– Land costs: acquisition, holding cost…
– Professional fees: project management, design, survey, thermal calculations, interior design, FF&E procurement, subdivisions… Count 5~15% of the construction cost.
– FF&E (furniture, fixture & equipment) Count 5~15% of the construction cost.
– Approval fees
We propose integrated project management + design package services, that reduce your professional fees.
The Japanese construction industry uses the Tsubo unit, which is approximately 3.3 m².
Here are common construction costs for buildings in Niseko area, depending on the type of structure.
– Timber house: at least 1,000,000 JPY/tsubo
– Steel or reinforced concrete building: at least 1,100,000 JPY/tsubo
These cost are including 10% consumption tax, but do not include special works like landscaping, septic tank, fences, heated driveways…
Cost can easily go up 2 to 3 times these for resort properties.
Construction costs have increased significantly in 2021 and continue to increase in 2022.
For up-to-date estimations, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Additional costs are generally related to design features and land conditions.
– Structure type (steel and reinforced structure more expensive than timber),
– Landscaping works,
– Imported and custom made furniture, finishes & equipment,
– Piling works (when the soil is not good),
– Septic tanks (when no access to sewage),
– Well (if no water supply),
– Retaining walls (sloped land),
– Storm pond (land developments),
– Underground infrastructure (power, onsen… for land developments).
For houses (up to 3~4 floors) and civil works, most projects can be built between 2 winters in Hokkaido.
Commercial buildings usually take 2 to 3 years.
Earthworks and piling foundation works may also lengthen the construction time.
1. Initiation: preparation of the design brief, initial budget and schedule, engagement of architect.
2. Concept phase: Up to sign-off on the general design concept.
3. Schematic design: Up to sign-off on floor plan layouts and general design.
4. Design development: Preparation of the building approval and construction drawings.
5. Building approval.
6. Pricing: request for proposal or quotation, value engineering, negotiations, contract.
8. Final inspections.
9. Builder handover.
10. Utility connections
11. Building registration
12. FF&E (furniture, fixture & equipment) installation.
13. Business license applications.
It is technically possible to build year-round.
But practically, most constructions start after snow melts (April or May) and try to finish before snow re-starts (October or November).
When possible, we try to avoid winter works, as they increase costs (heating) and decrease quality (concrete…)
If a Development Approval (land development) or a Building Approval is required for a construction project, the developer must acquire such approval in order to have the right to advertise or sell the building(s) or lands.
In addition, even if there is a local real estate broker, such developer must have valid Japanese real estate license to do so.
Unless they hold a Japanese architect office license, foreign architects cannot apply for building approvals in Japan; the owner must separately appoint a local architectural firm.
The local architect should be engaged as soon as possible, as the Japanese construction regulation is often grey and many regulations and zonings apply to Niseko area: Forest Law, Town Planning law, Natural Park law and local regulation.
We have experience with all the different regulations and can efficiently assist your foreign concept architect, through Consulting, Due Diligence or Architectural Design services.
The Japanese regulation is not as strict as in Western countries. However, it is also not as detailed, with many grey areas and several different regulations and zonings.
The design process is broken into 3 phases; the duration of each phase depends on the complexity of the project:
– Concept design – 1 to 2 months
– Schematic design – 2 to 6 months
– Design development – 2 to 6 months
Overall, design takes in general 5 to 12 months.
In addition, Building Approval can take up to 2~3 months.
In most cases, the Building Approval requires the structural drawings and calculation, as well as firefighting equipment‘s drawings (smoke ventilation, fire alarm, smoke detection system…), which amounts to approximately 80% of the design development.
Practically, this means that, at the time of the application for Building Approval, design development is completed in Japanese projects.
In this case, the Building Approval examination period coincides with the building’s quotation time.
For buildings, at least an architectural firm qualified in Japan is required, which usually outsources the structural and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing) engineering.
For larger and more complicated projects, designers can be appointed for interior design (hotel, etc…), landscaping, signage, lighting, etc…
Large scale retail projects can also separately require a specialist.
For land developments, a qualified Japanese civil engineer must be engaged when a Development Approval is required. Electrical and mechanical engineering consultants must be engaged separately to design underground power and water or onsen supply facilities. A landscaping architect may be required for the landscaping design too.
We provide design services for architectural design and master planning. We also provide project management service during which we assist you in selecting suitable designers.
The simple answer is it depends on the complexity of the project.
For simple buildings (houses), we recommend a preferred builder approach, although tender is possible.
However, for larger projects, when cost estimation is difficult, putting builders in competition through a tender helps getting better prices.
In this case, the process can take 1 to 2 more months.
We have worked with many builders, local to international and can assist you in the selection.
Yes. Most builders in Niseko are now used to installing construction products procured by the client, however, in this case, they do not provide a warranty on those products.
This can be particularly beneficial when it comes to tiles and stones, as they can be expensive and the lineup limited in Japan.
However caution must be taken when it comes to sanitaryware (faucets, showers, sinks…), which may require to be compliant with the Japanese regulation, or built-in furniture, which can be expensive to install or have compatibility problems.
You should have your project manager confirm with the builder in advance.
Most risks on construction projects in Japan come from the land conditions.
– Quality or quantity of wells’ water (onsen and/or drinking water),
– Additional costs for foundation (expensive piling works).
For land developments:
– Inappropriate rejection point for waste water,
– Inappropriate road connection,
– Not enough water supply.
Sometimes the building’s structural calculations assume that the roof be frequently cleared of snow.
Earthquakes should not be considered risks for new constructions, as most buildings require seismic structural calculations.
Japanese builders must have a valid business license to execute the following works:
– General contractor: total construction cost of 15 mJPY or more
– General contractor: timber house with total floor area of 150 m² or more
– Subcontractor: construction cost of 5 mJPY or more
In addition, a Special Builder Business License (特定建設業許可) is required for general contractors who contract to subcontractors 40 mJPY or more (60 mJPY for the totality of the works).
(Construction costs inclusive of consumption tax)
If you happen to engage a builder that doesn’t have the proper business license, the risk varies from is the builder not being able to complete your building to the builder going bankrupt (no recourse for your in case of litigation).
You can check your builder’s license here for Hokkaido.
FF&E stands for Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment. For most building projects, it includes:
– Window coverings (rarely included in the construction works),
– Electric appliances (refrigerator, TVs, microwave oven…),
We provide FF&E procurement management as a separate service linked to project management. This service can include management of the shipping of these goods from abroad, purchase of Japanese items, management of the installation…
OS&E stands for Operating Supplies and Equipment and is most often related to hotel developments (towels, linen, POS…). They are normally taken care by the operation staff that open the hotel.
Furniture can be freely imported in most cases.
Rugs and window coverings (blinds, curtains, roll screens…) may however be subject to firefighting regulation. Similarly, because of the electrical norms, electric appliances usually.
When importing, you must keep in mind that shipping and custom clearance can take up to 3 months.
Design & construct projects are relatively simple and have few defects around the completion of the buildings. However, for higher grade properties, because of their complexity and the oftentimes tight schedule, some defects may remain. This can be avoided by lengthening the defect repair period prior to the handover.
In particular, air conditioning rarely can properly be checked at the handover of buildings, as this often happens before or during winter. For the same reason, exterior works, like landscaping, driveways… can be pushed to the following spring.
Project management in Japan is still a new and growing professional field; there is currently no qualification required to manage projects in Japan.
ABD Architecture LLC is the only project management company in Niseko and Furano that has in-house PMP (Project Management Professional), which is one of the most internationally recognized qualifications.
Although we propose a combined project management and architectural design service, we have no issue working with your preferred architect.
Our services include:
– Project initiation (Project Scope Statement, Work Breakdown Structure, original budget and schedule),
– Communications management (meetings, emails, meeting minutes, project documents, translations, project management reports…),
– Schedule management,
– Cost management,
– Procurement management (request for proposals, quotations, analysis & comparisons, invoices, check work completion)…,
– Design management (surveys, design check…),
– Construction management (site visits, & checks, defects…),
– Change management,
– Risk management,
– Cost estimations
– FF&E management – We propose it separately; the reason being the amount of FF&E management varies from one project to another.
– Consulting – This is a separate service.
We provide project management services outside of Hokkaido.
Without a builder license or architect office license, a project management company cannot take on construction works or architectural design services.
As a registered architect office, we can take on architectural design in Japan.
We check the construction site at least bi-weekly to weekly and send you a site visit’s photo report.
Values from PMI (Project Management Institute)’s Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct for PMP are: honesty, responsibility, respect and fairness.
– Concept design
– Schematic design
– Design development
– Structural engineering
– Mechanical and Electrical engineering
– Finishes & equipment list
– Construction supervision
– Construction supervision’s final report
The following items are not part of the standard architectural design services:
– Landscaping design
– Interior design
– Energy saving calculation
– Civil engineering
– Signage design
– Lighting fixture design
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more detailed scope of services.
In Japan, when building works require a Building Approval, the owner must also appoint a licensed architect to supervise the construction. In this case, the architect checks that the building is done as per the design documents and, at the end of the construction, must submit a final report. For your convenience, construction supervision is included in our standard architectural design service (unless otherwise specified).
Note also that in this case, the architect is a signing party of the construction contract.
The copyright of the design is vested with the architect.
Unless otherwise prescribed, the design by an architect only allows the client to build one property.
Yes, we’re qualified to work anywhere in Japan and take on projects in areas outside Hokkaido.
Yes. The Japanese Architect Law requires architects to makes their best efforts to apply the standard design fees for architectural design and construction supervision.
Contact us for an estimation of standard design fees.
Much like realtors, architects in Japan must provide to their client prior to any contract a written statement of important matters that describes the remuneration, payment terms, but also details of outsourced services, methods for supervision services…, for design and/or supervision services.
The architect must also explain the content of this statement to the client.
The Japanese Architect Law only recommends architects to subscribe to a liability assurance.
We recommend that you check if your architect is covered for the design services.
TOWN PLANNING LAW
Outside of (Quasi-)Town Planning Zoning: development land of 10,000 m² or more
Quasi-Town Planning Zoning: development land of 3,000 m² or more
Town Planning Zoning – outside of Building Use District: development land of 3,000 m² or more
Town Planning Zoning – Building Use District: development land of 1,000 m² or more (or smaller in some areas)
Town Planning Zoning – Restricted district: any land development
Subdivisions with infrastructure works and land use change may qualify as land development.
Any land development that touches more than 10,000 m² of forest.
NATURAL PARK LAW
Depending on the size and type of development, an approval may be required.
Needs approval for purchases.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.
1. Master plan
2. Civil engineering (including consultations with the authorities and utility providers)
3. Building design (if required for the Development Approval)
4. Development Approval
5. Civil works
6. Building works (including Building Approvals)
Wells may be required, check our well development service.
We have helped several clients identifying issues on their land early thanks to our preliminary drone surveys, and have produced temporary topographical surveys for concept design purpose, for lands of up to several hectares.
Note however that the quality of drone surveys varies and can be greatly reduced by trees and snow.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to know if we our drone survey service applies to your site.
Yes. It allows us to design master plans and concept design of any building size.
Yes, we have an approval that allows us to fly drones in the following conditions:
– DID (Densely Inhabited District)
– Within 30 m of buildings, people, vehicles, etc…
– Outside of sight
Standard scope services
– Land title search
– Land visit & check
– Existing site conditions
– Zoning confirmation
– Applicable regulations
– Applicable approvals
– Risks & issues
– List of development restrictions
– All relevant documents
Optional scope of service (tailored to your needs):
– Drone survey mapping
– Drone photo or video shooting
– Volume study
– Master schedule draft
The scope of services is based on the project’s needs.
A carefully written master schedule will allow to avoid rework of the design, identify critical tasks, and assess a tight, yet realistic path to complete your project. It works as a road map for your project, reduces its risks and increases its chances of success.
It also helps you establish your budget’s funding requirements.
Although not in the standard scope of works, we usually recommend one or several volume studies.
Volume studies increase visual and numerical understandings of a site’s possibilities and allows for feasibility studies based on master schedule and draft budget .
To name a few, we have the experience of cases with creeks crossing a site and requiring a bridge, boundaries off by a meter, encroachments, and boundaries that cannot be confirmed because of unknown neighbors, buried archaeological properties…
For land developments, many issues may arise because of the Development Approval, starting with road connection and rejection of used water. it is critical to identify and resolve them early in the project.
In Niseko area, the local regulation is different from the rest of Japan, and Natural Park Law, Town Planning Law, Forest Law… may apply, each requiring a different type of approval.
Flow rate and water quality of a well are not guaranteed and can restrict the size of a project or require additional mechanical equipment (filters, tanks…). The sooner they are known, the sooner the project can be adjusted and unnecessary re-design costs avoided.
Onsen drilling works and their approval can easily take one year, and, if not started early, can delay an entire project.
Depending on their location and size, wells can require a drilling approval. In addition, for large facilities or land developments, a lengthy water supply approval may be required.
Onsen wells require separate approvals for drilling, installation of the pump inside the well and business license(s). Onsen drilling approval can take 4 months and the drilling works 5 months (for 800~1000 m) but can be delayed depending on the drilling company’s availability.
Note that some areas in Niseko now that restricts on onsen wells’ drillings.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to enquire about your site’s conditions.
Drilling works require a construction platform flat enough for storing material. A temporary road may also be required for the transportation of drilling material and the drilling rig.
Onsen wells require bigger construction platforms and stronger roads than drinking water wells.
We organize these works for your convenience.
They are checked with pumping tests and laboratory water quality tests respectively. This happens after the drilling works but before the installation of the well’s pipe. The composition of the well’s pipe is also determined by the pumping tests.
We make sure that these tests are performed and the results explained to you.
The Japanese word “onsen'” literally means hot spring and also refers to the related traditional bathing facility found throughout Japan, often inside hotels. These facilities have gained popularity with foreigners and the word is now commonly used by foreigners.
Most of the new onsens are created by drilling a well, which depth depends on the soil’s layers and temperature and their location.
The Japanese Onsen Law defines an onsen as springs with a temperature of 25°C or more or has at least one mineral element above a minimum value.
We specialize in consulting services for any regulatory and technical matter related to construction, development or real estate for projects or properties in Japan. We have an intimate understanding of the relevant regulations (Town Planning Law, Building Standard Law, Real Estate Law, Forest Law, Hotel Business Law, Onsen Law, Natural Park Law…
We base our expertise on our broad knowledge of the regulations and 15 years of project management experience in Japan and our in-house bilingual qualified architect and real estate licensee, and bilingual civil engineering & structural engineer.
For more comprehensive assessments, don’t hesitate to check our Due Diligence services.
In most cases, because of our in-house knowledge and experience, direct consultations with the authorities and bilingual abilities, we do not subcontract our work to third parties.
Only for complicated matters outside of our direct expertise, do we partner with Japanese experts.
We have resolved issues of strata buildings in a phased development, where Building Standard Code and Real Estate Registration Law apply. This allowed the developer to develop the project as originally intended.
PUBLIC ROAD WORKS FOR LAND DEVELOPMENT
In this case, we negotiated with the authorities at different levels and jurisdictions where the Town Planning Law and Building Standard Law applies and the Japanese civil engineer and architect had issues understanding the relationship between those regulations. The developer was able to avoid building unnecessary public road works.
We negotiated directly with the architect’s structural engineer to get the aesthetical outcome the client desired.
We worked with the mechanical engineering consultant to provide a solution to the onsen water supply for a land development.
We can organize all preliminary studies and advise you on the scope of works:
– Topographical survey
– Boundary survey
– Geotechnical survey
– Amalgamation registration
– Subdivision registration
For onsen or water well developments (drilling and subsequent engineering and works), check our Well Development service.