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We understand that the world of unexploded ordnance can be confusing, especially if you’ve not required our services before. Below we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Brimstone UXO, but if you have a specific enquiry, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) is a term used to describe explosive ordnance which has been primed, fuzed, armed or otherwise prepared for action. It has been buried, dropped, fired, launched, projected, thrown, or placed in such a manner as to constitute a hazard to materials, installations, operations, or personnel and remains unexploded either by design, malfunction or for another cause.

Areas that were heavily targeted during WWI and WWII, such as coastal regions, major cities, and former military training grounds often have a higher risk of UXO. However, UXO contamination in the UK comes from a range of sources, and areas that were used for Allied training or ordnance manufacturing can also be deemed as high risk for UXO contamination.

Yes. If disturbed, UXO can detonate, causing damage to nearby infrastructure and seriously injuring or killing those in the close vicinity. It can be extremely dangerous, and therefore should always be handled by professionals.

UXO can degrade over time, becoming more volatile, however, it will not spontaneously explode. It requires an external event to create the conditions for a detonation to occur, which could be a change in temperature, vibration, or a direct impact, for example from piling or excavation works.

If you encounter a suspicious item or suspected UXO do not touch, move or disturb the item. You should keep a safe distance from it, ensuring others do the same. Immediately report the location and description of the item to the police, and follow the guidance provided. You may be advised to evacuate the area until it is deemed safe.

It’s always better to be safe and take the correct precautions. After all, explosive ordnance is designed to explode!

Brimstone provides a full suite of comprehensive UXO risk mitigation services. From initial risk assessments and surveys to on-site support and clearance operations, we tailor our services to meet the specific needs of each project, whether they’re in the UK or abroad.

Absolutely. Our experienced team can assess your site requirements and provide expert recommendations on the most suitable UXO risk mitigation services to ensure the safety and success of your project.

ALARP stands for “As Low As Reasonably Practicable”. In relation to UXO, this indicates that UXO risks have been reduced to the lowest possible level through appropriate measures and that residual risks are acceptable given the project’s circumstances. A UXO ALARP certificate certifies that UXO risks have been mitigated to this level, providing assurance of safety and compliance.

Brimstone can provide UXO Safety Awareness Briefings either online or in person. This service is sometimes referred to as a Toolbox Talk and is included in our usual on-site services but is also available as a standalone service. It involves one of our engineers meeting with your team and briefing them on general risks and hazards, basic UXO identification and actions to take in the event of a UXO encounter. If you’re looking for something more in-depth and specific to your site, we can create bespoke training packages.

Another option is our online UXO Awareness Course. This CPD course is aimed at construction, development, environmental and engineering professionals and teaches candidates about UXO risks, why UXO might be present and how to respond to a UXO incident. This course is available on-demand, meaning it can work around your team’s schedule.

Currently, there isn’t any legislation in the UK defining the steps you must take to check for UXO before beginning any construction work. However, there are legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 to ensure the health and safety of employees.

CIRIA C681 is the industry standard for managing the risks associated with UXO. It focuses on the needs of construction professionals, with guidance centred around WWI and WWII aerial bombardment, though it’s broadly applicable to other forms of unexploded ordnance.

A UXO Risk Assessment evaluates the likelihood of encountering unexploded ordnance in a specific area, informing decision-making and risk management strategies for construction projects and land development.

Yes. UXO risks in the UK can arise from various sources, including military training, bombing raids, Allied defence activities or weapons manufacturing. A comprehensive UXO risk assessment is therefore essential for any project that has planned ground intrusions.

A Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment, also known as a Stage 1 UXO Risk Assessment, provides an initial evaluation of UXO risks on your proposed site and investigates any military activity on or near your land. The aim is to establish if further, more in-depth research is required. With a 24 to 48-hour turnaround, this is the most cost-effective and fastest way of discounting UXO risks for your site.

A Detailed UXO Risk Assessment, also known as a Stage 2 UXO Risk Assessment, is a more detailed report that investigates and analyses the range of ways WWI, WWII and Allied activity could have led to UXO contamination on site, while also taking modern construction methods and human factors into account.

A UXO Desktop Study or (UXO Desktop Survey) is another name for a UXO Risk Assessment. It involves reviewing historical records, maps, and other available data to assess the likelihood of UXO contamination in a particular area.

If we identify a risk of UXO on your site, we will work with you to decide the best course of action in the most cost-effective way. We may recommend that a UXO survey is undertaken, which involves exploring beneath the surface to detect buried ferrous objects that might be items of ordnance. Another UXO risk mitigation recommendation might be for on-site supervision. It all depends on the type of UXO risk identified and your site characteristics.

A UXO survey is a specialised site-based service that explores beneath the surface and detects buried ferrous objects which could be unexploded ordnance.

An Intrusive UXO Survey involves intruding the ground to locate buried UXO. In contrast, a Non-Intrusive UXO Survey uses sensors to identify potential UXO without disturbing the ground. Instead, the sensors are passed over the ground in either a pushed, towed, or aerial format.

Yes. At Brimstone we can use a combination of sonar and magnetometry data to detect ferrous objects either buried or lying on the seabed.

The collected data is sent back to our in-house geophysics team for processing. Analytical signals are selected, and we use a specialist computer model to compare them against a bank of known UXO signals. Using our bespoke software, our team can make estimations of the depth and mass of any suspected item, along with its location in coordinates accurate to 5 centimetres.

Once the UXO survey results have been reviewed, we provide our clients with a detailed report outlining the survey findings and any recommended further action. If there are targets that require investigation, we may recommend that our engineering team be deployed back to site to carry out a target investigation. If the survey date results in no anomalies being found, and there are no further recommendations for UXO risk mitigation, you can continue with peace of mind that you have mitigated the risk of UXO.

If one of our engineers finds an item of ordnance, they will follow our set procedure to ensure the safety of everyone on site. The exact steps that will be taken will vary depending on the type of item found, its location and whether it’s live or inert. If required, the engineer will establish a cordon and notify the police.

While we have the licenses and capability to dispose of items of ordnance, we will usually lean on the resources provided by the British military to keep costs as low as possible for our clients initially. However, if required, Brimstone can destroy or remove the item from site for you.

This will largely depend on the size of your site and your programme of work. We will always work with you to find the most cost-effective solution that supports your schedule.

No. We will usually only need to clear down to 12 metres (of wartime ground) as this is the maximum bomb penetration depth.

Yes, Brimstone specialises in the safe disposal of UXO. We can carry out short-notice demolitions across the UK using both high and low order disposal techniques. Through our partners, we can also provide the safe transportation of ordnance when required.

Brimstone can provide solutions for all types of explosive hazard contamination including minefields, former battle areas and ranges, remnant IEDs and stockpile destruction.

Yes. Practice bombs, sometimes called duds or dummy rounds, often contain explosive substances. Even though this substance is a fraction of the size that would be used in fully operational items of ordnance, it can still be incredibly dangerous.

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