Japanese knotweed Risk Assessment for new constructions
By The JKL Team

Japanese knotweed Risk Assessment for new constructions

A risk assessment looks at the health and safety risks that operatives, staff and members of the public could be exposed to on construction sites. A number of legal requirements concerning risk assessments, safety plans and examination reports must be also be produced and submitted including actions taken to mitigate risks identified.

Why is a Risk assessment vital for new build sites?

Any land chosen for development needs to be assessed for project suitability and financial viability and when you factor in any environmental considerations it’s important to get the big picture. A risk assessment survey will also validate whether the land is clear of invasive plants that will create issues for the developer if ignored.

Japanese knotweed will grow from tiny fragments left in the ground, quickly establishing new roots and plants which will emerge on new properties as evidenced in these pictures; ‘spaghetti knotweed’ growing underneath concrete structures and knotweed plants growing through spaces between patio slabs – both images taken from a new build site causing issues for the developer and the new property owners.

When is a risk assessment carried out?

A risk assessment is typically carried out before a commercial construction project begins to establish any risk of potential hazards, health and safety issues, and establish any biosecurity or other environmental considerations that would need to be factored into the project. Written notice of construction projects (including a risk assessment report) must be given to HSE.

However, we recommend a knotweed survey is booked in prior to land purchase or development commences. Whilst purchasing land with knotweed is not illegal or insurmountable, it pays to have the information up front so that a plan of remediation or removal can be factored in.

We carry out a risk assessment prior to all excavation contracts commencement so that our teams can be briefed on any areas of concern or consideration. Specifically we will look at the following:

  • Working at height
  • Hazardous substances (COSHH)
  • Manual handling
  • Noise
  • Vibration
  • Site access
  • Public safety

If we’re contracted to deliver a Watching Brief service we still carry out a risk assessment so that we can brief the client’s team who will be carrying out the work under our supervision.

Commercial property Japanese knotweed eradication quotes

Of course the main question is how much will it cost to get rid of knotweed? The simple answer is we can only provide a full quote once we have surveyed the land. As we’ve outlined in this article it is important to get a risk assessment carried out, and it should include a knotweed survey – especially when considering purchasing land for development. Brownfield sites are most likely to have an infestation of knotweed which may not be visible during the winter months.

A survey report will give you the big picture you need to make an informed decision, and if knotweed is identified we’re here to solve that problem by removing it from site or as the image above shows Japanese knotweed containment with root barrier installation.