Managing the Unknowns of a Site Selection

Managing the Unknowns of a Site Selection

When it comes to a “ground up” building project, site selection is of utmost importance. In some cases, location alone can make or break a business. After all, there’s a reason for the famous real estate slogan that it’s all about “location, location, location!” 

Rufty-Peedin is uniquely positioned to handle every aspect of site selection, from initially vetting land to uncovering hidden issues and all the details in between. 

Throughout this article, we’ll walk you through our site selection process and talk more about the different factors that contribute to overall site costs.

Finding the perfect piece of land.

Simply put, without land, you don’t have a project. We can help you evaluate your needs, locate a piece of land, and determine whether it will be a good choice for your business. That’s just one reason why it makes sense to work with Rufty-Peedin for your commercial design-build projects. 

The importance of broker relationships.

We work with a number of commercial real estate broker teams throughout the area to find sites for our clients. 

Maintaining these broker relationships is a key component of what our team does, primarily because it puts us in the best position to find land that meets the needs of our clients. 

Location is everything.

We have a saying around here that “the land is the most important piece of the pie.” Choosing the right location is a critical component of a commercial design-build project. We’ll help you find something that fits your needs, offers the required exposure, and meets your logistical goals. 

Assessing a site location.

When you work with Rufty-Peedin, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that we have your best interests at heart when helping you select a location for your business. For every project, an Environmental Assessment is performed to minimize unforeseen liabilities and environmental contaminants like unsuitable soils and/or subsurface rock. 

This in-depth assessment covers historical data about the land, examines it for hazardous materials, and more. Report-length aside, the assessment uncovers any environmental issues before you start building on a site. 

For instance, an Environmental Assessment may uncover a leaking underground fuel tank hidden on a site. Knowing this tank allows us to avoid numerous issues could and would have arisen — therefore impacting our valued client’s timeline and budget. 

Performing the Environmental Assessment may be a requirement when borrowing funds from a bank, but it’s also a general best practice that Rufty-Peedin stands behind for all of our free-standing building projects. 

Moving forward after a potential site has been selected.

Finding a piece of land for our clients’ businesses is really just the beginning of site selection at Rufty-Peedin. There’s still plenty of work to be done before the actual build can begin. We refer to this as the vetting process.

Zoning procedures.

First up, the Rufty-Peedin team ensures that the land is properly zoned for the intended use. For a simple example, an office building can’t be built in a residential zone. 

If a client is interested in a site that isn’t zoned for their intended use, we can explore rezoning options, but this is a lengthy legal process, and sometimes rezoning is simply not a viable option. 

Due diligence period.

Our team typically has a minimum period to perform a site assessment for our clients. After land is under contract, if we uncover an issue during this process, our clients have the ability to walk away from the site with little to no obligation. 

We believe in full transparency, and we’ll always share the good, the bad, and the ugly of the selected site so you can make the best decision for your business. And if you do decide to walk away from the chosen site, we will assist in finding another. This is just another advantage when you chose Rufty-Peedin as your commercial design-build partner. 

Sketch plan meeting.

During the due diligence period, we hold a sketch plan meeting in the municipality where the site is located. We’ll go over a site plan that depicts where the building will go with town officials and our team will hear feedback from those officials.

From there, we’ll combine historical data and legislative feedback to create a feasibility budget based on what our client wants to build and what needs to be done to get started. 

Full transparency.

While unknowns can always arise during a project, we try our best to make sure you’re never blindsided, and we’ll work through any issues that do come up together, guiding you along the way.

Factors that impact the cost of a commercial building site.

Not surprisingly, one question we frequently get asked by our clients is, “How much will the site cost?” It can be easy to overlook all the different factors that impact the cost of a site, so here’s a closer look at the most common unexpected expenses. 

Topography challenges.

The physical makeup of the land is the single biggest factor in determining cost. Recently, we’ve noticed more leftover sites than ever before. As time goes by, those leftover sites become more and more challenging. 

Pad-ready sites.

A pad-ready site — or a pre-graded lot is a pad that is ready to be built on — can be expensive upfront, but it eliminates many challenges as mentioned previously. 

Unified Development Ordinances (UDO).

As a company located in the heart of the Triangle, we stay up-to-date on the areas’ land use and development ordinances.

We are well-versed in these ever-changing regulations and with the assistance of our consulting planners and engineers, we communicate with you throughout the site selection process to help minimize the surprise of extra costs that may result from an unexpected regulation. 

Why commercial and residential building costs don’t compare.

A common misconception when starting a commercial build project can be first-time commercial clients assume the project will be similar to a residential build process. While it’s true that there are some similarities, there are many more differences than our clients may realize, particularly when it comes to costs and complexity. 

Let’s use the stormwater management as an example. A new residential subdivision will have already accounted for stormwater management and other building codes, so it’s not something that home buyers will ever have to think about. During a commercial project, that responsibility falls on us to relay the stormwater management procedures back to our clients. 

Similarly, commercial projects have much stricter building codes than residential projects. There are ADA (American Disability Act) and other federal requirements that commercial buildings must meet to help protect the general public that are simply not required for residential construction.

All of these additional requirements can ultimately lead to a more expensive project. Working with a commercial builder that isn’t well-versed in these regulations can leave you vulnerable to extra costs, a bloated timeline, and numerous headaches — all of which could be avoided by working with a design-build firm like Rufty-Peedin. 

Contact us today.

Don’t leave your commercial building project to chance. Instead, work with an open and honest commercial design team like Rufty-Peedin. We’ll communicate with you every step of the way, from helping you find the perfect site for your company, to the day you open your doors for business and everything in between. 

Contact us today to talk about your building concept and learn how our team can help you bring it to life. 

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