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  • Writer's pictureTom Miller, CCIM

Environmental Concerns in Older Industrial Buildings

New, cutting-edge buildings have their advantages, but older industrial and commercial buildings can surprise you. Many of them boast unique characteristics that make them worth a second look for a wide range of industries. Still, there are environmental concerns in older industrial buildings that should be carefully factored, as potential liability issues down the line could bring a big economic hit. Before you move forward with an older industrial building, here are a pair of environmental issues to consider.

Asbestos is Common

Asbestos is one of the most common concerns with older industrial buildings. It’s generally assumed that all asbestos should be removed immediately, no matter the cost or inconvenience, but that’s always needed. A critical first step is identifying all areas that contain asbestos. This is easily done with a qualified inspection – ask an experienced industrial real estate agent for a recommendation). There is no absolute obligation to remove all building materials containing asbestos, and in many instances, it’s possible (and more practical) to retain those materials, with one big caveat. Any such building materials should be in sound condition with no risk of fibers from the material becoming airborne or friable. In its solid state, asbestos does not pose any known health problems.

So is Mold

Mold is often found in older buildings. Many prospective buyers direct their attention to testing air quality, but this is really just a symptom of a larger issue. Instead, buyers should investigate the cause of the wet condition that created mold in the first place – leaking roof, walls, windows, pipes, malfunctioning HVAC systems, etc. Until this is addressed, mold will continue to be an issue. And once the source is located and repaired, elimination procedures can be considered for the existing mold condition. Mold treatments can vary widely and will be dictated by the extent of the contamination.

Are They Deal Breakers?

No. Both issues deserve due consideration, but neither is uncommon. As long as adequate professional attention is given to the matter, there’s no reason to instantly cross it off your short list. Ask your real estate professional for more information and recommendations for services that can provide inspections and reporting.


Miller Industrial Properties, Sparks, Reno, Nevada
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