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Articles

Managing Environmental Risks During Redevelopment

September 25, 2019

The real estate business abounds with environmental and construction challenges. Whether you’re a real estate investor, developer or owner, your project’s success may depend on how well environmental risk is identified, analyzed and managed from acquisition through construction completion. Purely conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), and possibly a Phase II ESA, does not relieve you of potential environmental liability. To manage compliance and avoid regulatory enforcement, the following considerations should be incorporated into your redevelopment plan.

Pre-Acquisition

  • Conduct due diligence efforts to understand potential on and off-site environmental liabilities.
  • If buildings are present, assess the existence of hazardous building materials for proper management and disposal during redevelopment.
  • Determine if redevelopment may impact environmentally sensitive lands (wetlands, protected habitats, etc.)
  • Clearly understand current and future regulatory obligations. This should be reviewed at the federal, state, and local level.
  • Understand cost and schedule impacts related to environmental liabilities.

Design

  • Include a qualified environmental consultant to assist in identifying and addressing regulatory requirements early.
  • If contaminated soil is present, create a soil management plan.
  • If contaminated groundwater is identified, on or off-site, determine if dewatering is required.
  • If soil gas from contaminated soil and groundwater is a concern, determine if a vapor mitigation system is needed.
  • Consider how and when the management of contaminated media will be conducted during construction.
  • Identify regulatory coordination and permitting needs; as well as associated financial and project schedule impacts.
  • Conduct pre-application meetings with permitting agencies.
  • Plan for the management of environmental impacts from typical construction activities.
  • Have a contingency plan to address unexpected contamination during construction.

Pre-Construction

  • Include environmental permitting, reporting, and coordination into bid specifications.
  • Ensure that qualified and licensed contractors are utilized to abate and properly dispose of hazardous materials.
  • Conduct a Pre-Construction meeting to clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of the Engineer, Contractor, and Environmental Consultant.

Construction

  • Discuss the management and safety risks associated with the abatement of hazardous materials with staff.
  • Ensure that permitting conditions and reporting requirements are being met.
  • Continually assess environmental risk and management during construction.
  • Update, implement, and document appropriate best management practices.
  • Track and document the proper removal, abatement, and disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Be prepared for site inspections by regulatory agencies.

Post-Construction

  • Ensure that permitting reporting requirements are completed.
  • Work with the Environmental Consultant to obtain regulatory closure with each agency.

Whether evaluating a single asset or full portfolio, VERTEX’s Environmental and Construction Experts partner with you to resolve complex challenges across the real estate lifecycle.

To learn more about VERTEX’s Environmental Consulting services or to speak with an Environmental Expert, call 888.298.5162 or submit an inquiry.

AUTHOR

Kelly Bishop, PG
Southeast Regional Vice President, Environmental

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