Former Chubb Factory, Ferndale


We scoped, designed and implemented integrated geotechnical and geoenvironmental assessment at this former factory. Our assessment was used to inform a land deal and facilitate a new school development.

Our work was in accordance with BS:5930, BS:10175 and BS:8485. Soil and groundwater contamination was delineated and initial outline costs associated with remediation works and material management provided. Regular project meetings ensured potential financial and environmental liabilities were understood and a clear course of action in place. Remediation will be focussed through supplementary investigation and assessment to avoid unnecessary treatment expenditure.


Formerly undeveloped until the early 1950s, the Pyrene Company constructed factories on an engineered development plateau on the Rhondda Fach valley side.

The factory later expanded and became the Chubb Fire and Security Factory in the 1970s, which was a fire extinguisher manufacturing and testing facility which included numerous buildings, tanks and electrical sub stations. The majority of the buildings were demolished between 2006 and 2015 and the rubble remains.


Legacy soil and groundwater contamination was expected and historical investigation suggested potential risks.

Former Chubb Factory, Ferndale

Targeted and wider multi technique investigation informed by Phase 1 Desk Study allowed an understanding of the Conceptual Ground Model and initial delineation of localised soil and groundwater contamination. This included characterisation of stockpiled materials.



The main geotechnical and geoenvironmental hazards/considerations are:
  • Soil contamination (metals, hydrocarbons, asbestos, PFAS) associated with historic infrastructure (degreasers, fuel tanks and fire test area);
  • Leachate and groundwater contamination (e.g. organic contamination, PFAS etc.) in areas of concern that may pose a risk to controlled waters (aquifers and Rhondda Fach river);
  • Ground gasses;
  • Waste management/characterisation for reuse or disposal;
  • Localised thick Made Ground and shallow groundwater that may influence foundation design, temporary works, slope stability and earthworks.

Remediation is required to enable the development and achieve regulatory approval. Further investigation and risk assessment is key to develop the remediation methods. This includes management of available soil resources to ensure a sustainable approach.

We have identified uncertainties and engaged with the RCTCBC contaminated land department and Natural Resources Wales to understand expectations.


Services Provided:
  • Review of historical information and factory layout plans to create a plan of potential contamination sources:
  • Development of site-specific asbestos method statement in conjunction with a specialist for site investigation;
  • Design and supervision of a focused ground investigation in accordance with BS5930, BS10175 and BS8576 including windowless sampling, trial pitting, cable percussion and rotary drilling to spatially delineate geoenvironmental and geotechnical hazards;
  • In-situ and laboratory testing and field gas and groundwater monitoring and sampling;
  • Site specific hydrogeological and hydrological assessment;
  • Human health, controlled waters and ground gas risk assessments;
  • Coal mining risk assessment;
  • Waste characterisation and assessment of re-use potential/potential disposal options;
  • Discussion of remediation options and recommendations.


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