Ethny Childs
April 2021

Building a conceptual site model: Best practice, challenges and innovations

Our latest Land Condition Early Careers Network event, held in collaboration with The Society for Remediation Practitioners in the UK (RemSoc), saw lively discussion on the key considerations needed when building conceptual site models, arguably one of the most important dynamic tools in a project lifecycle.

The need for a conceptual understanding

Richard Williams, Geo-environmental Consultant and Partner with NewFields, kicked off the meeting with a presentation highlighting what CSMs are used for, important lessons to consider when developing CSMs, and key responsibilities of CSM authors. Richard underlined the fundamental need for an understanding of the Source-Pathway-Receptor's of a site, but also invited attendees to think beyond the typical Source-Receptor-Pathway to consider all other factors in and around a site - to allow the building of a conceptual understanding of the site and resulting in the development of a robust CSM.

Richard also highlighted the importance of taking an iterative approach to the development of CSMs, taking into consideration uncertainties and data gaps at each stage of its development. The graphic below depicts the different data types to be considered in the development of a CSM.


Watch the recording

This initial presentation set the background for breakout discussions, managed by Sarah Poulton, Lead Specialist Advisor in Hydrogeology at Natural Resources Wales and Steering Committee member for RemSoc. Breakout discussions explored key considerations when developing a CSM for a site example and considered different stakeholders' (consultant, contractor and client) perceptions of the key risks/uncertainties. 

Use of Drone based remote sensing in conceptual site models

James Arnott, Texo DSIs Business Development Manager, rounded off the event with a presentation on the current use of drones for supporting the development of CSMs:.

Join our Early Careers Network 

Are you a land condition professional in the early stages of your career? This network is a forum for land condition early career professionals designed to provide support, professional development and an opportunity for members to develop key skills and network with their peers. Stay up to date with the Network activities by joining the LinkedIn group.