A small town in a rural setting.

While the project delivery stage comes later, many problems that may arise at that time are rooted in the project development stage of a community-led building project – this is why it is important to develop a project proposal to preempt any problems and build in flexibility where possible.

The project plan

A project plan is required to guide project delivery. It should include a set of aims and objectives to underpin the overall direction of the project and these should be periodically re-visited to ensure that the project is progressing properly.

The project plan will set out a schedule of works or activities necessary to deliver the project and will identify key milestones. The complexity of the project plan will depend on the scale and complexity of the project.

Selecting a site or building

In some instances, a site or building may already have been identified or brought under the control of the community organisation leading the project. In other cases, it may be necessary to acquire land or buildings. In these instances, it is important to be very sure that the land or buildings can be secured before serious time or financial resources are committed to developing the project.

Site or building acquisition may be undertaken through the open market, through local authority asset transfer, compulsory purchase by the local authority, partnerships with property owning organisations or other means. It may involve purchase, leasing, rental or other arrangements. Site or Building Selection Before searching for a site or building, it is necessary to prepare a clear specification based on the needs of the project. This may include a number of factors:

  • Location and infrastructure
  • Statutory consents
  • Financial
  • Physical

Finding Funding

One of the greatest challenges in delivering community projects is putting together the funding to cover the capital costs.

These are the main areas of project cost:

  • Land acquisition
  • Land preparation
  • Building costs
  • Fitting-Out
  • Shared areas
  • Infrastructure
  • Consultancy fees
  • Others (legal fees, planning and building regulations, application fees, surveys, demolition costs, market research, bank charges, recruitment costs, registrations, insurance, etc.).

Some options for funding include:

  • Partnerships: For larger and more complex developments it will often be practical to work in partnership with others who can provide support, specialist expertise, manpower and access to funding – such as local authorities, other public sector bodies, developers, registered providers.
  • Public funding: Grants are non-returnable funds provided to finance projects. There are numerous types and sources of grant funding, the majority of which will relate to a particular type of project, aim to create specific outputs or outcomes, or relate to a defined geographical area. Examples include: central government funding, European grants, Lottery funding, funding from charities and foundations.
  • Loans: Loans are funds made available over a set period.
  • Public fundraising: Such as Community shares, sponsorship, donations, bonds.

Developing and designing your project

The project development and design stage is crucial, both in ensuring smooth delivery at the construction phase, and making sure that the end result is fit for purpose and delivers quality and value for money. Areas of development and design include:

  • Stakeholder and Community Engagement and Consultation
  • Developing the Project Brief
  • Professional Team Selection
  • Design Process

Checking Regulatory Bodies and Statutory Consents

Before a project may progress, and often before land is acquired or funding bids are submitted, it is necessary to make sure the required permissions are obtained and standards are met. Statutory consents include:

  • Planning consents
  • Building Regulations, fire and access
  • Environmental health
  • Highways
  • Other regulating bodies

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