Superfund and other state and federal regulations that emerged during the 80’s dramatically changed the way corporations managed property transactions. At the beginning of that decade there were very few engineers experienced in environmental due diligence. Over the past 15 years a sophisticated consulting industry has emerged to support companies in their effort to minimize liabilities associated with contaminated property. There is now a wealth of published literature on environmental due diligence, including generally accepted standards for investigating property contamination from organizations such as ASTM.
While the technical know-how has risen to meet the challenge, the internal corporate policies and practices typically have not. A recent benchmarking study of a broad array of multinational corporations has found a largely ad hoc approach is used for many transactions. The results of this survey are surprising in light of the heightened awareness by upper management on property contamination issues.