Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is strongly recommended to ensure the new property is not, in fact, a liability.

A Phase I ESA is the first step in site characterization. Conducting a Phase I ESA is usually a requirement prior to a property transaction, transfer, estate settlement, insurance, development, financing, or remortgaging. It is one of the many steps of the due diligence process required prior to land acquisition or site re-development.

The assessment may be requested by a lender, insurance company, municipality, or various levels of government. Even if it is not a requirement by a third party, conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is strongly recommended to ensure the new property is not in fact a liability.

During a Phase I ESA we conduct a thorough review of historical records available at different institutions, review municipal and government environmental records as well as to conduct interviews and inspections as a part of the assessment. Phase I is a detailed systematic investigation of the past and current activities on the property as well as an evaluation of the adjacent properties with respect to the risk they might represent for the subject site.

The assessment is completed by experienced environmental professionals trained in evaluating the documentation available and visually inspecting the property. Usually a Phase I ESA does not include soil, groundwater, air, or hazardous materials testing unless an enhanced scope of work has been agreed upon initially.

All Phase I ESA reports are prepared and provide recommendations in accordance with the Canadian CSA Standard Z768-01 (R 2016). If no areas of potential concern are identified the report will state that there is no need for further work. In the event, the assessed property is found to be subject to potential or actual contamination further work will be recommended.

Why chose Environmental Diagnostics for your Phase 1 ESA?

  • We are leaders in urban environmental assessment. We understand the needs and particularities of the urban sector. We have extensive knowledge of the Calgary and Edmonton areas of concern and the environmental status of the major contaminated sites.
  • We are on the list of all major banks and lending institutions. In the event you decide to shop around for mortgages or your initial financing does not go through with your preferred lender, you can still use our assessment.
  • We can complete Phase 1s even when libraries, museums, and universities are closed. Our internal database and library built over 25 years of conducting assessments in Alberta are allowing us to remain available to serve our clients.
  • We offer a staged approach with all our work including Phase 1s. When we have a new Phase 1 we always assess the property in stages and we try to inform the clients as soon as possible if we believe Phase 2 is needed. 
  • We offer both comprehensive Phase 1 ESAs as well as Real Estate Phase 1 ESAs. Each is developed to target their own specific markets and work within the required time and budget constraints. 
  • We offer reliance letters free of charge. We have been in business for 25 years and we plan to be here for a lot more. You will be able to obtain a reliance letter several years from now. 
Contaminated Site Assessment

Contaminated Site Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Phase 1 ESA

What is the price for a Phase 1 ESA?

The price varies significantly based on the size of the property, complexity of the operations, and history of the property. A typical Phase 1 for a commercial/industrial property can cost between $2,000 and $3,000. The price can increase for more complex properties. Due to our comprehensive database, we are able to keep the price of Phase 1 assessments low and the quality excellent.

When do I need to conduct a Phase 1 ESA?

Phase 1 is a crucial part of the due diligence process when a property is transitioned. A buyer needs to conduct a Phase 1 to ensure they are not buying a liability or discover surprises down the road. A seller can conduct a Phase 1 ESA prior to putting the property on the market to ensure a smooth transaction without delays. As a former owner of a contaminated property you can be considered a responsible party under EPEA, so selling a contaminated property without an environmental assessment does not mean zero liability for the seller. Phase 1 may also be needed for refinancing or when a new tenant moves in. 

Can you tell me if Phase 2 will be recommended ahead of time?

Phase 1s are basically screening tools that are allowing us to determine what the risk of contamination on a property is. When we have a new Phase 1 we always assess the property in stages and we try to inform the clients as soon as possible if we believe Phase 2 ESA is needed. Sometimes this is obvious from the beginning, but sometimes even us, as professionals, need to go through the entire process to determine whether further work is needed. 

Should I consider a Phase 1 ESA when buying a residential property?

At this time, Phase 1 ESAs are not routinely required by banks for residential mortgages. However, in 10-20 years when you will sell your property, they may be. Also, would you like to live in the vicinity of a known contaminated property? We are offering Environmental Fact Sheets for this purpose. These are designed for a fast 48 hours turn around and cover the most crucial historical information to allow for a quick, easy and reliable guide.

These fact sheets are a great tool for residential purchases and offer helpful information to potential buyers/sellers without the cost and time required for a full Phase 1. They can be used as a quick determination whether further work will be required.