Due Diligence & Site Assessment
Beech Consultants have undertaken a significant number of Due Diligence commissions over the last ten years for several major legal practices and their clients across the UK. The commissions range from simple reviews of Phase I Desk Studies, produced by third party consultants appointed by the vendor, but which require review and interpretation; through to undertaking sensitive and discrete investigations and assessment of sites and manufacturing/commercial/industrial operations for a change of ownership. In many instances, in addition to reviews of available information, a site reconnaissance is required. The review of information and site inspections are then translated into comprehensive reports that set out the potential environmental liabilities associated with the site and current/historical operations. On completion of the Phase I Desk Study, the minimum assessment recommended prior to a change of ownership of land/property, BC are able to provide advice on the further assessments to deliver the development. This could be part of the planning stage and/or design stage.
On many sites, the size or scale does not always reflect the amount or complexity of assessments required. The Phase I will generally lead into the intrusive Phase II investigative works where the geology and hydrogeology of the site is more accurately identified, allowing in-situ and ex-situ testing of retrieved samples for chemical and geotechnical analysis. From this various simple and complex risk assessments are required for human health, groundwater and foundations. The results of the various investigations and risk assessments can then be used to establish robust and economic Remediation Strategies where there are contamination issues that require resolution prior to development. The verification and validation of remediation and sign off by the Regulators is often the trigger for the actual redevelopment of the site. Beech Consultants can undertake all of the above and have significant experience of liaison and reaching agreement with the Regulators on a wide range of site specific issues.
Re-Use of Materials & Conformance Testing
Increasingly Beech Consultants are employed to assess the potential re-use of waste materials and waste streams. By establishing a rigorous sampling strategy a Material Management Plan (MMP) can be established. MMP are now a requirement of all major construction projects, which must be established prior to the commencement of the construction Works. The MMP provides a strategy to reduce waste to a minimum, providing options for the treatment and re-use/recycling on or off-site where possible. Significant cost savings can be made by converting waste into a product for re-use. This negates the need to landfill waste materials where the current Landfill Tax is £72/tonne (increasing to £80.00/tonne on 01 April 2014. This currently equates to circa £135.00/m3. Even the re-use of even a small quantity of material can have a very positive impact on the overall costs of a project, if appropriately managed. Conversely, on some construction projects the cost of landfilling of waste soils can prevent the scheme being implemented.
In addition, as a precursor to the establishment of the MMP, Beech Consultants can undertake an initial assessment prior to demolition of all above ground and all known below ground structures using the Demolition Protocol (DP). This protocol provides a Bill of Quantities, established on measured quantities of the various materials arising from the demolition and site clearance works. The individual materials, brick, concrete, timber, steelwork etc. is awarded a recovery index (RI) value. This value attempts to estimate the quantity of waste generated by the demolition operation and what percentage can be re-used/recycled. The RI for each type of material can then be used to monitor how efficient the demolition works are. The quantities can also be used to populate the MMP if the demolition works are part of a larger contract.
Definition of Waste
Leon Stanger (Director Beech Consultants) is a certified Qualified Person (QP), under the CL:aire Protocol/Code of Practice Definition of Waste (DofW). The DofW provides a methodology where a single site of a collection of sites (including a hub site) can utilise, excavated materials on the site and/or others, without the requirements of an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency. Suitable sampling/testing of the materials is required, together with provision of a risk assessment, which are forwarded to the regulators for review and acceptance. Once agreements have been reached, excavated materials can be re-used on-or off site. The QP reviews the information and proposals and if acceptable can sign off the process. BC can undertake both elements – investigation and assessments and/or act as the QP. Where BC completes the assessments another consultancy acting independently would provide a QP in such instances.
Increasingly Beech Consultants are becoming involved the procurement of Environmental Permits, which have replaced waste management licenses and exceptions under Clauses 9 and 19 of the former Waste Management Regulations. As detailed in some of the projects detailed within this web site there is now significant expertise and experience in establishing EP`s for a wide range of operations. Currently BC are investigating the licensing implications of the treatment of some by-products of animal and human sewage treatment works.
On many projects, including Phase I & II Geoenvironmental Assessments and environmental permitting issues there is a requirement for some degree of environmental monitoring is required. This can take the form of ground gas (methane, carbon dioxide, oxygen and gas flows, ground and surface water sampling and monitoring, noise and vibration monitoring. Noise level assessments are often needed for proposed developments to satisfy planning conditions – both ambient and often during demolition works within residential and commercial areas.
Invasive Species (IS)
As part of any site reconnaissance/site walkover, as part of a typical Phase I Desk Study Assessment there is now a particular emphasis on establishing if there are any Invasive Species on the site; which may constrain or in some instances prevent development. Invasive Species can take many forms and can be very difficult or potentially impossible to completely eradicate. Many people can identify Japanese Knotweed, but many cannot, nor do they understand the dangers of trying to remove JKW in an unsystematic way, which can increase costs dramatically in the long term. There is significant environmental liability in spreading an infestation, which may return after treatment if not undertaken correctly and/or sufficiently rigorous. However, JKW is just one of many IS and Beech Consultants can provide suitable experience and knowhow on the most appropriate way forward. Over the last year all of the following IS have been seen on sites under assessment – JKW, Himalaya Balsam, Horses Tail (Mares Tale), Buddleia, Common Ragwort and Giant Hogweed. All require varying degrees of treatment and all are adept at re-infestation if eradication works are not undertaken appropriately and diligently under a controlled environment.
Increasingly, there is now a very firm commitment to ensuring protected species are not adversely affected by construction activities, or that habitat and roosts are lost and/or importantly not replaced. The assessment of habitat can in many instances cause programming difficulties leaving to slippage on start dates of construction or significant delays once projects have commenced. The need to accurately establish if the is a bat roost (and type of bat) can and will prevent demolition and or refurbishment of buildings and structures for potentially many weeks and possibly months. Protected Species covers a significant range of flora and fauna. The presence of natter jack toads, great crested newts, nesting birds, bats, orchids etc. can cause stop notices to be issued by the Regulators during construction work if a suitable habitat survey and mitigation measures have not been agreed and put in place. Beech Consultants can undertake preliminary habitat surveys as part of initial due diligence works at an early stage of a project allowing opportunities to manage the situation, proactive is always better than re-active, and can save significant money and time.
- Due Diligence.
- Phase I Environmental Assessments / Desk Studies & Site Reconnaissance.
- Phase II intrusive Site Investigations and Factual & Interpretive Reporting.
- Environmental Monitoring – Surface/Groundwater and Ground Gases.
- Noise & Vibration Monitoring & Assessment
- Risk Assessments – Groundwater, Human Health & Ground Gases
- Contaminated Land Risk Assessments
- Remedial Strategies
- Remediation Technology Assessments
- Remediation Verification & Validation
- Ecological Assessments
- Habitat Surveys
- Invasive Species Assessments & Validation
- Phase I & II intrusive Site Investigations, Factual & Interpretive Reporting.
- Geotechnical Instrumentation & Monitoring.
- Foundation Analysis & Design
- Settlement & Consolidation Assessments.
- Chemical Assessments for buried Foundations & Services.
- Slope Stability Investigations & Assessments.
- Earthwork Assessments, Specifications & Validation (CQA).
- Ground Improvement Assessments, Design & Validation.
- Piling & Mobile Crane Mat Design.
Waste & Hazardous Waste Management
- Hazardous Waste Assessments (HWA).
- Waste Management Plans & Risk Assessments.
- Demolition Protocols.
- Surrender of Waste Management Licenses for Landfills.
- Definition of Waste (Qualified Person).
- Procurement of Environmental Permits.
- Waste Management/Sustainability Strategies.
- Construction & Demolition Waste Management Plans.
- Coastal & Sea Defence Surveys & Design
- Flood Risk Assessments
- Tree Surveys