Why Are Planners, Architects and Property Developers Moving Towards Feasibility Report Automation?
Feasibility reports play a crucial role in architectural and engineering projects. You’ll use them to figure out if you can do the job before you get started. There’s an increasing move towards automation in this area.
When you propose for a new project, the design itself is not your only concern. You may need to generate a feasibility report to show that you can pull the work off. Alternatively, you may work with a developer from the start of a project. They’ll want to know how they can maximise profit from their development project. And they’ll want to know fast.
This is where feasibility reports come into play. A feasibility report details the particulars of the project. It covers building requirements, and usually takes local government issues into account. The report includes zoning, planning permission, and the feasibility of the structure.
As a result, you must collect a huge amount of data to generate your reports. In traditional reporting, you’ll go through this data manually. You find the key information for use in the project. This is a time-consuming process. That’s not something you want when under pressure from a client to deliver fast results. On top of that, sifting through so much information prevents you from focusing on other areas of the project.
There is a solution. There’s a growing trend of automation in feasibility reports. This mirrors the trend towards automation in other areas of architecture and engineering. Take Building Information Modelling (BIM) as an example. BIM software packages can take the data you enter and provide automated results. This saves time that you can spend elsewhere.
Several software packages do the same for elements of feasibility reports. Let’s look at how this helps architects, engineers, and property developers.
What is Feasibility Report Automation?
Feasibility report automation is a broad term. The software packages you use may cover a wide spectrum in terms of what they offer. However, on a general level, feasibility report automation is about making your job easier. Different software packages should help you sift through your data, so you can spend time on strategic work.
Take our ArchiStarr platform as an example. The software has two main features:
- Checking compliance
- Generating building designs
Compliance checks take up a lot of your time. You have to contact local councils to ensure your structures meet current regulations. There are also different rules for each state. A software package like ArchiStarr takes that into account. This helps you to create more accurate feasibility reports.
Beyond that, it can automate basic building designs because it has a large library of compliant apartment and building layouts. Because the software exhaustively goes through many different design options, this helps you to maximise the profitability of your structures. Property developers want to make the most money from their work. ArchiStarr offers you a batch of designs that you can build from. Again, this takes away much of the manual work involved in feasibility reports.
Typical Considerations for Residential Feasibility
Let’s focus on residential feasibility for a moment. There are several considerations to concern yourself with when building residential property. These include the following:
Local Government Zoning
Each state has its own zoning laws. And each local government has its own zoning laws. There are hundreds of local governments in Australia and there are tens of thousands of local governments in the USA (!!!!) As a result, building in New South Wales differs from building in Victoria. Each state has its own zoning website. You'll see pages of rules and regulations on these sites. Your structures must meet all these regulations.
With traditional reports, you’d have to go through this information manually. You also have to apply what you learn to your design and conduct checks. Automation ensures your designs meet local government zoning requirements automatically.
There are two issues to take into account in regard to floor space:
- Gross Floor Area
- The Floor Space ratio
Each involves several calculations, which you repeat for every design. Automation handles these calculations for you. You may even set desired figures for each, and allow the software to handle the rest.
Furthermore, you may use these calculations to determine unit and balcony size. Each plays a role in tenants’ decisions. Automated reports help you to get it right and maximise profitability.
Apartment blocks rarely contain completely even units. Architects and property developers must account for different tenant demands. If they don't, they can't maximise profit. As a result, they often include a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units in their blocks.
Again, this requires a lot of manual calculations. You have to figure out the best ratio for maximising profit. Feasibility report automation provides several possible configurations automatically. This allows you to work out which mix of units works best for your aims.
Several states apply height limits that define building size. Most use these limits to ensure different regions have a specific character to them. A state may apply low height limits in an area that contains only houses, such as a suburb. However, these limits increase in cities, as these areas have high population densities.
Building height is a simple measurement. You take a defined point on the ground level and measure upwards to the highest point directly above. However, you need to know the height limits you’re working to before you can do this. Automation ensures you restrict your designs based on these height limits.
Sustainability has been a hot button topic in the industry for several years. A desire to create sustainable structures has also led to the rise of BIM. Often, your structures must meet environmental requirements.
Feasibility report automation allows you to define these requirements from the start. For example, you may need an apartment building to have a certain percentage of units with solar access. Or, you may need to account for cross ventilation in a percentage of units. With automated software, you can define these requirements. The reports and designs you generate will then meet these environmental conditions.
This is where feasibility report automation can help in the design process. You may have certain preferred ways for your buildings to look to maximise water views. There may also be restrictions to consider. These include height limits and design issues.
These are your view preferences, and every design you create takes them into account. With some residential feasibility software packages, you can define these preferences in advance. The software then creates designs based on those preferences.
Car Park Ratios
Most tenants want somewhere safe to park their cars. However, it’s all too easy to underestimate parking requirements.
Automation allows you to create a suitable ratio of parking spaces per apartment unit.
Besides a state’s regular zoning requirements, you may also have to deal with heritage zoning. States put these in place to maintain the character of an area. For example, an area with lots of older buildings may have zoning laws in place. Without heritage zoning, such areas may lose their character. New buildings dilute it to the point that it disappears.
Heritage areas may also include places of historical interest. You’ll face limits in such areas, assuming you can even build there at all. Feasibility report automation provides quick answers. This ensures you don’t waste time designing for an unsuitable area.
Also known as landslides, landslips present risks to your building and its occupants. There are several regions where landslips are a key concern. Building in such an area without taking the proper precautions may lead to problems later on. For example, you may have to claim on your insurance if a landslip occurs. Meeting the regulations is key to ensuring you can.
Residential feasibility involves taking this, and other risks, into account. This involves meeting building regulations that you’d traditionally have to research yourself. Automated feasibility software packages do this for you. They also let you know if something’s wrong with your design.
The Key Benefits
Those are some of the key considerations for building residential properties. Now let’s look at some of the key benefits of automated software.
Benefit #1 – Maximising the Development Potential
By using the computer to analyse countless design options, using Automated feasibility software gives the best opportunity to maximise the site.
Recently ArchiStarr was able to help a developer in India create an additional 120 apartments with unobstructed views in a recently completed development, with no building design changes.
Locally, an Australian developer successfully fit an extra eight units in a recently completed development with the same outcome.
Benefit #2 – Saving Time
Efficiency is crucial for property developers and architects. If you can’t deliver a project or proposal on time, your clients may look for people who can. Unfortunately, each of the above considerations takes time to account for. If you do it all manually, you may spend too many hours defining restrictions. This takes away from the time you spend on designing the structure itself.
Automated feasibility software eliminates the need for manual research. Many have key considerations coded into them. As a result, you just define the relevant considerations before getting to work. Furthermore, you can also define your own restrictions. This includes legal issues and building restrictions. The software takes these factors into account when generating your reports.
Beyond this, feasibility requires a lot of repetition. Doing the same task over and over manually also wastes time. It also increases the possibility of fatigue affecting your work. Automation handles the repetitive stuff for you, so you can focus on the major issues.
Benefit #3 – Accuracy and Peace of Mind
Creating manual reports opens you up to human error. A miscalculation could cause issues with the entire design that you don’t catch until later on. In the worst-case scenario, these miscalculations take you back to the drawing board. You waste hours, or even days, of work because of an avoidable mistake.
When you automate, you take the potential for such errors off the table. Computers don’t make the calculation mistakes that humans make. As long as you define your initial parameters accurately, you can trust your software. It will create accurate reports. This saves time that you may have wasted on correcting mistakes. Furthermore, it means that you don’t face embarrassing situations. Imagine you clients spotting mistakes that you missed. This could thwart a project before it gets off the ground. Automation avoids that issue.
Benefit #4 – Saving Money
Less repetition means less money spent on your designs. Manual research means allocating more money to cover the time needed. With automation, this isn't a concern.
Clients love saving money. If you can deliver comparable results for less than your competition, you’ll win more work. Automated feasibility studies allow you to do just that. You can save money, which helps clients. Alternatively, you give them the option of investing that money in other areas of the project.
Benefit #5 – Meeting Local Government Requirements
As mentioned, every state has its own rules in regard to zoning. There are also building regulations that you must account for with each design. Failure to meet these legal requirements can lead to disastrous consequences.
An automated feasibility study takes these local government issues into account from the beginning. You cut down time spent speaking to local government and researching regulations. Instead, your software tells you if your designs don’t meet the local government requirements for an area.
Many in the architectural and engineering sectors fear automation. They may believe that an overreliance on automation makes them redundant.
That’s not the case. Automation is a tool that you can use to become more efficient. This opens the door for accepting more work, as well as helping you to satisfy clients.
Many top Architecture firms and Property Developers now use ArchiStarr to automate their feasibility reports.
Feasibility report automation saves time and money. You don't have to do as much research. This means you spend your time doing what you do best – designing. Furthermore, automation takes away the stress of meeting government requirements. It also generates more accurate reports that aren’t prone to human error.
Instead of making you redundant, automation helps you to do your job better. In the case of software platforms like ArchiStarr, it can also spur your creativity. An automated feasibility software generates designs based on your restrictions. This helps during the starting stages of a complex project.
So, how do you get started? That’s where ArchiStar Academy can help. We offer ArchiStarr platform to help automate your feasibility reports. Furthermore, we provide the training you need to make the most out of the platform. With our help, you can create accurate feasibility reports faster.
ArchiStar Academy offers several courses across the spectrum of digital design software. You’ll develop your skills, allowing you to create more accurate and functional models.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Archistar Academy today if you have any questions.
If you would like to share your thoughts on our blog, we’d love to hear from you!
Get in touch with the ArchiStar Academy community via Facebook.
Posted on 15 Nov 2019