Why Pre-Design & Pre-Planning is the First Important Phase

Previously we had touched upon why bringing a 3-Phase Approach to commercial real estate development is beneficial to the overall success of a project. At SCGWest, we follow “Our Simple 3-Phase Solution” that has proven to reduce costs, timelines, and avoid major pitfalls. If you haven’t read our previous post detailing out our 3-Phase Process, you can click here. As mentioned in our previous post, Phase 1 of a 3-Phase Approach includes the following: Due Diligence, Pre-Design, and Pre-Planning. Many readers may be wondering; what is included in this phase and why is it important? Today we will take a closer look at all the work involved for Phase 1 and why it is such a crucial segment of the streamlined 3-Phase Approach.

Due Diligence

When it comes Due Diligence, it is not only important to understand why it is beneficial to perform such work, but also to understand how it can be of benefit at later stages in the process. Due Diligence is the process of performing existing site condition assessments, background research on the site and location, determination of zoning requirements and land use requirements, feasibility assessments and much more. This is an important step whether purchasing or leasing commercial real estate. It is best to understand the space or site before moving forward with further design work; due diligence will allow all parties involved to better understand what is possible and what is not possible within the space or site. All of the information gathered here will allow for a well-informed and well-defined program to best fit the needs of the tenant or new owner.

Preliminary Code Review and Site Plan

As more information is discovered and studied about a site, preliminary code review and site plan creation will begin to commence. A preliminary code review is important as this will dictate what is allowed and not allowed per the local jurisdiction code. For plans to be reviewed and approved by city or county plan checkers, all aspects of site plans must be up to code, or plans face the reality of being rejected and not approved. With an understanding of what the code will allow for a given space, preliminary site and space plans can begin to take shape. As these items are worked out, programming of the space begins to take precedent.

Whether it is retail, restaurant, medical or any other type of property, programming the space and site to fit the needs and desires of the occupier should be worked through in this stage. Taking the time upfront to complete this can reduce time consuming, costly changes in the plans. One important idea to remember; is it easier to change plans on paper than it is to change plans while in construction.  Following a thorough programming of the space, a rough space plan is created based upon the spaces existing conditions, what is allowed by code, and the desired program for the space. Furthermore, any special equipment that may be needed for a given space should be addressed here; with so many moving parts in the procurement of equipment, it is best to establish this in the Pre-Design phase.

Preliminary Budget and Schedule

While Due Diligence and all the Pre-Design work are very important, the flip side is making sure the project makes sense from a financial and chronological standpoint. Developing a space to fit the needs of a business can be expensive, so it is also important that the budgets and timeframe associated to complete the development align. Preliminary budgets and schedules are exactly what they sound like; preliminary. Reliability of these estimates can range depending upon the project; however, a preliminary budget and timeline will give all parties involved realistic ranges for costs and the time associated with projects.

Much of Phase-1 entails the background work that is necessary to make more informed decisions on the space or site of interest.  The 3-Phase approach that is utilized by us at SCGWest Development has been a powerful tool in being able to complete developments under budget and in less time. Understanding all the aspects of a commercial real estate project can be difficult for those new or looking to enter the industry. A 3-Phase Approach can help in simplifying the processes involved, however that does not take away from the intricacy of the development process. Should you ever be interested to see results of a 3-Phase Approach, click here to learn about our past projects!

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