Steps of an Environmental Assessment

Before we start knocking stuff down or tearing stuff apart, we often need to do a Phase 1 environmental site assessment (ESA). This assessment lets us know if any asbestos abatement will be necessary or if we can expect to find any dangerous chemicals. To do this, we have in-house site assessment experts, who have years of experience with these procedures. While asbestos information won’t always show up in these initial reports, they are still extremely helpful and important. To learn more about ESAs, let’s take a brief look at the history of the assessment, when they’re needed, and how they’re done.

ESA History

These assessments got their start back in the early 1970s. The purpose was for developers to identify how much risk will be involved in a new construction project if they were to buy the land in question. The main risk they were looking for was any kind of chemical contamination and to find any clean-up spots.

Today, these assessments are basically standard procedure for almost any kind of commercial property transaction. To get a complete picture of the site’s history, assessors will normally talk with the site owner, government officials, and neighbors.

When an ESA is Needed

Anytime there’s a commercial property transaction, an ESA will most likely be required to protect the buyer. The idea here is to make sure the buyer fully understands what they are buying and are aware of any risks within the property. This kind of report will also be required before a new loan is issued for a piece of land or if the owner is trying to change the use permits.

How an ESA is Done

As you might imagine, the first step is for the assessor to visit the site. Here they will look for any possible contaminants on the property or in the soil. They will also take a look at the surrounding properties to check for any risks that might be coming from outside properties. Next, the assessor will speak with the current owner and anyone else who might have relevant knowledge of the property.