If you’ve ever looked into doing a home remodel, chances are you have an idea of what you want your project to accomplish (new addition, finished basement, and so on) and what you want to spend. But you may not be sure whether the budget or scope you have in mind will line up with the project you envision. Is your remodel straightforward, complex, or somewhere in between? That’s where a feasibility study can come in.
The objective of the feasibility study is to clarify the project, determine the budget that will meet your needs, and discover answers to questions we have about the structure or what’s allowed by the city. The aim is to answer overarching questions like:
- Are there different design options from those originally requested that can result in significant savings?
- Does it make the most sense to do your project in phases or all at
- Will the proposed project comply with all city zoning and building requirements by-laws?
- Is a complex project with multiple options cost effective and within your budget?
- Is it realistic from a functional point of view?
- How is the home constructed and is the proposed project possible without adding too much cost for structural upgrades?
- Does the project fit within the space requirements?
- Can we do an addition that meets your needs and fits within setbacks on your lot?
- Where are the property lines?
- What are the specific timelines needed to finish the project, including its individual stages and overall completion?
- What is going to be the appraised value after the project is complete; is this project one that will work well for a construction loan or a refinance?
One way to think of the feasibility study is as a sort of due diligence report. Doing this additional research at the outset not only answers the questions above, it also helps prevent cost surprises after the project is underway.
How do I know if I need a feasibility study?
Typically, if your project is fairly straightforward, like a basic kitchen or bathroom remodel, or a you just need some minor home updates, we wouldn’t recommend doing a feasibility study.
If your remodel is more complex, then the feasibility study can be a valuable part of your project. Here are some examples of projects that may be good candidates for one:
- A two-story addition (may be structural and engineering concerns)
- Adding a bathroom in an attic (may be ceiling height constraints, structural floor framing challenges, issues getting the plumbing to where you need it)
- Large scope of work like a whole house remodel (do some preliminary investigation to determine if you should invest here, or move)
- A job that requires extensive engineering like raising a home to finish a basement (how much additional structural work is needed?)
- A difficult job site (elevation issues or narrow lot that may restrict original plans)
What’s involved in a feasibility study
The study itself is completely customized to each project. Sometimes it requires a meeting with the city planning department, sometimes it requires a survey. Most of the time, it requires drawings–but not always. It’s normally comprised of three steps:
1. Preliminary Structure Investigation
During the first step, we will review your home to determine what structural modifications may need to be made in order to complete the project, and we will highlight any red flags that may affect your remodel. For example, if your project involves doing a two-story addition, this phase will examine things like the quality of the existing foundation, if there is a discernible footing, the home’s current framing, and what modifications will be likely.
2. As-built measurement of existing structure
If we are doing drawings, we will take a very detailed as-built survey of your existing home or have our surveyor examine your lot. As the name suggests, the as-built involves taking precise measurements of the space as it is currently constructed. This often takes a full day with at least one or two of our team to ensure that we get all the information necessary to begin putting together accurate concepts and drawings for your project.
3. Findings presentation
In the last phase, we’ll present the findings to you and give you options to move your project forward. This often involves concept drawings that include floor plans, interior, and exterior renderings.
For a master addition for example, this would cover areas like the new master bathroom and bedroom, new closets, and the overall aesthetic. For the master bathroom, the concepts would include things like the soaking tub, walk-in shower, dual vanity, heated tile floors, and more. For the bedroom, it would have details on the ceiling (vaulted or not?), possible sound isolation from the bathroom, and location and design of master closets.
Then you’ll be presented with options for how to best solve the problems that we outlined in the beginning of the feasibility study and the cost and timeline implications of what we determined during the study.
Benefits of a feasibility study
Doing this type of research and in-depth planning at the outset of your project can pay significant dividends later on. Once the feasibility study is complete, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what your project will cost, how long it will take, and whether your budget can pay for everything you want to do.
The study also helps identify complexities that may arise during the project, helping prevent delays and budget surprises later on. For instance, say your home is older and you find out mid-way through that part of it wasn’t built to code, or your new addition is butting up too close to the property line. Those issues could cause your budget and timeline to balloon, possibly jeopardizing the project itself.
By identifying issues like this with a feasibility study, you can stay in control of budget and design decisions, and you can feel confident that your project will remain on track.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the study will depend on the size and complexity of your project, but generally it will be between $1,000 and $3,000 and can take a few days to a couple of weeks to complete.
The costs typically cover design, preliminary investigation and project management, materials testing, surveys, and other pre-project work. This is then credited toward your build costs when you sign the construction contract.
What happens after the feasibility study is complete?
If you agree on the proposed budget and scope of your project after reviewing the feasibility study, then we continue to finalize the design plans and move on to the construction phase of your project.
For more information on how we can help you plan for your next remodel, check out this in-depth look at our design/build process.
If you’ve got a complex remodel and want to explore a feasibility study, schedule a free consultation with us. We’re happy to discuss your project and recommend next steps!