Purchasing a piece of commercial property is a substantial financial commitment. Therefore, it is critical that you carefully examine the viability of a property based on your intended usage. Otherwise, you may experience a diminished return on investment or potentially a negative return.
To mitigate the risks associated with purchasing a commercial property, many investors and business owners leverage the services of a land development consulting company.
Below, we highlight the services that these entities provide so that you can determine whether partnering with a land development consultant is the right move for your business venture.
What Is Land Development?
Land development is altering, modifying, or reshaping the land. This broad phrase refers to everything from removing trees to hauling new soil and rerouting water flow. Land development also includes constructing built assets on the property, such as:
- Parking lots
- Industrial facilities
- Residential structures
As you are likely well aware, land development is heavily regulated at the federal, state, and local levels. Before you can modify land, you must navigate various overlapping regulations. You must also obtain proper permitting, schedule post-construction inspections, adhere to reporting requirements, and more.
What Does a Land Development Consulting Company Do?
Land development consulting companies offer a dynamic range of services. Whereas some firms focus on only one or two facets of land development consulting, others provide comprehensive support such as:
Due diligence is one of the most critical services provided by a land development consulting company. The term refers to the process of reviewing a property’s history.
Precisely, the consulting firm will determine what the land was used for in the past. The firm will also examine adjacent properties to determine whether these other parcels could have potentially impacted the subject site.
When conducting due diligence, the land development consulting firm searches for indicators of recognized environmental conditions (RECs). If RECs are discovered during preliminary analysis, further follow-up may be necessary. This follow-up will come from a Phase II environmental site assessment (ESA).
The presence of RECs may not necessarily make the land unusable. However, RECs can impact the value of the land or limit what sort of development can be performed.
Regulatory analysis is designed to identify what regulatory requirements apply to your intended use of the property. Each regulatory analysis will examine factors like zoning requirements and land development limitations.
During a regulatory analysis, the land development consulting firm will inform you of other relevant compliance issues, such as stormwater pollution prevention planning. The regulatory analysis aims to reduce the risk of land development delays.
Strategic Planning and Feasibility
Strategic planning and feasibility services are other forms of pre-purchase consulting. These services examine whether you can feasibly complete your project on a given parcel of land based on the property’s current state, condition, and price point.
This strategic planning and feasibility data will help you determine whether a parcel is an intelligent investment for your company or whether you should seek out another opportunity.
When using strategic planning and feasibility services, you must be transparent with your consulting firm. You should be clear about your budget, project completion timetable, and other specifics. This transparency will help them provide you with relevant information that you can use to guide your decision-making processes.
Land Development Engineering
Land development engineering involves altering a parcel to suit your project’s needs. During land development engineering, the consulting team will determine what alterations need to be made and lay out a plan for implementing those changes.
This work may include adding more soil to adjust elevations or clearing trees and other vegetation.
Land development engineers must meet established state and federal guidelines before altering the land. Otherwise, they will not be able to obtain the permitting necessary to move forward with your project.
Land Development Permitting
Modern land development permitting is precisely what it sounds like. The land development consulting firm will work on your behalf to obtain the requisite permits for your project.
While obtaining permits may appear to be a relatively straightforward process, it is often anything but. Obtaining these authorizations can be tedious, time-consuming, and expensive if you are not familiar with the land development permitting process.
Choosing a land development consulting company that handles permitting in-house can alleviate the burden on you and your staff. Since the firm has overseen many other key assessment and preparatory processes, it already possesses the necessary information to apply for the appropriate permits.
Preliminary Budget Analysis
A preliminary budget analysis is designed to help you predict your time to value and gauge the overall cost of your project. While this initial analysis is subject to change due to the unpredictability of commercial construction, it provides an excellent baseline to guide your decision-making.
This analysis is instrumental if you are seeking the support of outside investors, as the report can demonstrate the financial viability of your project.
Should I Hire a Land Development and Civil Consulting Company?
Yes, you should consider hiring land development consultants before purchasing commercial land. You should seek out development consultants regardless of whether the land you are buying has already been improved upon or is in its natural state.
A land development consulting partner can help you protect yourself against hidden environmental concerns, determine whether the land is feasible for your intended use case, and conduct a preliminary budget analysis.
With that in mind, you must choose a full-service partner that offers a comprehensive suite of services so that they can assist with both pre and post-purchase-related processes.
Alpha-Omega Training and Compliance (A-OTC) and our strategic partner, RISE Construction Services, can provide all of the above support. From pre-purchase due diligence to land development permitting, our teams can help you with all phases of land development. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.