Phase I Environmental Site Assessment –
The first, and most crucial step during due diligence for a commercial property transaction.
When it comes to commercial property transaction, the liabilities associated with known and unknown environmental issues is a primary concern to purchasers. Conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment prior to purchasing a property is not only good business practice, but, in most cases, it is required by lenders.
A basic Phase I Environmental Site Assessment consists of review of current environmental records, historical records review, interviews, site reconnaissance, and report preparation. The purpose of the assessment is to identify Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) – the presence or likely presence of hazardous substances and petroleum hydrocarbons on a property. Conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is the important first step in determining what potential contamination issues may be present, and what may require additional investigation through a Phase II sampling and testing process such as soil borings or groundwater monitoring wells.
Asbestos and Regulated Building Materials –
Addressing concerns reduces risk.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, so care must be taken to reduce the risk of exposure to construction workers and the public. Many states require that asbestos inspectors have evidence of current training and a state-issued inspector certificate. Geotechnology has inspectors licensed in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri. An asbestos inspection is required for a structure prior to planned demolition or renovation activity, and many municipalities require evidence of an inspection and/or abatement before they will issue a construction or demolition permit.
Lead-based paint is also a known toxin with similar requirements for inspections. Lead-based paint inspections are not required to obtain construction or demolition permits. However, if planned renovation or demolition activities could cause exposure to lead, then a lead-based paint inspection would be required for worker protection.
Other building materials that require special handling and disposal/recycling include mercury thermostats, air conditioning units, computers, left over cleaning materials, paints, batteries, etc. It makes sound business sense to inventory those materials so they can be managed by a qualified contractor.