UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Developers’ guide to profitable housing Vaughn, Thomas Mack


The central argument of this guide is that there are design features, details, processes, and decisions in housing development which can help the developers' return on his investment. The guidelines have 3 purposes: 1. to improve the developer's awareness of the major problems in housing development; 2. to lessen the risks of front end costs (professional fees, landholding costs, interest on borrowed capital, etc. before project approval and up to final sales) as governmental agencies overseeing development proliferate and public resistance becomes sophisticated; 3. to demonstrate that design (sophistication, elegance, expertise) does not necessarily cut into the developer's profit but can increase that profit and reduce the risks associated with it. Three ways in which design features may relate to development profit are examined in the guidelines. 1) Cost Reduction: imaginative and careful design can reduce the materials required, lessen the amount of energy consumed, optimize on free or existing resources, and improve the efficiency of construction. 2) Delay Prevention: complete design proposals will avoid errors and omissions on the plans, provide early coordination among the design team, utility and servicing companies and the levels of government involved, and address the concerns of the public and governmental planners to lessen resistance to project approval. 3) Marketability: the manner in which features of the site are dealt with and used in the development, and the inclusion of certain design features have strong market appeal which give the developer a competitive 'edge with sales or leasing. The guide is broken into four chapters, each a main area of concern in housing development: the site; the infrastructure; the open space system; and the dwelling unit. In each chapter there are nine to twelve sections; the section is a design feature, item or process. Each section introduces the design feature, lists points of concern, aspects to be considered, and may have some recommendations to be followed. The ways this feature can help profit are listed according to Cost Reduction, Delay Prevention, and Marketability. Lastly, each section may contain examples cases in point, and refer the reader to other illustrations.

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