What To Include In A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Checklist

There are various factors to include in a phase 1 environmental site assessment checklist. A phase 1 environmental site assessment (ESA) is conducted to investigate current and historical property uses.  With a detailed study report, buyers and sellers can complete a reliable commercial real estate transaction. As a perspective property owner, complete an ESA to ensure the soil supporting the property or the groundwater beneath it is safe. Confirm your new property does not pose a threat to the surrounding environment or overall human health and can satisfy the requirements of CERCLA. Of course, if you can’t find a location safe enough for your employees and customers, consider an online business. Here is what to include in a phase 1 environmental site assessment checklist.

Records Review

First, a records review should be included in a phase 1 environmental site assessment checklist. Record reviews is an extensive background exploration of the property to find and locate any prior operations that could cause or lead to contamination. Collect then assess documents such as previous ESAs, land titles and geological reviews. Previous ESAs provide assessors with any stage and other risk management reports related to the property. Hire an assessor to review if changes were implemented and how all deductions based on prior reports were listed in the findings. Land titles give you a list of all previous business property owners to confirm all site activities. Meanwhile geological reviews provide land quality reports based on soil type, precipitation and existing geology. Certainly, include record reviews within your phase 1 environmental site assessment checklist.

Site Reconnaissance

Secondly, your phase 1 ESA checklist should include a site reconnaissance section. With an environmental professional, visit the property site. They will track current site use, conditions, adjoining properties along with topographic and hydrologic conditions. Additionally, they will track adjoining property conditions such as if they are conducting hydroponics farming operations. More so, they will report any obstructions or obstacles while observing all aspects of the exterior property and surrounding environment. While completing site reconnaissance, have owner representatives present with previous ESAs on hand. Of course, request that the representatives provide any additional site documentation such as conditions that can’t be visually or physically seen. Then, your environmental professional should note all changes between prior ESAs and current reports. Definitely include site reconnaissance in your phase 1 ESA checklist.

Interview With Tenant Or Stakeholder

Next, confirm that your phase 1 environmental site assessment checklist includes interviews from tenants and stakeholders. Interview property occupants currently working on site such as laboratories, dry cleaners, doctors/specialists or service stations. Ask how long they’ve occupied their space in the property and if there are any environmental impacts due to their operations. This can give you a clear understanding as to why the environment is acting the way it is. More so, these occupants may be able to provide historical insight into prior tenants and their activities that could have left a significant impact. Of course, include interviews with tenants or stakeholders within your phase 1 ESA.

Adjacent Property Evaluation

Definitely include an adjacent property evaluation in your phase 1 ESA checklist. When researching environmental impacts for your potential property, you need to research surround properties. Investigate adjacent land and structures to determine how they could affect your land. Knowledge about the local area, its overall history and any ongoing difficulties can be useful when determining if the property is worth buying. For example, any surrounding operations such as transport businesses or those involving energy and agriculture can impact the environment. These operations can cause pollution which could affect the soil and groundwater. Certainly, include an adjacent property evaluation in your phase 1 environmental site assessment checklist.

Study Results And Recommendations

Finally, you need to include study results and recommendations in the phase 1 environmental site assessment checklist. After all the research and evaluations have been completed, it is time for your environmental professional to provide you with answers. You can use your results, findings and recommendations to make an informed decision about occupying the property. Of course, if there is too much damage to take on, your environmental professional should suggest you find another property to purchase. But, if they think this is the right fit for you, they will work with you and the current property owner to determine a reasonable price for the property. Surely, the price can vary from the original offer based on the property’s conditions. Surely, include study results and recommendations in your phase 1 ESA. 

There are several elements to include in a phase 1 environmental site assessment checklist. First, include record reviews such as land titles, geological reviews or previous ESAs to check if there were any prior issues and how changes were implemented. Secondly, work with an environmental professional for site reconnaissance to observe and track any current or previous issues. Next, include interviews with tenants and stakeholders to understand how their operations impact the environment while also learning about previous business operations. Definitely include an adjacent property evaluation to determine how surrounding operations impact the environment. Finally, include study results and recommendations to decide whether to move forward with the property. These are the sections you should include in a phase 1 environmental site assessment checklist.

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