Frequently Asked Questions
Environmental due diligence is a process in which real estate is assessed for possible risk of environmental contamination. This process is designed to protect innocent landowners and prospective buyers from environmental liability.
ASTM E1527-13 (EPA has not currently accepted ASTM E1527-21)
You want protection from environmental liabilities! You deserve to know what you are buying and you want to pay a fair price for the property. Whenever a commercial or industrial property is sold, leased or financed, a Phase I report is used to identify potential or existing recognized environmental conditions that can impact the property’s value and the owner’s legal responsibility. A Phase I ESA satisfies requirements to conduct all appropriate inquiries into previous ownership and property uses and empowers buyers and lenders with the knowledge to make informed decisions about a property purchase. If the due diligence process is not properly completed, the property owner can be financially and legally responsible for environmental liabilities on the property. The Phase I ESA report also satisfies one of the requirements for the user to qualify for innocent landowner, contiguous property owner, or bona fide prospective purchaser limitations for environmental liability under CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation Liability Act of 1980).
It is required prior to purchasing a property in order to attain Innocent Landowner Protection (ILP) status per USEPA CERCLA regulations.
ASTM 1527 allows up to 20 calendar days, but most Phase I’s take 10-12 business days.
To attain Innocent Landowner Protection (ILP) status per USEPA CERCLA regulations prior to purchasing a property.
- Site Reconnaissance
- Records Review
- Interviews and Inquiries
- Completion of a Written Report
Identification of the following in connection with the subject property:
- No recognized environmental conditions (RECs)
- Historical recognized environmental conditions (HRECs)
- Controlled recognized environmental conditions (CRECs)
- Recognized environmental conditions (RECs)
- Location of a property (i.e. rural versus urban or residential versus industrial)
- Size of property
- Complexity of the report due to volume and frequency of regulatory agency records required to be reviewed
- Timeframe (expedited versus non-expedited)
When you (the entity or person) are requesting to rely on the findings and conclusions within a Phase I ESA that has been completed within 180 days and you are not listed as a user within the report.
Will a transaction screen offer CERCLA protections? What about a Records Search and Risk Assessment (RSRA) or Environmental Desktop Review Report (EDRR)?
These practices are less exhaustive and are not subject to review by an Environmental Professional. However, these tools can aide in lender decision making by indicating risk tolerance associated with a subject property. A transaction screen, EDRR or RSRA will not satisfy the requirement to conduct all appropriate inquiries into the previous ownership and uses of the property. The Transaction Standard does not offer liability protection under CERCLA.
If a recognized environmental concern is identified as part of a Phase I ESA, soil, groundwater, surface water or soil vapor sampling may be recommended. These practices employed are part of a Phase II ESA.
Any planned renovation or demolition within a public access building requires an asbestos inspection.
Anything that is not metal, wood, plastic or concrete.
A PCA is a visual assessment of a property and its improvements that does not involve any material or system component testing. The PCAs also include a reserve and replacement analysis.