment of building regulations, and compliance requirements ensures that the proposed development meets the necessary legal and safety standards.
7. Risk Assessment: A comprehensive risk assessment helps identify and evaluate potential risks associated with the project, such as environmental, financial, or construction-related risks, enabling developers/clients to develop appropriate risk mitigation strategies.
8. Sustainability Considerations: Vitally important in our current times is an analysis of sustainable design practices and energy efficiency measures to help promote environmentally friendly development, reduce operational costs, and enhance the project's long-term value.
9. Construction Methodology: An evaluation of construction methodologies, material choices, and project timelines helps identify the most efficient and cost-effective approach to construction.
10. Stakeholder Engagement: Considering the perspectives of stakeholders, including local communities, government bodies, and neighbouring properties, helps address concerns, build relationships, and ensure smooth project execution.
So why should all these things be considered in a comprehensive feasibility study, surely its just about the number of residential units a site can take or the sqft of real estate that can be built is the usual response I’ve heard from developers/clients in the past? But hold on, let's discuss why a comprehensive feasibility study holds immense value for property developers and why we should be taking the time to undertake them properly:
a) Informed Decision-Making: Feasibility studies provide crucial data and insights that enable developers to make well-informed decisions, minimising the risk of costly errors and maximising the project's chances of success.
b) Mitigating Risks: Thorough risk assessments conducted during feasibility studies help identify potential pitfalls and challenges, allowing developers to implement strategies to mitigate risks effectively.
c) Regulatory Compliance: By considering local planning regulations, feasibility studies ensure that the proposed development complies with legal requirements, avoiding costly delays or legal issues.
d) Financial Planning: Detailed financial projections provided by feasibility studies assist developers/clients in accurately estimating costs, predicting potential returns, and securing funding for the project.
e) Design Optimization: Feasibility studies enable developers/clients to assess the proposed design brief and concept and make necessary modifications to enhance functionality, aesthetics, and overall appeal.
f) Sustainable Development: Integrating sustainability considerations into feasibility studies supports the development of environmentally friendly projects, fostering positive public perception and reducing long-term operational costs.
g) Enhanced Marketability: Market analysis conducted during feasibility studies helps developers/clients understand the target audience, demand, and competitive landscape, allowing them to tailor the project to meet market needs and maximize its potential market value.
h) Streamlined Construction Process: By evaluating construction methodologies and timelines, feasibility studies enable developers to optimise the construction process, reduce costs, and ensure timely project delivery.
i) Stakeholder Engagement: Engaging with stakeholders during feasibility studies fosters positive relationships and ensures that their concerns are addressed, promoting smoother project execution, and minimising conflicts.
j) Long-Term Value: Architectural feasibility studies play a pivotal role in enhancing the long-term value of a development by considering various factors such as sustainability, market demand, and compliance, resulting in a successful and profitable project.
So why choose an architect like wr-ap for Feasibility Studies
Now that we've discussed the critical components of a good architectural feasibility study, it's essential to highlight why engaging a qualified architect for this process is paramount.
Expertise: Architects are trained to assess the practicality and viability of a project from both creative and technical perspectives, ensuring a well-rounded analysis. Whilst our practice is young at five years old, we have a wealth of experience – use it.
Creative Problem Solving: Architects excel at finding innovative solutions to challenges, which can be invaluable during the feasibility study stage where potential issues are identified and resolved. Once of the core values at wr-ap is curiosity – our team love to spend time cracking the problem that seems impossible to solve.
Design Integration: Architects possess the ability to seamlessly integrate design considerations into the feasibility study, enhancing the project's appeal and marketability. At wr-ap we’re realists not futurists, we know what it takes to make projects marketable.
Collaboration: Architects (and wr-ap are no exception) excel at collaborating with other professionals involved in the project, facilitating effective coordination, and streamlining the development process.
In conclusion, architectural feasibility studies are invaluable tools for property developers and clients, providing critical insights into the viability, potential, and risks associated with a proposed development. By engaging experienced architects to conduct comprehensive feasibility studies, you can make informed decisions, optimise project outcomes, and ensure long-term success.
Remember, a well-informed decision at the beginning of a project can save time, resources, and headaches down the line. Investing in an architectural feasibility study is a smart choice for property developers and clients aiming to maximise the success and profitability of their ventures.
If you have a project where you’d like to discuss our feasibility service or get a copy of WR-AP’s feasibility offering get in touch with one our directors Sean Weston firstname.lastname@example.org or Max Rengifo email@example.com
This blog post has been written by Sean, one of the directors here at WR-AP . Sean's desire to work in an industry that could help people and society in a small way led him to pursue a career in architecture. You can read more about Sean here.