Partner has a strong presence in Pasadena, California, and throughout the Los Angeles County region. The Partner Pasadena team specializes in Institutional-Level Property Condition Assessments (PCAs), Seismic Risk Assessments (SRAs) and Seismic Retrofit Design in support of commercial and multifamily real estate transactions both locally and nationwide for multiple national clients. The Pasadena team is led by Michael Arias and Marc Bourdages, who co-head the Investment Advisory Group, each with over 30 years of experience, and Jay Kumar, who leads the Structural Engineering Group, with over 10 years of experience.
4 Reasons Why Phase I Environmental Site Assessments are Different in California:
- Regional Water Quality Control Boards: In most states, the regulations are statewide rules with maybe some variations for cities and counties. In California, the State Water Board grants a lot of power and autonomy to the Regional Water Quality Control Boards. The regional water boards are organized generally by watershed and may split counties. Water boards may have very different regulations. For example, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board developed Environmental Screening Levels (ESLs) for soil and groundwater contamination, whereas the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board uses different screening levels including Soil Screening Levels, CHHSLs for soil-gas (see below) and Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for groundwater.
- CHHSLs: The California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the California Human Health Screening Levels (CHHSLs) in 2005. The CHHSLs provide the user with a chemical-specific look-up table for what levels of soil gas or indoor air concentrations represent a threat to human health. CHHSLs are not intended to be regulatory numbers but are often treated as such. CHHSLs are also famously conservative. You need an environmental consultant doing your Phase I ESA that knows how to interpret soil gas and indoor air data in relation to CHHSLs and this requires a lot of California experience.
- CUPAs: Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) have a lot of power in California. CUPAs are city or county agencies that have been more or less deputized to handle certain regulatory functions. An example of a CUPA is the City of Los Angeles Fire Department, which oversees releases from underground storage tanks (USTs), termed leaking USTs or LUSTs. To do proper regulatory due diligence during a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment your environmental professional must understand the California CUPAs.
- CEQA: The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is California’s equivalent of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment sometimes has to deal with CEQA/NEPA issues like wetlands, endangered species and/or historical resources as additional scope items.
Southern California Experience
Some recent projects and experience that provide insight into our robust Southern California consulting practice include:
Property Condition Assessment; Residential Tower, Los Angeles, CA
Partner performed a Property Condition Assessment on a 25-story luxury residential tower in downtown Los Angeles just blocks away from LA Live. Partner was retained by an institutional client who purchased the recently-completed tower and an adjacent land asset for future development. The Partner team consisted of roof, façade and elevator specialists. Partner’s sister company, Partner Energy, performed the assessment of the mechanical systems and an energy audit. Partner also assisted with closing-out open building and fire department permit items in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy.