The period starting in 1950 saw a change in the way the world is viewed,this accelerating in the 21st Century as climate change became an important issue. One of the major impacts is that developers now must take a great deal of care when purchasing land,as any contamination could cause them a lot of problems and money.
With this change came laws and regulations and environmental law gradually developed into a separate area,one that overlapped that of construction law when carrying out due diligence on land purchases for new residential projects.
In fact more and more environmental problems came to the fore in the 1980’s than was the case before,most dealing with prior pollution.
At first people didn’t know quite how to handle this problem,but over time legal practices changed and were able to include the necessary research into environmental issues,helping clients identify risks associated with any purchase. Basically,purchasers need to know as much as they can up front,so they can plan and deal with any highlighted issues.
This is why carrying out due diligence is so very important,especially as now,when you are building something,you are required to do an environmental review. The reason for this process for a buyer of land is to obtain as much data as possible. When things are done correctly,it helps to pinpoint if contamination is present,find the risks and see the effect they could have on the cost and timing of the project.
In some case there could be portions of the land that you simply can’t build on, but you won’t find out until you start looking. It could be seen to be a bit of a treasure hunt as “You don’t know what you’re going to run into until you get into the ground.”
The great news is that if some problems are found it does not necessarily not be the end of the project as it as it then gives developers and attorneys opportunities to be creative. It’s all a part of dealing with the challenges and opposition to a development project.
Plus,now there is the Brownfield Cleanup Program,which gives liability protection,financial incentives and tax credits that are available when you are cleaning up a site and redeveloping it.
Whenever you are purchasing land,there’s always the concern of what happened on that land historically,and due diligence in reality,is to make sure the buyer knows what happened in the past. Basically,due diligence can be boiled down to asking the right questions at the very start of the purchasing journey,thus protecting the purchaser against liability. Once the risks are determined,clients can decide if a project is feasible and can be financed and completed on budget.
See this very interesting post for more information