Generalized Environmental Property vs Site Specific Asset Assessment, Which is Right for You?
When it comes time to expand or sell off unwanted assets, you will be faced with the need for an environmental asset assessment. While generalized assessments are available to you and may seem like a more time and cost efficient method, specialized assessments have merit and should be considered.
What Are Generalized Assessments?
When selling or purchasing land, the site needs to be assessed to make sure there is no contamination or other unwanted features to the asset that could affect the safety and effectiveness of the property. Generalized assessments give you an overview of the entire property, without specific focus.
Generalized assessments look at historical data, such as title history, aerial photographs of the property, and any other previous data that is readily available. From there, the assessment performs sampling of groundwater, soil, and vapors. This is often performed by intrusive drilling to access deeper layers. The historical research and invasive sampling results are then provided for review.
What Are the Drawbacks to Generalized Assessments?
Just as every project you perform is unique, each asset is unique. While generalized assessments are quick and usually flat rates, they do not examine your specific needs. Instead, they are a one-size-fits-all examination. Depending on how you intend to use a property or asset, the generalized assessment may not provide the detailed data you need to proceed.
For example, a location you intend to use for storage has different safety requirements than one used for an office building. Or if you only intend to use a small section of the property, they may not give you the specific data needed to make an informed decision on the acceptability of a potential asset.
Why Choose a Specific Assessment?
Although site specific assessments can be more costly upfront, they will provide you all of the necessary data for you intended use of an asset. Knowing ahead of time if a property is safe and effective for your intended use helps avoid unexpected delays and spending extra money to bring a site up to code.
Site specific assessments also streamline the data you receive. This helps you approach a new asset in a more straight-forward manner. Not having to wade through piles of data that are irrelevant to you and your business allows you to begin working with the new property sooner.
Another benefit to a site specific assessment is preparedness where the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has set standards that must be met for all businesses. While a generalized assessment will give you generalized answers to the question of acceptability of a potential asset, a site specific assessment will ensure you are meeting the EPA’s requirements. Knowing ahead of time what pitfalls a site might encounter helps you prepare both financially and time wise.
Which to Choose?
In the end, there are benefits to both a generalized or site specific assessment. Generalized assessments will get you moving quicker and at a lower upfront cost. They give you an overview of the entire property allowing you to use this overview to make quicker decisions. Although a site specific assessment may require a bit more time and upfront cost, you are able to head off potential delays and money pits later on.
Whichever you choose, choosing an assessor who is familiar with your business and intended use of the property will ensure that the results of the assessment are tailored to your specific needs. He or she should be familiar with the regulations the EPA will place on you and the safety and effectiveness desired for your intended use.