Initial Project Planning, Due Diligence, and “Will Serve” Letters
Proper planning at the outset of a project, well before construction begins, is vital to its success. The first step in the design process is to understand the client’s objectives for the project, to identify their wants and needs, and to perform a detailed evaluation of site conditions and other relevant factors. Some items to consider are what regulations will impact design/construction and how existing site conditions might affect construction. A comprehensive markout of subsurface utilities is essential to gathering information on utilities and other features (such as tanks, vaults, etc.) that may interfere with site construction. Performing due diligence at the beginning of the project will help to ensure that the project objectives are met. This knowledge will support project design and phasing.
What Is a “Will Serve” Letter?
During initial project planning, “will serve” letters should be obtained from all utilities that are relevant to the project. Some utilities to consider include but are not limited to: electric, sewer, potable water, natural gas, telephone, and internet services. The “will serve” letters should document that each utility company understands the scope of work of the project and that it has the ability to meet current and future utility demands associated with the project.
What Should “Will Serve” Letters Include?
Engineers preparing “will serve” letter requests should consider the following questions:
- What are the characteristics of the current land use?
- How does the proposed land use differ from the current use?
- What utilities are necessary for the proposed use?
- What regulations or agency requirements govern the work?
- What utilities are required for the project and can the utility providers meet future demands?
For example, to request a “will serve” letter from PSE&G, project information such as site plans, technical specifications, and new and existing load details need to be provided. PSE&G also requires proper communication before the construction project is initiated, during project progression, and upon completion.
Why Are “Will Serve” Letters Important?
By performing adequate due diligence in the early phases of a project, potential cost overruns can be prevented. Proper attention to planning can avoid the costs associated with design revisions, rebidding, and/or contractor change orders. No one wants to be approaching their budget limits only to realize that they missed underground utilities during construction due to poor planning.
Walden has Professional Engineers and qualified staff that can assist your construction project with proper planning and obtaining “will serve” letters. Please feel free to give us a call at 516-271-1948 to talk to an engineer today!