Property Investment: Evaluating PFAS Risks


Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) constitute a class of engineered compounds with widespread application in manufacturing and consumer goods. Initially discovered in 1938, PFAS have since become integral to various industrial processes and consumer products due to their unique properties, such as thermal stability and resistance to chemicals, oil, and water. Despite their utility, PFAS can migrate from their intended use, posing environmental risks. This article examines how REL approaches PFAS Risk Assessments during property transactions and development to empower clients with informed decision-making.

Understanding PFAS Contamination

To appreciate the significance of risk from PFAS contamination, it's essential to understand how these contaminants can pose liabilities and risks in the context of commercial property. PFAS can enter soil and water through industrial discharges, agricultural runoff, and everyday products. Recognizing these pathways is crucial for property investors to identify potential risks associated with their investments.

For more detailed information, please refer to our blog: "The Emerging Chemical Risk – PFAS."

Real-world Implications

Neglecting to assess PFAS risks adequately during due diligence and development planning can lead to several adverse outcomes, including:

Decreased Property Value

PFAS contamination can significantly reduce property value, as potential buyers or investors may be deterred by associated environmental and health risks. This devaluation can result in financial losses for investors.

Insurance Unavailability

Insurers may hesitate to provide coverage for properties with known or suspected PFAS contamination. Lack of insurance exposes investors to significant financial risks, including costs associated with contamination cleanup and legal liabilities.

Remediation Liabilities

Inadequate assessment of PFAS risks may result in unforeseen liabilities related to site cleanup and remediation. Investors may face legal and financial consequences for not addressing these environmental issues appropriately, including fines and legal action.

Development Program Delays

Discovery of PFAS contamination after commencing development projects can cause substantial delays. Remediation efforts, regulatory approvals, and legal processes can prolong timelines and increase costs, affecting revenue streams and return on investment.

REL PFAS Risk Assessments

To better serve our clients, REL has developed a comprehensive PFAS Assessment tool.

The tool provides developers and investors with a detailed understanding of PFAS risks at their site within standard 10-day timescales for Phase I Desk Studies, without additional delays.

Utilizing a two-stage approach, the tool initially reviews REL's in-house PFAS source heatmaps, allowing for a Red, Amber, Green (RAG) report to be generated within three days of instruction.

For sites classified as elevated risk, recommendations are made for a detailed assessment. This involves reviewing the site against 24,500+ potential sources of PFAS contamination identified by REL within the UK, to determine specific risk significance.

A conceptual site model is constructed, considering identified sources, the site's environmental context, and potential receptors.

REL delivers clear conclusions and recommendations. If no risk is identified, assessment work can conclude. However, if elevated risk persists, REL can assist with Phase II Site Investigations, Remediation, or obtaining suitable insurance products to manage remaining risks, liabilities, and planning constraints.


Failure to adequately assess PFAS risks during investment Due Diligence and development planning can lead to reduced property value, insurance unavailability, remediation liabilities, and development program delays. REL's PFAS Assessment tool empowers developers and investors with greater certainty regarding risks and liabilities, enhancing decision-making.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Sub heading

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  1. Hello, this is an off
  • Hello my name

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Hello there

For further information on how we can assist you with round PFAS Risk Assessments please do not hesitate to contact us on 0207183 8491 or email:

1 Croft Stairs
Newcastle Upon Tyne

55 Whitfield Street

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
0191 230 4521