Experienced Project Designers Ensure Successful HUD Multi-Family Projects

Getting that delicate balance between putting up an affordable building project and turning your investment into a profit can be difficult. Financing from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can help you build low-income housing. With a HUD loan, you can access pre-construction capital to help you get your project off and running, along with a 40-year fixed-rate, assumable mortgage that doesn’t require any collateral. HUD mortgage insurance rates can also be lowered by 50 basis points if you have green credits.

But building a multi-unit HD project requires you to adhere to a myriad of specific intricate designs which can be tough to keep up with if you are not a HUD-experienced architect. For example, you must follow the HUD’s method for determining square footage calculations and other requirements, such as the Property Standards for Housing.

HUD Design Guidelines for HUD Multi-Family Projects
HUD project design requirements range from site planning, parking, public and private open space, private open space, architecture, and landscaping design requirements. Here’s what the building process will look like for a HUD multi-unit project:

Site planning requirements
HUD design guidelines require you to relate your building to the street so that they enhance street footage and to existing and planned adjacent uses. Other requirements include:

● Individual units should have as many private, ground-level entrances as possible and all entries should be easily distinguishable and visible
● Every building should have a unique visual identity and address if possible
● Your project should follow the patterns of existing buildings and be in line with other buildings, not in front or behind the average neighborhood arrangement
● Buildings should leave adequate room for pedestrians to access gates, crossings, walkways, and other adjacent uses
● Common facilities such as laundries should be built in a central position and in a common outdoor space
● Your building design should maximize views, lighting, and ventilation and absorb maximum solar energy during colder months while controlling absorption when it’s warmer
Parking requirements

Parking according to HUD multi-unit requirements includes:
● The majority of dwelling units should face the street, so parking lots should be located at the side or rear side
● Multiple, small parking lots instead of one large one
● Trees and plantation like grass and shrubs in the parking area to provide shade and reduce noise impact
● Buildings with parking garages should not have blank walls facing the street. You can use decorations such as artwork, vines, and quality materials to cover blank walls if you cannot avoid them
● The parking lot should be close to dwelling units for surveillance
● Separate paths for bicycles and pedestrians and vehicles as well as vehicle-free areas. There are also specifications for bicycle parking. For instance, newly constructed senior properties designated by the HUD should have bicycle parking at the ratio of .25 spaces per unit

Open public spaces requirements
● Differentiated outdoor spaces or outdoor rooms instead of open ones
● Public open space for play, recreation, socialization, and cultural events and viewable from individual units which can either be from the kitchen, living room or dining room. Newly constructed senior properties are, however, exempt from having to include play areas but should have congregation areas that promote physical activity
● A central open space location that allows for adult supervision from dwelling units and/or supervision from another central facility such as the laundry
● Public spaces with adequate and energy-efficient multi-source lighting for security

Private open spaces requirements
● Each unit should have a functional and private space such as a balcony deck, or patio which is easily accessible from the individual unit
● Fencing to separate private and public spaces
● Screening for private balconies but not be a solid wall that prevents occupants, especially small children, from looking out

Landscaping requirements
● Landscape designs should enhance existing architecture and create and define public and private spaces and be made from plants such as trees, shrubs, and other ground cover that is easy to maintain
● Paved areas such as parking lots should have a shade
● Landscaped areas should have diverse seating and paths should be wide enough to accommodate pets, people, and have enough space to , for instance, move furniture, skate, and ride bikes
● There should be enough lighting especially for night safety

Architectural requirements
There are also certain HUD architectural requirements for multi-unit homes. As a first-time developer, the HUD requires you to have a design team that includes HUD-experienced architects, contractors, and engineers if possible. These requirements include:

● Building designs based on site instead of using stock plans and ensuring that the size of the project matches adjacent buildings
● Building height matches others in the area unless there are local plans to change the same
● First floors that relate to the street and match other first floors in neighboring buildings while maintaining privacy
● Colors should match the surrounding
● Avoid box-like forms and horizontal buildings by, for example, using a variety of roof shapes or roof heights and vertical adjacent structures
● Aesthetics to make the building attractive by varying its height, color, materials, texture, roof shape, among other factors or details that enhance the character of a building such as porches, stairs, railings, and trim
● Use highly recyclable materials when possible

Outstanding HUD Multi-Family Project Design with Ted Trout Architect and Associates
Excellent and conforming building design ensures that your building meets the needs of tenants and attracts renters. A qualified architect can help you meet and exceed each of the above design standards. You can hire a qualified architect or what HUD calls a ‘prime architect’ to do the building design work, which includes concept development and construction administration. A prime architect will coordinate all design professionals including engineers and interiors you have hired for your project and all the monthly HUD paperwork so that it meets all the requirements.

At Ted Trout Architect and Associates Limited, we have experience in running multi-unit HUD projects and are committed to design excellence using the latest technologies and cost-effective architectural solutions.

Got a HUD project? Contact us today for more detailed information about our services and how we can make your project successful.