Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Environmental Site Assessment?
An Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a decision-making tool that evaluates the potential environmental effects of major developments. This is accomplished by involving the public along with various government departments and agencies during the environmental assessment.
Why should I have an assessment performed?
The purpose of a Phase 1 Environmental report is to make sure you know the true value of the property and to assure there is no soil or groundwater contamination from previous use or neighboring sites that may be impacting the property's value or limiting its use due to regulatory-mandated cleanup, or in worse cases causing civil liability. This civil liability can be caused by human health exposure and offsite migration and devaluation of neighboring properties. This information can be very valuable prior to investing.
What is the standard process for an assessment?
To set a consistent standard for Phase I investigations, ASTM International has set the Standard E1527 in which environmental professionals must follow to conduct a Phase I. These standards include:
- Review of records – Examination of previous records that shows transfer of ownership and prior usage.
- Site Reconnaissance – Visual inspection of site and neighboring sites including photographs.
- Interviews – May be conducted with anyone or organization to gain further knowledge of the property. The environmental professionals may meet with local health departments, fire departments, water departments, and petroleum tank management associations.
- Reporting - A written report will be conducted by the environmental professionals that will outline the findings, conclusions, and possible recommendations if any contaminants or hazardous materials were identified.
How much experience do your consultants have?
We utilize some of the best environmental professionals in the industry with varying years of experience and professional backgrounds. Each of our contractors are certified with many years of proven experience, dedication, thorough investigation skills, and report writing.
What is the difference between a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and a Phase II?
The Phase I Standard (ASTM E 1527-05) does not include sampling or testing. It involves four (4) components: Records review, site reconnaissance, interviews and evaluation of report. A Phase II involves sampling and analyses, typically justified from the results of the Phase I.
What is the typical turnaround time for a report?
It depends on the location of the property and the cooperation we receive from government agencies and third-parties. Typically, you can expect:
- Phase I Environmental Site Assessments – 10 to 15 business days
- Environmental Transaction Screen - 10 to 15 business days
- Records Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA) – 3 to 5 business days
What information is covered in your environmental questionnaires?
We inquire on a broad range of questions to gain an overall summary understanding of the site we’re assessing. Our questionnaires obtain contact information, Lien information, purpose of assessment, current and prior land use, chemicals associated with the property, and much more.
How much does an environmental assessment cost?
Typical pricing is determined on type of assessment, the type of property, size and location.
What information is needed when engaging a request?
The information we collect helps us obtain an overall understanding of the site being assessed. We collect client contact information, subject property details, and services requested.
How long is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment good for?
As per the current ASTM standard, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report is valid for a period of one year if the necessary updates are performed between six months and one year. After one year, the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment report needs to redone.
What is a Transaction Screen Assessment?
A Transaction Screen Assessment is a cost-effective environmental due diligence report. Also, called an Environmental Transaction Screen, the Transaction Screen Assessment is essentially a scaled down version of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. The SOW includes a site visit, records review, personnel interviews, and limited historical research. The Transaction Screen offers a good value for evaluating environmental liability at a cost less than the Phase I ESA.
When an Environmental Transaction Screen Assessment Is Needed?
An Environmental Transaction Screen Assessment is minimally required to satisfy environmental due diligence requirements when financing Low Risk Sites. Unlike a full scope Phase I Site Assessment Report, an SBA Transaction Screen Assessment does NOT meet the EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiry requirements (AIA), and does NOT offer protection from CERCLA liability.
What is a Low Risk Site?
Low Risk Sites include car washes, multi-family residential properties, vacant/bare land, offices spaces, properties adjacent to High Risk Sites, etc. These types of sites typically require Transaction Screen Review.
What are High Risk Sites?
High Risk Properties include dry cleaners, gasoline stations, auto service shops, manufacturing facilities, metal grinding shops, any type of current or previous industrial site, etc. These types of sites typically require a complete Phase I Site Assessment Report.
What is a Property Condition Assessment Report?
A Property Condition Assessment Report assess the subject property to understand the condition of the building.
What will be surveyed in a Property Condition Assessment?
The survey process consists of two phases: a site inspection and data analysis. The site inspection should accurately reflect the structure and building systems. For larger buildings, a general rule is to view 10% of the building. The report should include a narrative summary of the building type, condition, and cost tables of the immediate and long-term expenses of the building maintenance. Surveyed area’s include the following:
- Site and Grounds – pavement, curbs, loading docks, walks, landscaping, irrigation, site drainage, exterior lighting, walls, fencing/railings, signage and exterior amenities.
- Structural Systems – Foundations and structural framing of walls, columns, intermediate floors and roofs.
- Building Envelope – Roofing systems, exterior finishes, stairs and steps, exterior doors and windows.
- Interior Building Components – Interior finishes of common areas and tenant areas. Condition of soft goods will not be assessed.
- Mechanical Systems – Property-owned electrical, heating ventilation/ air conditioning, plumbing and conveyance systems.
- Roofing Systems
- Elevators and escalators
- Regulatory Compliance – Life safety, fire suppression systems, and general visual review of property compliance to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). AEI services include contacting the local building, zoning, and fire department / authorities to identify any currently outstanding building or fire code violations at the subject property.
- Energy Systems - Energy loss, air leakage, roofing and building envelope moisture intrusion.
Who may use the Property Condition Assessment Report?
The users of a PCA may include a seller, a potential buyer, a lender, an investor or an owner. It may be used for negotiating the purchase price of a property, loan approval, predictive or preventative maintenance, insurance evaluations, etc.
What is a Database Review?
Database Reviews, or DBR, are performed on low-risk properties where the history of the property is known. It is a viable alternative to a Phase 1 Assessment. If the need for a full Phase 1 Assessment is determined during the Database Review, then the data obtained can be used for the Phase 1 upgrade. The scope of work includes development and professional review of publicly available, regulatory agency information maintained by federal, state, and local government agencies.
What is a Records Search Risk Assessment?
For certain low-risk and/or low-loan value properties, a RSRA is considered an acceptable “Environmental Investigation”. A RSRA is a cost effective due diligence process that quickly provides lenders and other stakeholders with information concerning potential environmental risks associated with a commercial property.
Third Party Environmental Report Reviews
This is review of a client’s previous Phase I Assessments, Transaction Screens, RSRA’s, or Site Remediation reports when a client requires an expert evaluation of the findings, conclusions, or recommendations made by another environmental firm or wants to verify that another firm’s work product was completed in accordance with applicable regulatory standards.
How do I contact someone about an assessment?
Call our Toll-Free line at 1-855-277-5307 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I fill out an order form?
Go to our website and click on the Client Order Forms link at the top of the page. Choose your selection from the dropdown menu and fill out the form to completion or with as much information as possible.
How do I send attachments with my order?
If you have any documents to include (e.g. prior reports, property profile) you will have the option to do so at the bottom of the order form. Simply click the Attach File link and then Upload your attachment. This will get submitted with your order form.