ORIGIN: Starting the Conversation

Do Your Due Diligence

10.14.13 by Darren Burns
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Are you an impulse shopper? Can you buy something on a whim?  I can’t. I think it’s due to being an engineer. I question everything. Everything should be for a reason, right? Well, most of the time as I seem to think. Sometimes I wish I could buy with no thought, whatsoever. That would make my life easier and save me a lot of time. In the end, I’m glad I don’t.

I can actually stay in the hardware aisle for thirty minutes trying to decide which fastener to use for a project. Do I use a nail or screw? What size diameter? What length? What is the material? How many will it take? How much will it cost?  I know, it’s crazy, but it happens. And that should be an easy decision. What about a difficult decision like purchasing a house? Now you ask not only how much does it cost but there are a lot of other questions that need to be investigated and answered. What is the school district like? Is it easy access to stores and highways? Is it move-in ready? What repairs does it require? What will the neighborhood be like in the future? What are taxes going to be? How much will it cost to live here?

So what are we doing when we ask and answer these questions? We are doing our due diligence. Due diligence in my engineer’s opinionated mind is not a suggestion, it’s a requirement. Without due diligence, I’m just hoping things work out. If it does, then I got lucky and all is good. If it doesn’t work out the way I intended and I haven’t done my due diligence…I have no one to blame but myself. Chalk it up to a life lesson. And last time I checked, life lessons are learned by making mistakes.

Maybe not everything requires due diligence. The more important the decision, the more importance should be placed on due diligence.

I can take six months to buy a camera or a television or a sweeper. Yes, it happens. Even though it takes time and effort (which we all know, time is money), it is worth it in the end. Why? I end up with exactly what I want. If I’m spending a lot of money on something or I’m making a life decision about my health, I want to ensure my end goal is accomplished.

One service provided by Wallace Engineering’s civil department is due diligence for site developments. We determine flood plain status, provide utility information, zoning status, conceptual design, planning, etc. This information is invaluable when determining site complexities about developing a site. Knowing this information the developer can make an informed decision whether or not to move forward with a project. It will also make the process run smoother and provide realistic expectations of what it takes for design and construction. This saves time and money and helps eliminate any future site surprises. It is money well spent.

I strongly encourage people who have a development project to do their due diligence and do it early. Timing is critical. Do not have it done at the end of a contract when closing happens. Do it well in advance to give you the advantage of knowing all the pros and cons for the project.  This allows you the opportunity to avoid costly circumstances in the future. You will be happier with the end result!

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Darren Burns, PE

Principal

Darren received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Oklahoma. He is a principal…

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