Every project manager in the construction, utility, or clean energy industry has experienced unexpected situations that cause project delays or impact the budget. While it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, the more prepared you are, the better you’re able to mitigate risk.

One of the keys to success is early site access planning.

How to Plan Early for Site Access

Whether it’s a seemingly easy entry, a protected wetland, or difficult mountainous terrain, it’s critical to have a detailed site access plan that includes contingencies. Some of the ways you can take a proactive approach include:

Involving Your Site Access Provider Early

Bringing in a site access provider during the early planning stages of a project can help inform a realistic budget and timeline. They have expertise that can enhance your project, such as knowledge about permitting, SWPPP compliance, and environmental regulations. Experienced site access providers are also well-versed in handling issues related to property lines and right of ways, determining what types of access materials you’ll need, and typical costs associated with various access solutions.

Preparing for the Unexpected

What if you encounter an underground obstacle that wasn’t in the survey? Have you identified alternate routes in case you need them? How might the weather impact site access throughout the project?

An experienced site access provider will know how to address these types of issues and have plans in place to help keep the project rolling, even when faced with nasty surprises.

Gathering Data

Get as much information as you can about the site and include your site access provider in the process. This might include researching historical photos, capturing drone images, and site visits with specialized equipment. You may also need to get surveys and involve a civil engineer in the early stages of the project; so plan for these soft costs and allow time for consultants to do their work.

How Early Site Access Planning Reduces Costs

The more familiar a site access provider is with the project and the site, the more accurate their estimates will be. Understanding the site-specific conditions, challenges, and potential hidden costs allows a site access provider to tailor their strategy to be the most cost-effective while meeting your needs. For example, rather than going with the heaviest or most expensive matting solutions, they might choose a mix of timber matting types based on the terrain, the type of equipment it needs to support, and access to nearby inventory.

Having contingency plans in place (and budgets to support them) also helps reduce costs since they allow you to quickly make decisions and reduce delays. Early site planning should also include a restoration plan. If you don’t factor this in early, you could end up with an unpleasant budget surprise at the end of the project.

How Early Site Access Planning Reduces Risk

Information is power. The more you know, the better you can plan for known and unknown risks. Involving a site access provider early in the construction site access process will allow you to uncover potential risks so you can avoid them. These might include site conditions, environmental regulations, permitting requirements, neighboring property owner requirements, and more.

Plan Your Next Project with YAK ACCESS

No matter where you are in the planning or execution stages of your site access project, our team is here to help. Of course, the sooner we get involved, the more we have to offer, including accurate estimates, timelines, and contingency plans to help keep your project running smoothly.

Check out our Access Mat Guide to learn more about the various types of matting you might want to consider for your project.