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What to Expect from Typical Land Development Costs

Updated: Dec 16, 2021


Land development isn’t cheap. There are multiple measures, surveys, and inspections that need to be done to ensure the land is fit for construction. Here’s what land development costs to expect when you hire a professional land development company, such as BC.


Surveys and Tests Add to Land Development Costs

Every land developer will need to conduct a few tests and surveys before they start development.


Land Survey

The land must be surveyed by a certified surveyor to establish the exact boundaries of the lot or lots. Additionally, the survey will provide a legal document that allows you and future buyers to differentiate your land from the surrounding land via boundary lines.


These lines are essential for development, as they allow you to create setbacks (the distance between the property boundary and the build), fence lines, and settlement disputes.


For example, Scottsdale Road setback lines are 105 feet from both sides of the centerline of Scottsdale Road. The laws are different for major roadways, which is why land surveys are so important to conduct prior to any development. Maricopa County setback codes can be found here.


In Arizona, a land survey in 2021 cost, on average, $800-$2000.


Property Lines Survey

If a property survey was completed in the past, but the location of the lines is no longer known, then a property line survey should be done. It involves finding the corner pins using the legal description or past survey drawing as a guide.


A standalone property lines survey usually costs between $300-$1000.


A Perc Test

Short for percolation test, a perc test is done by a licensed soils engineer to determine if the property is suitable for building. The soils engineer tests the soil tests, how they are layered, how they absorb water, and how high the water table is. In other words, the perc test sees if the area is likely to flood and if the soil is solid enough to build on.


It also determines where the best location for the main building is and whether or not the soil allows for a basement.


Unless city water and sewer is being used, the test also shows where a drain field can be installed and what type of drain field is required.


Perc tests typically cost between $750 to $1,850 on average.


Environmental Impact Assessment

This assessment evaluates how the proposed development and construction will impact the environment around it, including the socio-economic, cultural, and human-health impacts. It can cost upwards of $8,000.


Wetlands Delineation Report

You will only need to have this report done if there are wetlands on your parcel. Wetland delineations tell you precisely the wetland location within your project plan and they can cost up to $3,500.


Drain Field Design Surveys

A land buyer can choose to conduct a drain field design survey if the land developer has not conducted one. These allow the landowner to know if an engineered system is required, such as a decentralized wastewater treatment system consisting of a septic tank and a trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration system (drainfield).


Engineered costs can go between $8,500 to $17,500 for most residential homes, and non-engineered septic systems can cost upwards of $6,000.


The price can vary, though! If you are hooking up to a sewer system or shared drain field instead of a single drain field for your home, there is typically a $2,500-$10,000 fee for the connection.


Site Plan

A land developer is not usually in charge of a site plan, unless you are also the primary architect on the project. If that is the case, then you will have to conduct a site plan.


A site plan is a lot like a land survey, but more in-depth. It features the property’s boundaries, a directional arrow pointing north, the land’s features, the location of existing structures, wells or drain fields and other details based on the scope of the project.


The site plan for open land will also depict the size of the future build’s footprint and where you plan to locate it, and any additional features such as a parking lot, deck or patio, pool, and major landscaping projects.


If you’re not using city water and sewer, then the approved location of the septic tank or tanks and the drain field must be shown. Your site plan must be submitted to the local municipality before land is built on or significantly altered with new construction.


This cost does vary significantly depending on your project. They can cost, on average, anywhere between $100-$1,200, depending on the company and the scope.


Others Costs to Consider

The land developer will also have to consider the following costs:


  • Installation of road(s)

  • Installation of water and sewer systems

  • Street lights


All of these can vary in prices depending on the length of the road(s), whether or not the infrastructure is pre-existing or not, water and sewer system, how many buildings will be placed on the land, and the number of street lights.


To summarize, land development costs can vary significantly depending on the scope and location of the build, as well as the responsibilities of the developer. If you’re in need of a professional land developer who can manage your project, including all of the required surveys, give BC a call at 480-900-1991 or visit us online.

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