3 Big Questions about Feasibility Studies
When an old building needs to be repurposed, how can a team validate and verify the infrastructure can support the remodel? What if a renovation challenging enough to question the integrity of the building is being considered? For example, transitioning a three-story office space into wet laboratories. While developing the scope of work, it takes expertise required for the Owner, Owner’s Representative, Facilities Department, Design & Construction Team, or Architect to confirm the project is practical given the existing infrastructure. Will new plumbing be required? Does the air distribution support the renovation? Can the electrical system support the project requirements? What infrastructure modifications are needed? Does the scope include bringing in an engineer or design/build firm? Are there code or health and safety issues directly impacting the renovation?
Answering the Big Question: Is the Project Feasible?
Synergy has helped teams gather and analyze vital information verifying the building can support the proposed project. Oftentimes, when a building is repurposed, the Request for Proposal (RFP) is developed by the Owner’s Representative and sent out for bidding. This leaves gaps in infrastructure knowledge that can be an expensive pain point later on. What if the infrastructure cannot support the new mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems? The design team would go back and modify the design as well as refine the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR). This can cause increased timelines and will likely reduce the project’s return on investment.
What is a Feasibility Study?
A feasibility study can be viewed as a pre-design assessment. It’s acknowledging that change is coming while remaining proactive to the upcoming scope of work. It answers the question, “Is this project truly feasible?” A feasibility study aligns expectations for all parties involved early in the design process.
Why would a Feasibility Study be needed?
Rather than launching a project without understanding all the nuances of the building’s infrastructure, a feasibility study offers peace of mind that the building can support the renovation. This is a long look down the road to give the green light to the project, or to give caution that infrastructure modifications will be required for the scope of work. It may seem counter-intuitive to hire an engineer before the project begins, but a feasibility study will improve the timeline, reduce project contingency, and will provide reassurance the project direction is correct
Rather than launching a project without fully understanding all the nuances of the building’s infrastructure, a feasibility study offers peace of mind that the building can support the remodel.
What is the ROI of investing in a Feasibility Study?
Isolating potential problems before the beginning of a project has unquestionable value. No one likes change orders that delay the timeline and increase the cost of a project. Consider this example, a client’s last three projects did not have enough information about the infrastructure prior to construction. The engineer’s proposal assumed the building would support the remodel, but on each project, work had to cease in order to complete additional analysis to understand the infrastructure. Their findings led to a Chilled Water Study. The repeated $30,000 change orders would have been avoided if the facility had performed the analysis prior to starting the projects. Synergy’s Facility Engineering Services has helped clients streamline the design process with Feasibility Studies.
The engineer’s proposal said the building would support the remodel, but on each project, work had to cease in order to complete additional analysis to understand the infrastructure.
The only way to be certain that a building can handle a massive infrastructure remodel is to validate it with a Feasibility Study. Identifying potential infrastructure needs before the project beings will align expectations for the project from the very beginning. A Feasibility Study also serves as the rough draft for the OPR which paves a clear path for moving the project forward. Getting buy-in early from all teams alleviates pain and streamlines the design process.
How can you be certain that an infrastructure renovation can be accomplished? A building would not need a feasibility study if the remodel does not require any infrastructure changes whatsoever. The feasibility study can be skipped if the conditions are correct. However, if the infrastructure needs drastic changes, let Synergy help guide your team through the correct decision of your facility renovation.