Records Search

This due diligence tool is used to calculate environmental risk.

The records search with risk assessment is an environmental due diligence tool available to a lender or the purchaser of a property involved in a real estate transaction.

The screen focuses on identifying the environmental risk level of the property in question to fulfill the requirements of the most recent Small Business Administration standard operating procedures.

An environmental professional provides an opinion on environmental risk based on the results of the records search. The main objective of this search is to determine whether the property is at an elevated or high risk for contamination or a low risk for contamination. If the environmental professional conducting the risk assessment concludes the subject property is of elevated risk or high risk, then a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) must be completed.

The records search with risk assessment for the property and adjoining properties includes:

  • A search of government databases (those databases identified in 40 C.F.R. § 312.26 for an AAI-compliant Phase I Environmental Site Assessment).
  • A search of the historical records (per AAI).

Note: The environmental professional determines what historical records to review.

Historical records may include, but are not limited to aerial photographs, city and reverse directories, fire insurance maps, building department records and land records.

Risk Assessment Limitations

The records search with risk assessment is designed as a primary screen of commercial sites which may need further investigation via a Phase I ESA or may not be at risk for contamination.

Please note this risk assessment does not fulfill the transaction screen process per ASTM E 1528, nor does it meet the requirements of a Phase I ESA per ASTM E 1527.

The risk assessment also does not fulfill the minimum requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Standards for Conducting All Appropriate Inquiries” per 40 CFR 312.

In addition, please note that this risk assessment does not comply with all appropriate inquiries (AAI) or the Innocent Landowner Defense for property transfers.

Have Questions About the Records Search?

Contact the experts at Seneca for more information and help getting started.