What Is A Phase 1 Desk Study?

What Is A Phase 1 Desk Study? A Phase 1 Desk Study is a risk assessment report completed using available information relating to the development site’s history, geology, and environment. It identifies potential geotechnical, environmental, and ground engineering risks at an early stage of a site’s development.

What is a phase 1 desk study report and why do I need one?

A Phase 1 Desk Study is a risk assessment report for a development site, often required for planning applications to be approved

For planning applications to be approved, your council needs to know that your development carries no risk to human health or the wider environment. As part of the Phase 1 Desk Study information about the site is collected from a wide range of available documents. All relevant information is collated relating to the site’s setting and the risks to end-users and the surrounding environment from any contamination is highlighted.

Phase 1 desk study historical map

At Earth Environmental our Phase 1 Desk Studies are an interpretive report. Because all our team, who work on Phase 1 Desk Studies, are qualified Geologists, we have the skills and expertise required to be able to understand the information and produce a clear and concise report. That means we have a detailed understanding of your development site and your proposed development’s impact.  And you get a detailed understanding of potential risks and hazards. Plus we will also provide advice on remedial works and options for mitigation if risks are identified

A phase 1 desk study should always precede any ground investigation. Ideally it should also be accompanied by a walk over survey conducted by an experienced practitioner.

When Is A Phase 1 Desk Study Needed?

It may not be obvious that land is contaminated just by looking at it. Sometimes contaminants can be transported distances by ground water. The land may be contaminated from historical industrial waste. Or there may be geotechnical issues which are not visually evident, this is why a Phase 1 Desk Study is required to assess if your site has a potential risk or hazard.

There are a few reasons why you need a Phase 1 Desk Study

  •       To support a planning application for your Local Authority
  •       Discharge a planning condition attached to an existing permission
  •       Comply with local authority building control (LABC) or NHBC requirements
  •       Due Diligence with Property Transactions to Insure, purchase, or fund the purchase of a property

How Long Does a Phase 1 Desk Study Take?

At Earth Environmental & Geotechnical a Comprehensive Phase 1 GeoEnvironmental Desk study, including a site walkover survey report, is usually provided within 6 working days of receipt of payment. Occasionally this timeframe is longer as we may need to gain access to the site to complete the site walkover. Generally we will be able to consult with the relevant local authority’s Contaminated Land or Environmental Unit.  If however we can not  get a response within this timeframe,  we may send the detail of this consultation separate from the report. A Basic Report can usually be issued within 1 working day of receipt of payment.

What is Included in a Phase 1 Desk Study?

A Phase 1 Desk Study considers the development sites geological, environmental and historical setting

At Earth Environmental our Phase 1 Desk Study Reports have a 3 step approach.

  1. Comprehensive review of the details of the development proposal
  1. Detailed appraisal of the risk and hazards posed by environmental and geotechnical conditions of the proposed development site
  1. Collation of all the information to produce the interpretive report

Each  Phase 1 Desk Study will provide comprehensive datasets for full details of what is included and what information is reviewed Click Here


What Is A Site Walkover Survey and Why is it advisable?

A Walkover Survey is completed by one of our Engineers and conducted as part of each Phase 1 GeoEnvironmental Desk Study with site walkover survey (site that is less than 5 hectares in size)

It is a fundamental part of the Desk Study and essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of the site. During the walkover survey, we will assess areas identified within the desk study as potential development issues, environmental and cost liabilities. We also highlight potential remedial options or management considerations.

When the Phase 1 Desk Study and Site Walkover Survey is completed a Site Conceptual Site Model can be developed. The Site Conceptual Site Model allows for environmental and geotechnical hazards to be individually assessed. Potential pollutant linkages can then be prioritised if Phase II Site Investigations are necessary.

How Do I Know If I Need A Site Walkover Survey?

You may be required to do a Site Walkover as part of your planning decision notice. That’s why we always advise to complete the Phase 1 Desk Study with a site Walkover Survey as part of your preliminary assessments. Completing a Phase 1 Desk study with a site walkover survey before your planning application can save you time and money.

The majority of Local Authorities require a site walkover survey with a planning application. If your development site is a former petrol station, current or former industrial use, previously developed site it is more than likely that your Local Authority will want a site walk over survey with the Phase 1 Desk Study.

What if the Development Site is in a Coal Mining Area?

As part of the Phase 1 Desk Study Earth Environmental will assess your site location and establish as part of the Coal Authority Mining Report if your site is in an area of risk.

If the Coal Authority Mining Report indicates that there is a possible risk to ground instability and subsidence, or if we believe there is a potential for unrecorded mines beneath the site or mine entries, a Coal Mining Risk Assessment will be required.

You can check if your site is in a Coal Mining Risk Zone Click Here http://mapapps2.bgs.ac.uk/coalauthority/home.html

Or to discuss your development sites please call Tel: 0161 975 6088 or contact us

Can a Phase 1 Desk Study and Site Investigation be Completed together?

If you have established that your development site may need a Phase 1 Desk study and further Site investigation Earth Environmental can complete these assessments at the same time. This is prudent if you have a tight deadline for a planning application. Call now to discuss with one of our team the best plan of action for your site.