Designing a multi-residential building is no easy task. There are many factors to consider, and getting all the details right is important. However, no matter how long you’ve been developing multi-residential buildings, there are always new things to learn. And even the most experienced developers can overlook important aspects of the design process that can cost them time and money.
By being aware of these potential oversights, you can ensure that your project is successful from start to finish. Keep these 10 things in mind when designing a multi-residential building to avoid costly mistakes.
1. Check Local Zoning Requirements and Regulations
Every city and county has different zoning regulations that dictate how the land can be used. Depending on the nature of the project, several different permits may be required for it to move forward. If you fail to obtain the necessary permits, you could face delays, fines, or even legal action.
2. Consider Future Expansions
Many developers make the mistake of not planning for future growth when designing multi-residential buildings. It’s easy to get caught up in the here and now and not think about what might happen down the road. This can lead to problems when more units are needed, and there is not enough space to add them. It’s important to consider expansion when developing any kind of property, especially something like an apartment complex or college dormitory.
Plan for future growth by leaving room for expansion and including features that can be easily converted to additional units, such as extra bathrooms or kitchenettes. Doing so can save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.
3. Calculate Utility Costs
Another most important, but often overlooked, aspect of designing a multi-residential building is calculating the utility costs. This includes electricity, gas, water, and sewage. Utilities can add a significant amount to your monthly expenses, so ensure you have a realistic budget before starting construction. It is important to calculate the cost of utilities when planning a new project because it will help you determine how much rent you need to charge to cover your costs.
Additionally, not only do you need to factor in the cost of utilities but also the capacity of the utility infrastructure to support your development. The capacity of the utility infrastructure is just as important as the cost when calculating utilities for a multi-residential building. Consult with the local utility providers to ensure your development won’t overload the existing infrastructure.
4. Consider Parking Needs
Parking is often one of the biggest concerns for developers when planning and designing a multi-residential building. Not providing enough parking spaces can be a big issue for multi-residential developments. Residents will inevitably start parking on the street if there’s not enough space available. It’s important to have enough parking spaces for all of your residents and their guests.
Not enough parking can create a traffic nightmare and lead to complaints from neighbors, while too much parking can be costly and take up valuable space. Make sure to consider the needs of your residents and plan accordingly. You may need to include parking structures or off-site parking arrangements in your plans. You’ll also need to consider things like handicap parking, electric vehicle charging stations, and bicycle storage.
5. Think About Aesthetics
Developers sometimes focus too much on functionality and forget about aesthetics altogether. This can lead to ugly, uninviting buildings that do not meet the expectations of potential residents. Aesthetics are important for the people who will be using the property and those who will be looking at it from the outside.
When developing a property, it’s important to think about things like the color of the buildings, the type of materials that will be used, and how everything will come together to create a pleasing overall look. Ensure you include features that will make your building attractive and inviting, such as landscaping, accent walls, and interesting rooflines. These features influence the initial impression that your residents and guests will have of your building, so make it welcoming and well-designed.
6. Budget for Maintenance Costs
Maintenance is a necessary part of owning any property, but it’s often overlooked in the development process. Make sure you budget for regular maintenance tasks such as painting, repairs, and landscaping upkeep. Maintenance costs can add up quickly, especially if you are not prepared for them. Include these costs in your budget, so you don’t end up with any nasty surprises!
Consider hiring a property management company to take care of these tasks. Factoring these costs into your budget can always keep your building looking its best!
7. Plan for Emergencies
Emergencies can happen at any time and can be costly if you are not prepared for them. Ensure a plan is in place for emergencies such as fires, natural disasters, or theft. This plan should include evacuation procedures, contact information for emergency services, and insurance coverage information.
Alternatively, it’s important to conduct a feasibility study before starting any development project. This will help you determine whether the project is viable and likely to be successful. Far too many developers jump into projects without properly assessing the risks involved, which can often lead to disaster.
8. Provide Enough Resident Amenities
If you want your building to be successful, it is important to provide residents with plenty of amenities they can enjoy. This could include a swimming pool, fitness center, or clubhouse. Developers also tend to focus on the buildings and forget the importance of incorporating some sort of green space, whether it’s a park or simply some landscaping.
Incorporating green space has many benefits, including reducing stormwater runoff, providing a place for people to relax and enjoy the outdoors, and increasing property values. Residents will appreciate having these options available, and it will help attract new tenants when vacancies occur.
9. Consider Future Changes in Technology
Technology is constantly evolving, and developers who don’t stay up-to-date may find themselves behind the curve sooner rather than later. Many developers fail to consider how technology will impact their development plans. This can lead to problems down the road when new technology emerges that renders your development obsolete.
To avoid this, stay up-to-date on current technology trends and factor them into your development plans. This could include installing smart home features or adding solar panels to reduce energy costs.
10. Hire the Right Professionals
Another mistake that developers often make in designing a multi-residential building is failing to hire the right professionals. When developing a property, a number of different professionals need to be involved, from architects to engineers to surveyors. Many developers overlook the importance of an experienced architect.
A good architect will save you time and money in the long run by helping you avoid potential problems and develop creative solutions. It’s therefore important to ensure that you’re hiring qualified professionals with experience with the type of project you’re undertaking.
Seek Professional Assistance
Ted Trout Architect & Associates is a professional architecture firm based in Houston, Texas. We’ve been in business for many years and have worked on projects all over the country. We specialize in designing and drawing architectural renderings for land developers. Contact us today to learn more about our services!