Property Redevelopment for Last-Mile Logistics

By Sui Leong, P.E., LSRP, LEED-AP and Sonya Ward, LSRP, CHMM, CPG, CGWP, H2M architects + engineers

Fueled by increased e-commerce and the need to get goods quickly to the consumer, the demand for fleet parking and warehousing for last-mile logistics has grown dramatically.

Investors and developers are turning more to previously developed properties, including environmentally impacted sites.

In many cases, the use of these previously developed properties is not only efficient due to their locations near metropolitan areas and a workforce, but also due to their central location adjacent to available infrastructure (existing roadways, utilities, stormwater drainage, electricity, water and internet, etc.) The availability of existing infrastructure and a transportation network can reduce the cost and time needed to develop a property.

Key to developing a property that may be environmentally impacted is coordinating the remediation with land development needs such that both support the planned use of the site, recognizing that one may impact the other. For example, a property where only surface soil impacts are present may be readily remediated via capping.

Development of such a site may also require regrading or improvements for stormwater drainage, which must be coordinated with the remediation. At a warehouse site where sub-slab soil gas may be impacted, a vapor mitigation system may be needed to address vapor concerns.

Future needs must also be considered, including the costs for site operation (e.g., maintenance and biennial certification of a cap or ongoing operation of a vapor mitigation system). Potential environmental hazards due to flooding or other climate related conditions must also be considered and addressed in development of the site to ensure the property is protected against damage and closure during such climatological events.

The environmental and civil engineering professionals must work collaboratively to develop strategies that address both environmental remediation requirements and site development in a way that is mutually supportive.

Important Differences Between Pollution Insurance Products

By Adam Puharic, Puharic and Associates, Inc.

Whether you are a contractor, engineer or environmental consultant, you’ve probably encountered contract requirements for pollution insurance coverage. Your insurance policy has a certificate for “Pollution Liability,” so you move on to the next business challenge.

But do you have the correct pollution insurance coverage? Let’s outline insurance coverage for architects, engineers and consultants versus contractor pollution liability and when each would apply. Other pollution form types exist, but many contractual obligations will be met with these two types.

What is pollution from an insurance perspective? One definition is “any solid, liquid, gaseous, thermal, biological or radioactive substance, material or matter, irritant or contaminant including smoke, vapors, soot, silt, sedimentation, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals and waste.” The pollutant can be spread either accidentally or as the result of a plan, design or report error.

Contractors Pollution Liability insures against unintentional pollution from business operations. A common insuring agreement explains that it will cover “bodily injury,property damage,” or “cleanup costs” caused by a “pollution condition” provided it arises out of work performed during the policy period and for damages incurred during the policy period.

For example, a painter at a job site accidentally kicks over a can of gasoline into a nearby stream. This is accidental, a known pollutant, and results from the business operations.

A Professional Liability policy pays claims resulting from professional services that create pollution events. This may include environmental remediation designs, storm water run-off plans, landscape architect plans, or land evaluations. The pollution, though not intended, results from a plan or design that fails to account for one factor or another.

For Professional Liability, claims can be made during the policy period, even if the event occurred in the past, as long as there was no prior knowledge of the event. These policies often limit claims using a retroactive date.

If your role on the job is a form of construction trade, such as electrician, plumber, or framer, Contractors Pollution Liability is likely the relevant coverage type. If your role is designer, environmental scientist, architect, or engineer, then both policy forms might come into play.

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