Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment - Value vs Cost!

Posted by GeoLogixPtyLtd on November 20th, 2019

It’s fair to say that you get what you pay for with a Phase 1 environmental site assessment. The cheaper you go, the more likely you are to miss out on important checks so that the assessment does not serve its purpose and is of no value at all.

A Phase 1 assessment is undertaken to determine what activities have occurred on a site and their potential to result in contamination. Sometimes referred to as a Preliminary Site Investigation, a Phase 1 assessment collates information on the historical use of a site to identify or rule out contamination risks. The assessment usually involves a site inspection and may include limited groundwater and/or soil sampling. Done thoroughly, a Phase 1 can identify potential contamination and indicate whether a site is likely to be safe or require further investigation.

When and How Much?

Planning authorities often request a Phase 1 environmental site assessment for a redevelopment or rezoning application. Although it can delay the DA approval process, this assessment can be a critical step under SEPP 55 and other planning controls. Likewise, it can be useful due diligence since it can provide important information on potential liabilities related to the remediation of potentially contaminated land.

The cost of a Phase 1 assessment is very site dependent and will be influenced by the unique features of your site including its location, size and the buildings or infrastructure that may be present. The likely cost will be somewhere between ,500 and ,000 but could cost more if sampling is required. If you drop below ,500, you’ll most likely receive a poor assessment as important checks and document reviews will be missed.

Physical Features and Location Impact Price

All Phase 1 environmental site assessments must review historical records and government information for your property and those nearby in order to gather evidence of how the site has been used. If it’s an industrial site that has be occupied by numerous past users, the potential for contamination is much higher when compared to a greenfield site with no industrial history at all. Consequently, a complicated site development history can increase the amount you pay since it requires more analysis, retrieval fees, and speaking to more people. More time spent on an assessment equals more money.

Generally speaking, smaller lots are more affordable, however, this is not always the case as a small contaminated site with lots of buildings or underground tanks could present a lot of complex issues.

Expertise and Experience

As with any service, costs will be impacted by the experience of the consultant and the quality standards applied to the work undertaken. Environmental site assessments should be performed by professionals who are fluent with relevant guidelines and legislation and meet the EPA’s reporting requirements. We recommend consultants that are Certified Environmental Practitioners as a rigorous acceptance criteria is applied to certified individuals. Likewise, EPA accredited auditors have met the highest standards of technical expertise and experience established for contaminated land practitioners.

Avoiding Cheaper Alternatives

Unfortunately, a cheap Phase 1 assessment can indicate a poor environmental report with missing information. If a Phase 1 report is less than thorough, it could be inaccurate and mislead people on the status of contamination at a site. This could have serious environmental and legal implications and could lead to costly additional works down the track.

Choose a Reliable Service

Depending on your objectives, there can be a lot riding on a Phase 1 report. False or missing information can lead to poor decisions that may lead to legal issues and future costs. Geo-Logix recommends that you only engage an experienced and professional consultant who can provide you with dependable advice on the conditions of your site.

If you have any questions or need a quote, please contact Ben Pearce at bpearce@geo-logix.com.au.

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