To answer the question of which is better, the Environmental Desktop Report (EDR) or the Record Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA) you must first know what each is.
Environmental Desktop Report (EDR)
This is a light form of environmental due diligence done by an environmental consultant to determine quickly what kind environmental risk is associated with a commercial property. The key advantages these reports have is speed and price. At most, these reports are returned back to you in 48 hours. Often, they are back in your hands the same day. They show a ¼ mile radius map with the proximity of environmental risks to the property you want to purchase. An environmental professional like us will determine if you should be concerned about the type or proximity in a cover letter to the environmental database.
These cover letters are short but will give you good visibility to help you start to make a decision on what, if anything, to do next. It’s important to know, Environmental Desktop Reports are high level data, meaning it is possible to miss certain things that might come to light in a full environmental database search. They are also not regulated by the American Society of Testing & Materials (ASTM). The ASTM is the governing body of exactly how to create environmental reports. This doesn’t mean the data is bad, it just means you need to be careful. These are the risks that need to be weighed when deciding what to purchase.
Record Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA)
These environmental reports, while still not a full Phase 1 ESA are still recognized by the ASTM, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and many banks in the United States. The RSRA is great tool for lowering your closing costs to refinance or borrow to purchase commercial real estate. A RSRA includes a EDR Database search but one that is more in-depth. It searches out to ½ a mile and the results are more robust. Both the RSRA and EDR are considered “Desktop Risk Assessments” because the Environmental Professional (EP) doesn’t actually go onsite to do an inspection. Neither of the desktop environmental reports will give you the limitation to environmental liability like a full Phase 1 ESA will.
So which is better; the EDR or the RSRA?
The answer is; both have their place.
We have found that consumers make price conscious decisions which have tradeoffs. Getting an environmental screen is better than not getting one at all. Getting a RSRA is better than an environmental screen. But between the two desktop risk assessments, the cost for the EDR search is $150 and the cost for the RSRA is $650. Some people would weigh the costs against the risks they were taking, even using the price of the property as a guide. $650 isn’t too much to spend when you might be buying a $1 Million property. But then again, why not just get the full Phase 1 ESA at a certain point?
What you should do is call your environmental professional and ask their opinion. Together you’ll make an informed decision and get the right product at the right price-point for your budget and risk tolerance.
If you need a Desktop Environmental Report, research or testing done on your property or one you are interested in purchasing, give A3 Environmental Consultants a call. Our Assessments meet the requirements of all commercial lenders and government agencies such as the SBA, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A3 Environmental Consultants can be reached at (888) 405-1742 or by email at Info@A3E.com.