FAQ Conceptual Site Models

Conceptual Models, or, Conceptual Site Models, are terms used to reflect how a site is understood at any point in time during the process of site characterisation and evaluation.

They are based on the information obtained to understand any one site as risk assessment is progressed, such as reviewing the sites history to understand how its past use has the potential for current issues to be present on site such as contamination and the presence of underground fuel tanks etc, understanding the regulatory history of the site, and, understanding how the site interacts with its surroundings based on the local geology and hydrogeology.

As more information is obtained for a site, then the Conceptual Model is updated and refined.  The idea is that from having an initial understanding of a site, as more information is obtained the site understanding becomes better informed and becomes better understood, and at the same time risk and uncertainty is reduced.

It is particularly useful for understanding risks to the environment and human health from contaminated land, establishing and documenting a Conceptual Model is intrinsically linked with risk assessment, enabling a site to be de-risked properly so that development can proceed safely.  Getting a Conceptual Model right also helps to minimise project costs, and to prevent delays from unforeseen surprises at the build stage.

Getting the Conceptual Model tight at the outset is key to good risk assessment, as the model becomes more refined as subsequent stages of work are undertaken, with the findings of the initial Conceptual Model directing how subsequent stages of work and resources are targeted.

Conceptual Models can be represented by tables within a report, or, as a “cartoon” style schematic drawing that highlights the main findings in an easy to digest format.

Getting the Conceptual Model right guarantees that your project does not hit problems further down the line, it supports planning application discharge if the site requires planning consent for a change of use, and ultimately it saves clients money.




NEW BS Guidance Issued – BS8574 Management of Geotechnical Data Code of Practice

The British Standards Institute (BSI) has published a new code of practice for the management of geotechnical data, BS8574:2014.  The document lays out the requirements for geotechnical data management throughout the project life-cycle, and provides recommendations on the collection, storage, sharing, archiving and transfer of geotechnical data, and it also outlines other requirements for items such as a data management policy etc.



The Energy Debate – Stadium of Light

DBS recently attended an energy debate  at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.  The event was established by Square One Law and Brewin Dolphin, and included a host and debating panel, with audience interaction.

There were key speakers from the field, including Chris Huhne, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Neil Etherington, from Able UK, Jim Cardwell from Northern Powergrid and James Ramsbotham from the North East Chamber of Commerce.

The focus of the debate was how the North East is to achieve a more balanced energy future.

Not surprisingly, it was revealed that the North East is the most energy intensive region due to manufacturing output and exports, but we also generate much energy for other parts of the UK, particularly the south east.

What is also clear is that the region has an abundance of riches with regards to the energy sector, from offshore wind to coal, electric vehicles, energy from waste, carbon capture, coal gassification, biomass, biofuels and solar, and that these industries need to be developed further whilst the future of shale gas is so uncertain (a figure of at least 10 years was mentioned for the first shale exploration to commence in the UK due to the amount of red tape and unknowns to be got through).

We are also well placed to succeed in heavy offshore renewables engineering due to our historical legacy of shipyards and marine engineering.

The debate was a fresh approach to an event, it was a very informative and fresh format and a good networking opportunity.

Phase 1 Desk Study Secure Online Ordering

We have updated our website to include a new secure online ordering and payment system for Phase 1 Desk Study reports.  This has been developed to meet the needs of private developer clients, and smaller organisations, and we are hoping it leads to an even more streamlined experience for our clients, whilst allowing them to pay for the report securely online using PayPal or a credit card.

We have developed an automated proposal system to fit in with this, meaning that we can generate a full email proposal for clients within minutes of receiving a request.

This system will hopefully fit in well with our state of the art Cloud server too, we use the Cloud server for delivering the final report to our clients electronically.

We used to spend a lot of time printing out and binding final reports together, and then sending them out in the post.  We decided to invest in new Cloud technology about two years ago to save time, allowing us to pass cost savings on to clients, and at the same time doing our bit for the environment and helping us to become more sustainable.

Phase 1 Desk Study reports are very intensive on printing, due to the large size of the material in the appendices (environmental data reports from Landmark or Groundsure in particular are very large colour documents).  For the last couple of years we have produced the reports into an identical electronic copy using  ADOBE, and we then send a link to our client that enables them to download a copy of the report from our Cloud server directly to their desk top, or other internet enabled device.

The Cloud server is needed due to the file size of the reports (typically over 30 meg), meaning they cannot be emailed out conventionally.

If you require a Phase 1 report for a new development site, or to support site acquisition and due diligence, follow our new online ordering facility or feel free get in touch if there is anything you need to discuss.