What Is A Feasibility Study?

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Principal | Chief Executive Officer

Determining the feasibility of a project requires an in-depth analysis of the various working parts within a project’s scope. A feasibility study allows for an organized breakdown of different factors to help determine if a project will be achievable in the end, overall. For landscape architecture and urban design, determining the feasibility of a project early on is crucial to employ a design that speaks to the goals of the project and meets any requirements. This article will highlight the importance of feasibility studies, the different types, and the process of conducting a feasibility study.

Why Feasibility Studies Are Important

A feasibility study is important for any project as it provides a thorough understanding of information and allows for better decision-making on the proposal. Project management can help support the planning process and organization, but a feasibility study enhances the success of a project by evaluating its viability. How can you understand a project’s needs without determining its potential and risks? Evaluating the issues early on can help establish a reliable reason to take on a project or identify reasons not to proceed.

Understanding Feasibility Studies

As a part of the planning process, feasibility studies should occur before any work has begun. In design, establishing a project’s practicality and distinct characteristics can influence design decisions. Conducting a feasibility study can help analyze the surrounding spaces of a project to better understand what is needed in the community and evaluate what is realistically achievable. Knowing the best use of space, any potential risks, and developing effective project management can only be done by recognizing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a proposal. However, in any project, a particular type of feasibility study might become more prominent than another depending on the scope of work.

Types of Feasibility Studies

Market Feasibility Study

A market feasibility study helps assess the demand for a project’s end product. A market analysis can help determine the industry variables such as pricing, supplies, competitors, customer demand, and sales projections. How will the deliverables perform? How competitive is the industry? 

For example, what does the housing market need in a particular community? Looking at the demographics and conducting analysis can help highlight new opportunities such as creating communities that offer visitable housing for those who have accessibility needs or are looking for homes where they can age in one place. 

Technical Feasibility Study

In order to examine the practical aspects of implementing a project, a technical feasibility study can be conducted. This assesses the technical resources and knowledge required to complete the project goals. For a project to be technically feasible, the company must be capable of meeting the production capacity as well as having access to the proper equipment, resources, raw materials, and facility demands.

Economic Feasibility Study

An economic feasibility study evaluates the economic viability, including cost estimates and revenue projections. It provides a cost-benefit analysis, an expected return on investment, and any financial risks. This can be done by estimating resource needs—using a cost breakdown, identifying sources of funding, and estimating the expected revenue. Conducting a financial analysis of industrial averages and utilizing financial projection documents can help determine if a project is financially achievable.

Legal Feasibility Study

Legal feasibility studies identify any potential legal and regulatory issues that could impact the project. What are the local bylaws, permits or licenses that could impact the success of the project? A legal analysis of the relevant laws and restrictions allows the project to progress successfully from the start and can help minimize potential liabilities.

Operational Feasibility Study

Looking at the logistical aspects, an operational feasibility study can bring the project to life. The operational feasibility study looks at the requirements surrounding the creation of a project. It looks at how the development company may need to support the proposal through staffing requirements, organizational structure, and how resilient it is to complications.

The Process of Conducting Feasibility Studies

Preliminary Analysis

A preliminary analysis would begin by outlining the project plan as an initial step in understanding if it is feasible. It can also help determine if conducting a complete feasibility study is justified or if the project is not worth the effort and costs. This preliminary analysis of the project’s expectations helps to identify any barriers before beginning an intensive study. 

Detailed Study

Starting a detailed analysis would involve a more intensive look into the different types of feasibility studies. It first involves defining the scope of work to clarify the goals, phases, and deliverables. 

Conducting a physical site inventory or analysis is a good place to start. This is a list of the features (both natural and artificial) that are currently present on the subject site. A landscape architect firm and urban designers can help the client understand the conditions of the soil, climate, vegetation, drainage, and adjacencies, as well as determine the physical constraints and opportunities of the site in relation to the project goals. 

Then, there needs to be an understanding of the market. Market research can help understand the demand and value of the project based on current demographics. 

Lastly, the study would include a financial assessment to recognize any potential failures that could occur during the advancement of the project. Understanding the human resources, equipment, and facilities needed will highlight any of the risks down the line. 

Evaluation of Alternatives

An overall evaluation and efficient project management can help narrow down the factors and scope of the proposal. If any problems do arise, what are the alternatives? How could they be prevented? Is there a solution? For instance, when the success of a project is a risk, are the parameters still feasible enough for the plan to be carried out in phases?

Go/No-Go Decisions

Consider if the project is worth the time, effort, and money. Is the project feasible? Do the goals of the project align with the company’s aspirations? These are the final considerations before deciding whether to move forward with a project or not.

Feasibility Study Best Practices

The best feasibility study practices in design would include an intensive report covering every aspect involved in a potential project. The combination of feasibility study types can anticipate the needs within a community and outline the various design outcomes of a space. This could include: An executive summary of the project, the demographics and market analysis, a site evaluation, looking at the regulations and guidelines, technical considerations, master planning, scheduling and phasing, a financial analysis, any recommendations, and the final application and approval. 

Conclusion

An in-depth feasibility study sets a strong foundation for design and helps break down the complex groundwork of a project. Its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will outline the marketing, technical, financial and legal possibilities of the proposal. By balancing the desired outcomes of a project with the practical realities, a feasibility study provides an assessment of how likely the project is to succeed. 

Sources

https://www.projectmanager.com/training/how-to-conduct-a-feasibility-study

https://asana.com/resources/feasibility-study

https://www.basearchitecture.co.uk/news/the-role-of-feasibility-studies-in-architecture/

https://www.wrike.com/blog/how-to-do-a-feasibility-study/

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