Insights

Fallen on fertile ground

December 18, 2018

As the proverb goes: Gratitude and crops thrive on good ground. Yet the subject of soil protection still lurks in the shadows in this country. A new training concept – brought into life by a subsidiary of the Berghof Group from Eningen and set to become reality for the first time at the beginning of November together with experts from throughout Germany – aims to change that.

Environmental protection is a hot topic. Protecting soils – a wholly important aspect of environmental protection – has only rarely been touched on here. Expressed in a somewhat exaggerated manner: As soon as people intervene in the ground, for instance when digging foundations for a building, a valuable part of nature becomes – waste. And in the worst case scenario, construction companies transport this once valuable commodity all across Germany – for it then to be added to existing mountains of landfill refuse instead of using it sensibly locally.

But that’s not enough: This is aggravated by the fact that many construction sites do not have a real route concept with marked no-go areas, which means heavy machinery criss-crosses the site – thereby destroying the ground much more than is necessary.

To change this antiquated and harmful practice, legislature in Germany initiated a special approach around 20 years ago: “Soil Science Construction Monitoring” by persons specially trained in the field, often simply abbreviated to BBB.

The role model here was Switzerland, as this topic has a much longer tradition there. The aim of this approach is to protect soil on construction sites as effectively as possible and above all retain the valuable upper layers so as to recultivate ground somewhere else in the region – and thus conserve its important function in land husbandry as fully as possible.

So the topic of BBB is anything but new. But it has only really gained momentum in the last few years, because more and more building authorities recognize just how effective and necessary soil science construction monitoring by specially trained experts is – not least in periods like the present when our construction industry is booming. Ultimately, our soil is not unlimited – it’s a finite resource.

This has given rise to a need among a large number of parties involved in construction projects to gain a compact, detailed and practical overview of the subject. It is precisely this needs gap that is filled by a new training concept, which came into being at the beginning of November 2018 in Tübingen.

This has been initiated and organised by experts from Berghof Environmental Engineering, who are specialised in soil protection, contaminated sites and area recycling within the Berghof Group. In on the action, both when devising the concept as well as during the training itself, recognised experts from science, engineering offices and law firms as well as authorities. They all contributed their tremendous expert knowledge to the participants as part of this event spanning one and a half days – in a clear, compact and comprehensive form.

“Feedback from the almost 20 participants was very positive. Consequently, we intend to repeat the event at least once, maybe even twice, in the autumn of 2019”, happily declares Diploma Geologist Andreas Sonntag, who is responsible for the area of Environmental Engineering at Berghof, when talking about the successful première.