Ground Investigation Surveys for EV Charging Hubs

Ground Investigation Surveys for EV Charging Hubs

As Electric Vehicle (EV) use increases the demand for rapid and smart charging increases, and the provision of EV infrastructure through new buildings, commercial developments, and public sector developments must be considered. The UK is the first major global economy to pass a law [10] that decrees net zero emissions by 2050, with London setting out its ambition to be a zero carbon city by 2030.

Electric Vehicles (EV) are an important element to achieve this, but the provision of efficient charging infrastructure needs to reflect the increase in EV use. It is estimated that an investment of £16.7bn will be required in public EV charging infrastructure, if the UK is to be ready for the ban on sales of cars with an internal combustion engine in 2035.

As with all new construction, whether it is a new development, an expansion or addition to an existing site, before installation or construction begins you need to know exactly what you are building on.

Why are Ground Investigation Surveys for EV Charging Hubs So Important?

A recent development in London  – The Glass Yard Woolwich, demonstrates why a robust process of Ground Investigations are crucial before any construction begins. And how a phase 1 Desk Study followed by Site Investigations can save developers time and money, and prevent delays.

The Glass Yard Woolwich Rapid Charging Hub was developed on a Brownfield site as a standalone hub with solar panelling installed to support some of the electrical loading on site such as the lighting.

This rapid charging hub project details why a Ground Investigation Survey is one of the first stages required for a EV Charging Hub installation.

In September 2021 Transport for London (TfL)  opened a new rapid charging hub at Glass Yard in Woolwich. The ‘petrol station’ for electric vehicles allows drivers to charge up in 20-30 minutes and with eight charging points.

The project encountered some challenges, the standalone site on brownfield land highlighted “that understanding ground conditions of the site and the history of the site should be considered as early as possible”.

The land was contaminated by heavy metals and two chambers of gas were discovered, delaying completion. Equipment had to be restricted as to not affect the sewer system, as there was a concern that the vibrations would impact the sewers.

There were more significant civil works required than was anticipated, which increased delivery time. The site also had an unexplored ordinance risk and required retaining walls due to the steep incline of the site and the vehicle space required. Many of these issues are specific to the development of an ex-industrial site, however Glass Yard demonstrates the significance of a thorough awareness of the history of the site in selecting development opportunities. Connection to the grid was relatively easy.

The Cross River Partnership EV Charging Hubs Reports Highlights why it is so important to know exactly what you are building on and why Earth Environmental & Geotechnical’s pragmatic, cost effective services could save you time and money if installing a Rapid Charging Hub.

Whilst not every site will have such comprehensive challenges as The Glass Yard in Woolwich:

  • Contaminated with heavy metals
  • Gas Chambers
  • Unexplored Ordinance Risk
  • Utility restrictions
  • Steep Incline and retaining walls

The learnings from the project are clear, the step-by-step process to implementing a rapid charging hub identifies that a detailed knowledge of the site is always the starting point.

  1. Historical and Archaeological Considerations of the Site
  2. Geological Considerations
  3. Utilities
  4. Other Challenges identified in site development

The report also highlights why it is so important to complete a phase 1 desk study followed by phase 2 site Investigations as early as possible in the project.

Step-by-Step Process to implementing a Rapid Charging Hub

When deciding on locations for a rapid charging hub, regardless of size or capacity, it is first recommended that a thorough evaluation of the land use is undertaken dating back as far as possible. This is to reveal any underlying contamination risks (e.g. heavy metal contamination from brownfield sites), historical structures of importance, and unexplored ordinance risks which could impact on the delivery time of the project and incur extra costs to investigate and remediate the land to a usable state. It is important to consider these elements of the project as early as possible –

The report clearly highlights the significance of a thorough awareness of the history of the site in selecting development opportunities and why ground investigation surveys for EV Charging Hubs are so important.

EV Charging installation
Electric vehicle charging station

Where do we Need EV Rapid Charging Hubs

The demand to EV rapid charging hubs and Electric Vehicle HyperHubs

is increasing and the greatest demand is in the areas of greatest population density, supermarkets, retail parks, airports, distribution centres, park and ride locations and EV fleet charging hubs.

These sites frequently have some similar challenges to the Glass Yard Woolwich and can be located on Brownfield sites or ex Industrial areas. So understanding the land being built on is crucial. Detailed site investigation will highlight the most cost effective and pragmatic solution for the foundation requirements, piling designs and other remediation works that may be required for a safe and successful project. And as the report highlights starting the site investigations as early as possible is key to the projects success.

EV Charging Hub Site Surveys

Earth Environmental & Geotechnical have many years of experience working with energy companies and planning consultants in assisting companies in the siting, design and construction of renewable energy facilities. Including wind farms, solar and more recently EV Charging hubs.

Ground Investigation Surveys for EV Charging Hubs

We can complete feasibility studies to provide early advice on ground conditions, together with potential development constraints, to ensure your EV Charging Hub is designed with a full understanding of ground conditions and pragmatic design solutions. Ensuring your EV Charging Hub is sited and designed cost effectively and safely for your specific development site.

We have worked with a wide range of clients including Local Authorities, global retailers & supermarkets, energy companies and architects. We have been involved in Site Investigations to assess the ground conditions of the proposed site, foundation and/or piling designs for the construction of renewable energy structures and EV Charging Hubs around the UK.

As part of this service, we have provided site investigations, together with an assessment of ground conditions for foundation and access road design.  Some of the services have been provided as part of the development of an Environmental Statement or Environmental Impact Assessment.

Typical services we provide include;

  • Phase I Desk Study
  • Site Walkover Surveys
  • Site Investigation
  • Environmental Statement
  • Access Road Design
  • Foundation Design
  • Piling Solutions

At Earth Environmental & Geotechnical we offer a full range of ground investigation techniques, in-situ testing and in-house laboratory testing services. We can provide ground investigation reports or design bespoke investigations depending on the specific needs of the development site. We also offer many complementary services such as environmental impact assessments, ecological surveys and archaeological support, and foundation pull-out tests for solar farms, and wind farms. We have worked with energy companies and increasingly with Energy providers developing renewable energy  including wind farms, solar farms providing ground investigations for renewable energy projects in the UK.