Last edited 02 Jul 2018

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Site selection and acquisition for construction

Site selection and acquisition is crucial when the client does not own the site to be developed. It should be undertaken as early as possible, ideally, in parallel with feasibility studies. This work may be carried out by a specialist consultant.

Key to the process is ensuring that the requirements for the site are properly defined, that the selected site meets these requirements and that it is acquired within the constraints of the project programme and with minimal risk to the client.

To achieve these objectives the following tasks need to be carried out:

  • Preparing a statement of objectives/requirements for the site and facility/buildings and agreeing this with the client.
  • Preparing a specification for site selection, establishing the criteria for evaluating sites based on the objectives/requirements and agreeing weightings with the client.
  • Establishing the outline funding arrangements.
  • Determining responsibilities within the project team (client/project manager/commercial property agent).
  • Appointing/briefing members of the team and developing a schedule for site selection and acquisition; monitoring and controlling progress against the schedule.
  • Actioning site searches and collecting data on sites, including local planning requirements, for evaluation against the criteria. See technical due diligence and site appraisals for more information.
  • Evaluating sites against the criteria and producing a short list of three or four.
  • Establishing initial options and developing costs.
  • Discussing short-listed sites with relevant planning authorities.
  • Obtaining advice on the approximate open-market value of short-listed sites.
  • Selecting the preferred site from the short list.
  • Appointing agents for price negotiation and separate agents for independent valuation.
  • Appointing lawyers as appropriate.
  • Determining specific financial arrangements.
  • Exchanging contracts for site acquisition once terms are agreed, conditional upon relevant matters, such as ground investigation, planning consent and so on.

The text in this article is based on an extract from PROJECT MANAGEMENT, by Eric Stokes and Saleem Akram. The original manual was published in 2008. It was developed within the scope of the LdV program, project number: 2009-1-PL1-LEO05-05016 entitled “Common Learning Outcomes for European Managers in Construction”. It is reproduced here in a slightly modified form with the kind permission of the Chartered Institute of Building.


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