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Knowing Environmental Risk A 'Core Competency'

Survey demonstrates that industry members understand that "assessing environmental issues upfront can actually help them make better business decisions"

TORRANCE, CA—“The perception of environmental risk has shifted,” says Joseph Derhake, CEO of Partner Engineering & Science, Inc. “The industry acknowledges that understanding and managing environmental risk wisely is a necessary core competency to stay competitive in today’s market.”

Derhake’s assessment is buttressed by the results of a reader survey for which teamed with Partner Engineering to gauge the commercial real estate sector’s response to environmental risk. The survey follows up similar studies that Partner Engineering undertook in 2008 and 2012, and demonstrates an evolution in the industry’s thinking about the subject.

Compared to four years ago, a higher percentage of respondents see risk management due diligence as a higher priority than they assigned to it previously—40% in this year’s survey, compared to 23% in ’12. A key factor behind this shift in priorities is greater awareness of environmental concerns, such as vapor intrusion risks.

“We have better techniques today to help us understand the extent of contamination,” according to one survey respondent. “With better tools,the industry can make better-risk adjusted decisions.” Adds Derhake, “It appears that the CRE community isn’t doing due diligence because regulations require them to or out of fear of liability, but because they acknowledge that investing in assessing environmental issues upfront can actually help them make better business decisions.”

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