The Benefits of Digital Data Analysis

I think it’s fair to say we have become a nation that is risk adverse. We project manage, we undertake risk assessments and we do our homework to make sure we don’t get caught out by any nasty surprises.

For anyone that is working on a development or redevelopment project, this approach forms the basis of a successful project. After all, time spent at the outset on land and location due diligence will help reduce the likelihood of unexpected finds that result in delays – this can include everything from Radon, past mining activities, land contamination hazards through to Unexploded Ordnance (UXO).

Looking specifically at UXO, even though it’s over 70 years since the end of World War II, we still read regular reports of UXO that has been uncovered on building sites. Last year, this included a temporary closure at London City Airport, as well as two WWII bombs being discovered at a building site in Warrington.

In the latter, evacuation of the local area took place and controlled explosions were carried out by officials.

According to the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, Royal Logistics Corp, disposed of more than 450 pieces of air-delivered ordnance between 2010 and 2017 alone.

Understanding whether there are any risks to a piece of land has become far easier thanks to the breadth of data that is today available. Digital maps – both current and historic – as well as vast swathes of datasets can be interrogated, to provide a wealth of insight prior to acquisition, planning or development.

For example, understanding the former usage of the site will help determine if any land contaminants may be present - and therefore if any special measures or remediation is needed prior to development.

Environmental assessments will help work out whether flooding or ground stability is a consideration for the plot.

Having access to a wealth of data that can be scrutinised as part of a project will ultimately provide contextual information relating to the physical surroundings of the site. By doing so, you are less likely to discover ‘the unknown’ too late in the process, and can adapt designs, plans or undertake further investigations as needed, without unnecessarily creating expensive delays.