Commercial Archaeology is an independent heritage consultancy which provides a wide range of services to clients across the development sectors. Commercial Archaeology’s expertise aids clients in assessing and managing their schemes throughout the planning and pre-commencement phases of a project – whether the requirement is for a historic building assessment, or obtaining heritage consent for works impacting a scheduled monument.
Constraints reports – or development risk assessments – are carried out at the inception of a project, often prior to land acquisition and are a cost-effective and rapid way for developers to assess potential risks to a scheme from the presence of either buried archaeological remains or above-ground heritage assets such as listed buildings and scheduled monuments.
Benefits to a developer
Developers are able make informed decisions on how to proceed and are able to use constraints reports at pre-application stage in discussions with Local Planning Authorities.
Constraints reports can be used to gauge the viability of a land purchase and inform on project feasibility.
HIAs and DBAs are often the first step required of developers in the planning process and are requested by Local Planning Authorities in order to inform upon the potential for archaeological remains to be present on a proposed development site.
They are also used to highlight the presence of above ground heritage assets within the vicinity of a site such as listed buildings which might be impacted from the scheme.
Reassurance for clients
Commercial Archaeology’s HIAs and DBAs are in accord with national guidance and local planning policy.
They also comply with the standards and guidance set out by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIFA).
As required by NPPF, the HIAs assess the potential impact of a development on the heritage significance of a heritage feature and its setting. Commercial Archaeology identifies affected heritage assets and defines their heritage significance against robust criteria and assesses the potential impact of the development on each heritage asset and the likely impact on heritage significance.
The Heritage Impact Assessments prepared by Commercial Archaeology are structured and informed documents which can be used as predictive tools intended to assist a client in gauging risk and in acquiring planning consent.
The reports resulting from all kinds of archaeological interventions, whether geophysical surveys or excavations, and from the various types of heritage assessments, whether desk-based assessments or environmental impact assessments are crucial documents within the planning process at the application and final discharge of condition stages.
It is therefore essential that these reports are of the highest standard and sufficient to fulfil clients’ needs.
Commercial Archaeology provides clients with QA services on all types of archaeological and heritage reports to ensure that they are up to standard, comply with policy and will not cause unnecessary delays at any stage in the planning process.
Any recommendations for further work contained in archaeological reports are reviewed in order to ensure that they are appropriate and proportionate to the significance of the archaeology being discussed in the report.
There can be enormous PR benefits to clients engaged in development through initiatives aimed at involving local communities in archaeological investigations on particular development sites.
This can be particularly effective when a proposed development is locally controversial or unpopular.
Strategies are instigated for community involvement including undertaking consultations with local stakeholders.
Commercial Archaeology ensures that clients are always portrayed in a positive light as the enablers of heritage and archaeology through PR activities such as presentations to local groups, open days, workshops and exhibitions and with effective use of appropriate social media tools.
Through public engagement in archaeology and heritage, clients are able to maximise their investment and to contribute towards their Corporate Social Responsibility goals.
Commercial Archaeology has wide experience of working in conjunction with other environmental specialists to produce robust cultural heritage chapters in EIAs.
Proportionate and reasonable
The findings of specialists in other fields such as geophysical survey, archaeological trial trenching, archaeological boreholing and deposit modelling are integrated in order to accurately assess the significance of heritage assets and of the impact of development on them in order to provide recommendations for mitigation work which are proportionate and reasonable.
The cultural heritage sections of the EIAs contain well-researched baseline data and impact assessments which follow detailed criteria as per legal requirements and form robust documents which will stand up to the rigours of planning inquiries should the need arise.
Heritage Statements are intended to assess the significance of above-ground heritage assets, such as listed buildings, which form part of the historic built environment and are used in support of planning applications and in obtaining heritage consents.
Heritage statements assess significance, character, setting and views and are prepared in accordance with all guidance from bodies such as Historic England (English Heritage) and comply with national and local policies.
Where development will physically impact on listed buildings, conservation areas or scheduled monuments, Commercial Archaeology is able to provide expert guidance to clients and aid them in obtaining any necessary heritage consents.
Local Planning Authorities and statutory consultees are liaised with on behalf of clients to ensure the collation of all the required documents and reports to accompany applications.
Commercial Archaeology engages with clients on a face to face basis and is happy to provide them with presentations which can be counted as CPD.
Presentations are intended to inform on how archaeology and heritage work within the UK planning process and how they can impact on development.
Themes can include how to reduce the risks from the presence of archaeological remains within a development site, what archaeological and non-archaeological techniques can be employed to achieve this or how to ensure that the right archaeological contractor has been commissioned.
CPD presentations can also be provided on themes suggested by clients themselves.
Historic Building Recording is often needed when a building considered of heritage significance, whether designated or not, is to undergo alteration, refurbishment or demolition.
Commercial Archaeology co-ordinates historic building recording at all levels and is able to provide clients with recording, interpretation and reporting services on historic buildings and structures of all kinds from medieval ecclesiastical buildings through to 19th century industrial buildings.
Clients can be advised on the most appropriate levels of recording as Commercial Archaeology has access to specialisms which can be used to provide conservation advice, or to inform upon the best approaches to the alteration and refurbishment of listed buildings.
Monitoring services can also be provided during refurbishment or controlled stripping/demolition of historic buildings.