Feasibility Studies for Land Development
A Land Development Feasibility Study is the result of the evaluation of all physical, commercial, social, and environmental factors that make up a piece of land in order to determine if that land is viable and best suited for an intended purpose. At First Capital Engineering, we will help you understand the purpose, components, and benefits of a Feasibility Study and what you can expect from our process.
What Is a Feasibility Study?
A Land Development Feasibility Study is a comprehensive analysis of all factors that will determine if a piece of land is worth investing in and is commercially viable. These factors include site topography and physical features, environmental characteristics, zoning and regulatory issues, sewage and water viability, socio-political value, market value, and future growth potential to name a few.
The most important aspect of a property development project is the land. Will this land add value to the project? Is this land suitable for the intended development? A comprehensive Feasibility Study is crucial to assist the property developer in moving forward with the go-no go decision with emotional and financial confidence. As site selection is generally the first step in the land development process, the feasibility study should be the first order of business.
How Are Feasibility Studies Useful?
A thorough Feasibility Study will assist in maximizing the natural advantages the land offers, thus aiding in creating the best project design, which will safeguard the natural resources in the area. Some of the information that is gathered in a Feasibility Study includes the commercial viability and growth potential of the land; any environmental challenges the land may pose; the rules, regulations and zonal laws around the land; and the land’s flora, fauna and natural features such as rivers, vegetation and wildlife profiles. Having this data and information in the beginning of the project leads to better credibility and more competent and cost-effective decisions on the front end.
Who Can Benefit From a Feasibility Analysis?
All property developers and individuals contemplating the purchase of land or initiating any Land Development project will benefit from a Feasibility Study. Some examples of these project types include residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, healthcare, municipal, parks and recreational projects.
What are the Components of a Land Development Feasibility Study
Understanding the challenges associated with a parcel of land is critical, as this will facilitate necessary changes in the planning and design process. These challenges can potentially affect the budget and cause delays, so contingency plans could be required.
Possible challenges include those from the physical environment and the social environment.
- Climate concerns
- Stability of the soil
- Geographic elements such as forests and bodies of water
- Nearby commercial prospects
- Population demographics of salaries and employment
- Socio-political climate
- Local regulations
Utilities are an essential consideration for any project. Whether the access to utilities either exist, or the ease at which they can be sourced are critical to evaluating the success and potential budgetary requirements of a project. Some of the factors that may be evaluated include:
- Water supply
- Septic & drainage systems
- Sewage lines
- Electricity and gas connectivity
- Available roadways
- Accessibility of the land
In order for a project to be successful, the land, water and air must be considered. To help achieve a balanced ecology, we must enhance the positive impacts and mitigate the negative impacts of the potential project to the natural environment.
The land must be evaluated for:
- Soil Type
- Previous contamination
- Existing vegetation
- Potential location in a floodplain or watershed
- Potential proximity to ecologically critical areas
Legal and Regulatory Issues
The established government and municipal ordinances will determine if that parcel of land will be a good fit for the intended purpose of the project. At this stage, it will be determined if special zoning exceptions, variances, or even rezoning will be required.
As all jurisdictions have their own set of rules and regulations to follow, the Feasibility Study must outline the following items to legally develop the property:
- All required fees
- Zoning regulations
Unplanned and unexpected costs and fees have often stopped a potentially viable project in its tracks. The financial review is a critical piece of the Feasibility Study and includes:
- Permitting, NPDES and PennDOT fees
- Required costs to alter the physical landscape
- Outline of utility costs
Our Feasibility Study Process
Our Feasibility Study Process consists of a physical evaluation, planning and development, a process evaluation, and feature analysis. You can read more about each step of our process below. FCE clients receive their Feasibility Study in one comprehensive report, including all sketch plans, data, maps, photos, schedules and any other pertinent material related to the study.
Step 1: Physical Evaluation
Step 2: Planning and Development
Step 3: Process Evaluation
Step 4: Feature Analysis
Certifications & Affiliations
Aside from being a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in both Pennsylvania and Maryland, FCE is also certified through the following organizations:
WBE (women’s business enterprise) through WBENC
SBE (small business) thru PA DGS
DBE (disadvantaged business) thru PennDOT (PA-UCP)
WBE (women’s business) thru the City of Philadelphia
SBR (small business reserve) thru MD DGS