The complexities and logistical challenges of property development can grow even more formidable when the developer has multiple projects going on at once. Factors ranging from jurisdictional requirements to managing projects at differing stages of their development cycles come into play.

EBI's Director of Architecture and Engineering Paul Roberts sat down with Connect CRE to share insights into navigating through multi-site developments. 

Q: What are some of the factors that can make multi-site program development programs especially complex? What are the “moving parts” that need to be considered?

A: When it comes to working on multiple sites at once, you’ll find that you have different sites in different stages of development at once; some sites may be in the due diligence phase, some in design, some in permitting, and so on. To facilitate a smooth multi-site program, it can be cumbersome to keep track of all the moving pieces, and you need to be agile throughout the process of development. For example, you’ll need to pivot throughout the project as different questions and hurdles pop up while also ensuring proper communication with the client.

The moving parts to be considered throughout the program include juggling different project types, locations across the U.S., multidiscipline coordination, and entitlements and permitting compliant with regional and national jurisdictional requirements.

Q: Does the level of complexity grow in proportion to the number of sites involved?

A: Yes and no. As the number of sites increases, management of the program and juggling all the moving pieces becomes more complex. However, design and implementation of each process gets easier as we become experts in our clients’ design requirements and build templates to become more efficient with the process.

Q: How do differences in regulations in different jurisdictions (i.e., city and state) affect planning and execution of multi-site projects?

A: It’s crucial to know and understand the different codes and requirements across the entire multi-site portfolio so you can adhere to and stay compliant with regulations, entitlements, design codes, overlay districts and more.

We at EBI approach every project the same way: due diligence based on location or jurisdiction to determine the planning and execution strategies from the beginning, allowing for more thoughtful project approaches, timelines, and upfront costs. Expert due diligence looks to identify surprises or complications right at the project start.

Q: For multi-site projects, what types of due diligence need to be performed? Does the level of due diligence required vary by property?

A: Feasibility, civil and architectural due diligence are key to understanding all properties in your multi-site program including existing and environmental conditions, entitlements and permitting, zoning needs, soil and traffic reviews, site and as-built surveys, and more.

The due diligence required will vary by property, which is why it’s so important to have a knowledgeable and expert due diligence partner. For example, the due diligence for a ground-up shopping center project will be vastly different from that of a redevelopment of a brownfield site.

Q: A multi-site project entails coordination among architecture, civil engineering, MEP, and project management processes. How do these processes and teams interact, and who coordinates these differing functions?

A: Team structure is key. Using a multidisciplinary firm like EBI provides a single touch point who manages the entire process in-house, providing a seamless and organized project lifecycle. Multidisciplinary firms provide a linear process with a single team from project conception through construction, as opposed to a team of subconsultants being managed independently from each other.

Q: Finally, EBI recommends that the MEP team be in-house. What are the advantages of this?

A: A lot of clients tend to prefer having all design services under one umbrella. This streamlines communication and coordination with the team to minimize errors and conflicts. When working with outside MEP consultants, you often deal with scheduling conflicts, differing templates and design processes, which increases the potential for conflicts and inconsistencies between disciplines.


Reach out to learn more about how EBI's team can help with your multi-site development.