Don’t cut corners on site assessments

Consultants working in the contaminated land sector have been advised against cutting corners on the first stage of the remediation process in the hopes of winning the lucrative clean up contract - because the shortcuts are likely to come back to haunt them.

Speaking at Landmark’s Risky Business conference in London this week, Phil Crowcroft, partner at ERM, acknowledged that it was a commercial reality that initial site assessments were often viewed as a loss-leader to secure the juicy remediation contract – but said there was a difference between accepting the assessment would make a loss, and trying to do things on the cheap.

He said that when clients put tight deadlines and budgetary constraints on the initial assessment of a contaminated site, it was a consultant’s duty to advise them on where the inevitable gaps in the subsequent report were likely to be.

Apart from being a matter of professional ethics, this would avoid unwelcome surprises further down the line, he said.

“You need to tell them where the gaps are and that there may be some nasty surprises down the line,” he said.

“Phase one is the stage when we spot some of the biggest issues and to stint on that stage is bad news.”

He also used the platform to promote the SiLC (Specialist in Land Condition) accreditation scheme, saying there was a need for more professionals to aim for the qualification which could give clients further confidence.

“It provides quality assurance and demonstrates a certain level of professional experience.”

The Risky Business event saw a number of other high profile speakers speaking on developments which have impacted on the contaminated land sector.

Now in its ninth year, the conference featured presentations from key industry figures on topics such as managing flood risk, the climate change agenda and energy performance, as well as guidance on the safe development of land affected by contamination.

Sam Bond

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