Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I have received planning permission for my development and the Local Authority have applied a condition which asks for a Desk Study and Site Investigation to be provided. What should I do and how much does it cost? Will it have profound cost implications on my development?
  2. I suspect my site is contaminated. I plan to develop the site, will I definitely need to undertake some remediation?
  3. My site requires remediation. Is it costly and will it significantly alter my development timescales and impact profits?
  4. I am only building a small extension to a private house, do contaminated planning conditions still apply?
  5. The local planning authority have not applied any contaminated land conditions however NHBC require a Desk Study and Site Investigation in order to comply with their Contaminated Land Condition. What do I do?
  6. I am a Structural Engineer and require information on bearing capacities and settlements associated with both underpinning works to existing foundations and foundations for new structures. Can you help me?

Answers

  1. I have received planning permission for my development and the Local Authority have applied a condition which asks for a Desk Study and Site Investigation to be provided. What should I do and how much does it cost? Will it have profound cost implications on my development?

    Contaminated Land Conditions are placed on a development in order to ensure the underlying ground/soil will not impact eventual end-users and also, is not contributing to groundwater pollution. There are generally three steps to contamination assessments under planning regulations, these are an initial Phase 1 Desk Study, then a Phase 2 Site Investigation and if necessary, a Phase 3 Remediation Strategy. A 4th Phase, know as Validation or Verification may also be mentioned.

    Not all phases need to be completed should evidence and risk assessments reveal them not to be required. For example, a Phase 1 Desk Study may indicate that no sources, both on-site and off-site, are present which could have potentially impacted the ground, therefore no further work would be required. Another example would be that based on the Phase 1 Desk Study a particular suite of chemicals may be present on-site as a result of the historical and/or current land use. In this situation a Phase 2 Site Investigation would be required. If on completion of a Phase 2 Site Investigation, no elevated levels of chemicals are identified then no further action would be required.

    Ground and Water will use their technical expertise and working relationship with regulators to enable you to comply with these regulations in the most cost and time effective way as possible. Contaminated Land conditions need not be expensive and cause delays in commencing construction.
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  2. I suspect my site is contaminated. I plan to develop the site, will I definitely need to undertake some remediation?

    No, not necessarily. Ground and Water will use the most up-to-date risk assessment techniques to thoroughly evaluate whether a risk is posed to eventual site owners or groundwater prior to advising an appropriate remediation technique.
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  3. My site requires remediation. Is it costly and will it significantly alter my development timescales and impact profits?

    Remediation need not be expensive and time consuming. Ground and Water have the technical expertise and knowledge of the most up-to-date remediation methods to enable quick and cost-effective remediation strategies to be developed. For example, remediation strategies can be engineered simply into the build and site design to reduce the amount of material removed from site. Remediation can also be undertaken in tandem with development removing construction delays.
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  4. I am only building a small extension to a private house, do contaminated planning conditions still apply?

    In some councils yes. The cost of undertaking phased assessments on such developments can be disproportionate. Ground and Water engineers are experienced in negotiating with regulatory bodies in order to comply with the regulatory conditions at minimal cost.
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  5. The local planning authority have not applied any contaminated land conditions however NHBC require a Desk Study and Site Investigation in order to comply with their Contaminated Land Condition. What do I do?

    NHBC Standards run parallel to Environment Agency directives which form the basis of our guidance to managing contaminated land and Local Authority planning conditions. The NHBC standards follow the same three step principle as planning conditions, including a Desk Study, Site Investigation and Remediation Strategy. As mentioned previously, you can complete the whole condition with one or two steps should site conditions allow.

    However, NHBC conditions may be more specific in their requests. Their own environmental engineer may specify that a bio-gas risk assessment is required or that soil testing is necessary.

    Ground and Water engineers are experienced at liaising with NHBC engineers to determine the most efficient way of complying with their concerns.
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  6. I am a Structural Engineer and require information on bearing capacities and settlements associated with both underpinning works to existing foundations and foundations for new structures. Can you help me?

    Ground and Water Engineers are experienced at carrying out site investigations in existing properties for underpinning works. We use a variety of field techniques, coupled with up-to-date settlement software, to determine bearing capacities and associated settlements for both underpinning works and loadings for new structures.
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