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February 9, 2021

How Much Does a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Cost?

Realizing you need a Phase I environmental site assessment (Phase 1 ESA) can bring up some concerns. Sometimes, a Phase 1 ESA is a requirement for sale, while sometimes you need it in order to protect your investments as an owner or your liability as a developer. You realize it’s a necessity—but you may be apprehensive about the cost.

We get it. No one wants to spend more than is necessary on a project that’s already generating unexpected costs left and right. 

The cost of a Phase 1 environmental site assessment is a concern to many, but the cost of not getting one may be much, much higher. In this article, we’ll help you gain peace of mind by walking you through what a Phase 1 ESA might cost and the factors that could impact the price tag. Let’s get right to it…

The Average Cost of a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment

A Phase 1 environmental site assessment (Phase 1 ESA) is an investigation of a property’s current and historical use. The process views and investigates a property in regards to former use in order to determine if there is a potential for hazardous environmental conditions that might be present on the property. 

Typically, a Phase 1 ESA involves an on-site inspection by an environmental firm with detailed photography to document conditions. It also reviews records for information about past ownership and uses, and determines if any of them were likely to involve hazardous materials.

Phase I environmental site assessment costs usually start at around $1400 but can go up to $4600 or above, depending on the size and complexity of the site assessment. Some firms are open to discounting the price if you need multiple reports, thus lowering the total cost of the Phase 1 ESA process. However, some factors can significantly increase the price.

How much should I expect to pay for a Phase 1 ESA? 

Unfortunately, there is no blanket cost for a Phase 1 ESA. Due to a variety of factors that could impact the time it takes to inspect the building and the complexity of the process, it’s tough to predict what exactly you can expect.

Some factors that may have an impact on the time needed for a Phase 1 ESA (and thereby the cost) include:

  • Property size: The larger the property, the more ground there is to cover during an assessment—literally. The time that it takes to walk around the property, any structures currently on the premises, and the number of locations within a site that need to be inspected should all be considered when estimating cost. But larger properties don’t always cost more to inspect. For example, a large undeveloped site in a rural area may still take less time to inspect and evaluate than a smaller property in the middle of a metropolitan area.
  • Location: Since drive time is calculated into the cost of the environmental assessment, properties that require significant time on the road in order to get to the site also factor into the overall cost.
  • History: A property with a long history of development and usage will have more records to sort through, thus taking up more time. Better quality records will also determine cost, since partial, missing, or damaged records will require more work to analyze.
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Will I Need a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment?

Another concern for property owners and developers is whether or not a Phase II environmental site assessment will be needed after a Phase I—adding significantly to the cost. Phase 2 ESAs are much more thorough and can turn up issues that require immediate mitigation in order to protect the property and reduce property owner/developer liability.

If a Phase 2 ESA is needed, you’ll have to be prepared for a wide range of costs and development/construction delays that could take weeks, months, or even years. That’s why it’s vital to act quickly on finding out whether this is a necessity by conducting a Phase I environmental site assessment.

An Investment in a Phase 1 ESA is an Investment in Your Property

A Phase 1 environmental site assessment might determine early on if a property was the site of activity that poses a threat to the health and safety of workers, neighbors, or the environment itself. The results of the assessment could help you avoid or reassure your decision in buying a piece of property considered as an investment.

A Phase I ESA can be just as important for developers and existing property owners as it is for those looking to purchase or invest. In the long run, a Phase 1 will save you money on potential litigation, remediation, and reclamation for land that is found to be an environmental concern. We recommend focusing less on the cost of a Phase 1 environmental site assessment as on the expertise of the team conducting yours.

Essel Environmental Has the Experience You Can Count On

Experience and expertise are two important factors for a fast and effective Phase 1 ESA. Contact Essel Environmental to get your Phase 1 environmental site assessment started and see why we are a leader in California and nationwide. Not only will hiring a competent and capable ESA professional reduce your time, and as a result save you money, but it will also improve the accuracy of the report and get you on the right path to completing your project.Got more questions about Phase 1 ESA pricing?

Give our experts a call at 1-800-595-7616 with any questions!