The Importance of Feasibility Study

What is a feasibility study?

When you go to a dentist, the first visit is a diagnostic exam. Its purpose is to determine the condition of your teeth and the treatments they might need. As a result, the doctor will then give you a quotation and description of the work.

Now, when it comes to building a house (or renovating it), people often make the mistake of jumping in and hiring a contractor or a designer without getting informed of the value the designer has to offer. In fact, many are quite unaware of having such an option, let alone how to conduct it. 

Before hiring an expert, you can do the preliminary study and get a detailed picture of your upcoming project. This is what we call the Low Consultation Commitment, or feasibility study. In a way, it’s no different than a diagnostic visit to the dentist. After you receive the report, you have a much better vision of what to expect and how to move forward. Consequently, you define the right direction for starting your journey.  

I have several clients who chose to do an LCC with me first, which helps them start the process adequately informed from the beginning. The information that we offer in the LCC provides all the necessary knowledge the client needs in order to take the following steps of their project with confidence and clarity.

Feasibility Study for Construction Project

Add a second story to the house
Coquitlam Home designer

Feasibility studies must be undertaken in the very early stage of a project. They are particularly needed when a project is large or complex, or there is some doubt or controversy involved regarding the proposed development. Feasibility studies also involve specific requirements, such as environmental impact assessments.

Feasibility Study’s Purpose

  • Determining the viability of the project
  • Identifying all feasible options.
  • Assisting in the project documentation development, including business case, strategic brief, or project execution plan.

Large projects usually require at least several different feasibility studies on various expertise. They commonly include: 

  • Allowable floor area
  • Environmental impact assessment 
  • Setbacks
  • Budget analysis
  • Assessment of the existing facilities and their utility
  • Height restrictions
  • Solutions to accessing potential sites
  • Servicing strategies
  • Options for improvement
  • …and other

The more structured is the presentation of assessments, the easier it will be for a prospective client to decide whether or not, or how, to proceed to the next stage. For that reason, the format should be comprehensive and accessible.
You can book your free 15 min. call with an expert here

Why is Feasibility Study Important

cafe design
cafe design

A proper architectural feasibility study will consider all of the proposed project’s aspects, and allow the clients to understand and test the viability of the project before undertaking any real major investment. In other words, it needs to answer the big questions in order to support the decision-making process.

Undertaking a feasibility study allows testing of the development idea in order to find the weak spots, sideways, and space for improvement. The study takes into consideration all factors that may be directly or indirectly associated with the project. In a way, it determines the proper focus direction for the development. 

An architectural feasibility study covers various aspects of the project with different approaches determined by development objectives. It starts with a detailed evaluation of the site’s suitability and a budget estimation based on quantifiable construction costs. Still, the final result comes from asking and answering all the big questions. For that reason, an architectural feasibility study is, more or less, a guarantee that a project is viable in most -or all- fields.

The Answers It Can Provide

  • The chance to have the planning permission granted
  • What to expect regarding the construction costs
  • What to expect regarding operational costs
  • Alternatives, and possible more economical options (renovation or new construction)
  • All the non-negotiable issues that may affect the project viability
  • The levels of risk involved in the investment
  • The expected deadline for the completion of the project
  • When is it likely to generate a profit, if any is expected
  • Parties, consultants, and engineers involved in the project and their timeline to present their services
  • The questions that come with securing necessary funding from banking institutions or availing of any grant aid available.
  • A road map that explains where to start and where to finish the project

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the feasibility study can unveil a necessary financial reality check for investors. It answers the questions needed to avoid the dangerous traps, so the investors can withdraw before wasting money on projects that are not viable.

How to Conduct a Feasibility Study

Vancouver remodelling
Vancouver remodelling

Prior to making a feasibility study, we meet with the clients. Firstly, we learn about their needs and ideas through a discussion. Secondly, the next step is to visit the site for an initial assessment, followed by preliminary concepts. After we establish the proper base, we use it to explore the feasibility, analyze all costs, and complete all surveys, drawings, and accompanying reports. The preliminary design, which is a part of a feasibility study, will then have to be revisited in order to confirm that the project is economically viable and approved by the planning authority.

At the next step, the preliminary designs are typically presented to all relevant stakeholders for further cost estimations. 

What Should a Feasibility Study Determine

  • Cost-efficiency
  • Correctly recognizing and addressing all issues
  • All project objectives defined and tested
  • Building structure
  • Funding options
  • Set achievable targets
  • Risks evaluation
  • Alternatives (each party in a household are in the same boat, if not how can we find a common ground?)
  • Compromising, what and how much is the tolerance?
  • Conclusions and recommendations 

The Cost of a Feasibility Study

On average, a feasibility study cost ranges in the neighborhood of $1000 to $2000 (or more), depending on the project’s complexity. The final price entirely depends on your requirements and how detailed you want it to be. Each client is unique, and every project comes with its own set of considerations. Consequently, each feasibility study can be tailored to fit the cost requirements. 

Always have in mind that the feasibility study can prevent all costly mistakes that come from lack of proper information and impulse decisions. Therefore, investing in a reliable, comprehensive feasibility study is an investment to savings.

What you get in return is the clarity of your options and the value you will receive from your designer.

At MyHomeDesigner, we put at your disposal our extensive experience in conducting reliable architectural feasibility studies for various projects. We develop preliminary proposals and use them to define the key question and determine accurate, specific answers. Sharing the ideas and knowledge will help you navigate through the preparation process and get a clear picture of what precisely you are getting into. 

Start your self assessment here, and book your time with our designer here.

Investing in House Construction/Renovation!

It is only natural that when you are considering building a new dream home, large addition or major renovation to your existing home, that the first question you ask yourself is, “How much will this investment cost me?” In general, such a question is hard to answer in advance. It can, however, present a necessary condition for proceeding and taking the first step—hiring an architect /home designer.

Crucial Investment Cost Factors

What you certainly need is some general understanding of how investment costs will determine what you can build within a given budget. These costs depend on numerous variables. To clarify, we will mention a major ones.

Modern Wooden Home
Condition at Construction Site Can Vary


The level of site preparation required and the ease of accessibility to the building site affect the final costs. For instance, if the project site is a sloped lot, on a cliff or has limited access, or if a stormwater management system is required—the project expenses will rise accordingly.

GroundWork and Project size

Before you can build a new home, the site has to be cleared, graded, and have the proper utilities installed. Removing any trees that might be on the way won’t come cheap either.

Furthermore, if the house you are building or renovating requires major groundwork, the excavation, stormwater management, concrete work, and waterproofing are costly.

This is where the size doesn’t matter. When you are building a small house, the cost spreads out throughout the square footage. I built a very large luxury house without basement and the cost of construction was just over $180/ sq.ft. where as renovation might cost over $300/ sq.ft.

Natural Stone Affects the Investment Costs Both Ways
Natural Stone Affects Investment Costs but Increases Overall Value

The quality of Finishing

The kitchen and bathrooms are among the most important areas of the house that people spend their money on. The floor finishings, exterior facade, and mechanical system have another major impact on the cost/ value of the house as well.

Including an attic or a basement in your project is a good idea, as sooner or later everyone needs some extra storage space. If you want them fully finished like the rest of the living space, get ready to invest more.

Also, stone or solid-surface countertops always cost more than laminate. There are range of different quality kitchen cabinets to choose from. These decision making can be done at the design stage with the help of your interior designer. Remember, getting advice from the builder/ contractor in advance won’t help you. They know what and how to build. Your design team is the one can give you suggestions to choose the right material to fit your budget and investment.

While high-quality materials raise the initial price, it’s good to remember that their value remains quite stable and durable over the years. In other words, if you find yourself selling your property, the universal quality will help make the transaction more fluid. 

Modern Kitchen Designer
Modern Kitchen Appliances


Appliances are a major investment within any project that includes a kitchen. Some homeowners spend as much as $20,000 on one premium appliance, while others pay less on their entire apparatus package.

Features and Amenities

It’s evident that a 3-car heated garage with a lift will costs a lot more than an unheated, simple 2-car garage. Pool and jacuzzi adds value and cost to the project. Home automation systems also require far more than manual light switches.

Design Complexity

If you want the design of your new home to include customized or crafted elements, like the extended size of doors and windows, and double-height volumes, expect significantly increased construction cost. The modern design features simplified forms and fewer decorative motives. But a complicated roofline, with multiple trusses combined together, will certainly increase the price.

Flat roof or shed roof might add slightly to the cost of the construction, but the value of beauty can bear more worth than the cost.

Seashelt House Extreior
Seashelt House Exterior

Contractor Availability

Before you start with the project, it’s good to have some insight into the local contractor scene. Do regional contractors and sub-contractors have a backlog? When it comes to estimating investment cost and risk, a subcontractor’s backlog can provide valuable insights, as one of the critical indicators of a successful workflow. Otherwise, you can be left guessing if a contractor struggles to meet schedule commitments, or is at a higher risk to default.

Investment Cost Guidelines

While explaining the impact of all potential costs, we often use the analogy of purchasing a new car. There are $25,000 cars on the market, as well as $125,000 cars. What they have in common, above all, is four wheels, the number of passengers, more or less the same trunk space. Also, both will get you to your destination in about the same amount of time. The difference is in the design, beauty, power, strength, and all the fine extra features such as metallic paint, rear-view cameras, heated seats, and so on. 

A highly practical person will look into the features first, and expect a home that satisfies the function, above all. But you are a type who finds a purpose in aesthetics, and your priorities are focused on benefits, then you’ll probably be drawn to premium options when you build or renovate a home.

Each project presents a unique set of problems and solutions. For that reason, it’s very challenging to develop an accurate construction cost estimation before an architect has prepared design studies. However, you can get a sense of construction costs based upon the portfolio and data from our completed residential projects. 

Therefore, as a starting point, we have created a basic budgeting chart regarding the project size. There are three proposed tiers of finishes and features to serve as guidelines. Moreover, these figures describe the standard construction budget ranges for custom residential projects in urban/suburban areas of large Canadian cities.

House QualityCost Per SF
DELUXE $500 and up
Initial Investment Cost per SF
1,500 SF$375,000$570,000$750,000+
3,000 SF$750,000$1,140,000$1,500,000+
5,000 SF$1,250,000$1,900,000$2,500,000+
7,500 SF$1,875,000$2,850,000$3,750,000+
Initial Investment Cost Guidelines


  • MDF painted interior doors
  • Double-glazed vinyl-clad wood architectural windows and doors
  • 2 ¼” wide stained hardwood flooring in living areas; also ceramic or porcelain tile flooring in mudroom and bathrooms
  • Stock painted kitchen and bath cabinets
  • Granite or solid surface countertops
  • Stucco, wood or cement board siding exterior finish
  • 30-year architectural asphalt shingle roof, together with aluminum K gutters, and downspouts
  • Master bathroom with double vanity, toilet, and shower
  • Conventional heating and cooling system


  • Solid core painted wood interior doors
  • Double-glazed metal-clad or wood architectural windows and doors
  • 4” wide stained hardwood flooring in living areas; ceramic or porcelain tile flooring in mudroom and bathrooms
  • Semi-stock painted kitchen and bath cabinets
  • Granite or solid surface countertops
  • Stucco, wood or cement-board exterior siding together with rainscreen installation
  • 40-year architectural asphalt shingle roof with standing seam metal
  • accents; aluminum half-round gutters and downspouts
  • Master bathroom with double vanity, separate tub and shower enclosures, electric mat heated tile floor
  • Conventional heating and cooling system with air filtration and humidity control
  • Stone patio for outdoor seating/dining


  • Solid core stain-grade wood interior doors together with glass lights
  • Wood-clad cathedral ceiling with exposed wood trusses in the family room
  • A mix of stone and wide-plank wood flooring in living areas; also luxury ceramic or porcelain tile flooring in mudroom and bathrooms
  • Double-glazed metal-clad or wood architectural windows and doors; also large expanses of glass
  • Custom stained or painted cabinets with integrated appliances
  • Built-in outdoor kitchen with grill
  • Custom master closet fit-out
  • Stone, marble or solid surface countertops
  • Stucco, wood or cement-board exterior siding together with a rainscreen installation
  • Brick or stone exterior
  • Cedar shingle or slate roofing; copper gutters and downspouts
  • Master bathroom with individual vanities, separate tub, and glass-lined shower enclosure, together with luxury tile, radiant heated tile or stone floor
  • Luxury plumbing fixtures and faucets; thermostatic controls
  • Heating and cooling system with air filtration, also humidity control
  • Geothermal wells for energy-efficient heating and cooling system with energy recovery ventilators
  • Emergency generator
  • Stone patio for outdoor seating/dining with firepit
  • Home automation system linked to the smartphone
  • An outdoor recreational facility such as a pool or sport court
24th Ave. Surrey BC House
24th Ave. Surrey BC

How We Help With Your Initial Investment Cost Estimations

Hopefully, this guide sheds dome light on an initial forecast of your prospective construction budget. As soon as we’re hired, we will closely collaborate with you. Above all, we’ll explore the relationship possibilities between the project scope and the available budget and research all possible solutions. We also collaborate in monitoring the budget, all the way throughout the design and documentation process. 

By creating an in-house estimation and design/construction schedule during the initial phase of a project, we also establish control before spending too much time on the design. Once you approve the design studies, we engage a specialist to perform a more extensive preliminary estimate to align with the initial budget assumptions.

On larger projects, we often keep a consecutive design development estimate, revisiting subsequently as the work progresses. Major thresholds include wall and roof assemblies and the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems. These estimates at various milestones will provide you with the construction budget information you need, helping to make better, more confident decisions.

That’s Not All

This information is intended to be used as an initial guide. Its purpose is to provide you general pieces of information, but you should never forget that every property and every client are unique. Each feature has its own value, so the way it affects the construction budget changes accordingly.

In other words, don’t fall into a trap to assume that these initial square foot figures represent your entire investment price. In fact, these are often topped with architectural and engineering fees and landscape costs. Along comes interior designer, followed by various soft costs.

Modern House Project
Modern House

For More Information on Investment Cost

We offer our clients surveilance and control over their project scope and budget. Keeping the proper balance throughout the entire project duration brings happier, more gratified clients. So, are you about to embark on a new dream home, substantial addition, or renovation enterprise? Then start by booking a consultation with us for helpful and informative advice.

We will meet with you, hear what you have to say, discuss your options, and provide a report to get you started on the right track. Our range of service covers everything from building permit drawings, to construction consultation and project management.

Soon you will discover that correct information and proper knowledge bear the highest long-term value.

By Aryo Falakrou (My Home Designer)