In 2008, ASTM published “Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments: Baseline Property Condition Assessment Process” (ASTM E 2018-08) to define the process for conducting a Property Condition Assessment (PCA).
Actually, a PCA and an ESA have only minimal overlap, and are often complimentary. An ESA is performed to identify “Recognized Environmental Conditions (REC), which are related to releases or threatened releases of petroleum products and hazardous substances. An ESA report also has some specific regulatory aspects, related to Landowner Liability Protections (LLP). [Read more about LLPs]. ESA must be performed by “Environmental Professionals” meeting specific qualifications [Read more about qualification requirements].
If you are purchasing real estate and are concerned about environmental liabilities, a Phase I ESA is needed.
A PCA is also a type of due diligence, pre-purchase, pre-lease, or post-lease inspection. However, the PCA evaluates the physical condition of buildings, systems and equipment at the property. A PCA identifies “red flags”. There are no specific qualifications required for persons performing PCAs. Because if this, there is no guarantee that the assessor’s qualifications will meet the client’s needs, simply because the assessor uses the ASTM standard.