An environmental site assessment (ESA) is a critical step in the process of buying a commercial property. It involves identifying, reviewing, and analyzing any potential environmental concerns or risks associated with the property. By conducting an ESA, you can make informed decisions about whether to purchase the property and, if so, what actions may be necessary to address any environmental issues. Here are the five steps to conducting an ESA before buying a commercial property:
Identify potential environmental concerns:
The first step in conducting an ESA is to identify any potential sources of contamination on the property. This includes things like underground storage tanks, hazardous materials, or previous industrial uses. It is also important to consider any environmental regulations that may apply to the property, such as the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act. To identify potential environmental concerns, you may need to review historical documents or consult with experts who have knowledge about the property and its past uses.
Review historical documents:
Once you have identified any potential environmental concerns, the next step is to review any records or documents related to the property. This includes deeds, site plans, and building permits, as well as any environmental reports or studies that have been conducted on the property. These documents can provide valuable information about the property’s past uses and any environmental issues that may have been identified. You should also use FOIA’s (Freedom Of Information Act) requests of the local government and databases provided by a 3rd party data vendor like ERIS Info.
Conduct a site inspection:
After reviewing historical documents, the next step is to physically visit the property and conduct a thorough inspection of the site. This may involve examining the soil, air, and water on the property, as well as any structures or equipment that may have environmental impacts. It is important to conduct a thorough site inspection to ensure that you have a complete understanding of the property and any potential environmental concerns.
Analyze the data:
Once the site inspection is complete, the data collected should be analyzed to determine the potential environmental risks associated with the property. This may involve testing soil or water samples, or evaluating the potential for air pollution. It is important to carefully analyze the data to ensure that you have a clear understanding of any environmental issues that may exist on the property.
Prepare a report:
Based on the data collected and analyzed, a report should be prepared outlining the findings of the environmental site assessment. The report should include a detailed analysis of any environmental risks or concerns, as well as recommendations for addressing any issues that are identified. It is important to carefully review the report and consider any potential impacts on the value or use of the property before making a final decision about whether to purchase it.
It is important to note that an environmental site assessment is just one step in the process of buying a commercial property. It is also important to consult with legal and financial professionals to ensure that you are making a sound investment. In addition, it is important to be aware that environmental regulations and requirements can vary significantly from one location to another. It is essential to consult with experts who are familiar with the specific regulations and requirements that apply to the property you are considering purchasing.
By following these five steps, you can conduct a thorough environmental site assessment and make informed decisions about whether to purchase a commercial property. It is a critical step in the process of buying a commercial property and can help you avoid potential environmental liabilities or risks.