The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has updated its guidance documents for the Office of Housing and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to require the latest ASTM standard (E1527-13) effective May 16, 2014. This change affects several guidance documents throughout Office of Housing/FHA, including, but not limited to, the Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) Guide, the Condominium Project Approval and Processing Guide, Handbook 4600.1 REV-1, Section 232 Mortgage Insurance for Residential Care Facilities, and Handbook 4615.1, Mortgage Insurance for Hospitals.
HUD specifically details the addition of the term CREC (Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition) and inclusion of vapor to the migration pathway as important reasons to require ASTM E1527-13.
“The new CREC definition will result in some environmental conditions being listed as CRECs if they have been remediated to restricted levels, as opposed to an unrestricted or de minimis level, and will be a great tool for Office of Housing/FHA staff to assess whether the site is appropriate for residential use,” stated Carol Galante, Assistant Secretary for Housing – Federal Housing Commissioner.
If you have any questions about the new Phase I standard, contact Natalie Neuman (nneuman[at]gabenv.com or 773-486-2123).
ASTM finalized E1527-13, the latest Phase I Environmental Site Assessment standard on November 6, 2013. EPA subsequently approved E1527-13 as being compliant with All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) regulations on December 30, 2013.
Here’s the top 3 things you need to know about these updated regulations:
ASTM updated the definition of a REC (Recognized Environmental Condition) to specifically include vapor as a potential concern. Previously, it was left to the Environmental Professional’s discretion or their client to determine if vapor should be considered when performing a Phase I. Environmental Professionals (EPs) must now consider solid, liquid and vapor releases of hazardous substances or petroleum products.
Bottom Line: You may see more RECs now that include vapor issues.
ASTM added the term CREC (Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition) to better define sites which have past releases that have been properly addressed but still have a required control (eg: commercial/industrial land use restriction, engineered barrier, etc).
Bottom Line: If you see a CREC, don’t panic. A CREC is a “good REC.” Gabriel can advise you and your client about any site-specific requirements regarding the continuing obligations.
ASTM states that agency file reviews should be conducted if the subject property or adjoining property is identified in any of the standard environmental records sources. Previously, some EPs would review these government records during their Phase I assessments but many would not. Now, these reviews must be included unless records are not reasonably ascertainable.
Bottom Line: Other firms might increase their prices to include this additional work. Gabriel has always done file reviews for these types of sites, so you will not see an increase in our prices to add in the file review.