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Phase 2 Site Investigation

A Phase 2 Site Investigation is the second stage of a phased contaminated land assessment that is often required to discharge planning conditions or remove objections, once planning permission has been granted.  A Phase 2 is usually required following approval of a Phase 1 Desk Study, where potential sources of contamination have been identified, and the risks from which require further understanding.

In addtion to supporting the planning process, a Phase 2 Site Investigation can also be used to:

  • Satisfy NHBC land quality conditions (or any other warranty provider).

  • Provide financial security for banks, mortgage lenders and landowners involved in a transaction/ change of freehold.

  • Provide legal security to solicitors who may be conveyancing as part of land purchase.

  • Support Environmental Due Diligence audits.

  • Inform an Environmental Statement for inclusion into an Environmental Impact Assessment

The purpose of a Phase 2 Site Investigation is to physically inspect the condition of the soil, groundwater and surface water that may have been impacted by the sources of contamination identified in the Phase 1 Desk Study.  The Phase 2 Site Investigation is site specific with the method(s) of investigation chosen being dependent on a number of factors, such as access, operational constraints, geology, potential contaminant sources and the receptors to be targeted (e.g. shallow soils, groundwater). 

The most common methods of investigation employed during a Phase 2 Site Investigation may include:


  • Hand excavated pits and hand augering.

  • Machine excavated trial pits using a JCB (or similar).

  • Windowless sample boreholes.

  • Cable percussive boreholes.

  • Hollow stem and solid stem rotary boreholes.

How can Lustre Consulting help?

Lustre Consulting prides themselves in designing cost effective and compliant investigations that effectively target contamination which could be in the subsurface and present a pollution risk. In most cases, it is also possible to combine the Phase 2 Site Investigation with a Geotechnical Investigation should further information be required on the engineering capacity of the ground to aid foundation design.

To meet your requirements and ensure you remain compliant, all our Phase 2 Site Investigations are carried out in accordance with current guidance such as the recommended approach set out in the Environment Agency’s Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination (CLR11) and the British Standard Code of Practice Investigation of Potentially Contaminated Sites (BS 10175: 2011).

All investigations are carried out by qualified and competent consultants who are experienced in the recovery of samples, in situ testing, soil logging and environmental monitoring to the British Standard Code of Practice for Site Investigation (BS 5939:1999). The findings are detailed in transparent and informative reports with clear and helpful conclusions and recommendations (if necessary) to carry out any requried remediation.

Our Phase 2 Site Investigation reports regularly receive positive feedback from clients and regulators alike, and have been instrumental in successfully gaining planning permission and discharging conditions for a number of new development sites.

Points to Consider

Some important points to consider when commissioning a Phase 2 Site Investigation:

  • Do you have any planning conditions attached to your planning permission? Or is the purpose of the investigation to gain a greater understanding of any potential liabilities that may be associated with the site, such as prior to purchase?

  • Are there any access constraints that may restrict the use of some of the exploratory methods described above? Is the site operational or vacant? 

  • Are there any underground services (e.g. power cables, water pipes etc.) crossing the site? A site investigation should not commence until the location of all services has been determined as they pose a significant health and safety risk. If up-to-date plans are not available, we recommend requesting them from the utility companies. If timescales are tight, we recommend a service clearance survey which can be combined with a level survey or a topographical survey if required.

  • In terms of programming, we will usually require at least 1 to 2 weeks from receipt of formal instruction to mobilise onsite depending on the scale of the investigation. The chemical analysis on soils will take 1 to 2 weeks after submission of the last soil or water sample. 

  • Will there be a need to dispose of any soils during the future development, possibly as part of the enabling works? If so, we can carry out waste classification and Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) testing as part of the Phase 2 Site Investigation. WAC tests are now required by most landfill sites to allow them to determine whether they are able to accept the waste.