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Last edited 12 Oct 2022
Feasibility studies for construction projects
 What are feasibility studies?
Feasibility studies are preliminary investigations undertaken in the very early stage of a project to assess whether the project is viable. They tend to be carried out when a project is relatively large or complex, or where there is some doubt or controversy regarding the proposed development.
 What is the purpose of feasibility studies?
The purpose of feasibility studies is to:
- Establish whether the project is viable.
- Help identify a range of feasible options.
- Begin the process of preparing other project documentation such as a clarifying the business need, formulating a business case, scoping a project execution plan and strategic brief and so on.
 What might a feasibility study include?
On large, complex or controversial projects, there may be a number of different feasibility studies carried out for different aspects of the project, for different purposes, or for different possible solutions. These might require different skills, and could consider issues such as:
- The likelihood and ease of obtaining planning permission.
- The likelihood that an environmental impact assessment will be required.
- Other legal/statutory approvals that might be required.
- Analysis of the budget relative to client requirements.
- Assessment of the potential to re-use existing facilities or doing nothing rather than building new facilities.
- Assessment of any existing site information that is available.
- Initial site appraisals, including geotechnical studies, assessment of any contamination, availability of services, uses of adjoining land, easements and restrictive covenants, environmental impact, and so on.
- Considering different solutions to accessing potential sites.
- Analysis of accommodation that might be included or excluded.
- Assessment of the possible juxtaposition of accommodation.
- The preparation of basic stacking diagrams.
- Assessing operational and maintenance issues.
- Appraisal of servicing strategies.
- Programme considerations.
- Procurement options.
Various stakeholders, statutory authorities and other third parties may need to be consulted in the preparation and assessment of feasibility studies. The assessments carried out should be presented in a structured way so the client can decide whether or not to proceed to the next stage. Wherever possible, any information prepared or obtained should be in a format which can be readily shared and used, and should be stored and named in a way consistent with the long-term project and operational needs.
 What happens after feasibility studies?
After assessing the feasibility studies, the client will decide whether to proceed to the next stage and if so, which options should be developed in more detail. Ideally there will be no more than four options at this stage. If more options exist it may be necessary to carry out further high-level studies before proceeding to more detailed options appraisals.
Options appraisals assess and compare a number of potential options before developing a concept design for the preferred option. Options appraisals might include diagrammatic options studies that enable the client to understand the broad pros and cons of the available options so that a preferred option can be selected.
- Briefing documents.
- Business case.
- Client requirements.
- Concept design.
- Development appraisal.
- Environmental Impact Assessment.
- Options review report.
- Planning permission.
- Site appraisals.
- Site information.
- Spatial diagram.
- Stacking diagram.
- Statutory approvals.
- Strategic brief.
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