Site access planning is not the most glamorous component of being a construction project manager, but it is one of the most important. You are laying the groundwork for the rest of the project, and if you don’t get it right, the consequences can be significant. At best, you might experience delays when you’re not prepared for certain site conditions. At worst, you might encounter safety issues, experience unnecessary wear and tear on equipment, or suffer damage to your brand’s reputation.

The Project Manager’s Role in Securing Site Access

When it comes to construction, building doesn’t just begin right away—projects can only be started if the necessary infrastructure is in place. Project managers must ensure that safe access to the construction site is secured before any equipment gets going. This not only ensures minimal environmental impact but also allows for better mobility of machinery and personnel.

More often than not, temporary roads must be developed to support construction efforts. Depending on the area’s conditions, most developers will install various types of ground protection mats at the construction site to stabilize access and protect ecologically sensitive areas. Project managers are responsible for overseeing the acquisition and transport of these access mats, and must account for this measure in the site access planning process.

5 Access Planning Tips for Project Managers

Use these five essential tips for efficient site access planning for your next project.

1. Plan Early

Site access planning is too often left to the last minute when it should instead be one of the first things you do as a project manager. Incorporating a realistic budget for site access solutions like matting isn’t just important—it’s the key to keeping a project on schedule. How can you expect to stay on track if you start off on the wrong foot?

The earlier you involve your site access provider in the planning process, the more you will benefit from their expertise. They can help you plan for the unexpected, comply with local regulations, deliver customized solutions, and make accurate estimates to help keep your budget on track.

2. Choose an Experienced Provider

Depending on the scope and scale of the project, a construction project manager may be tempted to take on securing site access alone. After all, you often have access to heavy equipment and the skills to move earth and install temporary roads.

While this may be possible in some cases, working with an experienced site access provider comes with its advantages. Outsourcing to a provider that specifically focuses on site access solutions and has a specialized understanding of their role will not only allow you to do what you do best, but will also improve efficiency.

Additionally, experienced site access providers are prepared for anything since they have essentially seen it all. This helps reduce risk and enables more efficient site access planning since they already know the solutions that will work best for your project and help you save money.

3. Prioritize Communication

Site access planning is a team effort, and good communication is essential. The more information your provider has, the better able they will be to deliver efficient solutions. When something changes—a new environmental regulation, the project timeline, or new personnel on board—let the team know so they can course-correct as necessary. There are already enough unknowns an access planner has to be prepared for. The more you include them in project communications, the more efficiently they will be able to operate.

4. Be Adaptable

The one thing you can plan for is that something will change. Be prepared to adapt to changing weather conditions, unexpected obstacles, new ordinances, and more. Having a contingency budget for access mats, communicating effectively with the project team, and relying on experienced experts can help you efficiently handle any changes that come your way.

5. Expect a Customized Solution

There are a lot of situations where the most efficient solution is to do the same thing you did last time. This is not the case with access planning. Although it’s true that the approach you took in a previous project might work, it might be overkill and cause you to spend more than you need to—in the best-case scenario. If you plan for matting solutions that don’t meet the demands of challenging terrain, there could be safety issues, schedule delays, and even more expense than you anticipated. A key part of efficient site access planning is getting it right the first time, and this often means tailoring a solution to fit your site.

Rely on YAK ACCESS for Efficient Site Access Planning

The team at YAK ACCESS has decades of experience with construction access project management and implementation at every level. We embrace a collaborative process with construction project managers to help you determine the most appropriate and efficient site access and matting solutions. We start with a pre-project plan early in the process, outline the schedule, identify the necessary resources, and implement a customized plan. From clearing land and installing temporary work pads to making a floating road, we have done it all. Get in touch at any time to discuss your next project.