A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is only useful if it addresses all current and relevant issues impacting risk associated with real estate transactions. That’s why the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) is updating the industry’s Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments to reflect recent changes in the due diligence world. The 2013 version of the Phase I ESA standard, ASTM E1527-13, is undergoing some final tweaks and, pending approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is expected to be passed this summer.
While ASTM E1527-13 is predicted to differ only on a few key points from its 2005 predecessor (which at the time was revised mainly to meet the EPA’s new requirements for All Appropriate Inquiry [AAI] for environmental due diligence), these proposed changes could have an important impact on the way Phase I ESAs are conducted and written. There is some concern that, under certain circumstances, the proposed changes may increase costs for the user and add to report delivery times – a fear that’s not unsubstantiated.
So what are the key new procedures and terminology to look out for?