Contaminated Land for Building Control

Guidance for dealing with land contamination issues under the Building Act is contained in Approved Document C (2004) and its reference publications.

This guidance covers contamination that could present risks to humans, buildings and services from manmade contaminants from industry, agriculture, waste disposal etc. from natural contaminants such as ground gases from peat beds present along river valleys and from micro-organisms from sewage, graveyards, the keeping and processing of animals etc.

All potentially contaminated soils within the curtilage of a site are now included under the Building Control regime, in addition to soils below the footprint of the building. Contamination risks from offsite sources which could affect the building site, such as gassing landfills, are also included under the regime.  Most potentially contaminated sites undergoing significant redevelopment or change of use will already have land contamination conditions attached to their planning consent.  For more details, see Planning (Development Control).


Building Control screen all applications in order to identify sites where there are potential risks from land contamination and they may raise issues identified on any formal Building Regulation Application.

For existing sites, where extensions or minor alteration works are proposed on potentially contaminated sites, no land contamination conditions are routinely attached to planning approvals and Building Control take the lead role with respect to risks from land contamination.  At these existing sites, as occupiers are already being exposed to potential contaminants on site, the assessment of risks from potential contamination can be confined to the areas of the site affected by the building works (risks from the main part of the site unaffected by the building works are regulated under Part llA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as detailed in the council’s Contaminated Land Strategy.

The developer is responsible for ensuring that all risks from contaminated soils exposed during excavation are properly managed (the Health & Safety Executive is responsible for the regulation of health & safety on site) and for ensuring that all contaminated soils are disposed of appropriately (the Environment Agency is responsible for regulating waste disposal).