Site Certification: What does it mean?
By Emily Hodge
At the Oconee Economic Alliance, we are pretty proud of the fact that we have not one, but THREE certified industrial parks: the Oconee Industry and Technology Park, the Golden Corner Commerce Park, and the Seneca Rail Park. Now, the average person may think, “That’s great… what’s the big deal?” Sure, it sounds pretty cool to say something is ‘certified,’ but what does that really mean? We have come to learn that “certified” organic foods may not really be all that different from non-organic foods, and that “free range” may not mean what you think it should mean. So, how do you know that what you’re getting is the real deal and actually worth the hype?
In the world of economic development and industrial development, having the ‘South Carolina Certified Park’ label is actually a big deal. This is a certification that truly means something and has the supporting documentation to prove it. For prospective companies looking for a new location, one of the biggest drivers (after determining if a location is a good fit) is cost and time. How long will it take to go from spending money to making money at this new location? If they are looking at a site that does not have a building on it, obviously they will want to construct the facility of their dreams, get their equipment set up, and start producing, shipping product, etc. as quickly as possible. This is where the site certification makes a huge difference. Before construction can start, there are many boxes that need to be checked. These range from surveying the site to know where any floodplains may be, topographic analysis, archaeological surveys, biological surveys, zoning permits, and the list goes on. All of these things take time. A ‘South Carolina Certified Park’ already has all of these boxes checked. All of the studies have been done; we know where the wetlands are, what the topography is, and even what the soil type is and how it could affect construction. Even better, in Oconee County, all of the utility hookups are on-site and ready to go. All the company has to do is decide where they want to put their building.
To put this in perspective, imagine sitting down to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy (all 9 hours and 18 minutes) and being given the option to watch it for free on Blu-ray, or paying per minute to watch it online with frequent stops as the video buffers…. slowly. Easy choice, right? Similarly, site certification saves a company time and money, which are huge driving factors in the business world. Having the studies done can take anywhere from three months to a year and they do come with a price tag. Not to mention the risk of purchasing property only to find an Indian burial ground that needs to be assessed and surveyed. If time is money, you are losing a lot of money while that gets sorted out.
While choosing a site for a new distribution or manufacturing location is much more complex than merely finding suitable land, having a suitable site in a desired location that is also certified can be the deciding factor for a company. In Oconee County, we believe we are the geography of opportunity and we are ready to help make those decisions. Do you have questions about the subsurface conditions of one of our parks, or maybe about the available electrical capacity? We are way ahead of you! Our three South Carolina “Certified Industrial Parks” stand up to the hype and are open for business.
Emily Hodge is the Research Specialist of Oconee Economic Alliance, which is a public-private nonprofit effort to accelerate job creation and capital investment, increase per capita income, diversify the local tax base and generate awareness of Oconee County as a business location. To learn more visit www.InvestOconeeSC.com.