NEEDDA Publicly Announces Formation

PRESS RELEASE: Nation’s Top Engineering and Environmental Consulting Firms Form New Association


U.S. Nationwide – September 24, 2013 – The National Engineering and Environmental Due Diligence Association (NEEDDA) publicly announced its formation today with seven founding members.  These founders, some of the nation’s largest due diligence consulting firms, include Partner Engineering and Science, Inc., EMG, Nova Consulting, IVI International, Inc., AEI Consultants, Dominion Due Diligence Group, and PM Environmental.


Clients of the member firms include national lenders, investors, brokers, attorneys, and other real estate transaction parties.


The founders met throughout 2013 to create bylaws for the non-profit organization whose mission is to “promote the common interests of engineering and environmental consulting stakeholders who provide due diligence for real estate transactions.”  Members must provide both engineering and environmental due diligence services and meet the membership criteria.


“We believe that as industry leaders, we have a responsibility to contribute to the betterment of the practice of due diligence,” commented Joseph Derhake, PE, President of Partner Engineering and Science, Inc.


“While participation to date has only been from member firms, we welcome participation from new members, clients, vendors and attorneys,” said Claude N. Limoges, CEO of EMG.


“We are very optimistic that through our collective experience and leadership, NEEDDA will be able to raise the bar on consistency and quality across the industry,” said Steve Cummings, CEO, Nova Consulting, Inc.


“NEEDDA is the premier national non-profit professional association developed  to promote the discipline of real estate technical due diligence services, to provide members of the industry with a code of ethics, consistent procedures, information, training and representation within the due diligence arena in order to protect the client.  We are proud to be a founding member and contributor to NEEDDA,” said Mario de Stefanis, LEED AP, Principal of IVI.


“Significant inconsistencies in contract language, scopes of work and technical deliverables, and in the professionals providing these services, have long been problems in the industry.  NEEDDA and our leadership seek to address this issue head on with education, white papers, conferences and the development of our own professional certification,” said Mike Kulka, P.E., CEO and Founder of PM Environmental & Engineering.


“We look forward to being a part of the conversation as the due diligence community evolves.  The emergence of an organization devoted to quality in both engineering and environmental due diligence is a natural next step. We’re excited to be a part of this effort,” stated Holly Neber, President, AEI Consultants.


“The innovative initiatives by NEEDDA are paramount to achieve consistency and accountability, whereby raising the professional standards of the due diligence industry,” said Robert Hazelton, president of Dominion Due Diligence Group (D3G).


One of NEEDDA’s primary goals is to promote greater consistency and quality in due diligence practices through voluntary best practices.  NEEDDA’s plans include creating standard contract language and providing education, publications, conferences, research and accreditation and certification programs.


The association will make further announcements in the coming weeks.


On August 21st 2013, the EPA announced its approval of the proposed changes for ASTM E1527-13. With that, we’re now only one step away from the implementation of the updated industry standard.

The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM International) has been in the process of updating the industry’s Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) to reflect recent changes in the due diligence world.

Until this announcement, the updated standard was awaiting review and approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has now announced that the 2013 version of ASTM E1527 is compliant with the All Appropriate Inquiries regulation. In other words, they have concluded that it meets all requirements and can be used as the industry’s Standard Practice for environmental due diligence.

Unless the EPA receives adverse comments by September 16, the revised standard will become effective as of November 2013.  So far, one comment has been received that may or may not be considered adverse.

Some of the key changes of ASTM E1527-13 include:

  • Revised definitions of the various Recognized Environmental Conditions (REC and HREC), and the addition of a new category: the Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC), which applies to sites where the contamination incident has received a risk-based closure, but could still pose ongoing or future obligations for the owner, such as special precautions during development or maintenance of an engineering control such as a vapor barrier. These definition adjustments will allow environmental professionals to provide greater clarity in disclosing the degree of risk.
  • A greater emphasis on assessing Vapor Migration Risk and a stronger imperative for conducting regulatory file reviews. These extra requirements should improve the quality of Phase I ESAs across the board, especially for those consultants who were not already meeting these criteria. These changes will also further help clients to understand and minimize exposure to environmental risks.