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3 Crucial Elements of an SIR


Do the anticipated future benefits outweigh the expected future costs?

When looking at a proposed commercial real estate development, that's where a site investigation report, or SIR, comes in. An effective examination provides a tenant and commercial developer with confidence that the project is feasible.

An SIR is a collection of data/questions assessing potential issues with a new commercial development site. It also asks what needs to be done in order to meet all requirements.

These reports provide the technical information required to accurately prepare design and construction documents through the review and approval process to permit release.

While all components of an SIR are vital to the site selection process, we want to take a look at three of the most crucial elements to consider during site investigation. 


Determining what fees are applicable and how much those fees amount to can be a crucial first step in the site selection/development process. Fees can sometimes be unpredictable and difficult to budget for. They can also be quite costly - to the extent that they stifle projects.

Several critical fees include:

Plan Review Fees

Plan review fees are fees paid when the application for the permit and the project plans are submitted for review. In some cases, if the plan reviewer discovers that the calculated construction valuation is higher than the applicant’s declared estimate, a supplemental plan review fee could also be assessed at the time of building permit issuance.

Permit Fees

Commercial developers will also be subject to paying fees for any permits issued for new developments. The cost of the permits may be based on several factors including:

    • The size and complexity of your project

    • The value of the work you are doing

    • Additional permits required for your project

    • How long it takes us to review your application and plans

    • Inspection fees

Impact fees

Municipalities charge impact fees to contribute to costs associated with infrastructure and public service expansion due to the new development. These are typically put in place in growth areas as defined by a city’s general plan. These growth areas still require substantial investment and construction of capital facilities before or in conjunction with future development.

Design Requirements

Municipal design requirements are typically intended to maintain and enhance the character of a city’s building designs. And in many cases, municipal design standards are constantly evolving and can be full of the unexpected.

Municipalities often maintain standards through the following:

  • Specifying the use of particular building materials  

  • Identification and use of design elements which contribute to good design in site planning, architecture, landscaping, and signage  

  • Creating a consistent, cohesive character within a development that is also compatible with its surroundings

Overall, design requirements shape the framework for your entire development project and greatly determine whether your project is feasible or not.


Taking into account the demand, cost, quality, and reliability of basic utilities are also paramount in the site investigation process. Their impacts are lasting, as these costs can represent a significant portion of annual operating expenses. Factor electric power, natural gas, fiber optics, water, and sewer services into the decision-making process. Look at the cost of starting up these services as well as recurring costs. Consider the potential need for expanded capacity with the future growth of the company at the site.

Site selection and investigation is just the beginning of the winding commercial development process, so taking note of the most important elements of site investigation can help companies avoid lengthy delays and significant cost overruns.

Commercial Real Estate Development Process Site Selection Site Investigation Tenant Buyer

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