phase-1-audit-safe-propertySurely anyone would want to know if the property they were about to purchase – perhaps for millions of dollars – is contaminated in some way. A Phase 1 environmental audit can tell you if it is, and to what extent.

As a potential buyer, you want to know if problems can be corrected relatively inexpensively and quickly, or if they will require extensive site investigation and in-depth study by engineers, geologists and hydrogeologists before an appropriate remediation plan can even be developed.

Cleaning up contamination can take years, and you could remain under governmental scrutiny even after that.

Now the value of a Phase 1 environmental audit comes into focus.

It’s an up-front study to help you determine if your prospective property is safe, relative to any existing or potential problems resulting from the presence of hazardous substances. The audit process isn’t costly, and it takes just a couple of weeks – not much to pay for assurance that can protect you well down the road.

Contamination isn’t something you can readily see. Your audit team will search for problems that have already been identified but not corrected as well as previously-undiscovered problems. If found, contamination could range from minimal to massive. It could be simple to clean up or tremendously costly and time-consuming.

It’s easy to understand why you should hire professional environmental engineers to do conduct your Phase 1 audit. They’ll perform a visual inspection of the land and surrounding property. And they’ll inspect any buildings, indoors and out, especially heating and plumbing systems, sewers and drains, cesspools and building materials looking for chemical-related problems as well as potential signs of asbestos, lead paint, water or mold damage.

Your team will research past history of ownership and usage, looking for indications of hazardous substance storage or handling. In particular, certain past uses could have resulted in lingering contamination.

Your team will review public records and other documents and interview owners and tenants. They may perform some limited scope geological or hydrogeological surveys to fully understand both surface and subsurface conditions.

It’s always smart to do everything you can to mitigate risk, especially if you’re about to make a major investment. A Phase 1 environmental audit puts you in the know before you buy to be sure the property is safe from contamination and that you’ll be safe from liability is previously-existing contamination is ever discovered in the future.

Photo Credit: Paragon Apartments