CIRIA Releases UXO Best Practice Guidelines

The Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) has published guidelines for the management of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the marine environment.

CIRIA’s report, entitled “Assessment and management of unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk in the marine environment (C754)” has been prepared by Royal HaskoningDHV and 6 Alpha Associates.

The guidance defines the marine environment and outlines the prospective sources of UXO contamination. It describes how it might pose a threat to intrusive engineering work and it provides a framework for the assessment and management of the risks posed by potential or actual UXO encounter.

Additionally, the guide identifies the roles and responsibilities as well as the duties of different organisations and stakeholders under existing legislative and regulatory regimes and pinpoints where and when professional advice from an UXO specialist should be sought.

Simon Cooke, Managing Director, at 6 Alpha Associates, and a former Army bomb Disposal officer said: “The law requires that UXO risk must be reduced to a level that is As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP). That means that a responsible, economic risk mitigation strategy is likely to involve avoiding known and suspected threats that may have been identified by specialist geophysical survey, and to keep to a minimum, as is commensurate with safety, those items that must be investigated, verified and, if they are in fact UXO, made safe.

“However, until now, a lack of understanding–whether between developers and contractors or between the management teams responsible for each phase of a project’s operation–has led many industry players either to neglect the true scale of the UXO threat until it’s too late, or to adopt excessive and very expensive clearance strategies.”

Joanne Kwan, Project Manager, CIRIA said: “This document is the first UK good practice guidance and will provide comprehensive UXO risk management guidelines for all organisations working throughout the lifecycle of marine energy, cabling and infrastructure projects.”

Nick Cooper, Technical Director, Royal HaskoningDHV, added: “This report aims to lay the foundations for a universal best practice, ensuring that information is readily accessible to professionals across the field, and to ensure that suitable procedures are established concerning the effective management of UXO risks.

“By bringing in centralised, formal guidance, we’re hoping to address a worrying knowledge gap once and for all and at the same time, to enhance standards across the board.”