Monday, 30 March 2015

UXO legacy still causing problems for UK construction industry

Last week, a massive 1000lb bomb was detonated by the Army after construction workers discovered it on a site near Tower Bridge. This discovery underlines the importance of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) assessment during building development.

Before the bomb was removed by the Royal Logistics Corps it had caused massive disruption to the area. Both police and fire brigades attended the scene to evacuate hundreds of local residents, including two schools and a number of businesses.

WW2 UXO site contamination clearly remains a problem for many construction and development projects in the UK. By the end of the war London had become the most heavily bombed city in Britain. Between 1940 and 1945 there were a total of 71 ‘major’ air raids on the city, resulting in an estimated 190,000 bombs dropped. Much of this did not explode and remains hidden underground. Encountering UXO on a project not only exposes personnel to risk, it also results in delays and increase costs.

According to the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), between 2006 and 2008 15,000 pieces of ordnance were found on UK construction sites, of which 5% was still fully functioning. CIRIA has developed a set of guidelines (CIRCA C681) on dealing with UXO risk. These recommend an initial review of potential sources of UXO. In partnership with BACTEC, FIND offers a specially tailored instant online report - BombRisk - for just that purpose.

BombRisk means that builders and developers can now access instant UXO risk assessments at the planning phase of a project. The report uses a unique nationwide geospatial database of known UXO risk factors and locations. These include not only unexploded bombs dropped during air raids, but also arms and munitions abandoned on land used for training, storage, testing, military establishments, defensive positions, decoy sites, and minefields.

A BombRisk report acquired early in the development cycle provides reassurance on UXO risk for a site and fulfils all industry standard CIRCA for Phase 1 Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment. BombRisk reports are available for £175 per site.

Read more on CIRIA C681 guidelines

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