A feasibility study is an important early step in the architectural process. Whether you want to construct a new building, undertake a renovation, or improve your current space, an architect can help you explore options and determine budgets.
If you are considering hiring an architect for a feasibility study, you may be curious about the cost. Like nearly all architectural services, the cost of a feasibility study is based on the architect’s time and effort.
Several factors determine how much time and effort goes into the study, including:
- The number of options you explore
- The level of existing documentation
- The number of consultants needed
- The need for a programming study
This article will discuss each of these factors in greater detail, helping you understand the complexity of your study and how much it may cost.
4 Factors that Influence the Cost of a Feasibility Study
1. The Number of Options You Explore
Feasibility studies can range in complexity. On the simpler end of the spectrum, your architect will assess your current facility to help you understand the opportunities and challenges it presents.
More complex studies will involve multiple options and concepts. Perhaps you want to compare the feasibility of a renovation to the feasibility of a new building. Or perhaps you want to expand your facility and test multiple concepts.
There’s no limit to the number of options you can explore. The level of analysis depends on your needs and goals.
However, exploring more options will increase the length of the study—and its cost. If you want to reduce the cost, you may need to explore fewer options.
2. The Level of Documentation
Whether you are assessing your current facility or planning a renovation, you will need to supply your architect with drawings and maintenance records. Your architect will use the drawings to understand your facility’s layout and structure. If you have maintenance records for equipment and building components, your architect can use them to determine which items are nearing the end of their life or experiencing high maintenance costs.
With these documents, they can focus their attention on the most important parts of your building, making the process more efficient.
If you don’t have drawings, your architect can take measurements, perform 3D laser scans, and create a new set. This service, however, may lengthen the study and increase the cost.
Similarly, if you don’t have maintenance records, your architect and their consultants can check all your equipment and assess how it’s operating. This will also lengthen the study and impact the cost.
Keep in mind: if you have a facilities manager who understands the condition of your building’s equipment, an equipment check may not be necessary. Your architect can work directly with the facilities manager to determine if anything is reaching the end of its lifecycle.
3. Number of Consultants
Along with an architect, a feasibility study can include third-party consultants like mechanical, structural, and civil engineers. Depending on the project’s complexity, your architect may begin assessing your facility and determine they need a specialist’s perspective.
For example, they may need to consult a structural engineer to examine an older building or a civil engineer to perform a survey and review storm water requirements. They may also need to consult a geotechnical engineer to examine the site’s soil conditions and determine the bearing capacity.
These specialists bring an extra layer of sophistication to the report and give you a better understanding of the work involved and the potential cost.
Generally, architects will include consultants’ fees within their contract, but you can also opt to work with each consultant separately.
Keep in mind: this will put more responsibility on you to manage the feasibility study. Usually, we only recommend this route for building owners with the experience and time to coordinate communication between consultants. Otherwise, your architect can act as the project manager and work directly with all necessary parties.
4. The Need for a Programming Study
In some cases, you may need to complete a programming study before a feasibility study. Programming is a process of determining your needs and quantifying them into spaces. The study results in a “program”—a document that outlines the spaces you need, any required design features, and their size requirements.
If you plan to renovate your facility or build new, you will need to provide a program. Your architect will use this document throughout the feasibility study to explore concepts and test their viability.
If you are unsure of your needs, your architect can lead you through the programming process and help you set goals. The programming study may increase what you pay for architectural services as programming is typically priced as a separate service.
To learn more, read our comprehensive guide to programming.
Keep in mind: a program is only necessary if you are planning a renovation, addition, or a new building. If you are only examining your current space and exploring your options, a program may not be necessary.
Ready to Learn More?
A feasibility study can give you a better understanding of your options and help you determine the total cost of your building project. As a supplemental service, a feasibility study is outside the scope of basic services. Architects base the cost on the time and effort they put into the study.
If you are curious about the cost of your feasibility study, assess the complexity of your needs. If your study involves multiple options, a new set of drawings, specialists, and programming, it will be at the higher end of the price spectrum. If you just need someone to look at the state of your existing facility, the price may be less expensive.
Learn more about the costs you will encounter on a building project by reading our guide to construction and project costs. To learn how we can help with your feasibility study, contact us, and schedule a chat with an architect.