“To obtain the best value from a site investigation, it is essential to carry out a desk study”
(BS 5930:1999 Code of practice for site investigations).
In fact, the desk study is often considered to be the most important element of the investigation because it examines the past history of the site in conjunction with likely ground, groundwater and ecological conditions, and so enables the early identification and appropriate management of risk. A quick desk study carried out prior to purchase of a site can highlight unknown factors which could significantly push up the cost of future development!
Desk studies involve the collation and review of information already available about a site, and should always be carried out at an early stage of site appraisal to inform and guide the remainder of the investigation. They are often required by authorities for planning approval, and are part of current good practice for phased site investigations (BS 10175:2011+A1:2013 Investigation of potentially contaminated sites. Code of practice).
The desk study looks at the site as a whole and provides early recognition of the characteristics of the site. It identifies any special considerations or potential geohazards, and so facilitates planning of later stages of the site investigation, as well as preventing money being wasted on inappropriate, or perhaps even unnecessary, intrusive works. The investigation of potentially contaminated sites in particular has little value without a desk study, because without knowledge of the site’s history and geology / hydrogeology, exploratory holes may be located in the wrong positions and the contaminants analysed may be inappropriate.
Desk studies therefore save you both time and money.
Abricon has a proven track record of excellence in using desk studies to identify hazards as a first stage in the risk management process, and to identify whether further intrusive investigation will be required at a site.