UA-140396414-1Feasibility Design Phase – Theme Park Architect

Feasibility Design Phase

What is the Feasibility Design Phase?

The Feasibility Design Phase is an advancement of the Concept Design Phase. The Feasibility design phase is exactly what it describes; the Creative team continues to advance the design concepts and storyline while the architects and engineers incorporate the Creative design intent to create their high-level drawings to evaluate if the Owner’s operational program requirements and the Creative design intent can actually work on the site and/or in the existing building or in the existing theme park, etc.

At the end of the Feasibility Phase a more detailed set of drawings from both the Creative team and the architects and engineers are provided to the estimators for a deeper and more detailed estimate. All of these deliverables are provided to the theme park Owner for review. If the theme park Owner agrees with the direction the design is going, the estimate of the budget, and the project schedule they are being proposed, the Owner (in most cases) will fully fund the project and greenlight the design team to move forward.

  • Feasibility Design is the third formal design phase of a theme park or themed entertainment project.
  • Feasibility Design often is completed by a small design team with certain parameters to aim for project feasibility.
  • The Feasibility Design phase precedes the Schematic Design Phase.
  • Many projects may never advance past the Feasibility phase for a host of reasons: budget overruns being the common reason.
  • On smaller theme park projects, to save time and design costs, the Concept and Feasibility design phases are combined into one single design phase.
  • The final review of the Feasibility Design Phase deliverables often determines if a project will proceed to fruition and if the project will be fully capitalized – full funded – to complete its remaining design and construction phases.

Understanding the Feasibility Design Phase

With respect to the formulation of design projects, the Feasiblity Design phase also somewhat unique to theme park design, however other large commercial (non-theme park) projects may implement this design phase. Along with the advancement of the project’s design, the Feasibility Design phase may include other non-design efforts such as: a project pro forma review (financial feasibility review) or extensive early site investigation efforts such Phase I or II Environmental impact studies, Geotechnical boring and surveys, or site hydration flow studies on existing deep utilities, i.e. storm, sewer, chilled water, etc.

For large theme park projects that require extensive site development (site manipulation) of existing conditions and/or existing assets, a preemptive civil engineering design and drawing packages may be produced to enable the various early site development permits that may be required to modify the existing project site. These early site design packages are required since site manipulation design permits – often in the order of 5 to 10 individual permits from multiple local or state agencies – can take up to a year to obtain. For specific projects that may require the demolition of existing assets, buildings, etc. to make way for a new project, often the Architecture and Engineering teams will generate specific Demolition design packages to enable the removal of assets at the onset of the project – all while advancing the design the new (replacement) project.

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As with all theme park design phases, a specific list of deliverables are typically required by each major project group and design discipline. These deliverables will vary depending on the various groups of project team members. The final Feasiblity Design phase deliverables are reviewed by the various senior leaders, the project estimators, the project schedulers, the project’s various end users and other stakeholders relevant and impacted by the project’s evolution.

Related Terms

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About the Author J. Daniel Jenkins, AIA, NCARB is a licensed Architect, Theme Park Design Consultant, and former Senior Project Design Manager at Walt Disney Imagineering with over twenty years of subject matter expertise and design team leadership experience. Jenkins is the creator of themeparkarchitect.com who's goal is to teach individuals about theme park architecture and design, how to become theme park architects and designers, and discuss themed entertainment industry related topics. For nearly a decade, Mr. Jenkins has worked in the themed entertainment industry on new themed entertainment attractions, theme park lands, and new theme parks. Upon leaving Walt Disney Imagineering, Jenkins started his own Design Management Consulting company where he has consulted with and provided subject matter expertise and project leadership for new, confidential projects for several themed entertainment companies. Mr. Jenkins holds a five-year Master of Architecture degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Virtual Design and Construction Certificate from Stanford University.
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