The environmental due diligence market is highly competitive. There are many consulting firms that have excellent reputations for providing high quality service and there are some that unfortunately do not. Firms that routinely go the extra mile for their clients may charge 10% – 20% more for a Phase I ESA than other low bid competitors; however, these firms will do everything in their power to minimize any future requirements, saving their clients time and money. Some consultants underbid for a Phase I ESA with intentions of making up the lost revenue by recommending additional due diligence that may not be necessary or by charging extra fees for work that should be part of the standard Phase I ESA process.
Below are two recent real-life examples that you can apply to your business:
A buyer contacted Solid Ground Environmental after a different environmental consultant had recommended a Phase II ESA (soil sampling test) at an estimated cost of $5,000 simply because the Phase I uncovered a farm pond that had been formerly located on-site. Any time fill material is brought onto a site, a good consultant will take the necessary steps to determine where the fill material came from before making a determination about whether additional investigations are recommended. In this case, no due diligence was conducted to determine where the fill material originated. The consultant simply recommended additional testing without fully investigating the matter. By contrast, Solid Ground Environmental offered to conduct additional research at the site’s City Hall and quickly determined that the ‘pond’ was only a few feet deep and simple on-site grading had been conducted to fill it in. As such, there was no cause for environmental concern. These few extra steps taken by SGE saved this buyer thousands of dollars and several weeks of valuable time!
Another client of ours was buying a building that was nearly 100 years old. During the site visit, Solid Ground Environmental identified brick flooring in the basement and piping entering the slab of the basement. Some consultants may stop there and immediately recommend a Phase II ESA simply due to the potential for an underground storage tank, but not Solid Ground Environmental. Instead, SGE scheduled a much longer, second site visit where we spent time removing manhole covers in the basement, contacting the city’s building department officials to request additional information, and even asking a contact of ours to join us onsite to conduct a ground penetrating radar survey of the basement slab. After all that work, it was determined that the site never included an underground tank and SGE was able to avoid recommending that the client incur cost for additional environmental investigations.
At Solid Ground Environmental we pride ourselves on going the extra mile for our clients to save them time and money and these are just a couple of examples of how we do this day in and day out. We encourage you not to let the temptation to save a few dollars up front on a Phase I ESA end up costing you thousands of dollars in unnecessary follow up environmental investigations down the road putting your real estate transaction in jeopardy.