Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

Make Informed and Strategic Property Buying Decisions with a Phase I ESA

No one wants to have buyer’s remorse when it comes to purchasing commercial property. From easements and zoning restrictions to environmental conditions, all of these could easily turn your investment into your very own version of a money pit. That is why a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is essential to ensure you have done your due diligence and know the environmental condition of a property prior to purchasing. Most construction loans often require borrowers to have a Phase I ESA.

Phase I ESA Schemmer

What is a Phase I ESA?

It's an investigation of your property by a trained environmental professional to determine if there are recognized environmental conditions that show signs of the release of petroleum or hazardous materials or chemicals at the site, now or in the past.

A Phase I ESA report is prepared for Construction Lenders/borrowers and identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. It typically addresses both the underlying land, as well as physical improvements to the property. If a site is considered contaminated, a Phase II environmental site assessment may be conducted, which is a more detailed investigation involving chemical analysis for hazardous substances and/or petroleum hydrocarbons.

Phase I ESA Process

Schemmer provides professional consulting services to Construction Lenders/borrowers to give them the information they need to ensure they can make informed and strategic decisions prior to purchasing a property.

A Phase I ESA assessment is a five-step process that includes:


  1. Review of Regulatory Agency Records – A search is performed on available state and federal environmental databases within the American Society for Testing and Materials-specified distances
  2. Review of Historical Land Use - Our team will use standard sources of historical information to identify prior uses of the property such as:
  • Aerial photos
  • Fire insurance maps
  • Property tax files
  • S. Geological Survey 7.5-minute topographic map
  • Local directories
  • Zoning/land use records
  1. Site Reconnaissance Visit – Schemmer will visit the property to observe uses and conditions and look for any evidence that may suggest there are environmental conditions associated with it.
  2. Interviews – Our team’s goal is to obtain information indicating recognized environmental conditions by interviewing current and past property owners, as well as adjacent property owners. We also contact local and state agencies with jurisdiction over hazardous waste disposal or substance release, and the fire and health department.
  3. Produce an ESA Phase I Report – In the final step, we will provide an organized and thorough report of our findings.

The assessment typically takes two to three weeks to thoroughly research and investigate the property and deliver the final report.

If you’re in the market for a Phase I ESA, give Rob DuVall, PE, a call. He’s been at this game for nearly a decade. He can provide you with the information you need to make sure your site due diligence is comprehensive.

Rob Duvall


Rob DuVall, PE

402.493.4800 |



Contact us for your next Phase I ESA

Design with Purpose. Build with Confidence.

Schemmer is a full-service architecture, engineering, and construction field services, consultant. Providing responsible solutions for complex design and construction-related challenges.

Founded in 1959, we are grounded in our past but remain fully committed to the future. Located in three States and six offices throughout the Midwest, Schemmer is providing services to clients from coast-to-coast and border-to-border across the United States.

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