Technical Feasibility

Feasibility studies do not have a set format or content. They are based on research to decide whether a project can be developed to meet its objectives given the context and the resources available.

It may be that there may be a number of options that can be pursued to achieve the objectives of the project and the feasibility study may include an appraisal of each option.

Since most asset transfer and development projects involve deciding whether an asset use is viable and whether a building or site can be developed for the proposed use it requires that legal, technical, stakeholder and financial issues are addressed before moving to a detailed proposal that can be included in a full business plan.

The main questions to consider at feasibility stage with appropriate stakeholders for the project are:

  • Is the project desirable? E.g. is the project really needed?
  • Can the project be accomplished - from a legal point of view, a technical point of view and with the time and resources available?
  • Is the project financially viable once the asset has been developed and or transferred? E.g. will it cover its costs and make a surplus over a defined period? Who will pay for the services it will offer? Is there a competent organisation to run it?

It is worth splitting a feasibility process into an initial assessment and a detailed assessment. They will cover generally the same issues but they will do so in different degrees of detail.

Most projects may not get off the ground because there is some essential aspect of its objectives that cannot be achieved from a technical or legal point of view. For example a mini hydro scheme cannot be achieved because there is an insufficient flow of water to support it. Or a site will not accommodate the range of uses proposed. A list of common “Project Breakers” can be found here. Addressing these issues is a key component of the initial assessment in the feasibility stage.