Engaging a suitably qualified person
Dealing with contaminated land is a specialised professional area which often requires a range of technical expertise.
A suitably qualified person (often a contaminated land consultant) is a professional that has the necessary qualifications and experience to assess contaminated land and ensure that risks to human health and the environment have been appropriately managed.
What is ‘suitably qualified’?
A suitably qualified person must have qualifications and experience relevant to the work being undertaken and must be a current member of a professional organisation prescribed under Schedule 14 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.
The Guideline: Assessing a suitably qualified person ESR/2016/1938 (formerly EM836) (PDF, 172KB) provides guidance about the process for deciding whether a person is a suitably qualified person. This assessment should be carried out prior to formally engaging a suitably qualified person.
When is a suitably qualified person required?
In order to meet the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 an SQP must be engaged to:
- conduct a site investigation
- prepare a validation report
- prepare a draft site management plan or draft amendment of a site management plan.
How to find a suitably qualified person
Some ways to engage a suitably qualified person are:
- Conduct a search in the Yellow Pages using the search term ‘contaminated land consultant’
- Approach professional associations such as:
- Australasian Land and Groundwater Association
- Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association
- Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand
- Soil Science Australia
- Recommendations from people who have engaged a suitably qualified person to conduct similar, successful works in the past.
It’s important that you take the time to select a suitably qualified person who has the expertise to deal with contaminated land matters on your site. Depending on the complexity of the site and contamination issues, you may require a wide variety of expertise. Poor quality reports and plans that do not meet the regulatory requirements and achieve an appropriate environmental standard will ultimately require more work, often at an added cost to you.
When engaging a suitably qualified person you will need to discuss your objectives, the scope of works and provide all relevant information available about the characteristics of the site and surrounding area, history of uses or activities carried out on the land and any sources of contamination.
It is good practice to obtain several different quotes and ensure that your chosen suitably qualified person has:
- a good working knowledge of Queensland legislation, policies and guidelines related to contaminated land
- a network of expert support persons available for any knowledge areas for which they do not possess adequate qualifications and experience
- a good reputation within the contaminated land professional community
- adequate professional indemnity insurance
- a history of delivering project outcomes on time and within budget.