July 16, 2020

Why you should avoid a cheap Phase I ESA

Let’s set the scene: you bank tells you that you need to conduct a Phase I ESA on your property. You shop around, request a few quotes from environmental companies, and are set on choosing the firm that provides you with the least expensive price. After all, isn’t every Phase I ESA the same? The answer is no. Just like anything, you get what you pay for when it comes to Phase I ESAs. As an environmental consulting firm, here’s why you should avoid a cheap Phase I ESA:

As we talked about in our “What is a Phase I ESA” blog post, a Phase I ESA is an investment to make in your property. Phase I ESAs, or any other visual or physical inspection of your property, allows you to further understand your property. Additionally, Phase I ESAs give you the opportunity to understand what liability you’re inheriting along with your property.

What makes some Phase I ESAs cheaper than others?

Now that we’ve established that investing in a Phase I ESA is the wise thing to do for any property owner, you might be wondering, “What’s the difference between a cheap Phase I ESA and a more expensive Phase I ESA?”

If you get a quote that is drastically lower than the others, there has to be a reason.

A few reasons might be:

The firm doesn’t follow ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standards 

ASTM has created a set of standards that Phase I ESA reports are based on. Although not a regulatory body, protocol expects that Phase I ESAs follow ASTM standards. If the report doesn’t follow the standard, it is invalid and useless. This prevents your lender from accepting your Phase I ESA report. Or, it could leave you vulnerable to future inherited liability on the property.

Your “environmental professional” might not be telling the truth about his or her credentials

Phase I ESAs are only recognized if they are conducted by an “environmental professional.” To see more about who is considered an environmental professional, check out our blog post called, “Who Can Conduct a Phase I ESA?”

The firm tacks unnecessary reports on to the end of your Phase I ESA

If your Phase I ESA is cheaper than average, ask yourself why. It’s not uncommon for a firm to take advantage of your trust in them and overcompensate for the low price charged. Usually, firms do this by recommending unnecessary services after the Phase I ESA is conducted. This way, you’re paying a lower price for the Phase I. However, you’ll ultimately end up paying much more than anticipated for no reason.

The company you hired will do the bare minimum… and only the bare minimum

A cheap Phase I ESA might only include the final Phase I ESA report, and absolutely nothing else. Throughout the course of your Phase I ESA, it’s often helpful to have updates on findings. Or, an explanation of how to take action on small projects. Some companies that provide cheap Phase I ESAs will refuse to provide any additional customer service.

At Essel, our advice would be to avoid a cheap Phase I ESA, and invest in the inspection up front. This way, firms won’t scam you into paying for unnecessary future services. Additionally, you’ll be in touch with reputable consultants and you’ll properly invest in your property.

If you have any questions about Phase I ESA pricing, be sure to reach out to us at 1-800-595-7616 or check out our site at www.esseltek.com.
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