geo-environmental engineering

Recycling and repurposing our land

With government and authority planning policies promoting the redevelopment of ‘brownfield’ sites, ground engineering is becoming a pivotal part of the planning and development process. The need to assess the potential hazards posed by the presence of ground gases (including methane, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide), and often a variety of volatile organic compounds from natural causes or the former use of the land, and the design of appropriate mitigation measures are now routine requirements in the planning and construction process.

Our geotechnical engineers, from our sister company The Environmental Protection Group, specialise in evaluating the characteristics of the ground upon which a structure is to be built. They investigate and analyse a site for qualities such as soil characteristics, composition, and drainage, and evaluate soil, rock, groundwater, and man-made materials and their interaction with earth retention systems, structure foundations, and other civil engineering works.

Our geo-environmental engineering services

Geo-environmental consultancy

Our multidisciplinary team of engineers, geologists and environmental scientists provide our clients with advice on ground conditions and the potential for soil or groundwater contamination, or hazardous ground gases on previously developed land. We undertake geo-environmental assessments for the purpose of due diligence, obtaining planning approval or discharge, and to inform remediation designs.

 

On any development project, particularly on previously developed or ‘brownfield’ land, there is the potential for significant constraints in the ground. Our consultants can help you make sense of the geo-environmental setting, constraints and opportunities on your site and help develop the most cost effective and sustainable solution. We undertake these assessments through both desk-based research, site visits, and from data gathered via intrusive ground investigations and environmental monitoring. Through our understanding of the site history, potential for contamination, geology, hydrology, hydrogeology and environmental setting, along with an appreciation of the proposed development works we can build a conceptual model for the site. Our independent consultants have excellent relationships with environmental regulators and local authorities, and have a proven track record of gaining acceptance for our often innovative and pragmatic approach. Our scientific rigor and sound conceptual understanding means that our solutions offer the best value for our clients, ensuring safe and sustainable development without unnecessarily precautionary recommendations or interventions.

Ground investigation

Our team of experienced specialists can help scope, specify and oversee intrusive ground investigation works on greenfield or potentially contaminated sites. While we do not offer in-house drilling services, our independence ensures that we work with our clients to recommend the most efficient approach to intrusive investigation works, gathering relevant, valuable data to inform our assessments.

 

Our engineers are highly experienced in specifying innovative intrusive investigation works on sites with complex ground conditions and constraints. We have specialist knowledge of the best techniques to employ on small or large sites to maximise the value of the data for the budget. On highly contaminated sites and landfills it can often be advantageous to employ non-intrusive, or minimally intrusive methods, alongside traditional trial pitting and boreholes, minimising waste disposal costs, health and safety considerations, and the risk of cross-contamination. We design intrusive works with full consideration of the likely ground and groundwater conditions, conceptual model, and aims of the investigation works. We will visit site during the works, and supervise the ground investigation contractor on behalf of the client, ensuring that the technical objectives of the investigation are met, and that best practice standards and guidance for investigation works are adhered to.

Ground remediation

Where investigations and assessments have identified risks from ground contamination, mitigation may be required to ensure a safe a suitable for use scheme of development. Ground remediation measures can include excavation and removal of contaminated soils from site, or treatment of contaminated soil and groundwater in-situ, or engineering solutions within the ground (for contamination containment) or proposed structures (for ground gas mitigation). With ongoing significant increases in landfill tax rates and soil disposal costs, determining the most efficient and sustainable solution for soils management and remediation of contaminants at your site which minimises waste is particularly valuable.

 

Our specialist engineers provide effective and technically robust remediation designs; incorporating both traditional and cutting-edge proven technologies to ensure that the preferred solution is appropriate, safe, and cost effective. Our standard work practice involves incorporating sustainable remediation techniques to reduce the environmental impact associated with the remediation. Our engineers, who are specialists in the areas of ground remediation and landfill engineering, are capable of providing clients with expert technical advice for all types of development including residential, educational, commercial and industrial facilities.

We can provide site visits during the remediation phase to ensure that the technical specification is being met. This could take the form of verification supervision or monitoring on behalf of the client.

Ground gas risk assessment

A proposed development on or near land affected by ground gas or VOC emissions must be supported by a risk assessment submitted to the local planning authority in order to comply with current planning policy and Building Regulations. Our STRI Group company The Environmental Protection Group Ltd are industry leading experts in ground gas risk assessment and mitigation design. Our gas risk assessments routinely use detailed quantitative risk assessment methods to provide a more robust indication of risk. We can achieve this due to the wealth of experience we have in gas and VOC assessment including geotechnical and construction expertise that we can visit during the gas risk assessment process. This differentiates us from other geo-environmental consultants involved in gas risk assessment. We can say with confidence and experience that we regularly save clients significant cost by removing the need for gas mitigation systems where we can demonstrate these are not required.

 

As a company we are proud of the fact that we have contributed to much of the guidance on landfill, ground gas, mine gas and VOC assessment within the UK; including British Standards BS8576, BS8485, CIRIA Reports C665, C735, C748, C795, C801, Claire Research Bulletin RB17, Claire Technical Bulletins TB16 and TB17 and CL:AIRE Good Practice for Risk Assessment for Coal Mine Gas Emissions.  In addition to this we have authored peer reviewed papers in journals and presented training courses in the UK and worldwide.

Ground gas and VOC mitigation design

Where elevated risks associated with ground gas are demonstrated during the risk assessment preventative measures will be required to minimise the risks to acceptable levels. As development stakeholders have to manage other risks, such as health and safety of construction staff, gas pollution liabilities and financial risks, expert design advice is crucial to the risk management and mitigation process. We are proud of our expansive expertise in the delivery of design solutions for the successful management of ground gas on complex sites, which combine technical merit with a detailed understanding of the association practical constraints, legislative requirements, and commercial complexities.

 

We have demonstrated that early involvement in project evaluation enables our engineers to provide an effective, technically robust remediation design; incorporating both traditional and cutting-edge proven technologies to ensure that the preferred solution is appropriate, safe and cost effective.

sectors we serve

  • Buildings

  • Cities

  • Environment

  • Recreational spaces

  • Housing

delivering end-to-end bespoke solutions

As a multi-disciplinary, interconnected team, we bring together experts who develop solutions to create places which improve people’s lives as humanity adapts to the unprecedented challenges posed by climate change and population growth. We offer our clients tailor made strategies to support their goals and objectives, whether that be complete end to end project delivery or specific, targeted solutions. Our promise is to deliver future proof strategies and designs, that will stand the test of time, harmonising the ever increasing demands being placed on the built and natural environment.

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