Identifying Ideal Spots to Break Ground on a New Construction Development


What to Look For Prior to Beginning Construction

You’ve found the perfect piece of land to start a new construction home development and are ready to get the ball rolling. As any experienced home builder knows, there’s plenty of work to be done before construction can begin.


Geology, geography, regulations, prepping foundations and more will all play a big role in how those new homes can be built. Thankfully, there are some common red flags that builders should be aware of when planning a new development. Paying attention to these possible hurdles can save a lot of time and money in the long run.


Perform a Geotechnical Investigation


Once you have a plot of land slated for development, make soil testing one of your first priorities. Keep in mind that different soils can be found in different parts of a development, especially if you’re dealing with large lot sizes and/or a large volume of lots.


The geotechnical engineer that you’ll hire to perform the soil test will be able to determine if your site is a good contender for a new development. Erosive, expansive and contaminated soils are all potential red flags that can bring your development to a halt.


Depending on the nature of the soil, you may need to truck in fill material, excavate the land or more; you’ll want to map out how much time and money will be spent fixing problematic soils.



Hire a land surveyor


A licensed land surveyor will be able to give you exact details about the property’s boundaries and dimensions, along with information about the geography of the land. Analyze the surveyor’s reports to determine whether the topography of the land is conducive to new construction and what will need to be done to prepare the land for excavation and building.



Research local, state and federal regulations prior to breaking ground


There’s no shortage of local, state and federal regulations to be aware of in the construction industry. Be fully aware of any possible hold-ups before the development process begins.



Manage federal environmental regulations


Local ordinances aren’t the only concern before breaking ground on a new development. The federal government has put certain environmental criteria in place that have been handed down from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) There are laws based on air quality, lead, water and waste that make having an environmental assessment imperative.

The EPA isn’t the only agency that can derail a new construction development. In San Antonio, Texas, a $15 million road construction project was halted because an endangered species of spider was found. Since this particular spider is officially on the endangered species list, there’s not much that can be done unless construction can resume without affecting the spider’s habitat.



Become familiar with statewide laws


Each state will have its own guidelines that vary drastically from other states based on their unique environments.

A state’s Department of Natural Resources might help regulate endangered plants and animals and have local ordinances that are unique to each town. In addition, zoning laws should be considered as they can easily derail your plans, and some cities have rules in place dictating that a certain percentage of any new residential development must be allocated to affordable housing. Familiarize yourself from the very beginning and enlist the help of an urban planner as they can help with local laws and zoning regulations.



It’s (almost) time to start construction


Soon enough, it will be time to file your site plan with the city. If you’ve done adequate research during the pre-planning process, you should get approval for your plan without any further delays and start to break ground!