The benefits of brownfield sites

15th May 2022   |   Jamie Barrett   |   Reading Time: 3 minutes

Brownfield sites, defined as previously developed land that is not currently in use, can provide construction opportunities for developers along with economic development potential for local communities.

Repurposing idle, derelict, or vacant land and buildings – as opposed to developing on the untouched and often more protected land of a greenfield site – has numerous benefits for developers, the environment, and the local communities within which the land is located.


A predominant benefit of brownfield sites is that it is far more sustainable and responsible to repurpose and reuse buildings and land that have previously been developed than building on undeveloped land or greenfield sites.

The UK Sustainable Development Strategy – which promotes an environmentally sound approach to development and sustainable economic growth – advocates using brownfield sites.

With a scarcity of available development land and over 400,000 hectares of contaminated land, some of which dates back to being the first industrialised country globally, the UK has become a world leader in the regeneration and management of industrial land.

Whilst there is an argument that brownfield sites can themselves create new areas of biodiversity in urban areas, their development over greenfield sites undoubtedly protects and preserves the UK’s limited untouched green areas and preserves rural spaces and sustainability.

Economic regeneration

Often derelict and abandoned, brownfield sites can be dangerous and visually unappealing. Their development has sustainable benefits and offers economic and social benefits to the communities and areas in which they are located.

Brownfield regeneration projects in the UK have proven to breathe new life into the country’s towns and cities. They can provide affordable housing, generate employment opportunities, and create new safe and enjoyable spaces for communities.

Cost savings

For developers, a brownfield site project has the potential to offer cost savings and maximum return on investment.  

Many brownfield sites are located in existing towns and cities. This means that much of the infrastructure needed for development, such as road networks, electricity networks and amenities, is already in place, which can reduce developer costs and timescales.

Depending upon their state and structure, there is also the potential to reuse any existing buildings on the site, reducing the need for additional concrete or associated building materials.

If the land is contaminated, whilst the cost of decontamination can be high, Land Remediation Relief is an enhanced corporation tax relief of 150% for cleaning up contamination in land or buildings, which can generate significant savings on development projects involving contaminated or derelict sites.


Usually located in urban areas and often previously used for industrial or commercial purposes, brownfield sites are often looked upon favourably by planning authorities as ideal for housing and redevelopment.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England has called for the government to be more proactive in encouraging development on brownfield sites rather than open countryside and green belt land.

Local authorities are often pro-development of brownfield sites, and it is usually easier to gain planning permission on previously built on land, which should, in most cases, make the planning process easier for brownfield sites.

How Evolution5 can help you

Brownfield site development has many benefits, and by applying our specialist cost management knowledge, we can help you maximise those benefits and the return on investment for your project.

A Quantity Surveyor with experience in brownfield site development can help assess your project’s viabilities; create project plans and budgets; advise on-site recycling, repurposing, and reuse of buildings and materials; utilise value engineering opportunities; ultimately help you to maximise your return on investment.

We can appoint to your project a dedicated Quantity Surveyor from our skilled and highly experienced team with extensive hands-on experience in brownfield site development.

As a Chartered Building Consultancy (CIOB) and RICS regulated firm, you have the assurance that you are engaging a reputable company that you can trust and rely on.

Evolution5 is a professional consultancy offering project management, construction management, employer’s agent, and contract administration services for projects across London and the South East.

If you have a construction project and would like to explore how the team can help you, click the button below or call 023 8040 5073.