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Assessing Environmental Risk, Four Years Later

Amid higher deal velocity and increasing regulatory scrutiny, Partner is reassessing environmental due diligence.

TORRANCE, CA—It’s a due diligence consideration that can jeopardize a sales transaction in several different ways, yet it doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves from all parties to the transaction. It’s the question of environmental risk, and beginning this week GlobeSt.com readers will have an opportunity to weigh in on their experiences via a survey from Thought Leader Partner Engineering & Science, Inc.

Beginning in 2008, Partner Engineering has surveyed GlobeSt.com readers on environmental risk considerations every four years. Since the last such survey was conducted in 2012, there have been new regulations addressing various aspects of environmental risk.

In 2013, for instance, the American Society for Testing Materials updated the industry’s Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments to reflect recent changes in the due diligence world. Last year, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration revised its Hazard Communication standard on materials in or at a property that could pose significant health, safety, environmental, and liability concerns.

However, more than the regime for environmental rule-making has changed in the past four years. Lenders are making commercial property loans in higher volume today, and at the same time are under regulatory pressures of their own. It stands to reason that along with the increased volume of commercial mortgages is a higher velocity of property sales, and with multiple buyers vying for assets, the due diligence timeline is frequently shorter compared to years past.

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