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  • Ryan Anderson, AIA/Principal/Lead Architect

Architecture Ancillary Services: Master Planning & Feasibility Studies

Master planning can involve any number of activities, but primarily relates to master planning the build-out of a particular site or building over time.

For site master plans, we collaborate with our in-house civil engineers to effectively and efficiently plan the overall layout of a piece of property, including the parking, buildings, green space, and other site amenities as well as develop cost estimates for the different phases of the project. The intent with the master plan is to provide a guiding document that helps an owner to build different phases of the site and buildings on the site over time.

For building master plans, we take a new building or an existing building that needs to be built, added on to, or remodeled and determine how best to accomplish the project in a phased approach to spread the costs out over time. For a new building we'll develop the full end product of the building wanted in the end and then start to break it apart into manageable pieces that can be added on in the future. For an existing building we'll analyze the existing layout, determine what portions of the building should be remodeled when, or where and when additions could be added. Costs again are estimated for each phase of a building master plan. This approach gives the owner a lot more flexibility for incrementally financing a building project over time.

Additionally we can provide feasibility studies based on a site, building, or cost perspective. Site feasibility centers around taking a site, determining all the constraints from size and topography to zoning, setbacks, and easements, establishing a feasible building footprint and orienting it on the site, and determining required parking, landscaping, and greenspace to assess if a site can be physically used and then developing a cost estimate to see if it is financially feasible for a particular project.

From a building feasibility standpoint, we can review existing buildings to assess if they will meet a client's needs for a particular purpose. This includes reviewing the allowable use of the building, construction type, physical structural loading requirements, space layout, structure layout, fire-rated construction requirements, egress requirements, necessary renovations, or necessary additions to ultimately determine if a building is suitable for that use and then balancing that with a cost estimate for any required renovations or additions. From there an owner can make an informed decision on if that building is right for them.

Ryan is a Vice President at Ackerman-Estvold and the architecture team lead and has been applying his trade in the region around Minot for the past 17 years. If you have any questions throughout this series or would like more information on a particular topic, by all means contact us and we'd be more than happy to have a conversation.

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