Development Viability

Financial viability appraisals (FVA) are a tool used to demonstrate the viability of a scheme. There can be used in order to justify an allocation in a Local Plan or to demonstrate to the Local Planning Authority that the contributions they are requesting will render a scheme unviable. There is a cross-over in the guidance between planning policy and guidance from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveys (RICS). It is a very specialised area and different to many standard viability appraisals or valuations that are undertaken.


Financial Viability Assessment (FVA) are increasingly a necessary tool in support of planning applications, particularly for larger schemes that would generally attract CIL and / or affordable housing. With the economy changing regularly for a variety of reasons, evidence bases prepared in support of Local Plans can soon become out of date leaving even allocated housing sites unviable. Rapidly increasing build costs and general inflation is compounding this issue and having a direct impact on the ability to deliver housing schemes, particularly in areas where sales values are lower than some parts of the country.

Many Local Plan policies have the ability to justify a reduction in affordable housing or looking at an alternative approach with the submission of a robust FVA. ELG have undertaken numerous FVAs across the country and have dual qualified colleagues with the relevant experience in preparing these assessments.

Assessments generally involve preparing an initial assessment, which is then commented on or given a counter assessment by the local planning authority or District Valuer prior to the figures being agreed. ELG have a good track record of preparing these reports and successfully arguing for a reduction in the level of affordable housing and / or other contributions that are in danger of making schemes otherwise unviable.