Environmental testing (contaminated land surveys) is a relatively new discipline within the construction and civil engineering sectors. However, as new regulations come into force, it is becoming increasingly important.
As with most geotechnical or environmental service requirements, it makes sense to engage with an expert as early in the process as possible. This is not just beneficial for you as the client, it makes life easier for your chosen service provider too. Getting visibility of a site as early as possible allows us to establish a clear view of the site and any potential risks.
In most cases, environmental testing is about discharging a duty of care to the local authority or regulatory body. However, in some instances, it can be a useful pre-purchase investment to gauge the potential impact of environmental contaminants on a development site.
If you are submitting a planning application and spending money on professional fees, you should also be reviewing the land before deciding what can be built on it – in the same way you might commission a geotechnical survey. Remember, surface soil contamination may not be self-evident; you also need to look beneath the surface to explore potential sources, pathways and receptors of contaminated material.
If you’re wondering whether you need to carry out a contaminated land survey or not, the answer is probably yes. Look out for a change of use as an indication that the land may contain contaminants. The local authority should have details of any potential issues associated with the site and records of prior use are going to be a good indicator.
A thorough desk study is money well spent when it comes to a brownfield development site. Go as far back as possible to establish any potential risks – records are frequently available that detail site usage as far back as 1870. Oh, and it costs less than you think.
As experienced environmental consultants, our job often begins with a square on a map and ends up with the discharge of a planning condition and approval to build. Clients will occasionally come to us with a specific test in mind. It might not always be what they need, so we will ask some questions to get to the bottom of what is really needed.
If the results aren’t what you were hoping for, you may need to consider remediation. This is a growth area within the UK construction industry and an area that CET engineers can assist with specification, implementation, supervision and validation of the necessary works.
As with most things, there is no substitute for experience. When it comes to selecting a testing or remediation partner, make wise choices. Ask tough questions and look for proof of quality, execution and, above all, satisfied customers.
For more details on the geo-environmental services available from CET, click here.
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