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Environmental Due Diligence

Risk Classification: Standard Practices?

As I mentioned in my first posting, I took a survey of the Environmental Bankers Association Membership as to what is and is not a recognized environmental condition.  The results were presented at the Environmental Bankers Association Conference in Utah on June 9th.   The survey results are posted on the EBA’s Website and my website ( I think the results are very interesting! ... Read More »

Groundwater vs. Ground Water

Entry by JoeDerhake The debate has raged through our profession for years.  Finally, the USGS has settled the issue:  groundwater is one word.    It has been a longstanding practice within the USGS to spell ground water as two words and to hyphenate when ground water is used as a modifier (e.g., ground-water hydrology). Ground Water Branch Technical Memorandum 75.03 (http://wat... Read More »

Can a closed site still be a REC? (4 Comments)

Entry by JoeDerhake For the past 2 months I have been administering a survey on behalf of the Environmental Bankers Association.  I have surveyed 20 Environmental Consultants, 19 Environmental Bankers, and 4 Environmental attorneys on what is and is not a REC.   I presented 7 case studies and asked 30 questions on risk tolerance and the classification of RECs.  I thought that t... Read More »

Dry Cleaner Above a Vapor Barrier (2 Comments)

Entry by JoeDerhake Vapor barriers are great for buildings above contamination, but what if the contamination happens on top of the barrier?  I recently did a Phase I on a strip shopping center that has had a vapor barrier and passive venting system in place for 12 years.  The vapor barrier was originally installed to mitigate the effects of naturally occurring methane.   One o... Read More »

Phase Is on Foreclosures (2 Comments)

Entry by JoeDerhake For environmental consultants, new loan due diligence has given way to pre-foreclosure due diligence.  As professionals, it’s our responsibility to examine the services and recommendations we provide to our clients and adjust these to our customer’s needs.  To understand the fundamental differences between the new loan Phase I ESA and a pre-foreclosure Phase I ESA, we... Read More »

Energy Audits and Disclosures–New Law (1 Comment)

Entry by JoeDerhake When you buy a car, the fuel efficiency is on the window.  Well, in California starting January 1, 2010 the same will be required of buildings. California commercial buildings will be benchmarked by the Energy Star Standards as required by California Law, Assembly Bill 1103.    After January 1, 2010 building owners will be required to disclose the building’s... Read More »

SBA Foreclosures (2 Comments)

Entry by JoeDerhake This post is a summary of my presentation at the Environmental Bankers Association meeting this January on the subject of environmental due diligence during SBA foreclosures.   Everyone is doing environmental due diligence for new loans to meet SBA’s SOP 50-10 guidelines.  Well what about if you are doing a pre-foreclosure due diligence?  Are consultants to ... Read More »

Building Energy Performance Disclosure

Entry by JoeDerhake Thank you to Tony Buonicore with Building Energy Performance News and Jack Huntress of EDR! As many of EDR’s commonground readership know, this April the ASTM approved the formation of a committee to develop a national standard on Building Energy Performance Disclosures.    EDR and Tony Buonicore (one of EDR’s founders) have provided our industry much needed lead... Read More »

Foreclosure Phase I Environmental Audits (1 Comment)

Entry by JoeDerhake Entry This year I think half of the Phase I Environmental Audits that I do are on properties queued for foreclosure.  The Phase I Environmental Audits must meet the ASTM Standard 1527-2007, but in a foreclosure environment there are a few differences.   First, most clients want the Phase I Environmental Audit to be completely AAI compliant.  To save our... Read More »

Probable Maximum Loss Reports (1 Comment)

Entry by JoeDerhake Entry As an engineer that has been providing lenders Probable Maximum Loss (PML) reports for the past 15 years, I was hopeful that the two new ASTM Standards published in 2007 would standardize the practice of PMLs.    However, the ASTM Standards are overly flexible and have not resulted in sufficient uniformity.   For a real estate financing transactio... Read More »

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