Phase 1 Desk Studies

Desk studies are an essential first phase of any site investigation.

Environmental database, historical and geological map information are obtained and reviewed. A site walkover survey and general internet searches are undertaken. The information is used to build up a preliminary conceptual site model (CSM) for the site. The CSM identifies potential on and offsite sources of contamination, potential targets (receptors) which the contamination could effect (e.g. rivers, aquifers, human health) and potential pathways whereby the contamination could affect the identified receptors. Potentially significant pollutions pathways are identified in a Preliminary Risk Assessment.

The CSM and Preliminary Risk Assessment enable a suitable site investigation to be scoped which will target any potentially significant pollution pathways identified. The presence of geotechnically difficult or potentially gassing ground and/or the potential for shallow coal workings to be present can also be identified by the desk study; desk studies can therefore also be used to scope the level of geotechnical, gas monitoring and shallow mining investigation work required.

Please visit our case studies page to review some of our recently completed Phase 1 desk studies. We have recently completed contracts in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Chester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.


All works must be approved by the Local Authority and Environment Agency (if controlled waters are involved) prior to any contaminated land planning conditions being discharged.

All contaminated land related works are undertaken in accordance with:

Government published Contaminated Land Regulation guidance (especially CLR11)
Planning Policy Statement 23
BS10175 (2011)  'Investigation of potentially contaminated sites – Code of Practice'
BS5930: 1999 (Amendment 2) 'Code of practice for site investigations'; CIRIA C665 'Assessing risks posed by hazardous ground gases to buildings'
NHBC Standards January 2000 Chapter 4.1 'Land quality – managing ground conditions'.