Road construction works

What is UXO?

Unexploded ordnance.

In plain English, it is military weaponry which contains explosive, but has not exploded.

Why should I have a UXO risk assessment on my site?

There is no law which specifically requires a UXO risk assessment to be completed, however Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 obliges every employer to make an assessment of the health and safety risks arising out of their work. If there is a risk of UXO on your site, you should assess it. If you are competent, you can do the preliminary assessment yourself. 

Some local planning authorities will specify a detailed risk assessment or even require an intrusive site survey as a condition within planning permission.  If this occurs, then you will need to take additional action.  We may be able to assist you by reviewing the original UXO risk assessment that was submitted to the LPA and reassess the risk. There will be no charge for our services if we cannot reduce the recommended mitigation measures.

What will a UXO risk assessment tell me?

You will be given an indication of what type of UXO may exist on your site and the probability of each being on the site. We will then suggest the steps you should take (if any) to mitigate the risk. A flow chart showing the process of risk assessments is available on our Download page.

I am a home owner. Can you complete a survey on my property?

We can, but why...?  If you are just interested in local wartime history, so are we - give us a call and we can have a chat.  If you are completing an extension, give us a call as well, but it is unlikely that you will need a survey.

Do you need to visit site?

Sometimes. Most of our work is based on data sets we store in our offices or public record offices, but we do visit sites, if it can assist the process and reduce the assessed risk.

I am demolishing a building built before WW2 and then redeveloping the site. Do I need a UXO survey?

Perhaps surprisingly for the general public, several unexploded bombs have been found under buildings that were constructed prior to WW2.  This is because of the 'J curve' trajectory which unexploded bombs can follow when they hit the ground.  We can assess the potential depth and the horizontal distance UXB can penetrate. You should consider (and formally record) whether a risk assessment is required.

WW2 UXB warning sign

Why should I use Bombs Away?

Our background is in the construction industry and we understand the problems facing developers and project managers. We will not add to your problems and exaggerate the UXO risk, unnecessarily recommending expensive mitigation measures.  Our risk assessment review service is free if we can't reduce the recommended mitigation.  Give it a go, you have nothing to lose! 

What is the difference between a preliminary risk assessment and a detailed risk assessment?

A preliminary risk assessment is a relatively quick look at a general area to establish whether there is an increased probability of UXO being present, perhaps due to WW2 bombing or previous military usage.

The detailed risk assessment involves considerably more work and will involve the interrogation of numerous data sets to establish whether your specific site is at a higher risk of containing UXO. This assessment will determine the type of UXO (if any) that may be present on your site, the likelihood that you will encounter it and the consequential risk. Only if necessary will mitigation will be recommended, but we will not complete this work - we are genuinely independent.

Piling operations on a City of London construction site

How can you know if there are bombs on my site?

It is very unlikely anyone can be certain that there is UXO on your site. For some areas there are lists of abandoned bombs, but even then, it is not certain that a bomb will be found, as these records included many incidents which were categorised as 'virtually discredited'.

Based on our ground breaking research, our detailed risk assessments will provide you with an indication of the probability that you will encounter UXO.

If smaller items of UXO (such as AAA shells or phosphorus grenades) have been found on your site already, the probability of discovering more UXO increases significantly and you should contact us to discuss additional mitigation measures that may be necessary.

Are WW2 bombs still dangerous now?

Yes, definitely. But let's keep this in perspective, you are much more likely to be involved in a road traffic collision on the way to work than to be killed by UXO on a UK construction site.

No one knows how long UXO can lay dormant, however it is many decades and unexploded bombs from WW2 still have the potential to be very destructive.

This link shows video of the 250kg bomb that was found in Bermondsey in 2015 being destroyed.