We have bad news for you: There is no stock formula for accurately determining site preparation costs for construction, power, and solar projects. Unique site conditions, project requirements, and local regulations are all contributing factors to the overall cost of site access. Unfortunately, the site access costs from your last project don’t translate to the next. The terrain could be wildly different, there might be protected species, or the temporary road could need to be a different length.

If you can’t copy and paste from your last project, or if you have never dealt with site preparation, how do you estimate the costs?

We have good news! You don’t have to do it on your own. The YAK ACCESS team has decades of experience with site access solutions across a broad range of industries and locations, so you can rely on our deep knowledge to get a quality proposal to incorporate into your overall project budget.

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What Might Be Included in a Site Preparation Estimate?

One of the biggest challenges of estimating site access costs is knowing what you might encounter. Through meetings, research, site visits, and other strategies, we determine what your project might need, including:


Depending on the terrain, access requirements, and other factors, some of the materials you might need to purchase or rent for your project include:

  • Access matting and aggregate for temporary roads
  • Temporary bridges
  • Wetland access solutions
  • Trackout and transition mats
  • SAFESTEP™ EPZ mats for utility projects


For site clearing, you might need to account for grubbers, graders, and other types of machinery. A remote location access typically needs a heavy equipment budget for installing and removing mats and temporary bridges.


Once the ground has been cleared, a crew might need to lay mats for temporary roads. This could include leapfrogging for cost efficiency, so it’s not always as simple as a linear calculation. Having an experienced crew is critical for this step because damage to mats during the installation process can increase costs.

Environmental Activities

Almost every project comes with environmental requirements, such as Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan compliance, draining and erosion control solutions, or endangered species protection.

Removal and Restoration

Once the project is complete, the work isn’t over. Your estimate will probably include line items for things like removing temporary roads and bridges to leave no trace, planting to restore impacted areas, and erosion control for landscapes that have been altered.

Project Management

All of these activities take time and require careful planning and coordination to stay within the estimated budget—which is why project management is built into the quote.


Factors That Can Influence Site Preparation Costs

How does an estimator get to an accurate quote? A lot of factors go into the equation:


Challenging terrain often comes with a higher price tag. Creating a temporary road in a relatively flat cleared area for a solar installation looks very different from accessing a pipeline in a mountainous area, even if it’s the same mileage.


A project that runs through the course of a year has to be safely accessed through a range of weather conditions. Accounting for the firmness of the ground as the seasons change is also important.

Project Requirements

The frequency of travel, types of equipment, and weight of materials will influence the costs of a site access project. A wind farm might need specialized mats to support the weight of cranes lifting large turbines, while a utility project might require an equipotential zone to protect workers on the ground.

Environmental Requirements

Protected species, invasive species, stormwater pollution prevention, and other environmental considerations will impact the scope and cost of a site access project. Understanding these as much as possible early in the estimating phase will help ensure the most accurate quote.

Project Location

A project in a remote location typically requires more resources than one that is closer to a permanent road. If you have to traverse wetlands or streams, the access solutions also become more complex.



Unless you already have a lot of experience in this area, chances are you’re going to have to bring in professionals who have experience with various terrains and project types and have the expertise to gather all the information they need to provide accurate estimates.

They can help you determine: 

  • What access solutions are required to balance safe access with cost efficiency
  • Whether to rent or buy materials
  • How long the project will take
  • The expected costs for your optimized solution



We know how important it is to have predictable costs for a construction or utility project, and it all starts with site access. Our team will work closely with you to truly understand your needs so you can be confident that your quote is as accurate as possible.

To get a better understanding of the types of mats you might need for your project, check out our access mat guide today.


A Complete Guide to Selecting the Right Ground Protection Mats for Your Next Project