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Contents

Section 1 Feasibility Study

Section 2 Site and Ground Conditions

Section 3 Design Team

Section 4 Project Plan 

 

Description:  This unit introduces the factors which need to be considered before a development project can take place.

Author: Nigel Maddern


Section 1  Feasibility Study




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should: 
  • Be able to state the factors that relate to the production of a feasibility study appraising the potential benefits of any given project.


A feasibility study is a wide ranging document produced on behalf of a client when deciding on whether to proceed with a project. It will be produced by property and construction professionals and will recommend a preferred solution. 

The production of a feasibility study is necessary to accurately appraise whether a development project is viable or not and therefore worth progressing. (If you are not sure what a feasibility study in relation to a project is then see the definition on the website below). The study will include all factors which need to be taken into account to weigh up the pros and cons of any given project. It may also be necessary to provide a number of options and alternatives so a client is able to make an informed choice by comparing potential development projects with regard to time, cost and quality. There are a number of links below that give the main outline to the parts of feasibility studies, together with articles on then. Also there is the RIBA Plan of Work which can be found on the RIBA website, this outlines the basic framework of a feasibility study (found at the link below). Also the link gives useful information on general application and links to feasibility study models.   

The feasibility study should recommend a favoured solution taking into account the following factors: 
  • Likelihood of gaining statutory approvals (planning and building regulations) - see link above
  • Outline budget costs – These are an estimate of the clients likely cash commitments.
  • Contract period – This is how long the construction work is going to take to complete
  • Discounted cash flow over 10 years – This is a projection of cashflow (in and out) from today (ie start of construction) until 10 years into the life of the building.
  • Potential demand for completed project – This is the likelihood of selling or letting the building for example.




Websites



Publications

  • Lock, Dennis. (2007) Project Management: Gower. (Chapter 3 & 6)
  • Fewings, Peter. (2005) Construction Project Management: Taylor and Francis. (Chapter 3)



Self-Assessment Task

  • Explain in detail the essential elements of a feasibility study outlining its key aims and objectives.
  • Summarize how a project may be considered to be viable or non viable.




Section 2  Site and Ground Conditions



Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Explain the factors that relate to the appraisal of a green or brownfield site being considered for development.


It is essential to understand and appraise the physical condition of any site being considered for development. A brownfield site (previously built on) is likely to have existing structures or foundations from previous developments which will may effect any future development. Consider the obstacles that are present by following the link Obstacles to brownfield sites below. 

Before any major development investment is made by a client, it is advisable to have a full geotechnical appraisal of the site carried out to give an indication of the likely remedial work and associated costs to bring the ground conditions up to an acceptable standard. As part of this process a soil sample may be required. A useful site to consider is the Geotechnical Site Investigation web space, follow the link below to provide useful information.  

There is considered debate on the use of brown field sites over virgin sites and the articles will prove useful reading on the subject at the links below. Other useful information may also help you to look at published articles on brown field sites, together with a definition and link to other key words on the Wikipedia site to clarify the meaning of terms used. 

The geotechnical survey will provide important information for a client to make informed decisions re the suitability of a potential site taking into account the following: 
  • Results of soil sampling tests – these will indicate the adequacy of the ground to support foundations etc
  • Demolition required
  • Presence of previous substructures – ie foundations, basements, tanks etc
  • Potential soil improvement methods – may be required to support new foundations
  • Outline budget costs
  • Potential foundation design – carried out be structural engineer
 



Websites



Publications

  • Fewings, Peter. (2005) Construction Project Management: Taylor and Francis. (Chapter 3)



Self-Assessment Task

  • Explain in detail the site appraisal process for a potential development site.
  • Produce a summary of ground investigation/soil assessment techniques available for green and brownfield sites.





Section 3  Design Team




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to: 
  • Explain the factors that relate to the formation and management of the Design Team required to produce an outline design and budget costs for a given project.


To accurately advise a client on the feasibility and cost of a potential project, it will be necessary to put together a team of construction and property industry professionals to produce the information. The Design Team may contribute towards the information within the feasibility study in the form of an outline specification, drawings, cost information etc. The team is likely to be headed by a ‘lead consultant’ – normally an architect or project manager – who will present the team’s output to the client. Other professionals include: Quantity surveyor, M&E consultant, structural engineer and building surveyor, with recommendations re: design recommendations, overall project costs, programme issues and procurement options. A definition of the design team is shown by the link below. 

New innovations in the processes of managing projects from inception to completion and the persons involved should also considered and the link below to Building Information Management provides information on this.  It would also be worth visiting the Module Construction Management Industry Studies Unit 'Introduction to the Construction Industry'.  

The design team will also provide advice to the client in the following areas: 
  • Preferred design solution – this may be in the form of specification and drawings
  • Construction costs – this will give the client an idea of financial commitment and cashflow
  • Outline programme – this may include designing and constructing the building to give the client an indication if timescale
  • Construction and design management regs – this covers health and safety over the life of the project
  • Procurement and contract options – this deals with getting the best  overall time and cost deal for the client
  • Contractor selection – this is about getting the most suitable contractor to carry out the work
 



Publications

  • Fewings, Peter. (2005) Construction Project Management: Taylor and Francis. [Chapter 6]
  • Lock, Dennis. (2007) Project Management: Gower. [Chapter 9 & 11]



Self-Assessment Task

  • Explain in detail the roles and responsibilities of a construction design team.
  • Produce a summary of the key information a design team would require to design a construction project.





Section 4  Project Plan




Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to explain: 
  • The factors that relate to the formation of a project plan which can be used to manage and deliver a project.


A Project Plan is a detailed document providing a framework to actually deliver a given construction project. It will outline the timescale, full cost and quality of the new building and highlight any risks faced before, during and after construction. It will be used by the design team to monitor actual performance. 

It is desirable to produce an outline project plan at an early stage of a project. This document will be used to plan activities and measure time, cost and quality performance throughout the life of the project. The project plan is a key tool during pre contract, post contract, handover and rectification/defects period to monitor progress. Typical project management tools will need to be used including Gannt charts, critical path analysis, ‘S’ curve and line of balance cash flow methods. 

In order to be familiar with construction planning for development projects you should look at the Unit "Planning & Control" to be found on this site.   

The Project Plan will also cover the following: 
  • Value engineering – this is about making sure the design offers value for money for the client
  • Sustainability measures – this includes how environmentally friendly is the design/building
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs – this includes how the project adheres to key targets such as timescale and cost forecasts). A list of these and an example are provided through the links below.
  • Performance Evaluation Review – this is an exercise carried out after construction to see if the project’s needs were met.
  • Costs in use – these are the running costs of the building after construction
  • Risk management – this is how risks are identified and manage throughout the life of the project.



Websites



Publications

  • Lock, Dennis. (2007) Project Management: Gower. [Chapter 14 & 16]
  • Fewings, Peter. (2005) Construction Project Management: Taylor and Francis. [Chapter 5].



Self-Assessment Task

  • Explain the essential elements of a project plan including its key aims and objectives.
  • Produce a summary of key project management tools which can be used to monitor project performance.





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