Desk Study and Reconnaissance Survey
RSA Geotechnics recommend that a desk study and reconnaissance survey is carried out for all sites prior to development. The aim of this research is to provide an initial overview of the nature and extent of any geotechnical, environmental or contamination hazards that may exist.
The desk study can be designed to focus on different aspects, as required, including geological, flood risk, environmental, geotechnical, planning application and pre-purchase assessments. The research may include a review of historical maps, aerial photographs, bomb records, register searches, and consideration of the geological, hydrogeological and hydrological conditions. Our report will document potential hazards such as any ground instability, mining activity, landfill, potential sources of historical and contemporary contamination and pollution incidents.
A walkover survey of the site and its surroundings allows any contemporary issues to be identified, including polluted surface water and nearby sources of potential contamination. The desk study enables conclusions to be drawn regarding the pollution and contamination risks.
The research is used in the compilation of an outline Conceptual Site Model (CSM) and a preliminary qualitative risk assessment. The model helps us to understand the environmental impact on the proposed development and is critical in the design of an appropriate intrusive survey.
Under current legislation desk studies are required as part of the planning process. The presence of contamination is a key concern of the regulatory bodies when considering proposals. The developers have an obligation to comply with the environmental regulations at each step of the planning, design and construction process. The local authorities also have a duty under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 to identify, investigate and require remediation of sites within their area if pollution or contamination is considered to be likely or has been proven. A desk study is a key element in the initial stages of this process.