Limit Real-Estate Liability
Environmental liability pervades real-estate transactions. Lenders, buildings owners, building managers, buyers, and sellers… all can be affected. Environmental concerns can affect finances, time and logistics all leading to complication with settlement. This liability can be limited with proper site-history research and baseline testing to verify property health. Environmental Site Assessments help determine a property’s environmental hazards and investment risk. EMG can provide the research, data, and testing results needed to make optimal real-estate decisions and help simply settlement. Here’s how we can limit your liability:
- Phase I Environmental Assessments
- Customized Environmental Site Assessments
- Environmental Transaction Screening
- Phase II Sampling, Testing, Delineation, and Engineering
- Phase III Remediation
Phase I Environmental Assessments
A Phase I environmental assessment has been formally defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). This assessment is often used for industrial properties and may be required by a lender regardless of the type of property. A Phase I Report incorporates the anecdotal and site activities outlined in the above section together with additional requirements. A Phase I assessment includes a review of federal, state and local regulator records to discover documented environmental action relating to the subject property or adjacent properties. Title documents must be reviewed for evidence of historical transactions that suggest a possibility of significant environmental impact. Furthermore, it is necessary to obtain and analyze aerial photographs, fire insurance maps, geological maps (when applicable) and property site plans.
Customized Environmental Site Assessment
If a formal Phase I appears to be unnecessary but there is a need to better define a property’s environmental liability, EMG will customize an environmental site assessment to your specific needs. An environmental assessment is a limited study of the potential environmental concerns of a specific site. It is an economical alternative to a Phase I, and is permitted by select lenders. It is appropriate for residential or light commercial properties with moderate environmental hazard exposure. Examples of properties that may qualify for this assessment are office, apartment and/or residential sites with no connection or proximity to industrial areas and sites that demonstrate a clean environmental-impact history. This type of assessment, if accepted by the Lender of Buyer, is more economical and more quickly completed than a comprehensive Phase I assessment. EMG tailors this type of limited assessment to the obvious characteristics of a property while also including a detailed site inspection of the subject and surrounding properties. Additionally, we contact relevant government agencies including local borough and/or township offices within which the property is located, to learn of any outside involvement with the subject property or proximate properties. After analysis of data, the resulting written report will conclude:
- that the site is free of significant environmental hazards or
- will make specific recommendations for additional testing and/or remediation with cost estimates.
Environmental Transaction Screening
This ASTM-defined environmental site assessment is the most limited type of investigation and is appropriate for relatively new properties that are not suspected to have environmental problems. The transaction screening is comprised of a twenty-question form that is completely by the site owner and/or occupant. A federal database search accompanies the information learned in the questionnaire.
Phase II Sampling, Testing, Delineation, and Engineering
If significant contamination is suspected, detailed sampling and analysis may be necessary. This is customarily referred to as a Phase II assessment. Sampling is often performed for asbestos, PCBs, underground storage tank integrity, soil and/or ground water contamination, and RCRA-defined (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) hazardous materials. If sample results are positive, EMG will recommend remediation alternatives accompanied with cost estimates.
Phase III Remediation
The testing and recommendations culminate in abatement and remediation of environmental contamination known as Phase III. It may include asbestos abatement, underground storage tanks upgrade, closure or removal, contaminated soil removal and ground water monitoring wells. EMG can coordinate or manage all of these aspects.