Wilcox Due Diligence Services

Why Now?

-Current economic conditions are causing business owners to think hard about the future. Some may go out of business while others may be able to grow.

-Interest rates are the lowest they have been in years making purchases and refinancing more attractive to businesses.

-Wilcox Environmental is offering a 5 Day Turnaround Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) investigation to help expedite property transactions.

– The current standard for the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, ASTM E1527-13, is up for renewal.  ASTM’s renewal committee has a goal for a new E1527-21 standard to be finalized in January 2021, which would give the EPA approximately 11 months to approve it before December 31, 2021 when the current standard sunsets.

Who is Wilcox?

Wilcox Environmental Engineering has 25 years of experience and has completed hundreds of ESAs to help lenders, property owners, sellers, and buyers identify recognizable environmental conditions (RECs) that slow down property transactions.

What is a Phase I ESA Investigation

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, commonly referred to as an ESA, or Phase I ESA, is completed to research the current and historical uses of a property as part of a commercial real estate transaction.  The intent of the report is to assess if the current or any historical property uses have impacted the soil or groundwater beneath the property that pose a threat to the environment and/or human health. If any of these issues are found, it presents a potential liability for the lender and/or owner and potentially the purchaser, as well as affecting the value of the property. A Phase I ESA completed prior to the closure of a real estate transaction can be used to satisfy the requirements of CERCLA’s (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) innocent landowner defense under All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI).

A Phase I ESA contains very specific protocols in order to obtain certain environmental liability protections. It includes a physical property inspection, a review of available property records, reviews of historical and publicly available environmental information, interview(s) with key personnel, and a search for environmental liens recorded against the property.



Why Wilcox?


  • ASTM E1527-13 compliant report delivered in 5 business days
  • Upon receipt of a signed proposal, an environmental questionnaire is completed by the purchaser and access is granted, the 5-business day clock starts
  • Wilcox will utilize the Wilcox ESA Phase 1 Process
  • Historical Review/Site Walk/Interviews/Report Delivery


  • Wilcox Phase 1 ESAs are conducted in strict accordance with ASTM E1527-13
  • We work with you to identify environmental liabilities
  • We conduct evaluations of your property and neighboring properties to identify possible environmental issues 
  • We coordinate environmental due diligence with legal, financial, and regulatory institutions
  • We provide recommendations based on the findings of the Phase I ESA to ensure continued Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser status and assist with property transfer


  • Between different consultants there is a large range in the quality and price of Phase I ESAs available
  • We pay attention to market variables to ensure that we are cost competitive
  • Wilcox works to meet your budgetary goals
  • We offer portfolio discounts

How is it Done?

Wilcox Environmental ESA Phase I Process


Step 1

  • Past Use Historical Review
  • Site Regulatory Records Review
  • Surrounding Property Regulatory Records Review

Step 2

  • Site Walk Evaluation and Documentation
  • Site Contact Interviews
  • Local Agency Interviews

Step 3

  • Report Delivery
  • Project Follow up

Understanding the Phase I ESA Report

Recognized Environmental Condition (REC)

a REC, short for “Recognized Environmental Condition,” is the terminology used to identify a potential environmental impairment on the property. The impairment may affect the use or value of the property, the ability to obtain financing, and the availability of the purchaser’s defense to CERCLA liability. As such, identifying RECs goes to the heart of why environmental due diligence is being performed.

No RECs identified in the report indicates that there is no further action necessary.

RECs identified in the Phase I report indicate that additional sampling and increased detailed study may be warranted as part of a ESA Phase II

Expiration Timelines for Phase I ESAs

  • Phase I ESAs remain valid for 6 months unless ASTM standards are updated
  • Concerning legal liability, AAI & CERCLA Liability Protection from a Phase I ESA expires within a 180-day timeframe after the date of the ASTM-compliant Phase I ESA report submission
  • For loans, the Small Business Administration (SBA) only accepts Phase I ESA reports within one year of the production date.

What is a Phase II ESA Investigation?

A Phase II ESA investigation is performed when a Phase I ESA identifies (RECs) on or near a property.

A Phase II investigation involves a more comprehensive property evaluation and subsurface sampling. Depending on the client’s needs, Wilcox will investigative for specific contaminants based on results of a Phase I ESA or previous spill(s) that may have occurred on-Site or off-Site.

Wilcox will identify, analyze and help resolve environmental conditions to help streamline the next phase of the project (property transaction, development, etc.)

Phase I ESA Testimonial

“Wilcox was very thorough and professional. Greg stayed in touch and kept me updated on progress.  We were on a tight timeline and Wilcox really came through. I will definitely use them again.”

-Commercial Lender, Indianapolis IN