At Brimstone, our commitment to safety and quality shines through in our UXO risk assessment services.
Ever wondered what goes into creating a Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment and how we arrive at our risk ratings? In this interview, we sit down with Chris Birch, one of our Project Researchers, to discuss the steps involved in crafting a Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment and to shed light on the methodologies leading to our recommended outcomes.
Q: What is a Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment?
A Preliminary Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Risk Assessment, also known as a Stage 1 Risk Assessment, is a qualitative screening exercise to assess the likelihood of discovering UXO on your project site. This entails a thorough examination of the proposed site, investigating any enemy action or military activity on or near the land. The information gathered is then used to assess the UXO risk, providing a comprehensive risk rating along with any recommended further actions.
Q: When we receive a site that requires a Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment, what is the first thing you do?
When we receive a site requiring a Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment, our first step is to ensure we have all the necessary information from the client, including a red line boundary and scope of work. This allows us to tailor our assessment specifically to the site. Utilising our in-house database, we then gather records, photography, and other relevant resources to compile an overview of the site.
Q: What do you look for when assessing the site?
As the purpose of a Stage 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment is to determine whether further research is required, the main thing we typically look for is any evidence of bombing incidents occurring on / immediately adjacent to the Site, as well as evidence of damage occurring, before expanding our search area to gain an idea of what has occurred within the surrounding area. We’ll also look for evidence of Allied military activity in the vicinity to determine if there is a potential risk of Allied UXO contamination.
Q: What resources do you use?
Our key resources consist of any available local bomb maps, damage maps and written records, as well as post-WWII historic aerial photography and historic OS mapping. We also have an extensive in-house geo database and a library containing books that cover the length and breadth of the country. However, as all our assessments require bespoke analysis, we ensure we leave no stone unturned in our research and will try to uncover relevant information and evidence in any way possible, whether that be a deep search online or contacting a local historian.
Q: What are the key factors that determine the risk rating the site receives?
We tend to focus on four key factors when assessing the risk from UXO;
- Access levels
- Ground cover
The combination of these four factors will allow us to establish whether further research is required or not. However, as each Site we assess is different, there are other factors that will come into play such as historic military usage. On any given Site, we will always take these additional factors into account when making our recommendations.
Q: Does the process differ depending on the site location?
Our process generally remains the same no matter what kind of Site we are assessing at a preliminary stage; however, it does usually depend on what resources we have available to us at the time.
For example, we have an extensive database for London, whilst for a more rural location we may be focussing more on historical imagery and anecdotal evidence as opposed to official records. Nonetheless, we always ensure that we have compiled as much information as possible before making our recommendations, with a view to obtaining relevant records from local and national archives should we be recommending further research.
Q: Are there any challenges you often must overcome when working on a Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment?
As the point of a preliminary UXO risk assessment is to simply determine whether further research is required or not, the most common challenge we face is that we often find ourselves working with limited records as we may not have visited the relevant local archive or written an assessment in that particular area of the country before. Should such a situation arise, we place focus on secondary and online sources, including first-hand accounts from wartime.
Additionally, as mentioned above, if we determine that further research is required, we will always attempt to find relevant records held at local archives that we can obtain and analyse should the client order a Stage 2 Assessment. This way, we know that we are exploring every possible avenue in order to provide an accurate risk level and recommendations.
Q: Why should you choose Brimstone to undertake your UXO Risk Assessment?
At Brimstone, our experienced research team are committed to providing a safe, cost-effective and quality service, underpinned by integrity in advice and information, professionalism in the way we handle our operations and processes and knowledge in new skills and information to ensure we remain at the forefront of the industry.
We will always do our best to ensure our clients’ needs are met and will always take into account any specific requests that they may have.
UXO Risk Assessments you can trust
With a 24-hour turnaround, a Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment is the most cost-effective and fastest way of discounting UXO risks for your site. Our use of primary and secondary historical sources and expert evaluation can keep your projects moving along and prevent costly and time-consuming delays further down the line.
If you need help deciding which UXO risk assessment is right for your site, get in touch with our Commercial Team today who will be more than happy to assist you.
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