Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment

A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment is a fundamental part of the real estate due diligence process and provides critical information about environmental liabilities associated with a property being purchased.

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What is 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 which 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 involved hazardous materials.

Lenders require a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment for all properties that are greater than 4 units. 100% of the time, lenders will require a Phase 1 ESA for commercial properties. For multifamily properties – it can go either way. A Phase 1 ESA interviews with past and present building occupants, and with owners of neighboring properties are also conducted to validate past uses. A Phase 1 ESA does not involve any testing of things like paint, soil, or moisture, though a visual inspection may indicate the presence of hazardous materials.

Our Environmental Firm offers complete, thorough and expedited Phase 1 ESA and consulting that is uniquely tailored to real estate developers. Our Phase 1 ESA’s are performed by certified environmental professionals (EP) who are predominantly looking for indications of hazardous materials or other signs of conditions which would impact the health and safety of the area due to contaminants or hazardous conditions.Our goal is to provide you with a simple process that keeps you involved & informed throughout the process. When looking at Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment companies, you won’t find a simpler choice than Essel Environmental.

Speak with one of our friendly client representatives today to discuss your needs and how we can quickly and efficiently meet them. Call us at 1 (800) 595-7616 or use our quick and easy to fill out contact form. We are here to serve you!

Visit our blog to learn about an ESA Phase 1 Report!


Quick Service

We complete Phase 1 ESAs faster than other environmental firms without sacrificing quality performance.


Personal Attention

While other Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment companies may outsource their services to the lowest bidder, we only use in-house engineers so you always receive experienced & reliable professionals.


Fast and Thorough

We have perfected the process to allow us to be fast without sacrificing quality & consistency. We make sure your lender accepts our Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment.

How Long Does a Phase 1 ESA take?

A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment takes anywhere from 2 – 3 weeks. Essel Environmental will give you the verbal within 1 week to let you know whether it’s a “green light” or “red light.” Then, if you want to proceed – we will complete the report.

How Much Does a Phase 1 ESA Cost?

A Phase 1 ESA costs anywhere between $1,800 to $4,600. The cost is dependent upon property location, and the complex history of the site and its uses.

A Phase 1 environmental site assessment can confirm suspicions about whether or not a property has potential environmental risks, but it is really only one layer of a complete assessment process. It does not include collection or evaluation of soil samples, water, lithological analysis, radon testing, or another lab analysis. The Phase 1 Site assessment can determine whether a Phase 2 ESA needs to be conducted, or it can confirm that a site is indeed “clean” so that the sale of the land may proceed.

For additional inquiries, contact our team directly at 1 (800) 595-7616 – or read our blog article on Phase 1 ESA investigations.

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What Does a Phase 1 ESA Involve?

  1. Site inspection: Visual assessment of the property and nearby properties. This includes personal inspection upon visiting the site as well as photographic documentation of the property and surrounding areas. Telltale signs of environmental impact include evidence that a site may have been used as a gas station, industrial complex, garbage dump, or any number of other indicators.
  2. Record reviews: The investigator will pull and review local records of how the property was used in the past. Current owners and neighbors might not have a comprehensive history of how the property was used, so public records can provide a lot of insight on a property going back several generations. These documents include:
    • Building and use permits
    • Historical photographs
    • Planning records
    • Maps
  3. Interviews: In speaking with previous owners, workers, neighbors, and other people who might have a deeper knowledge of the overall history of the property and how it was used, we can construct a better picture of how to proceed next. Interviewing people with first-hand experience is often a very reliable way of determining how a property was used, which might not appear on the ledger or records of a City Hall. The inspector will interview the following individuals:
    • Tenants
    • Owners
    • Workers
    • State and local authorities and regulators
    • Neighbors

Why is a Phase 1 ESA Beneficial?

As part of the lending process, banks require that a property undergo a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment so that due diligence is performed prior to any money exchanging hands for a real estate transaction. As a buyer, you are getting the peace of mind that your property has been investigated and environmental hazards have been ruled out.

Otherwise, once the property is sold, you may be liable for cleanup, remediation, or other factors that contribute to the health and safety of those using the property. This can cause financial losses due to litigation, injury, construction, or even be determined to be a serious risk for your lender. Avoiding the hassle of these factors will allow you to continue with your property investment without the shadow of uncertainty hanging over your head.


Contact Essel Environmental for Your Phase 1 & 2 ESA Needs

When you are beginning the process of buying, building, selling, or any other part of the process of acquiring land, you need a team of professional civil engineers who take pride in their work. With years of experience and a working knowledge of the San Francisco area, as well as the rest of the United States, our aim is to make the process as beneficial to our clients as possible, providing for them as much information as we can collect in the spirit of full disclosure. Contact us to see what Essel Environmental Engineering and Consulting can do for you!

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