Experienced commercial real estate investors are selective about who they work with on their environmental and physical due diligence services. In 2021, ASTM published an updated Phase I ESA E1527 standard. On July 29, 2022, ASTM International published their updated standard for environmental transaction screens. This first update since 2014 modernizes the standard and makes it more accessible.

The ASTM E1528-22 Transaction Screen Assessment is typically utilized by lenders, brokers and investors as a preliminary stage of environmental due diligence. As a lower-level standard than the Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), a Transaction Screen Assessment doesn’t provide Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) nor meet the EPA All Appropriate Inquiries standard.

The transaction screen process, first published in 1993, was developed so current and future property owners could get insight into the potential environmental risks associated with a presumably low-risk property. The standard “define[s] a good practice in the U.S. for conducting a transaction screen for a parcel of commercial real estate where the user wishes to conduct limited environmental due diligence.” This more limited environmental due diligence covers less than a standard Phase I ESA, the most common and frequently used due diligence standard. Its best use is as a preliminary check prior to a full Phase I ESA.

The new revisions included:

  • Changes to wording to better highlight the fact it provides no CERCLA liability protection 
    Rewritten questionnaire and guide section
  • Revised appendix with new photographs to help preparers fill out the questionnaire
  • Reenforces its original intent by editing the language to make the standard easier for non-professionals to understand

In the fast-paced environment of real estate due diligence, responsiveness is critical. EBI adapts to these changes and strives to exceed clients’ expectations. Our experienced professionals assist you as you navigate the ever-evolving regulatory landscape. We continue to provide our clients with high-quality services and reports that follow the most up-to-date standards.

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