What Professionals Need to Know About Environmental Due Diligence

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Environmental Due Diligence isn’t just a nebulous practice area, it’s a formal process that’s becoming increasingly important for builders, developers, and landowners alike. Environmental Due Diligence (EDD for short) is a specialty practice area of Shield Engineering.

What is Environmental Due Diligence?

Environmental Due Diligence is defined as a legal and technical investigation that develops information about environmental conditions. EDD is meant to satisfy environmental laws and standards, allocating liability to the correct party and helping those responsible manage environmental risks. In most cases, EDD is performed before the purchase and certainly before the use of land that may be contaminated. When managed carefully, a well-enacted EDD plan can save a project vast sums of money and protect its stakeholders from liabilities in the future.

Some common Environmental Due Diligence service include things like Site Assessments (typically done in Phases), Asbestos Evaluation, Lead Paint Evaluation, Mold and Moisture Assessments, Vapor Intrusion, Remediation Service, and more. Every project is different; some concern raw swaths of land, many deal with aging buildings, and still more pertain to so-called “Brownfield” properties.

How Do You Perform Environmental Due Diligence?

A Phase I audit typically begins with historical research regarding the property. Records are searched to identify past occupants and uses and determine whether there is an outstanding risk of contamination present. Many banks actually require this level of certification to be performed before issuing a commercial loan.

Phase II audits are performed when an abnormality is found. This step involves on-site collection of soil, water, and other potentially-contaminated substances for further lab testing. Geophysical surveys may also be needed to uncover potentially underground hazards. From here, a customized EDD plan will be put in place to remediate and resolve any found problems.

What Are the Benefits of EDD?

First and foremost, the best-and-highest purpose of the land or building in question is maximized after successful Environmental Due Diligence attention, typically beginning with a Phase I ESA. If needed, a Phase II ESA can identify hazards and suggest solutions for remediation.

Just as importantly, Environmental Due Diligence practices protect people and investors. It’s critical to thoroughly investigate a building site for potential safety hazards before usage – both for the workers themselves as well as future users of the space. Failure to do so can not only result in hefty fines and regulations by both state and federal governmental agencies, it can actually make people sick. Responsible management of any job site starts with Environmental Due Diligence.


Shield Engineering has performed Environmental Due Diligence commercially for decades. Our team of highly qualified experts works on everything from one-off projects to full portfolio risk assessments. Contact us today to talk about your specific situation and get started with a comprehensive plan. 

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