Feasibility Study - Is it for meMonday, 4 April 2022
A site feasibility study helps a property developer identify the practicality of a proposed site development.
What is bulk & location?
Put simply, it is a visual form of feasibility study where we apply the client’s brief to the site, taking into consideration the site’s constraints such as zoning, access, orientation, contours and servicing like stormwater and wastewater connections. In effect, it will give you an idea of what can be built on a particular site.
How does it help?
It helps paint a picture (excuse the pun) of the development that may be achieved on the site, without investing too much time and money on a full concept design. This will provide high-level information on the possible development of the site such as total number of units, approximate floor area of each unit, number of parking spaces and types of parking spaces – e.g. garage, carport or un-covered.
Providing this information at a very early stage can help our clients make crucial decisions regarding their investments and can assist them re-direct their focus or press ahead with the development.
Who needs a Feasibility Study
Our clients who have benefitted from a bulk and location study have been:
- Seasoned property developers; who develop properties to sell. Regardless of how many developments they have completed they will never skip this stage in the process. They often contact us before they have put an offer on a property, wanting a quick desktop review before negotiating with the vendor on a price after which time they will engage us to provide a bulk and location or feasibility study of the site before completing the purchase.
- Property investors who develop to keep and rent.
- Vendors who are selling a large site or a house on a large site to showcase the site’s development potential to buyers.
- Homeowners with a large section that would like to understand if they can build a second house or minor dwelling on their site
How much does it cost?
Because the nature of the bulk and location stage where we investigate different potential subdivision, layout, and number of lots we often do this on an hourly rate basis. However, we do understand that everyone has a budget, and we will give a range of hours we think the project will take us. Feel free to get in touch with us for a free no obligation chat about your site, or potential site if you are looking at buying one to see how we can help you.
Before we start any design project, whether it’s an extension, a new house build or a multi-unit development we always start with the a large scale diagram / sketch to work through space allocation, orientation, sun direction, prevailing wind direction and any other factors that might impact the design.
However, the most common use for a bulk and location study is to provide a feasibility study of a site to determine the number and size of units / dwellings / extensions that can fit on the site, and is quite often done to help our clients work out feasibility and return on investments. It helps property investors and developers determine what they can achieve before committing to the project, in some cases it can also act as a tool to determine whether to buy the site.
Key things that we consider when doing a Bulk and Location are:
- Site orientation and sun,
- Views (if any),
- Contours and ground levels,
- Site access and road frontage,
- Site zone and other overlays (if any),
- Zone restrictions such as maximum coverage, setbacks, and heights,
- The client brief, e.g. what’s the minimum number of units they need to achieve to make it viable
By doing a bulk & location / feasibility study we can assist our clients in gaining a realistic picture of the development potential of a site, the maximum number of dwellings or units and their floor areas.
Some sites may also require the input of other consultants to truly understand what is feasible to achieve. These are quite often:
- Town planner: To help us understand any site overlays and/or restrictions that may impact the feasibility,
- Civil engineer: Civil engineers will review the existing public stormwater and wastewater lines, if any, and provide a high-level feasibility of connecting to those lines, and if they require upgrading to comply with today’s standards if we are to connect to them. They will also provide an early-stage high level solution if we cannot connect to existing public infrastructure. These solutions can sometimes mean the difference between the project going ahead or not, so engaging with the civil engineers early and understanding the site’s limitations can help us even at this early stage of bulk and location study.
A civil engineer can also provide a flooding report or study of the site, in particular confirming minimum floor level required if the site is located within a flood plain or has an overland flow path or a stream running through it. This can often result in new buildings having to be a minimum distance away from a stream and/or having to be a minimum height above the flood level resulting in a reduced buildable platform and levels, both of which are very important when determining the feasibility of a site.
- Geotechnical engineer: On certain sites we may recommend a geotechnical report is carried out or at the very least a ‘desktop’ evaluation by an experienced geotechnical engineer to confirm ground condition and suitability of construction methods. These are often required for a steep site or one that has been marked as ‘unstable’ by the local council, referring to the ground condition and the make-up of the soil which can impact the feasibility of a project if extensive earthworks is required to excavate and remove earth to be replaced with hard fill ready for building on.
Bulk and location can also be utilised to showcase a site’s potential when selling it, we have been engaged by some of our clients to provide a bulk and location of their sites to help potential buyers visualise the site’s development potential.
Over the years we have completed a few bulk and location studies for different types of clients, developers and investors to assist them in their decision-making process, we love exploring different sites to bring our client’s vision to life. Below are a few examples of past feasibility studies we have
- 3 Unit Subdivision in Queenstown
- 5 Unit Subdivision in Auckland
- Site Subdivision for 5 residential properties
If you have purchased a site in Queenstown or Auckland, please don't hesitate to give us a call so we can walk you through what can be built.