Environmental Due Diligence Boot Camp
Lesson 8:  Environmental Assessment - How Much Is This Going To Cost ? 
Part 1



The $ 64,000 question is always, “how much is an assessment of this property going to cost ?”



Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Costs:



The size of a property, and the complexity of the operations that are or have been located on the site, will affect assessment costs.  The cost for an assessment of a large industrial property will obviously be significantly more than the cost for an average small-lot commercial property. 


Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) costs also vary widely by geographical area.  For example, consulting firms in other parts of the United States routinely command prices that are 2 - 3 times what is typically charged for a Phase 1 ESA in our home area.


In our home area, consulting firms offer Phase 1 ESAs for typical commercial properties anywhere in the range of

$ 1,200 - $ 4,000.  It has been my experience, at least in our home area, that assessments that have been completed (within the last 5 years) for $ 2,200 or less are often trash – worth no more than the value of the paper they are printed on – which puts the average cost for a good-quality Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment in our home area in the $ 2,700 - $ 3,500 range.




Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment Costs:


The cost for a Phase 2 ESA is strictly dependent upon the type of testing or sampling that is required, the number of sampling points that are needed, and the types of analytical procedures that need to be completed.


In our home area, a Phase 2 ESA of a typical commercial property, on average, falls within the range of $ 4,500 -

$ 8,500.  The cost to assess large sites, industrial properties, or properties with a complex operational history or multiple potential sources of contamination will generally be significantly beyond the upper limit of this range.




It's Cheap Insurance:


Now, compare the costs for conducting environmental assessment activities (above) to the typical costs associated with investigating and remediating contaminated properties (Lesson 7).  It should be obvious to even the tightest spend-thrift that the relatively small cost of good-quality assessment work is cheap insurance against having to later pay the potentially staggering costs of an environmental investigation and cleanup. 

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POSTED:  6 January 2011