Blog

Safe Construction, Safe Environment

You will have no doubt noticed the work happening on the Esplanade Car Park, as we enter the construction stage of Building 4. Following a number of concerns I’ve heard expressed in person and on social media, I wanted to lay out the stringent measures we’ve put in place to ensure your safety and that of site staff and our environment as this work takes place.

From the very beginning of the project, we were extremely mindful that the ground under the Esplanade Car Park is potentially contaminated. Making sure a thorough plan was in place protecting everyone’s safety with regards to this, and all other aspects of the build, was a non-negotiable precondition to beginning work for both us and the Planning Department.

Based on our initial site investigations, we estimated about 4-5% of the waste on the Building 4 site would be classified as contaminated. With this in mind, our main contractor prepared and submitted a Construction Environment Management Plan (CEMP) and Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP), which explained that contaminated soil would be carefully removed and deposited in the lined cells at La Collette. All of the methodology, risk assessments and content of both plans were reviewed and approved by the Authorities. We also submitted an extensive number of documents to satisfy the pre-commencement conditions by the Environment Department, Environmental Health and TTS. These documents can all be viewed here (under ‘other documents’).

Our main contractor is carrying out the works in accordance with best practice and in compliance with our planning conditions, under the advice and watch of a leading and qualified environmental consultant. 

In line with this, we are conducting detailed investigations to satisfy our Planning Conditions, CEMP and to inform the SWMP. Testing of the soil is taking place on a 9m surface grid, with samples being taken at every metre, down to 3 metres below ground. These samples are being sent to a UK laboratory for detailed analysis, and we will wait for those results and the interpretation of the results, before any bulk excavation of the basement area will take place.

Further measures we are taking, and will continue to take, to ensure the safety of the public and site staff include:

  • Dampening down of all excavations, to minimise airborne dust
  • Covering all below ground excavations on-site and vehicles leaving the site with excavated material to minimise the release of airborne particles
  • A wheel washer to minimise mud or dirt being trafficked on the road
  • Constant air/dust monitoring in special stations on-site, including asbestos monitoring stations
  • Daily recordings of air quality logged and surveyed by the main contractor, with an independent professional attending the site weekly to record and review the results, and an independent review submitted to the Authorities every month

 

You may have noticed, or seen in the news, some site personnel wearing protective clothing – you will also see there are others who aren’t! This is because only those in close proximity to the excavations need to wear protective clothing, as they’re the only ones who have any potential of coming into contact with contaminated material. Due to the dust suppression measures above, there’s no need for all site staff to wear facemasks, and absolutely no need for the public walking past the site to wear them.

On top of the strict measures we’ve put in place to prevent air pollution, we are also frequently monitoring ground water, vibration and noise, to ensure minimal disruption and disturbance to the surrounding area.

We take our responsibility to the public, the site staff and the long-term environment extremely seriously with this project and all our projects. I welcome all the engagement we’ve had on this issue and others, and I hope that if you have any questions or concerns, you won’t hesitate to ask us.