The selection of a vendor for the completion of Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESAs) in North Carolina should be based on the qualifications of the firm. Over the last seven years, I have been personally involved in the completion or review of upwards of 1,000 Phase I ESAs in North Carolina. A lender once jokingly accused me of memorizing the location of every drycleaner in the state.
During my years completing reviews at major lending institutions, I saw the complete spectrum of report quality. A quality report is defined not only by meeting ASTM Standard Practice E1527-05 and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) (40 CFR Part 312), but also by providing reasonable findings and conclusions that are supported with documentation provided in the report. A poor quality report often lacks detailed information and includes illogical conclusions. Often, this will delay the transaction that prompted the completion of the report.
Recently, I reviewed a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment completed as pre-foreclosure due diligence. The report identified the presence of a chicken broiler onsite from 1960-1965. While there was no substantiating evidence, the consultant indicated that a UST may have been associated with the chicken broiler operations. Consequently, at the request of a purchaser, the lending institution could end up chasing a non-existent UST.
It has been my experience that quality and price do not always go hand in hand. It can be very troubling to inform a client that they overpaid for a report that does not meet industry standards. On the other hand, if the price is substantially below market rates, the quality is likely to be substantially below industry standard as well. When ordering a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment in North Carolina, careful consideration should be given the credentials of the firm and their experience with similar property types. Partner Engineering and Science has been involved in more than 5,000 environmental site assessments in North Carolina covering a wide range of property types.