Do You Need a Brownfield Investigator?


Construction types and engineers often joke that land is the most limited resource in the world. No matter what happens, there is no way for humans to make more land. Because of that, it is incredibly precious. Location is also one of the most important factors leading to the success or failure of a business. Mediocre businesses in great locations have been known to turn incredible amounts of profit. Great businesses in bad locations might fail to ever get off the ground. What makes a location good or bad is a matter of debate, but it’s definitely a real thing. That’s why businesses tend to re-use locations as often as possible.


In construction terms, a brownfield is a site that has had some kind of industrial use in the past. These locations tend to be the former locations of factories, but they could also be dumping sites for refuse. Designating a site a brownfield does not instantly mean it’s contaminated, but it means it’s potentially contaminated. Because of this you will probably need a brownfield investigator, because you don’t want to build on a contaminated site.

In many different locations, a brownfield investigator isn’t an option. Certain laws require site investigations for potentially contaminated sites.

Different Kinds of Tests

There are many different tests that investigators will run on a potential site. Depending on your site, you might need a different kind of test. You should hire an investigator who offers several different kinds of tests. Some tests such as CPT testing can take a little while and disrupt your job performance. CPT testing is specifically done for the engineering feasibility of a certain location. If you are renovating a structure or building where an existing structure has already stood, then you probably won’t need a CPT test. If you’ve had some kind of seismic event or some kind of potentially dangerous runoff that could have affected the engineering properties of the soil, however, then you’ll need to perform the CPT test. Otherwise, you could end up building on a very unstable foundation. That’s how the Tower of Pisa started leaning.

Disposal and Recovery

Lastly, you should look for a brownfield investigator who also performs recoveries and disposals. It’s not enough for an investigator to identify a problem without offering a solution. Since investigators work with these hazardous materials all the time, they know the other people who work with them. They’ll be able to direct you to the right disposal options or even perform the disposals themselves. Since these are hazardous materials, they have to be disposed of in certain ways. There are usually government regulations about where they can and cannot be dumped. Also, many of these different materials have to be separated from each other, because some of them can react with one another. Thus, there are specific sites for different chemicals.

A good investigator can identify your problems and also help you solve them.

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