A Phase I Environmental Assessment, often referred to as a Phase I ESA, is a component of a commercial real estate transaction. A Phase I ESA’s purpose is to investigate a property’s present and previous usage to identify whether past operations affected the soil or groundwater on the property.
The evaluation will help identify potential hazards to the environment or people’s health. It can be performed on different properties such as manufacturing sites, commercial structures, agriculture-related properties, industrial sites, and vacant spaces.
There are generally four phases in a Phase I ESA: records review, site inspection, interview, and reporting. Records review involves researching the property’s government environmental records and historical use. Site inspection conducted by a commercial building inspector NJ aims to evaluate the site’s present condition and operations. The commercial building inspection seeks to determine any potential environmental concerns through a tour of the location and documentation of the observed site conditions.
The commercial building inspection NJ also involves an interview where an environmental professional will inquire with different parties like the owners, personnel, operators, previous occupants, local government officials, or individuals with site knowledge. The goal is to understand the property’s condition better.
After data gathering, the environmental professional will outline their observations, summarizing the findings and data gaps. The report can include additional research on any recognized environmental conditions or RECs on the commercial property. RECs denote the possibility of contamination or the presence of known pollution from the property or an offsite source.
A Phase I ESA is significant to the sale process of a commercial property. Buyers, lessors, and even lenders can be held accountable for owning, operating, or financing facilities with environmental contamination. Conducting the assessment helps protect the buyers from liability and any potential legal problems.
For more details about the Phase I Environmental Assessment process in New Jersey, check this infographic from Lockatong Engineering.