Step 10 – Site Clearance

A site clearance is generally undertaken as part of the enabling works and should be carried out to help prepare a site for construction. This work involves clearing the site by removing accumulated waste which will help to allow other remedial treatment or demolition works to take place. Site clearance also helps to ensure that a site is free from potential hazards which can result in additional costs associated with delays to the project timeline.

Complete clearance and decontamination

The removal of soils, vegetation, machinery, equipment and trees all form part of the necessary clearing process. However, extra care should be taken prior to tree removal as certain trees are often protected and require certified approvals.

When planning the clearance of materials on site, a site waste management plan (SWMP) should be completed and included in your Demolition Plan. The SWMP should detail how materials are going to be efficiently managed and legally disposed of. Where possible, there should be a plan for materials to be reused or recycled which will help towards the Circular Economy. Guidance relating to de-contamination and removal of hazardous materials should also fall under a SWMP.


Importance of site clearance for resale/redevelopment

When the plan for your project is to re-sell or re-develop the land, a professionally managed site clearance can help make the land more valuable to potential buyers. This is because it has been made safe, more accessible and cuts out an extra step for when they wish to begin construction work themselves.


UXO Probing

There may be circumstances in certain site clearance situations where a full UXO survey (unexploded ordnance survey) is required. This is the process of scanning and probing the site that is in construction to assess the risk of whether unexploded items of ordnance are embedded in the ground. Specific areas on site that should be surveyed include:

  • Boreholes
  • Shafts
  • Deep excavations


It is most common to require a UXO survey on development sites that received high levels of WW2 bombing. A perfect example of where a UXO survey was required and successfully carried out was during Weaver Demolition’s project at Portwall Gate, Bristol. After liaising with the local authorities, a fully intrusive UXO survey was carefully carried out to detect any unexploded ordnance which may have remained from them being severely hit during the WW2 bombing.

Overall, completing this survey will help to mitigate the risk of costs being incurred due to the development project overrunning as well as workers or the general public being injured.


Site remediation

During a site clearance, if there is concern that land may be contaminated with hazardous materials such as asbestos, oil storage and sewage, site remediation will also be necessary. An assessment should be completed that analyses the risk of harm towards human life and the potential of contamination to groundwater and subsidence.

If hazardous materials are found to be present, treatments and decontamination of proven contaminated areas often involve either excavation, a plan to limit hazardous spread or, using a treatment to destroy and remove any contaminants.

It is often beneficial to use the same company that completed the demolition for site clearances as it can help to cut down costs, as well as provide a quicker turnaround of project completion. Weaver Demolition’s dedicated and highly competent team have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the demolition industry and are able to offer advice and support for every step of your demolition project. Please contact us here for more information.


Demolition services in the South West, Cornwall & Devon since 1968

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