What is a Site Feasibility Study and When Do You Need One?
Before you plan on breaking ground on your next big construction project, it’s a good idea to conduct a professional site feasibility study. A site feasibility study analyzes a property in order to determine its best use based on your goals, budget, local codes, regulations and economic viability. This process can be pretty overwhelming, especially for first-time property owners/developers. Most civil engineering firms can assist you with site feasibility studies.
Are site feasibility studies necessary?
The short answer is yes. Site feasibility studies can save you a lot of time and money, reduce risks and potentially improve rewards by finding out before you break ground that the property you’re considering is viable for the use you have planned. Site feasibility studies also assist in the development of further project documentation such as the creation of a business plan, pro-formas, strategic briefs and project execution plans.
Who needs a site feasibility study?
If you own property, are a speculative buyer, developer, owner’s representative, or are considering purchasing a site with plans to build, a site feasibility study can help you gain clarity on your project in the planning stages. It’s a good idea to hire a civil engineering firm to conduct a site feasibility study if:
- You’re looking at a piece of land for sale and want to know ways you can develop it before you finalize the purchase.
- You have a building plan in place, and you’re looking for a site that will support your project idea.
- You already own a piece of property and want to develop it but aren’t sure what its best use is.
- You’re a property owner with a project idea you want to develop but need to know if it’s possible.
The five stages of a site feasibility study:
- Site Parameters. Wondering what the best use of your property is? This stage will give you information on your site’s available uses, potential restrictions and whether you need to apply for any special applications. Once this step is complete, you will know if your project is going to be possible.
- Programming. The site programming phase considers items like parking, circulation, utilities, building size and landscaping. It will also include building programming items such as room number and size, common spaces and amenities. Once this stage is successfully completed, your architect or builder will have a better understanding of the size and scope of the project or if any adjustments will be required.
- Site Diagrams. In this stage, you will work with your builder, architect, consultant, or owner to determine how the space will be laid out to generally conform with the client’s intentions as well as the initial jurisdictional requirements and potential site constraints. This will include drawings and diagrams of the building as well as the property your building will sit on.
- Applications. Whatever applications were deemed necessary in the first round, now is the time to complete them. These applications may pertain to zoning, planning, historic district and design review committee. Depending on the application materials necessary, your builder should be able to help you with these.
Once you’ve completed your professional site feasibility study, you can create a level of confidence to help you choose the best possible project for your site (or the best possible site for your project.). Either way, an ounce of prevention can reduce risk, save you stress, time, money and project revisions down the line.
Roger Ward Engineering (RWE) is a locally owned civil engineering and consulting firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Founded in 1999 by Roger Ward Jr., Roger Ward Engineering specializes in:
- Civil engineering: Roger Ward Engineering offers land planning and site design services with the knowledge and experience to guide your project from start to finish.
- Development consulting: Roger Ward Engineering development consulting services include: site feasibility studies, zoning assistance, permitting, and due diligence.
- Land surveying: Roger Ward Engineering offers a variety of land surveying services, including: boundary and topographic surveys, as-built surveys (also known as in place surveys,) construction staking, and ALTA/NSPS surveys.
- Sustainable design: Roger Ward Engineering has completed numerous sustainable design projects, focusing on low impact design, LEED certification and green building design.
- Utility infrastructure: Roger Ward, Sr. heads up the utility infrastructure division at Roger Ward Engineering. Their utility infrastructure services include wastewater consulting and facilities consulting.