Article Contaminated Land

SoBRA – Accreditation Scheme Launched July 4th 2016

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The Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment (SoBRA) was established in 2009 to support the growing number of professionals working in land contamination risk assessment. It recently launched a new accreditation scheme to demonstrate competence as a land contamination risk assessor. This is a standalone scheme. However, the scheme presents an opportunity for its members to demonstrate to a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP), under the Land Forum’s upcoming National Quality Mark Scheme, that they are sufficiently competent to support the SQP in undertaking or reviewing the risk assessment element of their project. For the many members of the AGS interested in land contamination this a great opportunity to demonstrate competency recognition.

SoBRA is a learned society for individuals, with membership drawn from the private, public, voluntary and academic sectors.  Its goals are to improve technical knowledge in risk-based decision-making related to land contamination applications and to enhance the professional status and profile of practitioners.

Risk assessment is a critical element in the evaluation of land affected by contamination and provides the cornerstone for wider decision making in land management.  To date there has been no single industry-wide scheme to demonstrate competence as a risk assessor. The SoBRA Register of Risk Assessors has been developed to fill this gap, recognising and rewarding the technical skills associated with land contamination risk assessment.

Inclusion on the SoBRA Register of Risk Assessors will not demonstrate that an individual is an expert but will demonstrate that the individual possesses the technical, scientific and communications skills required to design, perform and critically evaluate land contamination risk assessments.  The scheme is focussed on the technical detail associated with risk assessments but also requires that applicants have a broader understanding of the context and impact of risk assessment on the management of land affected by contamination.

The SoBRA Register of Risk Assessors has two grades of membership to reflect an individual’s experience and skills.  The entry level is Registered Grade; individuals who are capable of undertaking and/or reviewing routine generic quantitative risk assessments without supervision but who are likely to need some assistance or guidance in conducting more complex risk assessments.  The advanced register entry will be the Fully Accredited Member Grade which would be someone with a thorough understanding of land contamination risk assessment, with experience of carrying out and/or reviewing more detailed and site specific risk assessments.  On admission to the register, individuals will be permitted to use the post-nominal signature designations of RSoBRA and ASoBRA respectively.

As many risk assessors have differing levels of experience in different practice areas such as human health risk assessment or assessing risks to water environment or ecological receptors, registration entries will be linked to their specific areas of competence.  In very broad terms the two grades have been designed to be consistent with the Level 3 and Level 4 of the SiLC Land Condition Skills Development Framework.

The application procedure will require the submission of written evidence to demonstrate competency, attested by referees and attendance at an interview.  There is also a strict requirement for all register entrants to maintain membership of a professional body and a requirement for those seeking the Fully Accredited Member Grade to be chartered.

The first tranche of applications are anticipated to be accepted from July to October 2016.  If you are interested in being included on the register, then please visit www.sobra.org.uk for full details on the application requirements and start gathering your evidence for your written submission!

Follow us also on LinkedIn, for the latest news on technical issues, workshops and updates. See also our summer workshop in Bristol upon Risk Assessment to support Historical Landfill Redevelopment or simply visit our Stand at Contamination EXPO 2016 to learn more!

For editorial comment and contact on this please contact the SoBRA executive committee at info@sobra.org.uk

 

News Contaminated Land

Panel debate on Asbestos in soil

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Understanding the risks posed by Asbestos in soil will be explored  through a panel discussion that brings together Dr Richard Ogden (co-author of CIRIA’s C733 document) and members of the AGS Contaminated Land Working Group. The panel debate will take place during AGS Members’ Day, on 18 March and is scheduled for 3.30pm.

Dr Ogden will be giving a presentation to put the discussion in context and introduce the known issues and inferred risks surrounding the presence of asbestos in soils. These include topics such as the risks on construction sites during and post works, what laboratory tests are required and the international effort to understand the soil-air relationship.

Following this presentation AGS Chairman Seamus Lefroy-Brookes,  Chris Swainston, Steve Moreby, and Contaminated Land Working Group chairman Neil Parry will join Dr Ogden to discuss the issues.

 

Article Safety

The Consultant’s Problem

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There is still a perception within the industry, and sadly, this includes some CDM-Co-ordinators (CDM-C), that it is not necessary to appoint a CDM-C or provide Pre-Construction Information (PCI) for the site investigation stage of a project.  Therefore, when we as Consultants/ Designers are appointed we are already on the back foot.  Experience tells of precious time on a project often lost while Designers/ Consultants try to persuade stakeholders, including CDM-C’s, that (intrusive) ground investigation works are considered “Construction works” and therefore the relevant CDM regulations apply.  Unfortunately, this is not being helped by the current aggressive nature of the market where it seems that some Consultants and Consultant/ Contractors will take on projects at the site/ ground investigation stage without the required CDM-C appointment and Pre-Construction Information to give them the edge on the competition.
The time taken to obtain full service records for a site (a key part of the PCI), before the design of ground investigation work can take place, can affect the progress of a project in both increased fees and programme.  Yes, there are “one-stop-shop” companies who will obtain the buried services information for a site, and yes they offer accelerated turn-around times for such services.  However, in the majority of cases the full service returns will not be received within 4 weeks.  Once received, the plans vary in scale, content, style and are rarely drawn accurately to scale.   Due to this the Designer is left with information which cannot be totally relied upon when designing the intrusive phase of ground investigation works (i.e. selecting that all important exploratory hole position).
Therefore, since “Every designer shall in preparing or modifying a design which may be used in construction work in Great Britain avoid foreseeable risks to the health and safety of any person…”, we advise the Stakeholders that either in advance of, or during the intrusive ground investigation site operations, further hazard elimination and management procedures be implemented.  Clearly, within the congested underground of the United Kingdom, buried services are a “foreseeable risk…”.   “Reasonably practicable” measures in order that we, as Designers, can either design out (manage) or eliminate such a risk, can include, but not be limited to:

  • Positive identification by utility companies.
  • Utility and service mapping services.
  • Vacuum excavation.

However, such measures have programme implications and additional costs which can often make them hard to incorporate in the project budget, despite the potential savings to the project that these hazard elimination and management measures can provide in reducing “risks to the health and safety of any person”, as well as the risk of significant cost and programme delays which can be incurred when buried services are struck.
Therefore, the biggest hurdle, facing the “competent” consultant/ designer is to convince the stakeholders that the consequence of encountering a buried service, either at intrusive ground investigation stage or main construction work stage, is worth the additional early cost.  As discussed earlier, this is currently against a backdrop of an increasingly competitive market place where consultants/ designers can be found who are willing to work with a higher risk and perhaps be less open with the Client as to the levels of risk the project is being exposed to.
Highlighting the consequence of the unexpected or accidental conflict/ encounter of buried services in any stage of a project should not only be within the health and safety risk assessments for activities on a project but also the Project Risk Register.  Once the consequences are clearly outlined to Stakeholders they should be more than aware of the importance of managing or mitigating the possibility of such an encounter.  There should be greater cross stakeholder collaboration, which should include the Principal Contractor, Contractor and Designer in addition to the Clients or Consultants, in the compilation of a comprehensive Project Risk Register.
There, must be joint agreement between both consultants and contractors as to the “reasonably practicable” means for eliminating or managing the risks associated with buried services.  As a result both consultants and contractors should agree not to proceed with projects until such “reasonably practicable” measures are implemented.  After all, within the CDM 2007 regulations all persons with a duty under the Regulations (including the Client) are to ensure that “the construction work can be carried out so far as is reasonably practicable without risk to the health and safety of any person;”

Article Contaminated Land

Understanding Bandings

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It’s a red site. So what?

It was the 15th century Swiss medical pioneer Paracelsus, who noted in his journals: “all substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison.” Although he made this statement almost 500 years ago, it is now known and proven to be correct with substances known to be essential for human existence, such as salt, defined as toxic when administered in sufficient quantities. For this reason the classification used by the British Drilling Association (BDA) Guidance for Safe Intrusive Activities on Contaminated or Potentially Contaminated Land and part four of the Site Investigation Steering Group (SISG), where sites are classified into green, amber or red sites, must be fully understood and not applied casually. Failure to fully appreciate the relationship between quantity and substance classification could be as dangerous as doing nothing or impose expensive non essential protection measures.

The BDA guidance classifies red sites as the most hazardous, attributing this classification to sites where there are: ‘Substances that could subject persons to risk of death, injury or impairment of health. Examples would be any substances that are corrosive, acidic, carcinogenic, cause skin irritation or respiratory problems, affect the nervous system, affect the organs, etc.’ Unfortunately this classification takes no account of the quantities present which are critical to determining the risk category as even uncontaminated soils and dusts, if present in the correct quantities and form, could act as a skin irritant or be harmful to the respiratory system. It would be a rare site investigation which did not include these hazards and on this basis, all sites would be classed as red.

In the BDA guidance, reference is made to the need for a risk assessment and this is the key to correctly determining the nature and category of the site. The green, amber, red categorisation system provides a simple warning and flagging system but where the presence of hazards is known or suspected, an assessment of both the nature and the quantity of the substances is required and this poses a problem for conducting work on contaminated land. In the majority of cases the purpose of conducting a site investigation is to determine the presence and quantity of contaminants for human health risk assessments. Until such time as this is done it is impossible to produce a definitive risk assessment and as such some assumptions need to be made.

To make an assessment there needs to be an understanding of the site and surrounding areas. A desk study should be able to identify the history of the site, in particular the industrial uses to which it has been put. This is the first stage but by no means the end of the process as not all uses may have been logged or recorded and they may not reflect the current use. Nothing substitutes a visit to site to examine the visible evidence but commercially, particularly on small sites, this is not always possible so any evidence such as photographs, discussions with clients etc. will help to build the picture.

Once the history and past uses of the site has been identified, an indication of the potential contaminants can be gathered but the available sources of guidance do little to clarify the situation. There are a number of publications used commonly to determine the presence of substances for the purposes of human health risk assessment, with the Environment Agency publication CLR8 – ‘Potential Contaminants for the Assessment of Land’ being recognised as the closest thing to definitive but the purpose for which it was developed does not fully suit our needs in term of occupational safety and health.

CLR8 is intended as an aid to determining the substances to be tested in a contamination study for human health but is not specific enough to assist completely in determining the requirements for the successful management of exposure in the course of site work or activities. CLR8 suggests everything is present in some quantity on nearly all sites but provides little indication of possible concentrations, the form of the substance or the exact location on the site. As an example, CLR8 identifies the presence of ‘oil / fuel hydrocarbons’ at airports, which although suggestive of contaminants which will certainly exist at some points on the site provides little guidance for occupational safety risk assessment. Hydrocarbons used for fuel vary from heavy oils such as diesel and more volatile substances such as pentane and if the whole site is treated as containing such substances, all area would be classified as ‘red’ under the BDA guidance as it is likely these hydrocarbons could contain benzene (a carcinogen), pentane (produces narcosis in higher volumes) and possible lead (causes damage to the peripheral nervous system).

A study undertaken by the author of this article, cross referenced all the potential contaminants present on sites as indicated by CLR8 with the risk phrases attributed to the compounds, suggested every site identified should be rated as the highest possible risk, if the categorisation of sites is dependant on the presence of substances alone, as suggested by the BDA guidance, all geotechnical sites would be classed as ‘red’ which is clearly unfeasible.

Uncategorized Safety

Putting Safety First

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The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Introduction

This new Act came into force on 6th April 2008.  An offence is committed if the manner in which an organisation manages or organises its activities causes a person’s death and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.  This is a corporate crime and not an individual crime.  There is now no need to identify a person controlling or directing the mind of an organisation, who is also guilty of the offence of gross negligence manslaughter, before the corporation can be convicted of the same offence.  The only sentencing option available to the court on a corporate manslaughter conviction will be a fine.  However, it is envisaged that considerable stigma will attached to a conviction. In addition senior management might feel compelled to resign and if they do not resign there are likely to be grounds for dismissal of some or all of the senior managers responsible for the gross breach of duty.

Details of the ‘new’ offence

The way in which the organisation is managed by its senior management has to be a substantial element in the breach of the duty of care.  It is a matter for the judge to establish whether a duty of care is owed.

Factors to be taken into account by the jury are whether there has been a breach of any relevant health and safety legislation, the seriousness of the breach and how much of a risk of death was posed by it. The jury may consider whether the culture, policy, systems and procedures in the organisation encouraged failure to comply with health and safety regulatory legislation or guidance.

Senior management means either those who play a significant role in making decisions about how the whole or a substantial part of the organisation’s activities are to be managed or organised, or those who play a significant role in the actual managing or organising of the whole or a substantial part of those activities.

Under Section 9 of the Act it is open to any court convicting of corporate manslaughter to make an order, called a remedial order, requiring the organisation to take specified steps to remedy the breach, to remedy any matters which contributed to the cause of death, and to remedy any deficiency in the organisation’s policy, systems or practices relating to health and safety.

Under Section 10 of this Act the court has a power to order an organisation to publish the fact that it has been convicted of the offence, to specify the particulars of the offence, the amount of any fine imposed and the terms of any remedial order made.

Commentary

The Act is clearly a reaction to a long held belief that those who put profit before safety at the expense of lives should suffer a sanction more significant than can be imposed by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The clear target at the time of the consultation and publication of the bill was large organisations whose activities cost life where there should have been no such risk.

The offence will now be committed if the breach that is a substantial cause of the death can be placed at the door of senior management who make the decisions about how an organisation is run from a strategic level, or is made by those at a senior operational level.  The Act is not designed to produce a prosecution in circumstances where appropriate strategic management exists, and appropriate operational management exists, but a significant failure is made at a junior operational level.

A more detailed version of the above article will be incorporated into the AGS Loss Prevention Working Group Tool Kit, but until then, if more details are required, please contact Berrymans Lace Mawer on the AGS Legal Helpline.

Article Safety

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (“CDM”) – Questions and Answers

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Why was it necessary to revise the CDM Regulations 1994?

The new Regulations came into force in April 2007.  The purpose of the updated Regulations is to focus on the virtues of effective planning and management of construction projects from inception, i.e. the design concept.  The Regulations seek to engender a greater emphasis upon  health and safety considerations in order to reduce the risk of harm to those who build, use and maintain structures, and to address the generally accepted trend that the construction industry remains disproportionately hazardous to those working within it.

The aim is to enable members of the construction industry to work together to adopt a more health & safety conscious management programme, by:

  • Simplifying regulation;
  • Improving planning and management from the design stage onward;
  • Early identification of risks;
  • Encourage cooperation and working together;
  • Reduce bureaucracy and raise standards.

What are the CDM Regulations 2007

The new Regulations are divided into 5 parts:

Part 1 – Application and definition of the Regulations;
Part 2 – General duties that apply to all construction projects;
Part 3 – Additional duties that apply to notifiable projects;
Part 4 – Practical requirements for all construction sites;
Part 5 – Transitional arrangements and revocations.

 

What type of project is notifiable?

A notifiable project is one that will last longer than 30 days (including holidays and weekends) or which will involve more that 500 person days of construction work (calculated on a normal working shift).  Domestic projects for those who live, or will live, in the premises and are not related through trade, business or undertaking the project, are not notifiable.  It is the responsibility of the new CDM Co-ordinator to notify the project.

What is the role of the CDM Co-ordinator and the Principal Contractor?

On all notifiable projects a CDM Co-ordinator and a Principal Contractor must be appointed.  The co-ordinator is responsible for advising the Client and notifying the HSE together with managing the communication of the construction team and creating the health & safety file.  The Principal Contractor is responsible for planning, managing and monitoring the progress of the works.  In addition, they should ensure that the Client is aware of their duties and that the Co-ordinator is appointed and information is provided for the health & safety file.

 

By what criteria is competency measured under the new Regulations?

There are 3 stages to competency:

  • Basic understanding of risk and how they are managed;
  • Sufficient understanding of the tasks to be used and the risks they involve;
  • The necessary experience and ability to carry out those duties.

The basic premise is, competent people are safer people.  It is important that individuals and organisations recognise their own limitations in this regard.  The Approved Code of Practice provides valuable guidance when addressing the question of competency.

 

What if the project has already begun?

The 2007 Regulations will apply.  There are provisions dealing with the transition period between the old and new Regulations but, importantly, the competency element must be acquired within 12 months.

 

Who are the new dutyholders?

Specific duties are imposed upon Clients, the CDM Co-ordinator, Designers, Contractors and Principal Contractors.

Clients:

They cannot now transfer their liabilities and duties to third parties, however, an agent acting on an existing project, under the CDM 1994, can continue in that role until the end of the project or April 2012, whichever is the earlier.

The Client must also ensure that the project is suitably managed and all relevant  required information is provided.

Designers:

The Designer must principally comply with the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 and must not begin work until the Client is aware of its duties.  Further, all reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that the other members of the construction team, including the Client, have been provided with sufficient information about the design.

With regard to notifiable projects, a Designer should not start work until a CDM Co-ordinator has been appointed and  they have sufficient information about the design to enable them to comply with their duties.

Contractors:

The Contractor should not start work until the Client is aware of its duties and the Contractor has ensured that any contractors or sub-contractors that it intends to use are informed of the minimum amount of time they will be allowed to plan and prepare.  Every worker should have sufficient information and training for their particular work.

Principal Contractors:

Their duties fall into 3 categories:

  1. Main duties;
  2. Duties related to the construction phase plan; and
  3. Co-operation and consultation.

Overall, Principal Contractors must plan, manage and monitor the construction phase of the project to encourage co-operation and co-ordination between the relevant construction team members.  In addition, they must draw up the construction phase plan, ensure that every worker has a sufficient site induction, is provided with information and training and consult with the representatives of the workforce on matters of health, safety and welfare.

What is a health and safety file?

The CDM Co-ordinator is responsible for creating and revising this document for notifiable projects.  They must liaise with all of the relevant members of the construction team to ensure that the file contains information for the future construction, maintenance, refurbishment or demolition of the structure, in order that the future work is carried out safely.

Are there any strategies I can adopt for a ‘best practice’ approach?

It is important that you integrate health, safety and risk management into the corporate culture by considering the level of “risk”, reducing or eliminating the “risk” wherever possible and keep the “risk” under review.  A paper trail of this process will be invaluable when you audit your compliance with the Regulations or you are asked to illustrate your adoption of the “best practice” approach.

Where do I go for help?

The Approved Code of Practice accompanies the new 2007 Regulations and assists with practical guidance on interpreting and applying the Regulations as well as suggesting ways of improving cooperation and coordination.

Berrymans Lace Mawer

Article Contaminated Land Laboratories

Modernising Waste Regulation – Environment Agency Update

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Exemptions

Under new procedures “simple” exempt activities can now be registered by calling the National Customer Contact Centre on 08708 506506.   Trained advisors will provide basic advice and offer the option of registering by phone, email or using a two page form. An online web based system will also be introduced in the future. More complex exemptions, including all chargeable exemptions, will continue to be dealt with by local Area staff who have to undertake a site specific risk assessment.

Waste Licensing

“Fixed licences” are now available for the most popular waste activities (such as transfer stations and compost activities).   Working plans or site specific risk assessments are no longer required.  The application form is simpler and licences are slightly cheaper and quicker to obtain, particularly if planning permission is already in place. Applications should be made locally in the same way as previously.

Fixed licences will not be subject to change. Variations in operations may require a bespoke licence, as at present.

Environment Agency, April 2006

Article Safety

Letter to The Editor

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Sir,

Richard Thomas’ letter published in last month’s edition of the AGS Newsletter opens up an interesting debate on how we quantify risk within our profession, especially those subsurface risks that are not readily identifiable or quantifiable. As with any potential risk, we have to address a number of questions, i.e. 1) is the risk real? 2) what are the consequences of the risk? and 3) can the risk be avoided?

Is there a real risk of encountering an Unexploded Bomb (UXB) in areas subjected to WW2 bombing raids? The answer is, despite all the implications, yes. In 1996, the then Armed Forces Minister, Nicholas Soames, released a list of 88 UXBs in the London area of which the Ministry of Defence had records. The location of many of these UXBs were not accurately recorded. In addition, there were many UXBs which went unrecorded altogether during and after the bombing raids of WW2, hence the need to carry out location specific threat assessments looking at all possible sources of information, including anecdotal. It should also be remembered that on many occasions the Luftwaffe aborted their bombing raids on prime targets resulting in indiscriminate bombing as bombs were released to conserve fuel for the journey home.

If the risk is real, how do we quantify that risk. Richard Thomas does not indicate what method he would adopt to differentiate between low, medium and high risk areas for an inherently random and erratic event. Even “low risk” means that there is some potential risk. One therefore has to assess the consequences.

WW2 bombs were designed to cause death and destruction. In recent years proof that time does not diminish a UXBs deadly has been demonstrated in Berlin, Austria and on several construction sites in Japan. A recent tragedy only reinforces the lethal nature of aged Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), only a few months ago 3 Dutch fisherman working near the proposed London Array wind farm site in the Thames Estuary were killed and 2 were badly injured when they hauled up a small “hand grenade like” device which exploded with tragic consequences.

If we were relatives of a victim of an explosion on a construction site, would we be comforted by the fact that the site had been the subject of a probabilistic evaluation and was considered as being “low risk”. I think not. Similarly, the victims of the recent tsunami can draw little or no comfort from the fact that the seabed eruption which resulted in massive destruction was a 1 in a 1000 year event. The “low risk” of occurrence did nothing to diminish the “high risk” consequences of that occurrence.

Traditionally in geotechnics we attempt to minimise risk during the design phase, i.e. engineering out the risk. Such an approach could be adopted in the case of UXBs, i.e. the use of shallow foundations and / or utilisation of any existing foundations. This would, in most cases, be an expensive and impractical alternative. In view of the consequences of the UXB risk both during and after construction and the associated costs of designing out the risk, a well planned threat assessment and survey should be a cost effective option. As a consequence, Fugro Engineering Services Limited have developed their own cone magnetometer technology to provide site specific data upon which the UXB risk can be directly quantified.

What should concern drilling contractors and consultants alike, is the absence of useful regulatory guidance on when and where UXO risk mitigation is needed. The Dutch Government will be introducing legislation regarding UXO surveys later this year. Regulatory guidance will provide the basis for a rational approach to the UXO surveys, focussing attention on risk and consequences rather than the more emotive and subjective topics of cost and probability.

M R Horsnell Director Fugro Engineering Services Limited

Article Loss Prevention

RESULTS OF THE CONTRACTUAL RISK QUESTIONNAIRE ISSUED BY THE AGS LOSS PREVENTION WORKING GROUP IN 2002

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120 questionnaires were issued, 18 responses were received, giving a 15% return rate

Of the responding members, 88% were consultants, 32% were contractors and 6% specialists, indicating a number of members operating in both the consultancy and contracting fields. No laboratories responded. The company size of respondents was evenly spread with 25% below 10 employees and 37.5% each between 10-100 and over 100 employees.

A number of the questions related to ‘risk’ and how it is perceived and managed by members. The general perception of risk over the last decade would appear to remain relatively constant, but that awareness has increased. Almost unanimously, respondents agreed that geo-environmental work carried more risk than geotechnical work alone and concerns were noted that Clients’ perception of risk and the role of PI insurance cover are often incorrect.

Nearly all respondents feel they were not sufficiently financially compensated for the risks they take, given that the risk of consequential losses is likely to be high, even though the risk of something going wrong is generally low . The predominant impression is that risk is unfairly allocated to consultant/contractor, often due to the wording of contracts produced by legal practitioners, who are aiming for nil risk transfer and have little practical understanding of the restrictions on PII cover due to pollution and contamination. This perception is magnified when margins are tight, but in reality Clients only get what they pay for.

Typically contracts appear to be divided in four forms, standard, client specific, in house and exchange of letters, but the form does not appear to affect the acceptability of a contract. In deciding whether to accept either a geotechnical or geoenvironmental contract, the prime issue was consistently the client relationship, followed by the terms and conditions and fees. The capacity to undertake the project was also a serious consideration but of less perceived importance. The least influential considerations were possibility of and size of potential claims and the project structure.

It is apparent that most companies adopt a conservative but pragmatic approach, when asked to accept clients’ terms and conditions. Whilst some members accept these contracts as non-negotiable, nearly 30% of respondents refer non-standard documents for legal review. A further 25% routinely challenge objectionable provisions with respect to key issues, and a further 25% do not worry unduly about terms relating to liability, as claims are generally rare. An alternative approach adopted in relation to contract terms is that they are deemed effectively irrelevant where good QM and experienced staff limits the potential for negligence.

An assessment of client contract practise identified the Utilities, e.g. Lattice, Railtrack, as having the most aggressive contract practises, whilst other professionals were believed to be the least aggressive. It is observed that it is often the larger, near monopoly clients who try to impose the most onerous conditions and are unwilling to accept a realistic proportion of the risk. The majority of members are concerned about Client specific contractual clauses and NEVER accept contractual clauses including unlimited liability or warranties, Client rights to assign and power of attorney and ‘fitness for purpose’, but they appear willing to accept PI cover requirements.

However, an overall impression appears of members being increasingly aware of the risk involved in geoenvironmental and geotechnical work and the areas where these risks occur. Whilst some are still prepared to carry on with this knowledge, there is evidence of a number of members being unwilling to accept unbalanced contracts unchallenged and, in some cases, will, if necessary, refuse to accept commissions under certain circumstances.