Industrial Wasteland

Clean-Up Contract | Contaminated Sites | Industrial Wasteland Repurposing | Infrastructure Contract

According to the Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU), the success of a repurposing project essentially depends on key persons, who assume the responsibility for the project. A good partnership between the public authorities and the land owner/developer is more important than maximum time optimisation. Because this kind of projects are of long duration, a proper project organisation, which ensures that in case of personnel changes communication and knowledge continue or is optimally transferred, is decisive. Therefore, a step-by-step approach i.e. systematically structuring the project, including legal cover, is advisable.

One major issue repurposing projects are faced with, is compliance with zoning requirements. If the industrial site is in the industrial zone or even in a special zone outside the regular zones, repurposing is very difficult i.e. rezoning is necessary. Industrial zones are often remote and usually not easily accessible and particularly hardly serviced by the public transportation system.

Contaminated sites are another major concern. However, if the problem is approached properly, a solution can be found. Firstly, it must be clarified if it is a contaminated site in the legal sense, and if yes, what the nature of the contaminated site is. This knowledge is the basis for the decision of whether a comprehensive remediation is unavoidable or if the contaminated material can be appropriately secured and left in the soil (as long as there is no excavation). In addition, the repurposing can be planned in a way that the least possible contaminated soil has to be excavated.

The appropriate scheduling of a repurposing project is absolutely crucial and often decisive.

During the so-called latency phase the normal previous use is still present. Work and site security have to be the first priority in this phase, because of the insecurities and frustrations arising among the personnel, at the latest after the decision to close has been taken.

In the launch phase industrial production has ceased or the closedown is becoming apparent, e.g. because the landowner has begun planning the repurposing. The main objective during the launch phase is that all involved parties (landowner, municipality, canton) are briefed by specialists concerning the repurposing if such knowledge is not already available.

In the target phase the landowner must clarify what the cornerstones of the coming repurposing of the site are. Fundamental questions concerning possibilities, demands and limits of the repurposing are raised.

When the aim and direction of the project has been determined, the landowners elaborate a concrete plan for the repurposing/new construction, a part of which are considerations concerning accessibility and the solution of the set of problems regarding contaminated sites. In this legislation phase, laws and regulations are adapted to the project developed jointly by the private and public parties with infrastructure and/or remediation contracts.

In the execution phase the project is finally executed. Here it is important that financial capabilities have been already taken into account, that the project can be executed in stages and that the time horizon for the execution has been determined in a sufficiently flexible manner.