Environmental Services

Universal provides sound, client-focused solutions for real estate related environmental liabilities and regulatory compliance issues. We offer comprehensive integrated services, extensive technical expertise, and a long-standing reputation for excellence and integrity. As a well established and growing firm, Universal has the experience necessary to perform consistent, high-quality work. We offer a diverse range of environmental services to help our clients maintain compliance and achieve their goals. Universal’s environmental services staff includes professional geologists, environmental engineers, environmental scientists and biologists with the focus of being a solution provider that can assist you in managing your environmental liabilities and risks. Many of our technical consultants are cross trained in the services that Universal provides, which allows us to develop innovative and economical solutions for regulatory compliance in any industry. As a recognized regional leader in environmental consulting services, Universal has the technical team to protect your assets and promote the sustainability of your business.

Services Include:

Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

Universal has extensive experience in performing due diligence for property transfers throughout the southeastern United States. Our staff realizes the time sensitive nature of these studies and completes them in an efficient manner allowing purchasers adequate time to make business decisions while considering potential issues and risks that may be discovered during the due diligence process. Universal completes all Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) in accordance with the latest ASTM standards. We work with our clients to provide non-ASTM services during the Phase I ESA process and in many cases we apply client-specific requirements to our assessment process. Understanding that each client has unique challenges, the Universal team brings the right experience to any Phase I ESA and provides high quality due diligence services on a consistent basis.

Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

When the findings of the Phase I ESA identify the potential for adverse environmental impacts to a property, additional investigation in the form of a Phase II ESA is often warranted. The Universal team can provide turnkey subsurface investigation activities for the collection of soil, groundwater, sediment, and multimedia materials during the Phase II ESA process. We have the knowledge and internal equipment to provide drilling services, monitoring well installation, soil and groundwater sampling, geophysical surveys, underground storage tank closures, and aquifer performance testing. Our demonstrated experience through the completion of hundreds of Phase II ESAs allows us to perform under tight timeframes and within restricted site conditions, while addressing multiple onsite concerns concurrently. The Universal technical team is always “thinking outside of the box” during field activities and we will make onsite adjustments to our approach based upon real time encountered site conditions. The information collected from the Phase II ESA along with the technical guidance of the Universal environmental professionals is translated into reports that present our findings and professional recommendations. This information is utilized by the client to make appropriate business decisions regarding the property, including additional assessment, corrective actions, beneficial use of the site, and financial considerations.

Remediation Services

Cleaning up a contaminated site can be complex and often proves to be challenging in many ways. Attention must be given to the practicality of the remedial plan, the costs of corrective actions, site disruption, timing, and the desired clean-up goals for any remediation project, all of which are typically driven by regulatory requirements. Universal’s technical staff has vast experience in providing remediation services in residential, commercial, and industrial settings throughout the southeastern United States. We are always looking at innovative solutions and cutting edge technologies to provide our clients with cost effective and efficient approaches to remediating a site. Universal has proven capabilities in soil vapor extraction, air sparging, dual phase extraction, bioremediation, air stripping, in-situ treatment, passive barrier wall treatment, free product recovery, material stabilization, ex-situ treatment, and source removal. Many of these projects have been completed under state-funded clean-up programs and Brownfield redevelopment sites. Universal has developed a solid reputation in the regulatory community for successful clean-up projects and we are recognized as a trusted partner by our clients. We work closely with all vested parties to drive timely and successful remediation projects so that we can protect our client’s assets and limit their risk in any situation.

Specialty Environmental Services

Universal has performed specialty environmental services under numerous local, state and federal regulated programs since 1984. These programs assist property owners with contaminated sites by providing funding and/or tax incentives for clean-up activities. We not only have assisted our clients with technical consulting services for these complex projects, but we often aid in securing funding and tax relief appropriations through private, local, state, and federal resources. Our technical team is experienced in providing specialty environmental services under the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to name a few. We are a recognized leader in the southeastern United States for providing Brownfields and land revitalization consulting services. Universal is proud to be a registered FDEP Petroleum Pre-Approval Program Contractor and has an outstanding track record of providing closure for complex sites across the entire State of Florida.

Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint

Universal has provided asbestos and lead-based paint surveys, abatement design, and monitoring services for hundreds of clients throughout the southeastern United States. We have helped clients evaluate and manage hazardous materials in buildings, both during normal business operations and in buildings undergoing renovation and demolition. Our building assessments of suspect materials generally involves three phases of assessment including a walkthrough inspection, collection and analysis of bulk building material samples for analysis, and development of a report on the assessment results. The walkthrough inspection includes a visual inspection of the building, particularly areas where materials suspected of having asbestos or lead-based paint may be located. Our assessment includes an evaluation of the location, quantity, condition, accessibility, and friability of such materials. If suspect asbestos or lead-based paint are located, Universal staff will collect bulk samples for analysis by an accredited laboratory. Universal’s formal report to the client includes assessment findings, results of laboratory analyses, sample locations, and recommendations. We will often assist our clients with abatement design, oversight activities, clearance sampling, and operation and maintenance plans to mitigate these hazardous materials. Universal provides sound, client-focused solutions for the management of hazardous materials so our clients can maintain a healthy and safe work environment for their employees.

Indoor Air Quality

In recent years, indoor air quality issues have come to the forefront of building owners and building managers concerns. Mold, allergens, and other airborne contaminants cause lost productivity of employees and potential liability under workman’s compensation regulations. Universal carries out inspections, testing, and long term monitoring to provide organizations with appropriate recommendations and solutions to mitigate these issues. Investigation and diagnostic testing of the indoor environment for potential exposures are conducted by our professional indoor air quality specialists. Universal recommends solutions for problems which are discovered, as well as, for improvements to the comfort of building occupants. Universal has experience in providing mitigation design and air monitoring for remediation contractors in a wide variety of situations, including post-hurricane moisture intrusion events. We provide these professional services for many built environments including industrial, commercial, education, and critical environments like hospitals and other health care facilities. Universal is a trusted partner to assist you in maintaining optimal indoor environmental quality and employee safety and comfort within any working environment.

Wetland Services

Universal provides wetland-related services, including wetland assessments and delineations, both of which property owners or prospective buyers can use to determine the developable acreage that is present and if wetland impacts would be required for the intended future development. Our services include wetland assessments and delineations, wetland determinations, mitigation of wetland impacts, mitigation banking assistance, regulatory coordination, and preparation and submittal of environmental impact permits. The Universal staff can assist clients with all aspects of coordination, permitting, and mitigation associated with projects that have an adverse effect on jurisdictional wetlands (and/or surface waters) through the local, state, and federal agencies. These agencies typically include local city and county government, State Environmental Protection Departments, State Water Management Districts, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The primary goal of Universal is to assist clients by providing solutions to their wetlands needs and to assure land use and building development can be completed in accordance with environmental regulations.

Threatened & Endangered Species Services

Most state and federally permitted projects require evaluation of threatened and endangered species and consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and/or state wildlife agencies. The technical staff at Universal can perform protected species assessments to determine the potential for any state and/or federally listed animal or plant species to have an effect on the development of a property. The Universal staff will review various databases, including local, state, and federal, to assist in determining if listed species are known to be present on or near a subject property, followed by field reconnaissance to look for direct evidence of listed species on the property. Our team can also assist in coordination, permitting, and mitigation of impacts to listed species and their habitat through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) and the USFWS. Universal staff members include FFWCC Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agents who are permitted to relocate gopher tortoises from a project site to on or off-site recipient areas. Universal employs experienced biologists that have conducted hundreds of site surveys for threatened and endangered species throughout the southeastern United States. Our skilled staff is able to perform surveys for threatened and endangered plants, animals, and aquatic species.

Property Condition Assessment & Condominium Conversion Assessment

Real estate investors are interested in ensuring that their investment is a solid one, with no surprises. Universal tailors our Property Condition Assessments (PCAs) to the asset and the investor’s concerns. Prospective purchasers of buildings often require PCAs to determine the future costs required to maintain and operate the building. When apartments are being converted to condominiums or when developers are turning condominiums over to the homeowners association, a Condominium Conversion Assessment is required to determine the life-cycle of key building components. This study is utilized to anticipate future costs which will be paid by the association. These studies are non-intrusive, non-destructive evaluations of the major building systems including roof, frame, pools, walls, heating and air conditioning systems. Also assessed are plumbing, electrical systems, pavement, landscaping, and “Americans with Disabilities Act” provisions. Universal can provide a service added value for complex projects through our technical resources within our Building Inspection Division team. This team brings the experience and knowledge to enhance any PCA project.