📝 The Main Bit

Following on from last week’s post of Stage 0 of the RIBA Plan of Work, this week we will be looking at Stage 1 – Preparation and Briefing! 

Now that the most effective way to meet the client’s needs in Stage 0 has been decided the target outcome of Stage 1 is to develop and approve a Project Brief. 

The project brief will have guidance on Project Outcomes, Sustainability Outcomes and Quality Aspirations.  By understanding these details, the project team can be determined.  For example, if there are specialist Sustainability requirements then there may only be a few contractors in the country who can deliver the level required. Or alternatively if the types of skills, technologies or materials needed are not common to the UK then liaising with international contractors and the barriers and risks associated with this will clearly change the design and construction team structure as well as affecting the procurement strategy if materials or assemblies are to be imported. 

Feasibility studies can be started which involves evaluating various aspects to help stakeholders make informed decisions about whether to continue with the project or not. Like Stage 0, it is useful to go through as much detail as possible in the low-cost stages before any construction begins so drafting out various constraints that are likely to be faced over the project allows an element of risk mitigation by teasing out all considerations and scenarios. 

Key components of a feasibility study for building a house include: 

  1. Site Analysis: This involves assessing the location where the house will be built.  Factors such as soil quality, topography, environmental and conservation regulations, accessibility, and proximity to utilities and services are considered. 
  2. Market Analysis: Evaluating the demand and market conditions for the type of house being planned.  This helps decide whether there’s a need for the house in the chosen location and if it aligns with potential buyers’ preferences. 
  3. Financial Analysis: Deciding the project’s financial feasibility is crucial.  This includes estimating costs for land acquisition, construction materials, labour, permits, and other associated expenses.  Comparing these costs with the potential selling price or market value of the house helps assess whether the project is financially viable.  And these costs should be aligned with the Quality Aspirations of the client. 
  4. Legal and Regulatory Assessment: Understanding and complying with planning laws, building codes, and other regulations are essential to avoid legal complications during and after construction. 
  5. Technical Feasibility: Evaluating the technical aspects of the project, such as the house’s design, structural integrity, and architectural plans.  This helps ensure that the proposed design is achievable within the given budget and timeline, and it also decides if there will be any skills and experience needed within the design team. 
  6. Environmental Impact: Assessing the potential environmental impact of the construction and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.  This might involve studying the effect on local ecosystems, water resources, and waste management. 
  7. Risk Assessment: Identifying potential risks and challenges that could arise during the construction process or after completion.  This could include issues like unexpected cost overruns, delays, or changes in market conditions.  These will be tracked during Project Lifespan. 
  8. Project Timeline: Creating a realistic timeline for the construction process, considering factors such as procurement of materials, labour availability, and potential weather-related delays. 
  9. Stakeholder Analysis: Identifying and analysing the interests and concerns of stakeholders, including investors, local communities, government bodies, and potential buyers. 

The feasibility studies serve as a crucial decision-making tool for the design team and the client during Stage 2, helping them decide whether to go ahead with the project, make necessary adjustments, or abandon it altogether if it’s considered unfeasible.  It helps in minimising risks and optimising resources by ensuring that the project is well-planned and aligned with the intended goals.  But it is important to recognise that Stage 1 is not the Design Stage.  It is about adding detail and requirements to the Project Brief. 

Join us again for our next post which discusses the Stage 2 Conceptual Design.  Subscribe now to get it straight to your inbox!

🕵️‍♂️ Property Glossary

I share definitions each week of words and terms that pop up now and then in the property world and can be confusing.

Deposit Protection Scheme

A government-backed scheme that safeguards tenants’ deposits and ensures that they are returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy, provided that the tenant has met all the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Apps I Use

Readwise – I’ve been paying for Readwise since 2021 and gained access to Readwise Reader Beta in 2022 and find it extremely useful for knowledge retention and research. I pass all my email newsletters through it and whenever I get a spare few minutes I can pick up where I last left off without any friction.

If you sign up using the link you’ll get an extra month free (two in total) so you can really test out the software without it costing you a penny. They don’t advertise widely so it is down to word of mouth like this that gets the tool new users. I find it invaluable.

Monzo – Carefully budgeting my spending is fundamental to being able to save towards the build. Monzo has helped me track and itemise spending for years. I now pay for the Premium account which gives me access to extra features and things like airport lounge access, phone insurance, worldwide travel insurance so it practically pays for itself. If you join using this link we’ll both get £5 (which I’ll use towards the build!).

Focus@Will – This app has superpowers. It has the ability to allow me to switch off from a noisy home and get some work done and it seems to work for me in about 5 minutes.

Socials

I’m now on:

Twitter as @Brendan_Burr

Instagram as @MeasureTwiceBuildOnce

Pinterest as @MeasureTwiceBuildOnce

Snipd for Podcasts @MTBO

Threads as @MeasureTwiceBuildOnce

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading!

Brendan

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