Commercially grounded planning and economic solutions

Our focus is to provide our clients across all levels of the public and private sectors with value-adding and timely services. Our experience ranges from informing regional-wide level planning frameworks for Government through to detailed site-specific investigations for developers, landowners and investors. Our collaboration of disciplines and breadth of industry experience, coupled with our passions for our work and reputation, has seen us deliver creative and commercially viable outcomes for our clients, in harmony with community needs and expectations.

Urban and Retail Economics

Boasting a reputation as trusted, respected and independent economic advisors, our experts understand the motivations and risks of the public and private sector.

Our economic team offer a large range of urban and retail economic services which is supported by considerable experience, industry accepted in-house economic modelling tools and capabilities. Our comprehensive economic analysis and forecasts have helped our clients across the public and private sectors make better policy, strategy and property decisions.

Our integrity and commercial thinking are embodied in economic analysis. We act as an honest broker to protect the public interest and balance on an evidence basis the demands and needs of development industry.

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Urban and Retail Economics

Research and Analysis

HillPDA provides a wide range of reach capabilities to our clients informed from direct consultation with stakeholders, analysis of Government and industry sources, in-house spatial analysis systems and our extensive database/research library.

Our value add to clients is in interpreting trends and characteristics, providing a “so what does it mean” analysis of an area and not just reporting on high-level data and changes in numbers.

Demographic analysis

HillPDA provides detailed demographic analyses of defined locations across Australia. This analysis involves detailed cross-tabulation and benchmarking of ABS and other data to further identify unique characteristics and trends that increase the robustness of our evidence-based findings.

Property market appraisal

HillPDA’s undertakes direct consultation with various stakeholders and analysis of industry sources to provide accurate analysis on market trends and cycles. This informs many of our services .

Spatial analysis

HillPDA’s Geographical Information Systems (GIS) provide our clients with highly visual outputs to better convey complex information and outcomes easily and effectively. Our GIS can spatially analyse a wide range of data and information to better examine, discover, highlight and explain patterns of a wide range of property, transport and human behaviour.

Shopper and business surveys

To support retail studies, HillPDA prepare and undertake shopper and business surveys to understand customer and business buying and trade patterns. They are useful tools for determining trade catchments and interventions to support centre performance.

Urban and Retail Economics

Economic Appraisals

HillPDA has prepared economic appraisals for a large number of public and privately funded projects including affordable housing, urban renewal initiatives, highway upgrades and major multi-use residential, retail and tourism projects. The appraisal includes the identification of benefits and costs and their quantification and cash flow modelling to derive an overall cost / benefit for a nominated standing. Our bespoke CBA models have been widely recognized by State and local governments in the evaluation of project options and development proposals.

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA)

A CBA includes the identification of benefits and costs and their monetarisation in a discounted cash flow model to derive an overall net present value and benefit/cost ratio. Our bespoke CBA models have been widely recognised by State and local governments in the evaluation of project options and development proposals.

Cost Effective Analysis (CEA)

A CEA is similar to CBA except that it is used to evaluate options that achieve the same project objectives by quantifying only the costs in present value terms rather than both the costs and benefits.

Net Community Benefit Test (NCBT)

A NCBT test is similar to a CBA except that only impacts on third parties (externalities) are quantified and impacts on producers and consumers are excluded.development proposals.

Triple bottom line (TBL)

A TBL is a slightly different evaluation method where social and environmental costs are not monetarised

Urban and Retail Economics

Economic Studies

HillPDA provides a number of economic studies that can encompass and combine a number of our other services to provide our clientele with in-depth analysis to help inform the development, evaluation and viability of existing policies, strategies, developments and projects. Economic studies can highlight the economic benefits to the local and wider economy, analyses and encourage growth in targeted industries, identify any potential impacts that may eventuate and mitigation measures to reduce these adverse impacts.

HillPDA’s strength in this field comes from its economic and commercial know-how which allows our team to engage with and understand the community, government, developer, business and landowner interests to achieve realistic and practical outcomes.

Economic analysis

Targeted economic analysis can guide future development options and enhance business confidence. HillPDA can aid stakeholders to better understand the contribution industries provide to a local economy; identifying gaps in provision or support requirements. Economic appraisals are often combined with targeted engagement to identify demand for services, understand challenges or land use conflicts and gain future insights. Where appropriate, development options are specified and appraised for their economic contribution.

Hotel and tourism studies

Unlike commercial and residential markets appraisal of the tourism market and its wide umbrella of sub-markets can be quite vexed. An understanding of the experiences that tourists are getting is important but so are the experiences that they’re not getting. Latent demand is often harder to measure due to a lack of empirical data but it is imperative in feasibility testing and impact assessment. Extensive stakeholder consultation combined with econometric forecasting are techniques to overcome these challenges.

Economic impact assessment

Increasingly the development assessment process requires an understanding of a project’s potential economic impacts. Economic impact assessments always consider and evaluate two options, these being, a base case or business as usual and the proposal case.

HillPDA are experts in assessing net employment creation, construction multipliers, input-output modelling, economic impacts on businesses, impacts on changes to service delivery and changes in property values. Importantly HillPDA not only calculates potential impacts but proactively identifies mitigation strategies to minimise, and where possible avoid, negative impacts arising from any change.

Urban and Retail Economics

Expert Witness and Peer Review

HillPDA’s planners, property economists and valuers have extensive experience in acting as expert witnesses. Our experienced team can provide expert evidence at hearings and litigation trials on property economics, strategic land use and economic and retail impacts of proposals.

The persuasive cases we deliver on behalf of our clients are underpinned by evidence that is well researched, commercially astute and of the highest standard.We are also able to provide peer review services, that deliver a balanced and objective review of an assessment, considering, scope, quantification and evidence considered for accuracy.

Statements of evidence

Statements of expert evidence are technical reports which Courts rely upon in determinations or judgements. The same rules of rigour apply in relation to providing evidence based assessment. Sources of data and information is thoroughly cross-checked and referenced. Where evidence is lacking then assumptions must be clearly stated and must be reasonable. In some cases joint statements between two parties are prepared requiring the experts to make attempts to reach agreement on contentious issues prior to hearing.

Highest and best use assessment in compulsory acquisitions and land valuation cases

Some of personnel in HillPDA have considerable experience in preparing evidence that identifies the highest and best use or most probable use of land. This is essential in determining unimproved land value but it is also important in compulsory acquisition cases in understanding the value of land being acquired as well as the betterment or injurious affection that a project is likely to have on the balance of the subject site.

Court hearings, panel hearings and Section 34 committees

Several staff in HillPDA have experience in providing expert evidence in various courts, panel hearings and Section 34 committees (NSW Land and Environment Court). In many cases HillPDA’s expertise in the panel hearings and committees have enabled parties to resolve contentious issues prior to going to court hearing saving both parties considerable time and expense.

Peer review of economic needs and impact assessments

In many cases councils and other consent authorities will have difficulty in assessing technical economic need and/or impact assessment reports due to the economic language, data sources and assumptions adopted. HillPDA has a long experience working with authorities in de-mystifying these likely impacts, ensuring that applicants have considered all relevant issues and adopted proper methods and verify sources of data and assumptions. We are then able to make conclusions and recommendations that are robust and can withstand scrutiny.

Urban and Retail Economics

Economic Forecasts & Modelling

HillPDA has developed several in-house bespoke models to inform our clients decision making and position themselves to take advantage of a changing economic climate. These models use up to date government and other industry-standard sources to make sense of and project data trends across all segments of the industry,forecasting not only socio-demographic trends but land use patterns and floorspace needs.

Forecasting models

HillPDA has several accurate and detailed forecast models. These models are updated and informed on the latest available information, community consultation, our extensive database, specialist market research and advanced spatial models. Models and data is one thing. Our value add is in interpenetrating the data, making sense of any trends and conveying this to our clients to inform their decisions better and provide sound economic advice.

Sectors that can be forecaster include:

  • Economic
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Population
  • Student
  • Tourism and visitor.

Social infrastructure needs

HillPDA’s social infrastructure bespoke model uses a range of government and industry standard benchmarks to accurately forecast the amount and type of infrastructure required to support the local community. Types of infrastructure projected include aged care, community space, child care, education facilities, health facilities, open space, library space and recreation facilities.

Land use modelling

HillPDA’s bespoke land use models forecast specific floorspace and land requirements for a range of industry sectors. These models are used to inform a wide range of studies and strategies. In tandem with detailed land use audits, these forecasts provide a clear understanding as to the need for additional floorspace/ land to either maintain supply in line with demand or avoid oversupplying a location.

Industry sectors that can be modelled include:

  • Boat and marina storage
  • Commercial
  • Industrial / urban service
  • Residential
  • Retail
  • Student accommodation
  • Tourism and visitor accommodation.

Urban and Retail Economics

Retail Economics

HillPDA provides a range of services in the field of retail economics including retail demand forecasting, retail trends analysis, competition and spatial trade area analysis, market delineation and retail impact assessment. To deliver these services HillPDA has developed a range of bespoke models including forecast expenditure models and gravity impact models. These methods have been tried and tested in the NSW Land and Environment Court and recognized by Government policy.

Retail impact assessments

The main reason for the preparation of a retail impact assessment is to provide relevant information to assist in the determination of an application for planning permission for major retail development.

Retail impact assessment is also the means of assessing the potential impacts of a new proposed retail development on the vitality and viability of existing centres or retailers within a defined catchment area of the proposed development.

Centre performance and competitive environment analysis

Successful centres are underpinned by the viabillity of businesses and the competitiveness of the retail environment. We undertake strategic reviews of the performance of centres and determine the economic factors and interventions to support revitalisation. This analysis considers the performance of centres against the broader economic environment and trade catchment.

HillPDA has extensive experience in determining trade catchments for a range of retail services with their boundaries and surrounding competitors being provided in high-quality visual maps. A trade area is a geographic area from which a retail service generates the majority of its trade. The extent of a trade area depends on the type of service being provided, surrounding competitors and the existence of natural and artificial barriers.

Retail expenditure and gravity modelling

In order to quantify the redirection of trade from competing centres, HillPDA developed a bespoke gravity impact model.

The gravity model was designed on the premise that the level of redirected expenditure from a competing centre is directly proportional to the turnover of that centre and indirectly proportional to the distance from a new centre. The results measure the impact that a new centre or particular use would have upon surrounding retailers and retail network.

Retail demand modelling

HillPDA’s bespoke retail demand model uses historical and present data to estimate residential, retail expenditure and subsequent demand for retail floorspace by specific categories within a defined locality.

The outcomes inform the development and recommendations in numerous assessments, studies, policies and strategies undertaken by HillPDA.

Urban and Retail Economics

Business Cases

Any significant project whether it be public, private or a joint venture requires a business case. Business cases encompass a wide range of services all binded into a single document. The tasks and services include setting project objectives and justification, market appraisal, financial appraisal, economic appraisal, risk assessment, stakeholder engagement, governance and implementation. There are Commonwealth and State government guidelines in the preparation of business cases, methodology, relevant matters for consideration, inclusions and exclusion.

Preliminary and final business cases

Preliminary business cases play a critical role in decision making. They support the strategic assessment of the service need and a high-level financial, economic and risk appraisal of alternative service delivery options.

The final business case requires the case for change to be revisited and updated and a more detailed level of analysis of the preferred option or range of shortlisted options Its aim is to demonstrate value for money and assess if the agency has the capability and capacity to implement all the components of the preferred option.

Financial and economic appraisals

Financial appraisal uses discounted cash flow modelling incorporating all the marginal agency’s costs and revenues relating to the alternative service delivery options and measuring the key performance indicators against required financial returns. Economic appraisal adopts much the same method but includes the costs and benefits in the whole economy so impacts on third parties are included and not just impacts on producers and consumers.

HillPDA has prepared economic appraisals for a large number of public and privately funded projects including affordable housing, urban renewal initiatives, highway upgrades and major multi-use residential, retail and tourism projects. The appraisal includes the identification of benefits and costs and their quantification and cashflow modelling to derive an overall cost / benefit for a nominated standing.

Risk assessment and mitigation strategies

Risk assessment is an essential component of appraising options. Higher rates of return should be applied to compensate for risk. Alternatively mitigation measures should be identified and incorporated in the assessment. HillPDA employs a number of varying techniques and in-house tools including scenario and sensitivity testing and probability assessment and uses stakeholder consultation to identify and cost mitigation strategies.

Urban and Retail Economics

Land Use Audit

Land use audits An important component of many assessments, studies and strategies is a clear understanding on the current land use mixture and floorspace with a define location. HillPDA has extensive experience in undertaking detailed land use audits over the last three decades. This has contributed to HillPDA having a broad database which allows us to examine trends and structural changes in floorspace provision and composition across NSW.

HillPDA undertakes two types of land use surveys. One is a detailed method with HillPDA personnel visiting each and every business to confirm its size, type and level. The other method, widely used by the industry, uses a combination of remote industry sources these being google street view and business information,ABS, GIS floorplate, ABR, street view and aerial measuring. Combined, these sources are used to estimate floorspace and the type of uses.

Each method has its pro and cons. However, the outcomes of each can are able to be visually mapped to highlighting industry clusters, vacancy locations, underutilised sites and estimate additional capacity.

Valuation and Feasibility

The HillPDA Valuations and feasibility team provides industry leading feasibility testing and advisory services.

Our services are supported by a strong research-based approach, application of industry endorsed proprietary software EstateMaster, a deep understanding of the intricacies of financial problems and the ability to communicate complex issues in simple terms. We analyse development viability with all permutations required.

Our focus is on adding value for our client whilst saving them time and money. Our property valuation services use best practice and contemporary financial valuation techniques and theory to ensure our valuation advice is accurate and relevant.

Our industry experience, understanding of commercial trends and financial requirements has branded us as leading industry experts for providing independent and unbiased commercial advice for both government and the private sector.

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Valuation and Feasibility

Land and Property Valuations

HillPDA has been providing property valuation services for over 30 years. As registered valuers, we use up-to-the-minute financial valuation techniques and theory to ensure our valuation advice is accurate and relevant. We offer our property valuation, research and advisory services to corporate and institutional investors, developers and Local and State Government bodies.

Property portfolio valuation

The ongoing management of an extensive property portfolio can be daunting, particularly as property market conditions change and unforeseen risks present themselves. Variables that frequently change include rents, yields, end sale values, market conditions (macro & micro), market demand and interest rates.

We can assess the performance of your portfolio or asset against industry benchmarks, which includes reviewing rents or target hurdle rates. We can value your property for financial reporting purposes or with the assistance of our Development Management team advise on the financial performance of your property portfolio.

Expert court witness

Martin Hill is the founding director of HillPDA. With over 30 years of industry leadership, Martin specialises in development feasibility and strategy, financial modelling and benchmarks, economic impact and cost- benefit analysis, complex property valuations, government policy and economic growth.

He has provided financial feasibility advice on many of Australia’s most complex urban renewal areas, major master plans and developments and is a Fellow of API and a certified property valuer.

Martin has testified as an expert witness on valuation, economic impact, discount cash flow analysis, development feasibility, retail demand and heritage impact to commercial viability in the Land and Environment Court. If you have a dispute regarding a development site with a developer or government body and require an independent opinion, HillPDA is here to assist.

Pre-purchase or disposal advice due diligence

Due diligence is critical for property transactions. Too often purchasers neglect to conduct a full due diligence check on a property. With our multidisciplinary team that includes planners, economists and valuers, our process of evaluating a potential investment seeks to understand the assets true commercial potential and identification of real or perceived risks that could impact the transaction value.

Compulsory acquisition and negotiation advice

Is your interest in a property affected by a compulsory acquisition? HillPDA can provide an impartial, objective and independent advice on your behalf and maximise the amount of compensation available to you. This does not only include the impact on the value of your property but also other matters of compensation such as the property’s special value, professional fees, loss and damage caused, relocation costs or solatium (non-financial disadvantage.

Highest and best use appraisal

Do you know the full potential of your property? Operating within a changing market, along with reviews to land use zones and planning regulations results in different value outcomes. Here at HillPDA we will consider not only its current use but also its value based on alternative uses which may include re-adaptive/refurbishment, higher density (i.e. townhouses or apartments), affordable housing or student accommodation. HillPDA differs from other consulting firms as our multidisciplinary team that includes planners, economists and valuers will give us insight into many areas that are often overlooked.

Valuation and Feasibility

Market Demand and Trends

One of the vexing questions in development is understanding demand and market drivers. HillPDA's valuation and feasibility experts can delve into a nominated market or markets using multiple mapping, statistical and research tools along with reliable industry contacts. Our research then supports our analysis and advice concerning the degree and timing of demand to assist you in making the correct decision. Our expert team provides insight across retail, residential, commercial, industrial and tourism markets along with other niche markets.

Services includes:
    • Commercial and retail
    • Residential and industrial
    • Tourism

Valuation and Feasibility

Feasibility Assessment

HillPDA provide industry leading feasibility testing and advisory services. Our services are supported by a strong research-based approach, application of industry endorsed proprietary software, EstateMaster, a deep understanding of the intricacies of financial problems and the ability to communicate complex issues in simple terms.

Tipping point analysis

One of the most vexing questions in development is whether there is market demand for a land use. HillPDA’s development advisory and market research experts delve into a nominated market or markets using multiple mapping, statistical and research tools along with strong industry contacts. Our research then supports our analysis and advice concerning the degree and timing of demand to assist you in making the correct decisions across retail, residential, commercial, industrial and tourism markets as well as other niche markets.

Based on the market research, we can then test the development feasibility options on the site to reality check the preferred design. We can also provide advice or a ‘tipping point’ for what it would take for a development to be considered viable. This can be achieved through increases in the gross floor area of the development or through value capture mechanisms like voluntary planning agreements.

Master plan input and strategic advice

HillPDA has provided advice on the financial feasibility to support the direction of significant masterplans across Australia for over 30 years. We use the sophisticated Estate Master property software and support our modelling with robust market research, a databank of market-tested assumptions and performance benchmarks. Our advice seeks to help realise a masterplan’s potential by ensuring it is not simply a case of ‘will it work’ but ‘how best will it work’ which is fundamental to the realisation of a sustainable and cohesive development that supports the highest and best use of the land that embraces the landowner’s vision.

Value uplift and value capture modelling

HillPDA are experts in understanding value capture, where the benefits of an uplift in planning controls or infrastructure are shared between land owners and the Government or local Council. This is a critical mechanism in order to fund public investment to maximise community benefits.

HillPDA is in a unique position, where we are able to collaborate across our planning, valuation, property economic and advisory teams to better understand the base case and to devise innovative methods of value capture. This theoretical view is then backed by HillPDA’s strong financial modelling skills to ensure market research-based viability.

Value uplift and value capture modelling

HillPDA are experts in understanding value capture, where the benefits of an uplift in planning controls or infrastructure are shared between land owners and the Government or local Council. This is a critical mechanism in order to fund public investment to maximise community benefits.

HillPDA is in a unique position, where we are able to collaborate across our planning, valuation, property economic and advisory teams to better understand the base case and to devise innovative methods of value capture. This theoretical view is then backed by HillPDA’s strong financial modelling skills to ensure market research-based viability.

Valuation and Feasibility

Independent Peer Review

HillPDA are leaders in the industry and our peer review is able to provide assurances around the accuracy, consistency and transparency of the financial modelling and an independent opinion on the validity of the assumptions and methodology used.

Services includes:
  • Voluntary planning agreements
  • Financial models
  • Developer tender review

Valuation and Feasibility

Bespoke Financial Modelling

Profitable projects are born in the viability of the land. The decision whether to purchase an asset or proceed with a property development should be carefully examined by HillPDA's experts. The team's strong research-based approach and application of industry-endorsed proprietary software, EstateMaster, facilitates the analysis of development viability with all of the permutations required to generate profit and save valuable time and money. At HillPDA we believe in life-long learning, research and development. We are renowned for our innovative approach to our projects and the tools we develop to support our studies. Many of these tools have become successful products in their own right.

Services include
  • Feasibility template model
  • Affordable housing calculator

Planning

HillPDA is making a positive change to the cities of the future.  We collaborate with industry, government and communities to resolve issues and develop solutions to complex planning problems. Our industry leading approach to strategic planning is underpinned by economics and development feasibility testing. This makes our plans developable and responsive to market considerations, which ensures they will achieve the desired outcomes.

Our team of experts in statutory and strategic planning, stakeholder engagement and social infrastructure planning have been assisting the public and private sectors for over 30 years. Our work has earned a reputation for providing high quality and value-added services. Our collaborative approach ensures the process is enjoyable, solutions are customised and ideas sharing is valued.

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Planning

Stakeholder Engagement

HillPDA designs, facilitates and manages stakeholder engagement on behalf of Government and private sector organisations. Our accredited and experienced team design effective engagement strategies and communications collateral as well as facilitating workshops and pop-up events.

We have a thorough working knowledge the legislative requirements for community engagement. Through early involvement of stakeholders we achieve a shared understanding concerns and values. Our project outcomes are enhanced by the involvement of the community, industry and Government.

Engagement strategy

HillPDA provides detailed, robust and adaptable engagement strategies that enable any relevant community or stakeholder group to provide thorough and useful feedback on a matter. HillPDA provide engagement services in a variety of innovative formats that are flexible and adaptable to a community change such as COVID 19. Engagement strategies focus on identifying the community and key stakeholders to be targeted and find the best way for them to provide meaningful feedback. Strategies of this nature also include logistical planning for how and when to reach out to communities, highlighting key milestones in projects and how best to approach consultation at each stage of a project or study.

Survey reports

Surveys are a useful tool to quickly ascertain stakeholder perspectives about a subject. The structure of the survey can be tailored to utilise open or closed questions dependent on what level on the engagement spectrum is preferred and how much information participants may know about a subject. Surveys can be conducted face to face to increase participation rates, over the phone or via online platforms. Information captured is collated and analysed before forming a succinct and highly visual survey report.

Facilitation

Successful engagement is underpinned by thorough planning and strong facilitation. HillPDA has a team of expert facilitators that can effectively steer engagement activities, independently support ideas development, cut through cultural barriers and mediate difficult conversations. We tailor engagement activities to respond to the audience in an open, transparent and interactive manner. We are able to facilitate engagement through a variety of technique including pop-up stalls, targeted interviews, round-table or focus group discussions and webinars.

Engagement outcomes reports

Community engagement outcomes reports bring together the findings of any engagement period analysing each element of engagement carried out. Outcomes reports compile raw data and highlight trends and key messages to be carried through to other technical reports. Such reports also make high level recommendations as to how key issues may be addressed based on feedback given throughout the engagement process. HillPDA provides engagement reports in a high quality graphic format that can be recirculated to the community to showcase transparency and encourage ongoing feedback circles.

Planning

Strategy

HillPDA partners with business, government and communities to plan for the future of our cities. Our in-house think-tanks allow multi-disciplinary insights to be explored and translated into visions and strategies that are grounded in economic realities. Our strategies are innovative and tailored to local conditions. They often include realistic and implementable action plans that identify short, medium and long term priorities and responsibility. We design strategies to be implemented; not to sit on a shelf.

Urban revitalisation and place-based plans work best when they respond to the factors that influence local growth, prosperity and productivity. We can tailor planning controls to make development feasible while incorporating public benefit contributions that can stimulate investment to improve the public realm and local amenity.

Employment land

Securing a sustainable supply of employment land is a priority for responding to population growth and providing essential services and jobs. Leveraging our unique ability to draw on planning and economics expertise, we are able to build and test land use and development scenarios that align with market trends and strategic intent. Engagement with businesses and stakeholders is integrated into our planning approach to draw on local insights, nurture community ownership over plans and shape realistic and achievable strategies. Our strategies establish clear priorities, timeframes and responsibilities.

Centre revitalisation

We specialise in urban renewal and revitalisation strategies that respond to the factors that influence local growth, prosperity and productivity. We understand that a holistic, place-based approach is required for centre revitalisation and that it takes more than street tree planting to attract consumers back to a centre. We provide strategies that identify planning, design, economic and governance initiatives to lead to improved centre performance, community wellbeing and job retention.

Local housing

HillPDA has been working with government and the residential industry for more than 30 years. We are recognised for our understanding of how planning legislation, developer decisions and market trends can impact on the delivery of appropriate, affordable and diverse housing to meet community needs. We have worked with local government to develop long term strategies to manage housing growth in a way that balances housing need with environmental considerations and is supported by infrastructure delivery and liveability considerations.

Place-based plans

Place-based plans provide a tool to accommodate growth and protect valued environments at a local level. People are passionate about the communities they live and work in and a one-size-fits all approach to planning often does not work. Place-based plans enable opportunities to be identified that encourage investment, facilitate infrastructure delivery and prioritise community and stakeholder initiatives. Planning controls and actions can then be tailored to respond to stakeholder aspirations and deliver on the community vision.

Planning

Social Planning

Healthy and sustainable communities are driven by good planning and design. HillPDA compile and analyse qualitative and quantitative data to provide a variety of social planning services including demographic analysis, social infrastructure needs assessments, open space and recreation strategic planning and liveability planning.

Our approach to social planning has been developed through our diverse experience across the sector evolving from a foundation of industry standards and latest research. Through collation and analysis of demographic and engagement outcomes for social infrastructure delivery, HillPDA provide detailed recommendations that ensure sustainable outcomes.

Demographic analysis

Our cities and towns must respond to the needs of their people. Understanding these needs requires an objective view of who is living and working in the community. HillPDA provide detailed analysis of demographics to identify and understand how economic, social and development trends can impact decision making and strategic planning. This service is the cornerstone of our social planning service with a diverse range of private and public clients benefiting from our multidisciplinary offering in this space.

Social infrastructure needs

Healthy and sustainable communities are built on quality social infrastructure that provides positive outcomes for the people and equitable access for all. Through demographic analysis and engagement, HillPDA develop a thorough understanding of needs and values. These are used to inform comprehensive social infrastructure need assessments providing a guide for developers, councils and communities. The strategy highlights gaps and opportunities for infrastructure in their area with a focus on providing and improving vibrant, strong and socially sustainable facilities and spaces for the communities.

Open and recreation space plans

Open space and recreation are key elements of social infrastructure and require detailed planning to ensure they are meeting the social needs of the community and are economically sustainable. HillPDA can provide a robust plan for the future of open space and recreation in any community focusing on the function of each space. Our strategies use a multidisciplinary approach ensuring that all social and economic elements are considered. The resulting strategy provides actionable recommendations to enable practical application of the plan in the medium and long term.

Liveability strategies

Liveability strategies provide a framework to evaluate and capitalise on local identity, environmental and cultural values that are unique to places. HillPDA uses a methodology adapted from the RMIT Centre for Urban Research to assess the quality of life outcomes of land use policy. An assessment is made using national liveability indicators based on industry standard metrics for walkability, transport accessibility, open space provision, education, employment, housing affordability and access to food and alcohol. This quantitative assessment informs how rezoning, transport and infrastructure can be used to improve the liveability of the local community.

Planning

Strategic Planning

HillPDA has played a key role in many strategic planning projects that have changed the shape of our cities.Our strategic plans support economic growth, efficient cities and promote liveability. We have broad ranging strategic planning capabilities and are committed to creating better places for communities and businesses.Working across cities and regions we are able to provide clients advice on their property portfolios,undertake submission responses to new planning policy, draft planning controls and prepare regional planning documents.

The planning environment is constantly changing and evolving and it is important to keep abreast of the changes and draft outcomes that effectively respond to trends and best practice. Our approach to strategic planning is not to just replicate what has been done, but instead challenge existing approaches and recommend pathways or solutions that reflect thought-leadership.

Asset portfolio strategies

Understanding the current state and opportunity of property assets can support decision making and identify strategic and priority planning interventions. HillPDA has worked for a number of clients across the public and private sector, to review their property asset portfolios in line with organisational requirements and strategic plans. This has identified opportunities for clients to retain, repurpose, sell, redevelop or grow their assets. Dependent on the recommendation, appropriate pathways are then defined to support the next stage of implementation, such as options appraisal, potential feasibility testing or defining appropriate planning pathways.

Regional planning

Strategic planning at a regional level is important to provide a clear framework, line of sight and consistency for more place-based and local level planning. HillPDA has supported State Government and various Organisation of Councils in the development of high level strategic analysis and plans that respond to broader regional pressures or provide clarity for consistently addressing topics (e.g. affordable housing, infrastructure contributions, job delivery, industry attraction etc).

Submission responses

The strategic and statutory planning environment is constantly changing with new policies, planning legislation and studies continually emerging on public exhibition. HillPDA often works with clients to review the new material and identify the implications for a client. We then prepare a submission that poses support, potential alterations or merit-based objections to the new planning documentation.

LEP and DCP amendments

Effective strategic planning is often coupled with the need to translate strategies into planning controls within Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plans. This can often be a complex process with the need to holistically consider cumulative implications on factors such as the efficiency of built form design, development feasibility and planning flexibility. As a multi-disciplinary firm, we are well-positioned and versed in drafting controls and amendments to the planning framework.

Planning

Statutory Planning

HillPDA planners are experts at analysing local and State planning controls and identifying clear and achievable planning pathways through the development process. We work with our clients to understand the vision and key requirements of their development and provide advice on how to obtain approvals that will deliver those requirements. We deliver results for our clients by preparing high quality reports and assessments that clearly explain how a proposal meets the relevant controls and work directly with regulators to ensure development approvals are reasonable and achievable.

HillPDA planners have a track record in project management. Our history of taking the lead on socially and environmentally complex projects make us well placed to lead specialist teams towards a positive planning outcome. Our professional involvement through the development process can improve development timelines, provide greater certainty and maximise development potential.

Development applications

HillPDA planners advise clients on strategies to progress a development proposal through the complex planning process. We work with clients with projects of any size, taking the time to understand the particular needs of a project and the best way to secure an approval. HillPDA offers a full range of planning and project management services, including representation at pre-DA meetings, technical specialist recruitment and management, planning assessments, lodgement, and post-lodgement/post-approval support. We work with both public and private developers to prepare statements of environmental effects (SEEs), reviews of environmental factors (REFs) and environmental impact statements (EISs).

Planning due diligence

Early expert advice regarding a site is critical to ensuring positive development outcomes. HillPDA planners provide professional planning advice and recommendations for concept development and early works. This ensures that designers understand the environmental, physical and design constraints of a site, as well as options for how to deliver ambitious projects. HillPDA planners also undertake detailed review of previous approvals and planning controls to understand the status of current uses on project sites. This process is commonly undertaken as part of the site acquisition process to ensure that potential acquisitions can confidently be made without hidden risks or exposures.

Planning proposals

Market demands can shift quickly, commonly more quickly than planning controls can react. Planning frameworks can become outdated, representing a future that is no longer anticipated or desired. HillPDA works with design and technical experts to develop controls that balance the needs of the natural, built, economic and social environments. HillPDA planners are experts in demonstrating how controls fit within the broader strategic planning frameworks and lead to development that best suit the needs of the community.

Independent assessments

HillPDA provides independent development assessment and in-house support for planning authorities, government agencies and large private enterprises. We work with clients to provide frank and confidential advice, with clear recommendations that are based on best practice.

HillPDA can also provide social impact assessments, economic impact assessments, social infrastructure studies and feasibility testing to support the above services.

Planning

Research and Policy

HillPDA provides expert research and advice to ensure that our clients decisions are supported by robust evidence. We combine professional expertise and research skills to bring an innovative, multi-disciplinary approach to solving complex problems in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Our planning, economics and feasibility experts can present complex information to clients in a way that they can understand. We work with governments, industry and not-for profit organisations to inform and support their decision making. Our advice has informed decisions regarding property, employment land, education, housing, health and infrastructure, including many city-shaping projects.

Policy and planning review

HillPDA is a highly respected policy and planning advisor to both government and non-government organisations. Our policy expertise spans strategic land use planning, infrastructure funding, asset management, urban renewal and governance. For 30 years, HillPDA has had substantial success influencing policy, through submissions as well as the formulation of new policy for government. Our team has representation on professional and industry committees and is constantly contributing to planning policy.

Development contribution plans HillPDA prepares comprehensive studies and infrastructure supply and demand audits for local and State authorities to inform the formulation of development contributions plans. We combine our best practice project feasibility analysis, expert demographic modelling and social planning expertise to provide an evidence base for contribution planning. This gives authorities confidence in our recommendations for what infrastructure is needed and the reasonable apportionment of costs for future demand.

Specialised research

As independent experts we are often approached to undertake discrete research tasks or prepare specialist advice on topics for the private and public sector. This tailored research often supports the development of strategy, policy or decision making on themes such as, best practice approaches, case studies, market trends, land uses, planning process or economic factors. The research can be presented graphically or can be more in the format of an academic discussion paper or memo, dependent on the clients preference.

Affordable housing policy

HillPDA has been at the forefront of developing affordable housing policy since its inception. Today, we work with community housing providers, State and local authorities to develop evidence based policy that meets feasibility requirements for affordable housing delivery. Our approach of working with authorities to identify the best locations and mechanisms for delivery of affordable housing helps ensure that the needs of low to moderate income households and key workers are met. We provide services for all phases of affordable housing policy development. This includes demographic and spatial analysis to determine housing needs, stakeholder engagement, feasibility analysis, cost/benefit analysis, formal policy development and affordable housing scheme preparation.

Planning

Impact Assessments

HillPDA is uniquely placed to assess the impact of development proposals on the social, economic and business environment. Our expertise in stakeholder engagement, planning, and economics allows us to combine skills and knowledge across subject areas to prepare impact assessment reports that are top tier. We work with our clients to develop mitigation measures that minimise or avoid negative impacts and maximise the potential benefit of the development proposal.

HillPDA’s strength in this field comes from its economic and commercial know-how, which allows the team to engage with and understand community, business and landowner interests so as to achieve realistic and practical outcomes. We are known for providing independent and evidenced-based assessments and peer-reviews that holistically consider the project components.

Social and economic impact assessments

A combined consideration of social and economic impacts can be useful in providing a more holistic appraisal of a project. A key element in assessments of this nature is the capacity to effectively weigh the significance of economic and social impacts or benefits. HillPDA’s team of economists and planners have honed the critical skills required to produce a robust framework that strikes this balance. We have produced social and economic impacts assessment on projects ranging from local developments to large infrastructure projects across various sectors.

Social impact statements

A social impact statement is a descriptive summary of the existing environment and potential social impacts. They overview the core considerations of social impact and provide a more elemental statement of likely impacts arising from a project. The succinct statements are valuable in supporting development applications and planning proposals as they demonstrate an appreciation of the sensitivities within a community.

Business impact assessment

Increasingly the development assessment process requires an understanding of a project’s potential impacts to local businesses. Businesses can be particularly sensitive to construction and are more financially exposed to changes in the environment. HillPDA are experts in assessing the potential impacts of major infrastructure projects on businesses. We understand the sensitivities and unique characteristics of business environments and can assist in defining management measures or altering project outcomes to reduce impacts to local businesses.

Expert witness and peer review

HillPDA’s planners, property economists and valuers have extensive experience in acting as expert witnesses. Our experienced team can provide expert evidence at hearings and litigation trials on property economics, strategic land use and social, economic and retail impacts of proposals. The persuasive cases we deliver on behalf of our clients are underpinned by evidence that is well researched, commercially astute and of the highest standard. We are also able to provide peer review services, that deliver a balanced and objective review of an assessment, considering, scope, quantification and evidence considered for accuracy.

Investment and Development Advisory

The development advisory team brings together a cross-section of backgrounds to deliver integrated and innovative solutions to even the most complex development issues.

Our team has the expertise and capability to provide you with the strategic support that you need at all stages of the development and operation lifecycle.

Whether you need our team to lead the entire process from start to finish or assist at specific project stages we can add value and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your development or investment opportunity.

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Investment and Development Advisory

Strategic Asset Advisory

Strategic asset planning has become the new normal for property assets. With increased approval times, businesses now explore medium to long term asset positioning. This could be a value-add play and/ or the development of an exit strategy. Our services look at a businesses core objectives and mission statement then, through research and stakeholder consultation work to develop a plan for the asset(s). This may include the highest and best use assessment for an asset, align an asset with long term economic trends or provide advice on how an asset could reposition to meet the changing trends. Our advice and support extends beyond observations and recommendations by providing the development pathway, regularly peer reviewing a strategy, provide project advice to a board or project control group meetings.

Investment and Development Advisory

Portfolio Analysis (Feasibility and Actual)

The ongoing management of a large property portfolio can be daunting, particularly as property markets change and unforeseen risks present themselves. Variables that frequently change include rents, yields, end sale values, market conditions (macro & micro), market demand and interest rates.

We can assess the actual performance of your portfolio or asset against industry benchmarks, which includes reviewing rents or target hurdle rates. We can also identify underperforming assets and run hypothetical feasibility testing to develop a better financial outcome for the portfolio or specific asset.

Investment and Development Advisory

Due Diligence for Property Acquisition

Due diligence is a regular occurrence for property transactions. Too often purchasers neglect to conduct a full due diligence check on a property. With our multidisciplinary team that includes planners, economists and valuers, our process of evaluating a potential investment seeks to understand the assets true commercial potential and identification of real or perceived risks that could impact the transaction value.

Investment and Development Advisory

Project Governance and Delivery

Project governance is an important framework design to achieve an end state that is not only robust but defensible. Our governance framework provides linkages between various strategic, policy and statutory protocols. We can also ensure that staff are equipped with the required information and direction to effectively manage the delivery of a property project. Our governance advice also provides a long-term framework for consistent and transparent decision making and reporting for a portfolio or individual.

Investment and Development Advisory

Independent Advice and Specialist Expertise

Whether you are after specific independent property advice or specialist expertise we are here to help.

Investment and Development Advisory

EOI / Tender Preparation, Evaluation and Response

Selling quality property assets can be challenging. Whether you are looking to seek expressions of interest, soft marketing or divest a property we can prepare the appropriate tender documentation. This documentation can be mapped back to specific business divestment objectives and align with procurement procedures. We also know the assessment of tenders; particularly the assessment financial offers can be complex. Our experience and expertise can extract this financial information and communicate it clearly to board or approval authority mapped back against clear evaluation objectives and metrics. Our proven process has been noted to save significant amounts of costs to both public and private clients.

Investment and Development Advisory

Financial Viability and Financial Structure

Stress testing assets is important to understand its financial viability. We have the capability and experience to review the viability of an existing asset and provide guidance on an appropriate financial structure. This could include looking outside for box for institutional funding, build to rent, Build Own Operate Terminate (BOOT) schemes, and Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

Investment and Development Advisory

Project Control / Performance Monitoring

Development performance monitoring is critical to ensuring a projects cashflow remains positive and aligns with approved budgets. To ensure the business can effectively report on the pipeline expansion, companies often seek a reputable analyst and accounts team to track the performance of a development.

As the architects of the Argus EstateMaster software, we can bring a strong level of oversight to your property development projects. This includes:
  • The development of a customised financial model that would act as a proforma for all developments from feasibility to actual. This would include the development/ integration with the MYOB or Xero chart of accounts.
  • End of month financial reporting, forecasting and actual vs budget checks.
Our team can lead a developments project control group or seamlessly integrate with an existing project control team.

Investment and Development Advisory

Development Approval Advisory

The planning process is riddled with red tape, which results in our clients getting stuck and frustrated with many hurdles’ property development can impose. We work to provide practical solutions and pathways to ensure a project can continue to progress.