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The What, Why, and How of a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment

So, what is a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment?

A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment, commonly called an ESA, or Phase 1 ESA, is an assessment done to research the historical and current uses of a property as part of a Commercial Real Estate transaction.

Why do Commercial Real Estate transactions require a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment?

Phase 1 ESA is needed to assess if historical or current property uses have impacted the soil or groundwater beneath the property. If so, this could pose a threat to human health and a major issue for the environment. If these problems exist, then a potential liability is present for the owner and/or lender. This also affects the value of the property.

If a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment is finished pre-closure of a real estate transaction, it can be used to fulfill the requirements of CERCLA’s (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) innocent land owner defense under All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI).

Finally, how are Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments completed?

First, it’s important to note that Phase 1 ESA’s can be done on all types of properties; industrial, multi-family residential, commercial, vacant land, and agricultural. But all Phase I ESA’s must comply with ASTM E1527-13. (exception being properties comprised of large primarily undeveloped land, which can be researched under ASTM E2247-16).

Below are the steps commonly followed for Phase I ESA’s.
1. Completing a site visit to observe uses of the property and adjacent properties along with past and current conditions of the property.
2. Reviewing federal, state, tribal, and local regulatory databases including, but not limited to, aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), underground storage tanks (USTs), known or suspected release cases, institutional and engineering controls, and the storage of hazardous substances and disposal of hazardous wastes including petroleum products.
3. Reviewing historical records, i.e. historical aerial photographs, fire insurance maps (Sanborn maps), historical topographic maps, and historical city directories.
4. Reviewing local and state agency records including, but not limited to, state environmental agencies, Fire Departments, Health Departments, and Building Departments.
5. Interviewing past and current property owners, occupants, operators, or others well known with the property.
6. Interviewing the Report User for judicial or title records for environmental liens and activity and use limitations (AULs); specialized experience or knowledge, actual knowledge; commonly known or reasonably ascertainable information; the reason for a significantly lower purchase price; and the reason for the preparation of the Phase I ESA. It’s the User responsibility to provide this information to qualify for the innocent landowner defense.
7. Finally, the Environmental Professional (EP) evaluates all of this information to identify potential environmental risks to the property. EPs highest concerns are with properties including, but not limited to, gas stations, dry cleaners, printing operations, manufacturing, and auto/vehicle repair.
8. Once the Phase I ESA is complete, the EP will summarize what issues were identified on the property and make recommended steps to address these concerns.

In summary, Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments identify existing or potential environmental contamination liabilities. They are done to satisfy Commercial and Residential Real Estate transactions and ensure environmentally and human safety. They are completed on all varieties of properties but all comply with ASTM E1527-13. UES Consulting Services is ready and happy to help with any and all of your Phase I and Phase II ESA needs.

 

UES Consulting and our team of inspectors would be glad to help you with your Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment.

Important Details to Note for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments…

While not part of ASTM requirements, Phase I ESA reports typically include a discussion of observed suspect asbestos containing materials (ACM), potential lead-based paint (LBP), and mold growth; as well as the potential for lead in drinking water and radon.  Sampling for these non-ASTM concerns is beyond the scope of a standard Phase I ESA, but can be included upon request.
ASTM E1527-13 provides the guidelines for a Phase I ESA report to meet industry standard, but there are other factors to consider when ordering a report.  Projects associated with Fannie MaeFreddie MacU.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Small Business Association (SBA) each have their own report requirements.  This is also true of other lending institutions.
A recognized environmental condition (REC) indicates known contamination or the potential for the subsurface to have been impacted by contamination (either from the subject property or possibly from an offsite source).  A controlled recognized environmental condition (CREC) identifies that the property has been impacted by contamination which has been investigated and remediated; however, contamination remains and would require additional work if redeveloped.  A historical recognized environmental condition (HREC) identifies a release impacted the subject property which has been investigated and remediated meeting unrestricted use criteria.

Qualified Opportunity Zones in Kansas City

Did you know that 52 million Americans (1 in 6) live in economically distressed communities? This is a major problem that Congress recently took a step to fix. Thus, Opportunity Zones were created in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Opportunity Zones are an innovative, flexible, and bipartisan solution for catalyzing private sector-led economic growth. In addition, they aim to connect low-income communities with much-needed capital.

In exchange, investors get a graduated series of federal tax incentives tied to long-term holdings.

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Lastly, information provided by Ruben Alonso President of AltCap and Korb Maxwell with Polsinelli. 

UES Consulting and our team are experts in Phase I Environmental Site Assessments and Property Condition Assessments and can help your projects run smoothly and close on time. If you are looking for a company to join together with on your commercial real estate transactions of any type, look to our in-house engineers and environmental consultants.

 

End of the Year Swing is Here! We’re Ready…

You’re feeling it, because we are too. It’s the race to the finish line, the final cut of 2018 and, it’s HERE!

While you may not be ready for Christmas yet (*cough* 49 days), or the start of a new year (Hello 2019 in 56 days), the calendar says it’s time to finish those real estate deals. Close on the projects that need completion. And, if you’re like many of your colleagues, you may find yourself in need of an environmental assessment report (Phase I) or a property condition assessment (PCA).

The silver lining in the fast pace to the end of the year? UES is here… and, we’re ready for you. We have your environmental reporting and PCA needs covered. We specialize in quick turn-around times and like Santa’s elves, we work great under a strict deadline!

Don’t hesitate to take some of the pressure off by contacting us to help you close out 2018 strong!

 

UES joins CREW KC!

UES is proud to have our Chief Marketing Officer, Jamie Taylor, as a new member to CREW KC in 2018. Along with her member status, Jamie has also joined the program committee. She wants to lend her knowledge of conference/meeting planning and educational events to the local chapter. As an event sponsor, UES has been a long-time friend and supporter to the organization. We believe in the networking opportunities and educational offerings provided to the women working in commercial real estate are invaluable in promoting equality and advancement.

CREW KC is a non-profit organization of commercial real estate professionals affiliated nationally through membership in the CREW Network. Thus providing opportunities for networking, education, leadership development and civic/philanthropic involvement. CREW KC promotes the highest standards of ethics and integrity. They seek to positively influence the direction of Kansas City’s commercial real estate industry and community.

Finally, we look forward to a year of making new connections and growing in our support of CREW KC!

2018 CCIM Kansas City Sponsorship

Kansas City boasts an active, vibrant chapter of Certified Commercial Investment Members, (CCIM). This elite corps of CCIMs includes brokers, leasing professionals, investment counselors, asset managers, appraisers, corporate real estate executives, property managers, developers, institutional investors, commercial lenders, attorneys, bankers, and other allied professionals.

UES has spent nearly 30 years working with CCIMs across the country on a variety of transactions. Therefore, it is our honor to be trusted by these distinguished professionals to get the “job done right.” As well as in a timely manner when their transactions call for environmental report assessments and engineering consulting. We specialize in providing the top professionals with the highest level of service in environmental and engineering consulting.

With our years of partnership with CCIMs, UES is proud to sponsor our local CCIM Kansas City chapter as an annual sponsor for 2018. Our team will be joining the leaders in our community for conversations about important local developments and learning about new trends in the industry. Last but not least, having a little fun, right alongside our many clients and friends.

Insights into Energy Efficiency

Importance of Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency has never been more important as we look to conserve our valuable, depleting natural resources and continue to fuel a growing society. A survey completed in late 2010 highlighted in the Bloomberg Business week outlines concerns and usage as we all look forward and also work towards more efficiency in our lives, our construction and our growing sustainability.