The period starting in 1950 saw a change in the way the environment is looked at,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 lot more care when buying land,as any contamination could cause them many problems and expense.
With this change came laws and regulations and environmental law slowly developed into a distinct area,one that overlapped that of construction law when carrying out due diligence on land purchases for new residential developments.
In fact more and more environmental problems came to the fore in the 1980’s than was the case before,the majority dealing with prior comtamination.
At first people didn’t know quite how to deal with this problem,but over time legal practices changed and were able to include the required research into environmental issues,helping people 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 highlighted issues.
This is why carrying out due diligence is so vital,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 collect as much data as possible. When things are done correctly,it helps to see if contamination is present,identify risks and see the effect they could have on the cost and timing of the project.
In some case there could be parts of the land that you simply can’t develop but you won’t find out until you start looking. It looks just like 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 builders 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 assistance and tax payments that are available when you are remediating a site and redeveloping it.
Whenever you are buying land,there’s always the concern of what happened on that land historically,and due diligence in reality,is to make sure the purchaser understands 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 known,clients can decide if a project is feasible and can be financed and completed on budget.
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