New service to identify risk of contamination in land purchases

A new service has been developed to take the risk out of commercial development and land purchasing.

The Commercial Property Search Report, developed between the Environment Agency and consultancy firm Groundsure, can reveal all manner of hidden obstacles to development such as contamination by heavy metals, radon and other hazardous substances, as well as liability to flooding and subsidence.

The report, a detailed extension of the existing audit for residential properties and investments, acts as a one-stop-shop for information and comes from Property Search, part of the Environment Agency.

Ann Conway-Hughes, managing director of Property Search, said: "There are thousands of companies that are either advising on or investing in commercial sites without full historic knowledge of the land."

"Without a comprehensive report on the site there is no way of knowing if, what looks like a site that is ripe for development, could end up costing a fortune."

She stressed that finding out about 'dirty' land issues after the event could land companies with expensive remedial works, delayed construction and even a damaged reputation.

"No one wants to be caught out having made a bad business decision," she added. "A simple telephone call [to the Environment Agency] will tell property specialists whether they are making a sound business investment or taking a huge business risk."

David Hopkins



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