A Millennial Guide To Phase I’s

Since graduating with a degree in Biological Engineering from LSU, I have assisted Environmental Professionals (EP’s) with over 200 projects that required Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs).  Over the last two years these projects have ranged from vacant lots, multi-family residential apartment complexes, drycleaners, gasoline stations, to industrial manufacturing plants. The goal of a Phase I ESA is to determine if there are conditions that are indicative of releases of petroleum or hazardous materials or chemicals at the site, now or in the past. These conditions are known as recognized environmental conditions (RECs).  Basically, a Phase I is conducted to identify RECs, at the subject property that may require investigation or cleanup, and could impair a property’s value or create liability.  Phase I ESAs include the following: Site inspection (interior and exterior features) A review of historical records of the property (including historical aerial photographs and topographic maps, fire insurance
Read More

We Get Projects Done! Better, Stronger, Faster…

Where I work, our Mission Statement is “We Get Projects Done”.  The implication is one of speed, in that the project gets finished in a timely matter.  For a long time we relied on gut feel for the speed of the project completion. We have now developed an equation to quantify the velocity (or time for completion) of a project. Estimating the project velocity can give the project team a fair estimate of the days it will take to complete the project based just on the project budget. There are many factors that can alter a project’s schedule, weather, regulatory demands, client changes, etc.  So this tool was not designed to be anything but a rough estimate of the potential time needed based solely on the budget. EQUATION: Project Velocity (days) = Budget (in dollars) +1737.3 / 173.65 For example, a $10,000 project would be expected to be completed in
Read More

Picking The Right Consultant For Your Phase I ESA

I have worked in the real estate driven Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) market in Texas for over 20 years. Yes I’ve written a lot of Phase I ESAs and reviewed even more, so I have a great deal of experience with real estate due diligence.  As a result, here are a few observations that may be helpful in the selection process. Phase I ESAs are a must for commercial real estate transactions requiring a lender and that are generally over some threshold value (e. g., $200,000 depending on the lender). ESAs are also a great idea even in cash deals especially those of significant value.  ESAs today are largely driven by price and to a lesser degree service and even lesser degree quality, which is much harder to assess.  For most banks, brokers, buyers, or sellers, the obvious difference between consultants is the price and secondly how fast
Read More

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments – Not all ESA’s Created Equal

In my 20+ years of environmental consulting, I’ve seen a wide range of environmental concerns identified (or more problematically not identified) in Phase I environmental site assessments (ESAs). A Phase I ESA is a research report of the history of a property that is used to determine if there are Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) associated with a Site.  A Phase I ESA is indispensable if you are interested in buying a commercial or industrial property.  Due to liability concerns and depending on the value of the loan, it is usually required by lenders when financing the deal. A question that should be asked by the procurer of a Phase I ESA (i.e., client) is “are all Phase I ESAs created equal”. In theory, they should since they all should be using the same ASTM standard; however, the determination of RECs at a Site is based on the judgment and expertise of the
Read More

DFW Real Estate Market improving

The real estate market must be improving as W&M has seen a large uptick in Phase I environmental site assessment requests recently. Phase I’s are a leading indicator that a property transaction is about to occur. Frank Clark, who manages a staff of environmental professionals noted the uptick saying last week was the busiest week of Phase I’s in two years.