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Commercial real estate environmental assessment?

Tom Raymond

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Anybody do these? How complicated are they? What's the standard? Can I be up to speed in a week, or should I push this off to someone with experience? Any takers for southern Erie County, NY?

The standard for a Phase I ESA is ASTM E1527-05. The "site visit" is the easiest and quickest part of assessment. There's no sampling or testing involved with a Phase I ESA.

The required interviews and document research is overwhelming, unless you have a "department" in your firm that does nothing else. You should also have a staff or have consultants including a professional engineer, geologist, environmental scientist and folks with experience and education in chemistry, microbiology and atmospheric physics. You'll also need someone who has training and experience needed to recognize threatened/endangered species of plants and animals.

We do the most commercial/light industrial building inspections in our region. We refer 2 environmental firms for ESAs. These firms also refer their clients to us for the building inspections. One firm occasionally subcontracts us to do building inspections and assist their site assessment team.

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Thanks. I found the Standard but only the scope is available online, the full document has to be purchased. A level I ESA seems well within the capability of a home inspector, but I can see how it could quickly get far too big to handle.

I have done one Level 1 site visit. The firm that contracted me did all the document research etc., and I had a list of questions for the interview(s). Pretty straightforward photo-documentation for the most part. I have a pretty extensive manufacturing background, so the nomenclature and environmental features were familiar to me. Pretty profitable, and I would welcome the opportunity to do more.


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