The years starting in 1950 saw a change in the way the world is viewed,this accelerating in the 21st Century as climate change became a hot issue. One of the biggest impacts is that developers now must take a great deal of care when buying land,as any contamination could cause them many problems and money.
With this change came legislation and regulations and environmental law gradually developed into a distinct area,one that overlapped that of construction law when performing due diligence on land purchases for new housing developments.
In fact more and more environmental issues came to the fore in the 1980’s than ever before,most dealing with prior pollution.
At first everyone didn’t know quite how to handle this problem,but over time legal practices evolved and were able to cover the required research into environmental issues,helping clients identify risks associated with any purchase. Putting it simply,purchasers need to know as much as they can at the start,so they can plan and deal with any potential issues.
This is why thinking about due diligence is so vital,especially as now,when you are building something,you are required to do an environmental review. The purpose of this process for a buyer of land is to obtain as much information as possible. When things are done correctly,it helps to pinpoint if contamination is there,identify risks and see the effect they could have on the cost and timing of the project.
In some instances there could be parts 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 good news is that if some contamination is found it need not be the end of the development as it as it then gives developers and attorneys opportunities to be creative. It’s all a part of evaluating the challenges and opposition to a development project.
Plus,now there is the Brownfield Cleanup Program,which provides liability protection,financial incentives and tax credits that are available when you are remediating a site and redeveloping it.
Whenever you are buying land,there’s always the concern of what occurred 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 outset of the purchasing journey,thus protecting the purchaser against liability. Once the risks are known,clients can decide if a project is feasible and can be financed and completed on budget.
See insurance for contaminated land for more information