Commercial property transactions toolkit (EHS issues)—environmental desktop searches and site investigations
Produced in partnership with ELM Law
Commercial property transactions toolkit (EHS issues)—environmental desktop searches and site investigations

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with ELM Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Commercial property transactions toolkit (EHS issues)—environmental desktop searches and site investigations
  • Pre-contract searches
  • Environmental desktop searches
  • In need of further assessment
  • Site investigations

Pre-contract searches

Pre-contract searches are usually carried out by the buyer’s solicitor but may be carried out by the seller’s solicitors if they are to give a certificate of title. This can include:

  1. local search

  2. index map search

  3. drainage and water search

  4. highways search, and

  5. environmental desktop search

For further information, see Practice Note: Standard pre-contract searches.

Environmental desktop searches

The Law Society Practice Notes on contaminated land and flood risk recommend that environmental and flood issues are considered in every property transaction.

See Practice Notes:

  1. Law Society practice note on contaminated land, and

  2. Flooding—Law Society practice note on flood risk

The table below summarises the main types of environmental searches:

Type of search What is included? Approximate cost 2017 excluding VAT* Approximate timescale*
Environmental Historic maps

Public registers

Basic flood
£55–£245 one day
Combined environmental and flood Historic maps

Public registers

Comprehensive flood
£210–£295 three days
Flood Comprehensive flood £85–£120 one day