Record Search - RSRA

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Record Search with Risk Assessment
 (RSRA) only $450.

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Read:  Everything you could ever want to know about an RSRA


The Logic:

A Record Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA) report is a faster, less expensive form of environmental due diligence which was developed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for lending money on commercial properties. In conjunction with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) they developed ASTM E1528-14 defining the scope of a RSRA. Lenders wanted to lower the substantial transaction costs they felt were a barrier to lending. The SBA recognized that there are different levels of risk regarding commercial properties depending on the historic use. For example; a building that was used for retail, built in the last ten years on a plot of land that was formerly a cornfield. In this case, it doesn’t seem to make sense to spend several thousand dollars to have a full Phase I ESA when something far less expensive like a RSRA will do.

The Risks:


Banks are in the risk business. They want to lend money and they know that their money is “at risk” until the last payment is made on the loan. Their fundamental concern is; “What are the risks that I’m taking and are they worth the interest I’ll make by closing a loan.” Thinking about the environmental due diligence process that banks go through, it's clear that they aren’t trying to protect the borrower. They are trying to protect the value of the collateral. In the case of commercial real estate lending, the collateral is the property they are lending on. They need to make sure the property is;

  1. worth more than the loan (Appraisal)
  2. the mechanicals all work and there aren't hidden deferred maintenance issues (Property Condition Assessment (PCA)
  3. there isn’t an environmental problem in the soil or water (RSRA or Phase I)

Banks are sophisticated and are prepared, at times, to take on more risk in different ways. They may feel comfortable enough with the size of the loan, the value of the collateral or the historic uses of the property that they don’t need a full Phase I ESA. Under the right circumstances, having a smaller, faster and less expensive form of environmental due diligence is the right call.


The Advantages:

  • Low Cost - $450
  • Fast – Five days or less.


The Limitations:

A RSRA has the benefits of price and speed over the Phase I ESA. However, with those benefits come limitations. A Phase I ESA offers a limitation of liability from previous owners contamination. A RSRA does not. This distinction is important because the RSRA is also less thorough than a Phase I ESA. The lender or buyer is taking more risk based on a lower level of scrutiny. Even the environmental professional’s responsibility is diminished to only what is knowable based on the information in the databases.


The Eligibility Requirements:

Which properties are good candidates for RSRAs depends on the historic use. The Small Business Administration (SBA) maintains a list of North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes in what are called “Environmentally Sensitive Industries”. The list can be downloaded by clicking here. Generally speaking, the NAICS codes reference business types that use chemicals, petroleum or heavy metals. Most automotive uses are on the list. Your bank will know if a property is RSRA eligible before commissioning a RSRA because the borrower will have completed an environmental questionnaire.


RSRA Questionnaire:

The environmental questionnaire helps the bank to determine if they are eligible to use the less expensive RSRA. Typically, the questionnaire is delivered by the bank but if they don't have one of their own they can use one created by the environmental professional. Ours is attached here for your review.


RSRA Flowchart:

The process flow for a RSRA is a bit complicated. We created a graphic to explain visually how the process works. You can find that graphic by scrolling down.


In-Scope Items:

  • Federal, State, County and Municipal environmental database review by a trained environmental professional.
  • City Directory (Yellow Pages) search of the historical uses of the property.
  • Historic Aerials review.
  • Fire Insurance Maps. * (at the discretion of environmental scientist)
  • A written report identifying the property as “Low” or “High” risk.


Out-of-Scope Items:

  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of fire department and city building department / code enforcement.
  • Interviews with Owners / Occupants / Government Officials.
  • Onsite survey by an environmental professional.


Turnaround Time:

You can expect to have a RSRA done inside 5 days. If you are a volume customer or if you need a “Rush” RSRA, they can be done in forty-eight hours.


RSRA Cost:

A RSRA typically costs $450. Volume clients can receive discounts.


RSRA Report Example:

We understand that we’ve talked a lot about the RSRA program. The question you probably have now is; “Can I please see what they look like?” Yes, you can click here and download a sample report. Notice that the document, not including the database reports, is only a few pages. The most important part is the sentence that describes the property as “Low” or “High” risk. If it comes back as low risk, you are good to borrow or lend. Should it comes back as high risk, you’ll need a Phase I ESA to put any lingering concerns to rest. However, if the scientist determines your property is high risk, we deduct $300 from the cost of a Phase I ESA because we will already have the database records needed for the next step.


RSRA Report Template:

We are super nice here at A3 Environmental Consulting and we’d like to provide a template of our RSRA report for other consultants to download and use as a productivity tool. However, we’d like to know who you are and see if we might be able to work together on projects in the future. To get our template, all you need to do is call us and we’ll send it to you as a word document. Call us at (888) 405.1742. Ask for Tim.


RSRA: Less Expensive Alternatives:

Sometimes you want just a 30,000 foot view of the environmental risk for a property. We have options. For $59 you can get an environmental screen. For an extra $40 you can have a professional review it and give you their opinion. You'll receive an email telling you if there’s anything to worry about. Sometimes that’s all you need. You can find out all about them by clicking here.


A3E is There Where You Need Us

Tell us about your project. Call 888-405-1742


Download a Sample Report

Record Search With Risk Assessment (RSRA)


Not sure you need an RSRA?


Here are some alternatives:


Environmental Screen with Professional Interpretation
Phase 1 Environmental
Site Assessment 



Don’t take our word for it, see what our clients say at Google Reviews.
Daniela Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald Architecture

The A3E team did a great job on our Phase I report. They were quick , thorough and professional. They were able to give me all of the information that I needed. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them!


Ross DePaul
Earthworks Stone
I thoroughly enjoyed working with A3E on our Phase I studies. We were running up against some deadlines, and they jumped through hoops to get everything completed on time. Very thorough and professional. I highly recommend them. Thanks guys!

Lisa Pudewell

A3E provided exceptional customer service! I was provided a quote within minutes & they were able to schedule inspections within the same week. I would highly recommend their team for any Environmental services.

Kay Pentzien

Andy and the A3Environmental Team completed both a Phase I and a Phase II for our property and Patrick and I couldn't be more pleased with the work they did! Both Phases were completed in a timely manner and with a high degree of professionalism. Andy took the time while working on the site to explain all the steps that were being taken and sent us a very thorough and comprehensive report detailing their test results. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND the A3E Team for a job well done!

Linda Gallaher

I was in a time crunch to get this job done and was not in my home area. Looked up the great reviews on A3E and was not disappointed! Tim and Alisa did a fantastic job, quick, courteous, economical, professional, great communication, all I could ask for and more. Thank you Tim !!!

Michael Ouvrard

Tim was instrumental in my company completing a commercial real estate deal in an extremely short time-frame. I had him on standby, and when I told him I was ready, he completed all the work in a very timely and professional manner for a reasonable price. I will definitely be utilizing his services again on future commercial deals.


Buy Assets, Not Liabilities.


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Call us at (888) 405-1742.