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Preventing Project Delays With Jurisdictional Expertise


Conducting thorough due diligence is good practice when building your fuel station — especially during these times as many project approvals have been placed on hold due to COVID-19.

You’ll want the information that can help you avoid any other potential delays, so engaging with an engineer who is an expert in the jurisdiction of your project site as early as possible can benefit you.

In fact, it’s best to engage with them before you purchase your site.

Before you purchase your land, it’s good practice to have your engineer perform a feasibility study on the site. If that engineer can produce surveys and sketches to investigate whether your requirements can be met according to the local code, it’ll be easier for you to decide whether or not to move forward.

If your site is found to be too small or not ideal for building fuel stations because of the kind of stormwater management, landscaping, traffic controls or other items required by the jurisdiction, the engineer may be able to do research on other sites that could be suitable for your project.

Another benefit of engaging with an engineer before you purchase your site is to get a more accurate idea of when your fuel station can open for business. It’s important that your engineer has experience working in the jurisdiction, so they can navigate the requirements without a hitch.

The engineer should be able to provide you with a schedule to develop your site, including entitlements and permitting timelines. In some cases, approval takes years — that would certainly be nice to know about your project before purchasing the land. 

Keep in mind, there could be delays that are outside of the engineer’s control and unanticipated, similar to COVID-19. That’s why it is so imperative to hire an engineer for your project that’s an expert in the jurisdiction — to move through the permitting process as quickly as possible, with the anticipation of the unknown.

Sometimes, there are new requirements that the jurisdiction doesn’t communicate to the project team until the last moment. Someone experienced with the jurisdiction would have a good working relationship, which could help leverage the permitting process as well.

Based in Rogers, Ark., Tim Perrien is director of fueling programs for Core States Group. Based in Ambler, Pa., Martin Swaggard is regional director of civil engineering. Core States Group provides architectural, engineering (MEP, civil, structural), program management, land development services, general contracting, and signage and brand management services nationwide. Perrien can be reached at (479) 986-4450 or [email protected]. Swaggard can be reached at (267) 464-8076 or [email protected].

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.

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