Successful property development – In a nutshell

Published on 17th February 2016

Successful property development – In a nutshell, expert advice from Ian Firth

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Whether commercial or residential – the development game is full of pitfalls and isn’’t something you should rush into. There are questions worth asking.

The first thing to ask yourself: do you have the time or ability to manage a complex building project. If not, seek assistance as early as possible.… In my experience, an investment in professional guidance is rarely a cost.

If you don’’t believe me, watch a few episodes of Grand Designs!

The next question: do you know someone who has done something similar. Ask around… what went well? What would they have done differently? Why?

Set your budget as early as possible and discuss it with your advisers. Find an affordable figure, then reduce it by 10% for a contingency.

What are you prepared to compromise: Design or Cost?
Cost is usually the deciding factor– yet good design often provides financial benefits in the long run. Doing things on the cheap is always false economy.

Expect around 10 – 12% of your total budget to cover project fees. Choose professionals by recommendation, not by price. Avoid unqualified advisers. Instead, look for chartered surveyors, architects or other recognised qualifications – professional members will be experienced, accountable and insured.

Be a great customer; listen to advice, and pay on time! You’’ll get superb attention from people who are used to chasing payments!

Stick with your brief. Frequent changes are our worst nightmare as they create domino effects and add avoidable costs.

Don’’t let the planners limit your ambition; they will have their own ideas – but remember, planners are not architects. Listen to your advisers and only compromise if it’’s recommended to do so.

Finally, ask your advisers about the 2015 Construction Design & Management Regulations. If they can’t advise you about your responsibilities, walk away and appoint someone else!

Ian Firth
0845 544 1990


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