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Providing Quality, In-depth Assessments

The environmental site assessment (ESA) has become a pivotal element in today’s complex real estate transactions. In particular, the purchase or sale of industrial and commercial properties is a complex process due in large part to existing environmental regulations and ongoing changes to state cleanup standards and remedial programs.

Shield has found that providing high-quality, in-depth surveys promotes client confidence that the due diligence requirements will be met. As a result of this commitment, Shield has developed a strong list of repeat clientele and has performed assessments in 28 foreign countries and in 43 of the 50 United States.

Shield offers a wide range of due diligence services that provide buyers, sellers, developers, insurers, and lenders with the information necessary to effectively evaluate environmental risks associated with industrial property transactions.

A typical environmental due diligence assessment includes the following steps:

  • Visual Assessment of Site Conditions – Typically, a limited number of on-site personnel will have knowledge of an impending transaction. As such, Shield employees are trained to operate in a “below the radar” status as to the actual reason for the assessment.

  • Development of Historical Property Uses – Current and historical site maps, production layouts and chemical or waste storage areas are critical in evaluating potential environmental risks. In addition, the age of the structures, former occupants, and major infrastructure changes are reviewed as part of this task. Finally, reviews of current or former sumps, underground/aboveground tanks, supply piping, and the type of materials utilized or stored on site is conducted.

  • File Reviews – A detailed file review is conducted including current and historical waste manifests; wastewater, stormwater, and air permits along with required submittals; notices of violations; internal and external audit reports and memos; spill incident reports; and other pertinent documents. In addition, local and state regulatory files are reviewed and compared to on-site documents.

  • Operational Audit of Production and Material Handling Activities – All areas identified as “at risk” due to wet process, waste treatment, or chemical storage are audited. During this task, Shield’s audit team inspects housekeeping practices; reviews general facility conditions; evaluates the condition of all interior drains and sumps; reviews the hazardous waste labeling, storage and disposal practices; inspects exterior storm drainage basins and outfalls; and observes conditions on neighboring property. In addition, OSHA compliance, general liability insurance, and fire insurance coverages may be reviewed.

  • Conclusions – Results from all of the tasks are evaluated and compiled in a formal report, which includes recommendations, if necessary, and costs to be expected for future investigative tasks.

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