Building a new house or renovating/adding on to an existing home are expensive prospects for the homeowner. You don’t want to begin work only to discover a problem that interferes with the project’s completion or adds considerably to the final cost. It’s far better to discover potential issues before work begins so that you can plan around them. That’s why you conduct a feasibility study.
A feasibility study determines if a given project can be completed as planned. It examines in detail all of the factors that might prevent a successful outcome. Depending on the project’s particulars, the study might include site considerations, applicable regulations, budgetary constraints, historical requirements, covenant issues, and more.
Reputable home builders will strongly suggest or require a study before any formal plans are drawn. If they don’t, you should request one. They’re your first line of defense against unwelcome surprises.
How a Feasibility Study Protects Your Investment
Imagine if midway through the construction of your dream home your contractor realizes that your lot’s topography won’t support your floor plan. Or you discover only after finishing the exterior on your addition that it isn’t approved by local building covenants.
These are costly mistakes that can force delays, redesigns, and quickly balloon your budget. A quality feasibility study will unearth these problems while it’s still early enough to alter your plans without incurring additional costs. You may also discover that your project isn’t feasible at all. It’s far better to learn that before you break ground than after.
What Are Some of the Potential Issues That Might Be Found?
Every property and project is unique, but some of the most common areas of inquiry include:
- Regulatory requirements like setbacks, easements, and other zoning considerations.
- Environmental considerations like watersheds, drainage, and septic placement.
- Potential topographical problems like rocky outcroppings, soil erosion, water table issues, and ingress/egress limitations.
- Compliance with all applicable building covenants in the area.
- Awareness of any limitations placed on the home due to a historical designation, either of the home itself or the area.
- Soil contamination issues that could require mitigation.
- Code updates for older homes that aren’t in compliance with modern building standards.
- Architectural considerations like placement to take advantage of natural views or to create an aesthetic balance between the home and its surroundings.
Not every feasibility study will include every one of these areas of inquiry. Considerations that apply to one home might not be a concern for another. As an example, if your home isn’t designated a landmark, your inspector won’t need to include historical considerations. If you’re building an addition on a relatively new home they won’t need to examine previous work to make sure it’s up to code.
If a Feasibility Study Turns Up an Issue, What’s Next?
Minor issues may require slight modifications to your original plans. Your addition might end up slightly smaller or it may change location. The vinyl siding you chose might get nixed in favor of natural brick. Your contractor should be able to suggest fitting modifications that will satisfy the needed changes while keeping your vision intact.
Larger issues may force some hard decisions. If the soil on your lot is contaminated with industrial pollutants, will you pay for the appropriate cleanup? Are you willing to sacrifice your second floor if the water table on the property is too high to support it?
When major problems are discovered, there’s always the chance that your original plans will become financially or physically unachievable. As disappointing as this can be, it’s much better to learn about the problem before you begin construction. You could save yourself from wasting a considerable amount of money.
At Cannon Construction Group we always recommend a feasibility study to our clients. They help with your peace of mind and they allow us to better customize our plans to your project’s unique considerations.
Our staff is highly trained, capable of catching any potential problems that might cause issues. If you’re looking to build a home or addition in the Stanwood, Camano Island, WA area, give us a call. We’d love to talk to you more about the unique value we can bring to your project.