1) What are the Qualifications of the Environmental Professional?
Consulting amounts to advice. Taking advice from unqualified professionals is foolish. Plus, the EPA’s AAI Standard and the ASTM 1527-2005 Standard require that Phase One Environmental Site Assessments are performed by an Environmental Professional. Look for registrations: professional engineers (PE), registered geologists (RG), and registered environmental assessors (REA).
2) Do you have Insurance?
A consulting firm should carry a minimum of $1 million dollars Errors and Omissions Insurance (a.k.a Professional Liability Insurance). This covers the consultant if they are found to have been negligent in performing the Phase One Environmental Site Assessment.
3) Is the consultant approved by lenders?
Most borrowers use Phase One Environmental Site Assessments for their own purposes, but also use the report to give to their lender and ultimately secure a loan. A report from a consultant that has a good reputation with lenders will be accepted. Firms without the lender relations may not be accepted and then you will have to pay for a second report. Ask to see their approved lender list.
4) Do they understand your needs?
Phase One Environmental Site Assessments are not one size fits all. The consultants should ask you questions about why you are ordering the report. Are you planning on developing the property? Are you planning on getting a loan? Who is the lender? Will the loan be a in support of a purchase or simply a refinance? The answers to these questions help consultants customize the products.
5) Do I need a Phase I or can I get by with a less expensive product such as an Environmental Transaction Screen?
A Phase One Environmental Site Assessment can costs between $3,000 and $2,200 depending on the size and location of the property. Depending on your property type and business need you may be able to get by with an Environmental Transaction Screen which is typically half the price.