environmental transaction screen

What is an Environmental Transaction Screen (ETS)?

An Environmental Transaction Screen (ETS) is a new and innovative tool used to assess the risks involved in a property transaction. ETS is gaining popularity amongst companies, real estate agents, and investors as it offers a more cost-efficient and accurate way of assessing potential environmental liabilities. Its main difference from Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is that it looks into future risks rather than historic ones. To understand its advantages better, let’s take a look at what ETS is, how it works, and its differences from Phase I ESA.

What is the difference between an Environmental Transaction Screen (ETS) and a Phase I ESA?

Environmental Transaction Screens (ETS) are a voluntary procedure intended to identify Potential Environmental Concerns (PECs) for commercial real estate. They are meant to be a screening tool for those who wish to conduct limited environmental due diligence and are usually only recommended for low-risk property types with available historical information. An ETS requires a limited scope of work, which includes a site visit, review of environmental databases, completion of an environmental questionnaire by the owner or occupant and consultant doing the transaction screen, and review of limited historical sources. Historical use must be determined back to 1940 or the first development using at least one of the following sources: Sanborn maps, city directories, or aerial photographs.

In contrast, Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) are a more extensive method of environmental due diligence. This process must be conducted by an environmental professional as defined by 40 CFR 312.10(b). It involves an in-depth investigation into the current and past uses of the property, including interviews with current and former owners/occupants as well as a review of regulatory records and other documents related to the property’s history. The Phase I ESA is typically used when there is potential for contamination or other environmental concerns that may not have been.

When it comes to making a purchase, no matter how big or small, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. This is especially true when it comes to real estate investments. To ensure that you’re making a sound investment, two assessments are often conducted: Phase I Environmental Site Assessments and Property Transaction Screen Analysis.

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments are used to identify any potential environmental risks associated with the property in question. This assessment looks at both current and past uses of the land, as well as any hazardous materials that may have been present in the past. The results of this assessment can help inform buyers about any potential risks they should be aware of before investing in a property.

Property Transaction Screen Analysis is used to assess the financial viability of a property. This analysis looks at factors such as market trends, local economic conditions, and other relevant data points that could affect the value of the property over time. By conducting this analysis, buyers can get an idea of whether or not their investment will pay off in the long run.

Both Phase I Environmental Site Assessments and Property Transaction Screen Analysis are essential tools for anyone looking to make an investment in real estate. 

“Phase I Environmental Site Assessment vs Property Transaction Screen Analysis Pros”

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a comprehensive evaluation of a property’s potential for environmental contamination.

Here are the Pros of Phase I Environmental Site Assessment:

  • It is conducted by an Environmental Professional and follows a standard method, which includes interviews with current and former owners and occupants, a review of historical records, and a physical inspection of the property.
  • The purpose of the assessment is to identify any potential environmental liabilities associated with the property that could affect its value or use.

In comparison to a Property Transaction Screen Analysis (PTSA), a Phase I ESA provides more detailed information about potential environmental liabilities. Ordering a TSA, or Transaction Screen Analysis, is an efficient way to ensure that any commercial real estate (CRE) transaction is processed quickly and smoothly. A TSA is an environmental assessment that evaluates the potential risks associated with a property. It helps identify any hazardous materials or conditions that could potentially impede the transaction process. By ordering a TSA, buyers and sellers can be sure that they are making informed decisions about their CRE investments.

Here are the Pros of Property Transaction Screen Analysis:

  • Faster turn-time for the CRE transaction process.
  • With a comprehensive environmental assessment in hand, buyers and sellers can make more informed decisions about their investments without having to wait for lengthy reports from third-party consultants.
  • TSA can help reduce the risk of costly delays due to unexpected environmental issues.
  • By taking proactive steps to assess potential risks before entering into a CRE transaction, buyers and sellers can save time and money in the long run.

“Phase I Environmental Site Assessment vs Property Transaction Screen Analysis Cons”

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a thorough investigation of a property to determine the potential for environmental contamination. It is an important step in any real estate transaction.

Here are the Cons of Phase I Environmental Site Assessment:

  • It can be time-consuming.
  • Phase 1 ESA cost can be Pricey.
  • It can be labor-intensive
  • It is important to plan ahead if you are considering a Phase I ESA.

In contrast to a Phase I ESA, a Property Transaction Screen Analysis (PTSA) is much less comprehensive.

Here are the Cons of Property Transaction Screen Analysis:

  • It typically involves reviewing existing records such as historical aerial photographs or maps, regulatory databases, and other public records.
  • While this type of analysis may provide some insight into potential environmental issues on the property, it does not include any field investigations or sampling that would be conducted during a Phase I ESA.
  • As such, it may not provide enough information to make an informed decision about whether or not there are any environmental concerns associated with the property.

The TSA report provides information about any potential environmental hazards that may exist on or near the property, such as hazardous materials, underground storage tanks, and contaminated soil or groundwater. It also includes an evaluation of the current land use and zoning regulations that may affect the property’s value or future development plans. The report also includes recommendations for further investigation if necessary. By ordering a TSA, lenders can quickly and cost-effectively determine whether a commercial property meets their loan underwriting requirements.

However, it is important to note that a TSA does not meet the all-appropriate inquiry requirement of CERCLA and therefore does not provide liability limitations under this Act. Therefore, clients should consider their specific needs when deciding whether to opt for a TSA or another form of environmental due diligence. Ultimately, by utilizing a TSA in appropriate circumstances, clients can save money while still ensuring their transactions are compliant with necessary regulations.