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When finding a new site to build on, it’s important to get everything as perfect as possible. The last thing a business owner wants is to find out that there is some major problem with the site that halts construction. A major stoppage can be costly and set the construction timeline back by months. It’s not ideal to have a bunch of construction contractors sitting around getting paid for not being able to work either. We’ve compiled a list of things you will want to check on any site before you start building.

 

What is due diligence?

In the broadest sense, due diligence is taking reasonable steps to make sure that a course of action is right. When it comes to businesses and people, due diligence involves investigation before signing a contract or making an agreement. When it comes to a construction site, due diligence is the process of assessing the site to mitigate risks to building and ensure that it is suitable for its intended purpose. 

Due diligence my refer to a construction contract. In this case, a commercial contractor will be required to complete works with care and appropriate effort. The goal of this contract is to minimize risks to people and property, while at the same time ensuring the project is completed in a timely and cost-effective manner. A construction contract may impose strict obligations that a contractor must follow.

 

Due diligence checklist

Here is a list we have made of all the things that should be checked in a site before it is worked on. It is also wise to check these things before even purchasing the site, or at least making sure that everything is attainable after purchase.

 

Site information

This is the basic information regarding the construction site. 

  • Site address
  • Location on a map
  • Contact details for neighboring businesses/tenants
  • Accessibility: how can the site be reached? How can the building (if it is a building and not just a plot of land) be entered?
  • Site logistics: how can materials and personnel reach the site? What about costs involved in this transportation?
  • Site security: Can the materials reach the site safely? Will people and materials be safe on site? This applies to workers, construction materials, and equipment.

 

Site services

  • Fire mitigation: sprinklers, fire hydrants, and fire extinguishers.
  • Communications infrastructure on site.
  • Wireless  networks and satellite reception on site.
  • Electrical infrastructure. What is the maximum wattage a site can handle (the electrical load it can take)? 
  • Gas/heating for the site. 
  • Sewers and drains. Drainage is important for a construction project. Sewer service is important for any place that will have indoor plumbing.
  • Water supply capacity and infrastructure. 

 

Legal

  • Deeds/titles.
  • Ownership, boundaries and possible disputes.
  • Government planned works in or around the site.
  • Necessary purchase orders.
  • Appraisals for the site’s structure. This includes building appraisals, light appraisals (especially if light pollution is controlled), and wall appraisals.
  • Agreements for existing services; electrical, telecommunications, and more.
  • Existing licenses for the site.
  • Rights of underground and other infrastructure that must pass around, under, or through the site, neighboring land, rights of drawing water, etc.
  • Tree preservation and other land rights. This includes conservation areas and land rights. For example, it may be illegal to remove certain natural aspects like trees, or it may be illegal to do certain works nearby public parks. Historical areas also have differing and sometimes stringent preservation requirements.
  • Building regulations/approvals. What CAN be built on this site? What can NOT?
  • Waterway restrictions.
  • Railways/transportation restrictions.
  • Advertisements allowed on site.
  • Civil aviation authority restrictions.
  • Car parking agreements and licenses.
  • Existing agreements contracts on site. 
  • Possible illegal occupants.

 

Surveys

This is the physical appraisal/survey of the land and existing constructions that exist where a building site is. 

  • Topography survey.
  • Survey of existing buildings, construction, and infrastructure on the site. This includes condition surveys, demolition surveys, and structural investigations.
  • Historic use.
  • Site investigation.
  • Contamination/pollution survey. This gets complicated when there are previously-used but toxic materials, like asbestos.
  • Boundary surveys.
  • Air quality survey.
  • Underground tunnel search.
  • Local transport infrastructure.
  • Ecological survey.
  • Local climate.
  • Photographic survey (for investors, business owners, and contractors).

 

Planning

Once you have a site picked and everything checks out, it’s time to start the planning process of what you want to do.

  • Applications and approvals for what you want to build on the site. This includes the areas around the site that you will be using.
  • Social and economic studies. Will the new building be a profitable investment?
  • Access. Will the building be accessible for the planned construction?
  • Cumulative impact. What will the impact of the finished build/ongoing construction be on the business and local area?
  • Visual impact assessment. This is important nearby parks, historical areas, and protected regions.
  • Sustainability statement.
  • Heritage. Tying into the sustainability, visual, and cumulative impact. Will the site maintain the community heritage?
  • Traffic assessment. How will traffic in the area affect the site? How will site construction affect nearby traffic?
  • Flood/natural disaster risk.
  • Air quality.
  • Noise pollution/impact of the neighborhood on the site and of the site on the neighborhood.

 

Summary

Obviously, everything mentioned above is a lot to keep in mind. To simplify it, there are five basic steps in due diligence for a site:

  1. Site information
  2. Legal Searches
  3. Surveys
  4. Site services
  5. Planning

Here is a useful checklist.

If you follow those steps, you should be able to perform due diligence. If everything seems complicated and difficult, that’s because it is. Why not let us do it for you? Reliable Commercial has over 35 years of experience building, remodeling, and more on various different construction sites. We would be happy to do your due diligence for you. Just like your business, you will need your construction site and the people working on it to be reliable. Send us a message today to get started.