- Did it's Author Dissappear to the Four Winds?
- Has An IPO or Merger Mania Moved Them Out of
Ive received two phone calls today requesting that work be
performed on sites that have already been studied and whose reports have been lost.
Furthermore, the companies that had performed these studies no longer existed and the
professional who had signed the report was nowhere to be found. This is not an uncommon
situation. A quick review of the roles of the registered geologists in the state of
California reveals that roughly 50 percent of them live out of state. What does this mean?
What this suggests to me is that the mergers that occurred in the
mid eighties have moved a lot of the local expertise out of state. Most of the
acquisitions that occurred during this time involved larger engineering firms out of the
Midwestern and Eastern United States buying up the smaller consulting firms in California.
When times got tough in California in the mid nineties, these firms naturally consolidated
around their home base, which was generally not in California. The better people (the
registered ones) were asked to relocate and, because there was no local work, they were
glad to do so. All of their reports and records went with them.
Now the situation has evolved where there are a number of real
estate transactions occurring on properties where these consulting firms performed work.
Naturally, the original reports have been misplaced and, because they were performed for
an original real estate transaction, were never submitted to the regulatory agencies and
are not a part of the public record. The companies have disappeared and the bank that is
financing the loan on the property wants a fresh report. Either the prior consultant must
be found to review and update his/her report, which is usually relatively inexpensive, or
a new report must be prepared.
The simplest solution to this problem is that the landowner
should maintain fastidious records and the reports should not be lost. This is seldom the
case. A second alternative would be to place these reports into the public record by
submitting them to a public agency. If there is even a 1% chance that any contamination
may exist on this site, this is not advisable. You may end up paying your lifes
savings for the purpose of record keeping. The last alternative is to use companies that
have California headquarters and that have a long-standing California history. This may
sound provincial, but makes a lot of sense if youre the two people who called me
today and hired me to restudy their sites. If they would have used us in the first place,
Id update our report for 1/10th of the price.
At the very least, research the consultant that you hire
thoroughly and try as best as you can to satisfy yourself that theyll be around in
five years when you need to update your report.
Bernard J. Luther
If you have any questions contact Applied Consultants at
1-800-266-6577, or E-Mail at mailto:HYDRO1BJL@aol.com