The Importance of Feasibility Study

What is a feasibility study?

When you go to a dentist, the first visit is a diagnostic exam. Its purpose is to determine the condition of your teeth and the treatments they might need. As a result, the doctor will then give you a quotation and description of the work.

Now, when it comes to building a house (or renovating it), people often make the mistake of jumping in and hiring a contractor or a designer without getting informed of the value the designer has to offer. In fact, many are quite unaware of having such an option, let alone how to conduct it. 

Before hiring an expert, you can do the preliminary study and get a detailed picture of your upcoming project. This is what we call the Low Consultation Commitment, or feasibility study. In a way, it’s no different than a diagnostic visit to the dentist. After you receive the report, you have a much better vision of what to expect and how to move forward. Consequently, you define the right direction for starting your journey.  

I have several clients who chose to do an LCC with me first, which helps them start the process adequately informed from the beginning. The information that we offer in the LCC provides all the necessary knowledge the client needs in order to take the following steps of their project with confidence and clarity.

Feasibility Study for Construction Project

Add a second story to the house
Coquitlam Home designer

Feasibility studies must be undertaken in the very early stage of a project. They are particularly needed when a project is large or complex, or there is some doubt or controversy involved regarding the proposed development. Feasibility studies also involve specific requirements, such as environmental impact assessments.

Feasibility Study’s Purpose

  • Determining the viability of the project
  • Identifying all feasible options.
  • Assisting in the project documentation development, including business case, strategic brief, or project execution plan.

Large projects usually require at least several different feasibility studies on various expertise. They commonly include: 

  • Allowable floor area
  • Environmental impact assessment 
  • Setbacks
  • Budget analysis
  • Assessment of the existing facilities and their utility
  • Height restrictions
  • Solutions to accessing potential sites
  • Servicing strategies
  • Options for improvement
  • …and other

The more structured is the presentation of assessments, the easier it will be for a prospective client to decide whether or not, or how, to proceed to the next stage. For that reason, the format should be comprehensive and accessible.
You can book your free 15 min. call with an expert here

Why is Feasibility Study Important

cafe design
cafe design

A proper architectural feasibility study will consider all of the proposed project’s aspects, and allow the clients to understand and test the viability of the project before undertaking any real major investment. In other words, it needs to answer the big questions in order to support the decision-making process.

Undertaking a feasibility study allows testing of the development idea in order to find the weak spots, sideways, and space for improvement. The study takes into consideration all factors that may be directly or indirectly associated with the project. In a way, it determines the proper focus direction for the development. 

An architectural feasibility study covers various aspects of the project with different approaches determined by development objectives. It starts with a detailed evaluation of the site’s suitability and a budget estimation based on quantifiable construction costs. Still, the final result comes from asking and answering all the big questions. For that reason, an architectural feasibility study is, more or less, a guarantee that a project is viable in most -or all- fields.

The Answers It Can Provide

  • The chance to have the planning permission granted
  • What to expect regarding the construction costs
  • What to expect regarding operational costs
  • Alternatives, and possible more economical options (renovation or new construction)
  • All the non-negotiable issues that may affect the project viability
  • The levels of risk involved in the investment
  • The expected deadline for the completion of the project
  • When is it likely to generate a profit, if any is expected
  • Parties, consultants, and engineers involved in the project and their timeline to present their services
  • The questions that come with securing necessary funding from banking institutions or availing of any grant aid available.
  • A road map that explains where to start and where to finish the project

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the feasibility study can unveil a necessary financial reality check for investors. It answers the questions needed to avoid the dangerous traps, so the investors can withdraw before wasting money on projects that are not viable.

How to Conduct a Feasibility Study

Vancouver remodelling
Vancouver remodelling

Prior to making a feasibility study, we meet with the clients. Firstly, we learn about their needs and ideas through a discussion. Secondly, the next step is to visit the site for an initial assessment, followed by preliminary concepts. After we establish the proper base, we use it to explore the feasibility, analyze all costs, and complete all surveys, drawings, and accompanying reports. The preliminary design, which is a part of a feasibility study, will then have to be revisited in order to confirm that the project is economically viable and approved by the planning authority.

At the next step, the preliminary designs are typically presented to all relevant stakeholders for further cost estimations. 

What Should a Feasibility Study Determine

  • Cost-efficiency
  • Correctly recognizing and addressing all issues
  • All project objectives defined and tested
  • Building structure
  • Funding options
  • Set achievable targets
  • Risks evaluation
  • Alternatives (each party in a household are in the same boat, if not how can we find a common ground?)
  • Compromising, what and how much is the tolerance?
  • Conclusions and recommendations 

The Cost of a Feasibility Study

On average, a feasibility study cost ranges in the neighborhood of $1000 to $2000 (or more), depending on the project’s complexity. The final price entirely depends on your requirements and how detailed you want it to be. Each client is unique, and every project comes with its own set of considerations. Consequently, each feasibility study can be tailored to fit the cost requirements. 

Always have in mind that the feasibility study can prevent all costly mistakes that come from lack of proper information and impulse decisions. Therefore, investing in a reliable, comprehensive feasibility study is an investment to savings.

What you get in return is the clarity of your options and the value you will receive from your designer.

At MyHomeDesigner, we put at your disposal our extensive experience in conducting reliable architectural feasibility studies for various projects. We develop preliminary proposals and use them to define the key question and determine accurate, specific answers. Sharing the ideas and knowledge will help you navigate through the preparation process and get a clear picture of what precisely you are getting into. 

Start your self assessment here, and book your time with our designer here.

Things you should know before renovating your House

What you should know and do before renovating your house in Vancouver

burnaby architect

burnaby architect

BUILDING PERMITS IN VANCOUVER

It’s that time of year again. Many people are thinking about building a new house or renovating their existing home.

There is so much to consider and think about; it can be overwhelming. First and foremost, do your due diligence and ask the questions before you start. You can also take a look at another article on our website that goes into more detail and provides tips for a Successful Renovation Project.

In a series of blog posts, we will take you step by step through the process for renovating an existing house, demolishing an existing house, building a new one in the City of Vancouver. The procedures are similar in other municipalities, but there are differences. Visit the website (and City Hall itself) of the municipality you will be renovating, demolishing or building in.

Here are some questions you need to think about and ask before moving forward: Are you going to renovate or build? Do you need to demolish? Do you need permits? Which ones do you need? Do you need to fill? What is fill? What is your budget? Who do you need to hire?

BUDGET

This is the first and a very important part of the process. You need to have an idea of how much you can afford to spend so that when you meet with Architect/Home designer they can base their designs on your budget. It also might be a good idea to have a little bit of flexibility built into your budget for those unexpected events that might come up during renovations.

A couple of good articles to check out for setting a budget are listed below:

MoneySense

Money Sense is Canadian and has a series of articles to read about getting started with renovations, being realistic about expectations for costs and time, and where you should focus your time and energy with your renovations. According to Money Sense, “for a kitchen or bathroom reno, you can expect to recoup about two-thirds of your cost.”

Zillow.com

Zillow, located in Seattle, has similar thoughts to Money Sense. They also provide a cost guide for your ROI (return on investment) and the principles listed here are universal.

DESIGN PLANS

It is recommended that a designer (building designer, architectural designer) be hired prior to finding and interviewing a contractor for a house renovation.

A professional designer can provide a better idea of the scope of work for the renovation without being influenced by the contractor. This prevents contractors from adding more work than is actually needed and contractors are not specifically trained to provide proper design ideas that meet industry standards.

When it is time to interview the contractors, the blueprints are ready and you have a better idea what to ask your contractor. A good designer will have a good idea of the construct-ability of the design and be able to ball-park the budget price to fit the renovation.

Depending on the complexity of your design it could take as little as two weeks for your design plans to be completed. However, if the details and your preferences are more intricate, it could take longer.
You have to keep in mind if your renovation requires permit, the permitting process can take several months, so be prepared.

house renovation

house renovation

CONTRACTORS

Interview, interview, interview! Get referrals, check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and interview again. The most important step in the renovation process is choosing the right contractor for your renovations.

You want someone who understands what you want, your vision and is willing to work with you each step of the way. The contractor is going to be a large part of your life for a good chunk of time; from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the scope of the project.

Some questions to ask any potential contractor:
1. How long have you been doing renovations in Vancouver (insert City of choice)?
2. Is your bid an estimate or a fixed price?
3. Who are your suppliers?
4. Have you ever done business under another name?
5. How can we get in touch with you?
6. How long will it take to have the design plans ready?
This list is not exhaustive, but it will get you started.

Some other things to consider asking for is their license number, referrals (get the phone number of the referral and call them). Where are they located? Is the address on their business card a PO Box number? Do they have insurance? More importantly, do they have WorkSafe or Worker’s Compensation insurance. When it comes to insurance, they should provide the insurance number or a copy to you. If they don’t, ask for it.

home design vancouver

home design vancouver

INSURANCE

Speaking of insurance, while your house is being renovated, there will be tools and people in your house. It is, in effect, a work site. If something happens whose insurance will cover it? Will yours? Of course, we don’t want anything to happen to anyone while your home is being renovated, but it’s always a good practice to be prepared.

Some good articles to read, again, before getting started are listed below:

Globe and Mail – Before starting work, check your liability and Don’t forget insurance when planning a reno

Square One Insurance – Renovating your home? Square One advices you to tell your insurance provider or you may not be covered.

modern house designer

modern house designer

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are so many things you can do to protect yourself and it is very important that you do it before you get started.

Now that you have selected a contractor, what’s next? Now you have to go to City Hall and get some permits. Your contractor can do that on your behalf, but you should go with him for the initial visit. There are questions you should ask the Building Department at your local City Hall. They will be discussed in the next article.

[spacer][button text=”Call for free consultation” link=”https://www.myhomedesigner.com/free-1-hr-consultation/” style=”default” size=”normal” target=”_self” display=”inline” icon=”no”][spacer][spacer]