An article highlighting our unique EnVISIONeering process was featured in the Commerical Real Estate Review. Text is below or view the PDF version by clicking here.
EnVISIONeering: Land Development That Will Revolutionize Your Site Due Diligence, Design, and Marketing Process
Land development is a high stakes, risky business.
Deciding which property to buy and how to develop it in the early due diligence process is one of the most important decisions a land developer will make. Over the years we have seen developers spend thousands of dollars on site designs, permits, and approvals only to find out in the end that it was not going to be a profitable project or worse, they actually built the project and then went bankrupt.
NOW, IMAGINE SEEING A VISION of your future project before you ever make the offer to buy the land. Imagine knowing how the site will lay out, how it will grade, and how much the site construction will cost. Imagine being able to look at numerous sites and various options on each one before you make the decision on which property to purchase. Relatively new technology has made all this possible to greatly improve the odds for success and return on investment. It’s what EnVISIONeering is all about.
EnVISIONeering your Site’s Development
It used to be very expensive and time consuming to build 3D site models; however, with the tools available today, you cannot afford not to create a 3D model to get all of the necessary information. EnVISIONeering starts with a simple street address and using Google Earth Pro to look at an aerial photo of the project with the tax parcel overlay.
This provides a feel for the location of existing site features, like buildings, streams, wooded areas, and possible access points. Next, use Google Street View to “walk” along the street frontage to see the site distances at possible access points and look for utilities. Initial due diligence determines what the municipal ordinances allow and what the developer wants to build. Then the model can be built.
Building the 3D model initially involves downloading aerial photos, contours, and parcel information. Next, the municipal design standards and the desired site layout parameters are input into the site analysis software. Now the magic starts to happen — conceptual site design.
Locations for stormwater management and areas that cannot be graded are delineated, followed by a street layout for residential designs or a parking lot and building layout for commercial designs. The interactive parametric features are easily revised allowing for quick consideration of numerous site layout options with minimal effort.
Cost Savings and Cost Estimates
Site grading typically accounts for 20 to 40 percent of the site construction cost, so optimizing the grading plan is essential to a successful land development project. Site grading is controlled by a number of parameters set by the designer, and then the 3D modeling program automatically grades the site by optimizing the site balance to find the lowest cost. This optimization will typically save about $15,000 per acre over conventional design methods. This amazing technology offers the luxury of doing thousands of grading plans to find the best, most cost-effective solution.
Since all of the conceptual design to this point has been 3D objects and all of those objects have been tracked by the program, the project report can provide a detailed site construction cost estimate for each alternative design. Now that was easy!
Using 3D Models in the Municipal Approval Process
The 3D model can be exported to Google Earth to put the model in context with the surrounding community. If the client has an architectural plan for their building, the shell of the building can be added to the model. This model can be saved as a Keyhole Markup Language Zipped (.kmz) file for viewing by anyone with Google Earth on their computer.
Three-dimensional site models have been very useful throughout the design process and in presenting projects to municipal boards and the public. These models help provide a much better understanding of the project and how it relates to surrounding properties. Typically putting the model into Google Earth is the best way to portray a project. This also offers the capability to actually walk through a site and show views of the project from neighboring properties. Commercial clients often want to see what their visibility will be from highways or other critical points of view.
Pre-Construction Sales and Marketing: See a VISION of your Future
Once municipal approvals are obtained, even more advanced 3D models and videos with animations can be created for marketing to investors, possible renters, or potential buyers for the project. Imagine getting a drone overview of the site layout and 360-degree interior views before construction even starts! These models can include people walking, biking, or driving cars through the project. The time of year, time of day, the weather, and even the amount of wind blowing through the trees can make for a pretty dramatic presentation. Building interiors can be rendered to show off whatever features you want to highlight. Imagine sending your buyer a link to a video with all of these features so that they can walk through your project and building before construction has even started! Do you think this may be a little more enticing than a simple brochure?