Site Feasibility For Property Development: A Tale Of Two Unexpected Outcomes

Below are two case studies of site feasibility analyses we conducted for two different clients. One client had a general idea of how he wanted to develop a site the other had a very specific requirement for property development and wanted to test its viability.

Jumping into a project that seems like a ‘good idea’ without doing sufficient due diligence can be a very expensive exercise. Making a mistake with the project viability analysis of a site can cost a lot of time, money and heart ache. With the benefit of a comprehensive tailored site analysis provided to our clients they were able to make clear rational decisions about the direction of their respective projects with a high level confidence.

Though both clients ended up with different outcomes, both feasibility assessments were successful in allowing each client to quickly understand their position and act decisively based on their findings.

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Our residential development in Beaumaris

Windsor Case study

Brief / Synopsis:

• Our Windsor client was considering purchasing a block with the view to put two dwellings on site
• The block was going to auction in less than 2 weeks and the client had a specific idea of how he wanted to develop two side by side units with separate titles and driveways
• He wanted to know if there were any restrictions or issues with the block precluding the development of the site

Proposal:

After understanding the clients brief we proposed a 2 step process for the site feasibility:
• Step 1 would be to study the regulatory guidelines (current and proposed), title information and the services to the site. If the initial findings are favourable for development then we can proceed to step 2 of the site feasibility.
• Step 2 would include a visit to site to assess and measure the subject and neighbouring site conditions. We will also develop a 3D architectural massing to explore building footprint and volumes

Actions (Step 1):

• Assessed the current and proposed planning regulations (including zoning, overlays and schedules)
• Assessed site orientation
• Assessed the legal title information
• Assessed the relevant services to site
• Discussion with council regarding implications of developing next to commercial heritage building and potential to add a second cross over for another driveway

Findings:

• Subject site suitable for sub division and development in principal under current and proposed planning regulations
• Good solar orientation for duplex development product
• No prohibitive encumbrances on title
• A number of fibre optic network cables under footpath in front of subject site
• Council planners advised that there should be no hindrance from heritage site based on proposed development
• Council in principal agreed to addition of second crossover
• Continue onto step 2 site feasibility

Actions (Step 2):

• Site visit, assess and document subject and neighbouring site conditions
• Document and measure trees
• Inspect site and boundary conditions
• Visual confirmation of telecommunication cables in footpath
• 3D Project modelling – Concept configuration & massing

Report/Findings:

• Minimal fall on site
• Council have advised that trees on site do not require a permit for removal
• Council indicates block is wide enough to support second crossover and street tree is a removable specimen
• Confirmed presence of network of cables, will need to be carefully managed during construction
• 3D concept modelling shows suitable configuration and floor area for purpose

Recommendation:

• Site is suitable* for proposed level development

*Based on councils verbal advice of proposed development
**Note: Due to time constraints there was not enough time to conduct a re-establishment survey to determine legal boundaries in relation to current boundary conditions.

Outcome:

• Client Purchased block is currently living in the existing house to see if he wants to live in one of the new dwellings in which case he will build a duplex
• If he decides not to live there he will then look at developing 3 smaller units on the site

Eaglemont Project Landscaping

Richmond Dual Occ

Prahran Case study

Brief / Synopsis:

• Our Prahran client had a very narrow (approx. 4.5m wide) block and wanted to knock down the current house and build a new 2 storey house with single garage
• There was a council street tree at the front of the house and he wanted to know if it could be removed
• Engaged Destination Living to find out the feasibility of building a house with a garage

Proposal

After understanding the clients brief we proposed the following process for the site feasibility:
• Study the regulatory guidelines (current and proposed), title information and the services to the site
• Discuss with council potential to remove or relocate the street tree
• Consider alternative options to facilitate a cross over and driveway

Actions (Step 1):

• Assessed the current and proposed planning regulations (including zoning, overlays and schedules)
• Assessed the legal title information
• Assessed the relevant services to site
• Discussion with council regarding implications of developing next to commercial heritage building and potential to add a second cross over for another driveway
• Site visit, assess and document subject and neighbouring site conditions
• Document and measure council street tree
• Explored potential to create a shared carriage over a front corner of the neighbours property to facilitate a driveway around the tree
• Discussed remuneration with Neighbour to create a shared carriage way for car access

Report/Findings:

• Council advised that they would not consider remove the street tree at the front of the site
• Neighbour declined request to create shared carriage way
• Due to factors out of our control it is not possible to create a crossover and driveway to the subject site as per clients proposed development

Outcome:

• Without having to go through an expensive and time consuming Town Planning development application process our client was able to determine that his specific requirements for developing his preferred site was not feasible
• Client has now selected an alternative site to build his home with garage

Related: What is a feasibility?

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