Phase I ESA

Sierra Piedmont has completed thousands of Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), which are assessments of properties ranging from raw timber land to developed structures, supported by historical data. Sierra follows the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard, modified to meet the “All Appropriate Inquiry” criteria, unless a client has other specific needs. In many cases, we have assisted our clients in the preparation of their corporate-wide ESA form based on their unique facility conditions and corporate risk profile.

Another component of ESAs are Property Condition Assessments (PCAs). A lender often asks for a PCA to be completed during the purchase or refinance of commercial property. The purpose of a PCA is to evaluate and provide information regarding the primary systems of a structure that is being considered for purchase. Typically the roof, HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems are evaluated.

Project Example

Timber Production Company Assessment

When a property transaction occurs involving timber forest, it’s typical that the property will have limited access and be located in rural areas. Sierra Piedmont had the opportunity to conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) on multiple timber tracts located in rural South Carolina.

White Paper

Innocent Landowner Defense

Environmental due diligence can reveal possible hazards on a property and is typically done during a sales transaction. This due diligence can exempt you from cleanup liability for environmental contamination present on the property.

Phase II ESA

After Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) are identified, a Phase II ESA may be necessary to have a better understanding of potential contamination of the property. This type of study moves the project investigation from a visual, non-intrusive study to one including physical sample collection, laboratory analyses and evaluation with local, state and federal regulations.

After evaluating laboratory samples against local, state and federal requirements, there is one of three resulting outcomes:

  1. Samples exhibit no chemicals of concern
  2. Samples exhibit elevated concentrations of chemicals of concern but are below a reporting or action level
  3. The chemicals of concern are above a reporting or action level.

Regardless of the result generated, Sierra can collect, interpret and present you with the data in a clear and understandable way to ensure an informed decision is made.

Project Example

Auto Service Center Arsenic Investigation

Knowing when a soil or groundwater investigation is routine or complex can be akin to fixing a toothache. It’s not so much how it’s fixed as figuring out what’s wrong so the tooth can be fixed. Efficient closures of environmentally impacted sites are not much different. Sometimes we don’t recognize that problem-solving starts with an analysis and clear understanding of the problem to determine if we’re looking at a typical inquiry or one that requires its own unique path to resolution.

Project Example

Dry Cleaner Subsurface Remediation

A commercial property developer was interested in the sale of a strip shopping center that included an on-site dry cleaning operation. As part of the necessary due diligence related to a sale of the property, Phase I & II Site Assessments were conducted by the buyer’s environmental consultant. During the assessment, regulated hazardous compounds from dry cleaning fluid were found in soil beneath the dry cleaner that exceeded regulatory levels. These findings were set to land the site on the Hazardous Sites List (HSL) unless something was done promptly.

Property Acquisition Package

Sierra’s property packages are ideal for any REIT, land developer or F-1000 company with significant real estate holdings. Our packages bundle services to save you the time and cost of retaining many vendors. The package is ideal for conducting multiple transactions nationwide requiring rapid turn-around times.

Some options include:

  • ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment: the most comprehensive, non-intrusive site study possible. A Phase I qualifies you for the Innocent Landowner Defense. It is the industry standard for lending institutions.
  • Environmental Chain of Title Research places special emphasis on liens and deed restrictions. It reveals environmental issues and their relationship to your property.
  • InterNACHI’s Property Condition Assessment: uses International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial Properties.
  • Americans with Disability Act Assessment
  • Zoning Report
  • Land Survey
  • Boundary survey

ASTM Transaction Screen is an option better suited for transactions with very low environmental risk. This screening does not qualify for Innocent Landowner Defense. It is only acceptable in some cases by SBA lending guidelines.

Desk Survey Checklist is also better suited for transactions that have very low environmental risk. It does not qualify for Innocent Landowner Defense either. It is best for internal or closely held property transactions.