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Notice Listings on Environmental Review
Notice Section 1.4.A.3 Environmental Review Notice Section 1.4.A.16 Lead Based Paint Hazard
Questions on Environmental Review

Environmental Requirements for RAD

What is the required format of a Phase I Site Assessment to meet RAD Environmental requirements?

If you are using FHA financing, the Phase I will be ordered by your FHA lender, and the format will be in accordance with Chapter 9 of the MAP Guide. Otherwise, check with the agency that will be issuing the Environmental Review approval; the Phase I will need to be acceptable to the approving agency. It is a good idea to procure the Phase I from a firm that has experience preparing reports that have been found acceptable by the specific agency that will be issuing the Environmental Review approval. If you are not using FHA insurance, you should check with the entity performing the assessment to determine if a full Phase I will be required.

Responsible Entity Will Not Complete Environmental Review

We are a PHA and have been unable to get the Responsible Entity to complete the Environmental Review to ensure the property meets requirements for 24 CFR Part 50 or Part 58, as applicable. Is the Environmental Review still required in this instance?

In cases where the Responsible Entity chooses not to complete the assessment, HUD will complete the assessment under Part 50. Please contact your Transaction Manager for further instruction.

SHPO Consultation for RAD Conversions

Is SHPO or Section 106 review required on a RAD conversion project that is more than 40 years old? ?Does it matter whether it's minor rehab, gut rehab or demolition?

RAD requires Environmental Review approval (see Notice PIH-2012-32 REV-1 pages 84-85).? The required Environmental Review includes consultation with SHPO.

Use of a Part 50 Review for a PBV Conversion

Under what circumstances would an environmental review for a PBV conversion be conducted under Part 50?

HUD can determine to perform a Part 50 review instead of having an RE perform a Part 58 review under 24 CFR 58.11. When a RAD application includes FHA insurance (or other Part 50 program), and funding sources that are authorized for Part 58, such as HOME, are also being contemplated for that site, HUD can use 24 CFR 58.11 to prepare one environmental review under Part 50. It is important that the applicant notify HUD of this situation early on in the process.

Environmental Justice Review for RAD Conversions

Do RAD conversions trigger an Environmental Justice review?

An Environmental Justice (EJ) review may be triggered if the conversion involves new construction, either on a new site or an existing site. The goal of EJ is to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any disproportionately high and adverse impacts to minority or low-income populations. The process is to first determine if there are any adverse impacts. If there are, the PHA should work to change the project so that they are avoided or at least minimized. If adverse impacts remain, a determination of whether there is a minority of low-income population disproportionately affected must be made. Any mitigation decisions must be based on meaningful public outreach to the affected community. Additional information regarding completing an EJ and how to document the findings as part of the environmental review can be found here: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/environmental-review/environmental-justice/

Use of a Transaction Screen versus a Phase 1 for non-FHA PBRA Conversion

If we are doing PBRA, very minimal rehab (mostly cosmetic) with no FHA, I'm understanding that we need to do either a Transaction screen or a Phase I. How do we know if a transaction screen would suffice?

The Notice and the RAD Environmental Review Guidance both discuss the transaction screen option. To qualify, you must be converting to PBRA (non-FHA), and cannot be engaging in sub rehab or new construction. The transaction screen must be in accordance with ASTM E1528-14. The only deviation from that standard is the required preparer qualifications that are set forth in the Notice and the Guidance. If any potential environmental concerns are identified, a Phase I ESA in accordance with ASTM E1527-13 would be required. If the site owner has an idea that there could be concerns with the site, they may want to simply order a Phase I ESA.

Review Requirements for Dispositions with a Transfer of Assistance

Does an environmental review need to be done on dispositions in transfer of assistance?

Yes. If HUD is taking a federal action, an environmental review is required unless there is a categorical exclusion in the applicable regulation (Part 50 or Part 58) that specifically excludes that action from all or part of environmental review requirements. For example, some dispositions may be partially excluded from environmental review (categorically excluded subject to the Federal laws and authorities cited in 24 CFR 50.4 or 24 CFR 58.5) if the structure or land disposed of will be retained for the same use. The review will be conducted based on the reasonably forseeable use of the land or structure that will be disposed of.

Eligibility of Units Located in a Flood Zone for RAD Conversion

Can you convert units located in a flood zone to RAD?

RAD is subject to the floodplain management regulations at 24 CFR Part 55. Those regulations do not prohibit assisance in floodplains, but do require a process to consider and mitigate impacts. Please keep in mind that in most cases, activities in a floodway will be prohibited.

Asbestos Abatement

How should RAD conversions mitigate the presence of asbestos containing material (ACM)?

RAD conversions must follow the ACM guidance found in Chapter 9 of the MAP Guide. However, as of 3/27/18, HUD is in the process of updating this section of the MAP guide and has issued a MAP Guide Waiver with the below interim guidance which is applicable to all RAD conversions: If Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) or suspect ACM is identified at a facility, HUD requires a response action to address the risk. Response actions may include complete removal, limited removal/repair, encapsulation, enclosure or management of the ACM under an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Program, or a combination of these, as recommended by an accredited professional. If ACM or suspect ACM remains after the initial identification and, if applicable, response action, an asbestos O&M program shall be implemented. The following are examples for when certain response actions may be appropriate. A. Removal 1. Damaged friable materials 2. Friable materials in good condition with high potential for disturbance (e.g., accessible pipe or tank insulation, ceiling tiles where air exchanges occur in plenum above, ceiling tiles that are required to be moved to access mechanical equipment or piping on a routine basis, etc.) B. Limited removal/repair, encapsulation or enclosure. 1. Damaged non-friable materials (limited removal/repair) 2. Limited damage to ceiling texture (limited removal/repair) 3. More extensive wall and/or ceiling texture damage or highly friable texture 4. Pipe insulation with limited damage but with limited potential for disturbance/impact (enclosure or removal) C. Operation & Maintenance (“O&M”) Plan 1. Non-friable materials in good condition 2. Joint compound or wall and ceiling textures in good condition 3. Adhesive ceiling tiles with no real potential for disturbance 4. Friable pipe insulation materials in mechanical areas in good condition with limited potential for disturbance/impact by routine maintenance activities

Shelf Life for Phase 1 Report

What is the shelf life of a Phase 1 Report for an environmental review?

Please see the MAP Guide chapter 9, section 3.A.1.c: "The Phase I ESA must be conducted (meaning the earliest of the date of the site visit, records review documents, or interviews) within one-year of the submission to HUD. HUD may require updates or additional analysis in specific circumstances." For non-FHA PBRA transactions, if the Phase 1 ESA was conducted over 1 year but less than 5 years prior to submission, then it can be updated by a Transaction Screen (in accordance with ASTM E 1528-14) that is up to 1 year old upon submission.

Lead Based Paint Testing Requirements

Many PHAs have what they consider “Senior” properties, however, these properties often may not have the official designation in the Housing Authorities 5 year or Annual Plan. Are these properties exempt from lead-based paint testing as part of the environmental review of a RAD conversion?

Lead-based paint requirements are applicable to RAD conversions that were constructed prior to 1978 in accordance with 24 CFR Part 35. The only exceptions allowed include: (1) the project is proposed for demolition provided the property will remain unoccupied until demolition, (2) the housing is designated exclusively for the elderly or persons with disabilities, unless a child of less than 6 years of age resides or is expected to reside there, and (3) zero-bedroom dwelling units, unless a child of less than six years of age resides or is expected to reside in the unit. The Section 8 program does not allow for an owner to discriminate against an elderly head of household who has custody of a child as long as there is an appropriately sized unit for the household. As such, many properties that are thought of as “Senior” may not qualify under the exception since they might not be exclusively used for the elderly; as such, they will be required to follow the LBP requirements for the RAD program.

Part 50 Reviews During COVID-19

How will Multifamily FHA deals and RAD conversions subject to an Environmental Review under Part 50, manage consultation under Section 106 for jurisdictions where these offices have temporarily closed?

Certain State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs) and federally recognized tribes have indicated that they are unable to participate in the standard 30-day consultation period during an office closure. The National Conference of State Historic Preservation Offices maintains a database https://www.achp.gov/coronavirus with the operating status of each SHPO office and whether or not it can accept electronic submissions.  There is no equivalent database for THPOs or for federally recognized tribes; therefore, federal agencies must reach out directly to assess their status. According to the ACHP, the Section 106 deadlines for a SHPO and/or THPO response will be considered paused while an office is closed or work conditions are such that the SHPOs and/or THPOs are unable to carry out their Section 106 duties due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  This pause would also apply to consultation with federally recognized tribes for projects that involve ground disturbance. HUD will not issue a Firm Commitment (for FHA-insured loans), the RAD Conversion Commitment (RCC) (for public housing conversions), RAD Conversion Agreement (for Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) conversions)), or RAD Approval Letter (for Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation/Single Room Occupancy (Mod Rehab/SRO) conversions until it has met its obligations under Section 106. HUD can generally accommodate a consultation process that requires more than 30 days. However, HUD will be monitoring this situation closely to minimize or avoid any adverse effect that office closures may have on applications. Please alert HUD if a project has an urgent time frame.

Part 58 Reviews During COVID-19

What guidance or relief has HUD made available for Responsible Entities (RE) completing an Environmental Review under Part 58 during this period of COVID-19?

HUD is temporarily allowing for flexibilities in the signature and certification process for the 7015.15 Request Release of Funds (RROF) and 7015.16 Authority to Use Grant Funds (AUGF) forms. Instructions for REs and HUD Field Offices can be found here: https://files.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/RROF-AUGF-Signature-Certification-Process-COVID-19.pdf Additionally, HUD is expanding the options for public review of the Environmental Review Record (ERR). Instructions and guidance can be found here: https://files.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/Consultation-Review-Comment-on-Environmental-Review-Record-COVID-19.pdf

Site Access for Part 50 Reviews During COVID-19

For RAD conversions subject to an Environmental Review under 24 CFR Part 50 that require a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), will HUD accept a report without a physical site inspection?

If the environmental provider can access the site, but not the interior of buildings or units, HUD will accept an ESA with an exterior inspection only, if the ESA is in accordance with the ASTME-1527-13 standard and the ESA preparer has another adequate means of viewing the interior. Acceptable alternative means include: Conducting phone interviews with facility staff in order to complete their typical inspection questionnaires. In this example, the physical inspection would be replaced by interior and exterior photos taken by management staff. A list of photo requirements can be found here. After the engineering firms receive and review the photos sent by the facility, a phone interview should be scheduled with facility staff to answer any questions that the engineer has about items in the photos and to complete their typical inspection questionnaires; Publicly available sources, including satellite photos, and drone video can be utilized as an additional resource to verify site specifics. If traveling to the site is not feasible (e.g. due to governmental restrictions on travel or shelter in place/quarantine orders), HUD will accept the ESA without a physical site visit for projects already in HUD’s portfolio, (i.e., not applicable to transfers of assistance) as long as the site is considered low risk based on current and historical uses.  Sites with past, current or adjacent uses that include but are not limited to underground storage tanks, contaminated soil or groundwater, dumps, solid or hazardous waste landfills, brownfields or superfund sites are considered high-risk and will continue to require a physical site visit by the ESA preparer. ESA reports without a physical site visit must: Explain the reason why a site visit did not take place; Meet the ASTM E1527-13 standard (or most recent version); Include adequate means of viewing the interior and exterior (e.g. an onsite rep could live stream a walk-through of the facility and grounds, or send photos and video of the site and grounds). For projects that are new to HUD’s portfolio through a transfer of assistance or that do not meet the low risk criteria, the ESA preparer must conduct a physical site visit. However, HUD will accept a draft ESA report with the Financing Plan or Conversion Plan that includes all information except the physical site visit as long as the preparer views the interior and exterior by other means.  The final ESA with the site visit must be submitted before HUD will issue the RAD Conversion Commitment (RCC) (for public housing conversions), RAD Conversion Agreement (for Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) conversions)), or RAD Approval Letter (for Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation/Single Room Occupancy (Mod Rehab/SRO) conversions).

Lead Based Paint, Asbestos, and Radon Testing during COVID-19

For RAD conversions subject to an Environmental Review under Part 50, how should the PHA or owner conduct lead based paint (LBP), asbestos (ACM), and radon testing and reporting for the ESA if an environmental professional is unable to access dwelling units due to COVID-19?

The PHA or owner must take the following steps to conduct LBP, ACM and radon testing if unable to access dwelling units. For any property built before 1978, an Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Plan will automatically be put into place for LBP and ACMs. The O&M Plan can be terminated if subsequent inspections with access to dwelling units determine it is not necessary. For properties requiring a lead based paint survey, asbestos survey, or radon testing, completion of the surveys/testing can be deferred until such time as the property can be inspected, but must occur before HUD will issue the RCC (for public housing conversions), RAD Conversion Agreement (for PRAC conversions), or RAD Approval Letter (for Mod Rehab/SRO conversions). Recap will continue to hold Concept Calls for RAD public housing conversions and Kickoff Calls (After Conversion Plan Submission) for RAD multifamily conversions (PRAC/Mod Rehab/SRO) without testing being completed. If dwelling unit inspections have not occurred by the time of the Financing Plan, HUD will still accept and begin review of the Financing Plan, even with an incomplete ESA, as long as the Sources and Uses includes an “Environmental Contingency Fund” to cover potential abatement and/or mitigation measures. Lead Based Paint and Asbestos Contingency Fund: The Environmental Contingency Fund must include amounts to cover potential abatement and/or mitigation measures based on costs of such measures on comparable projects. The PHA must describe the approach it used to develop the Environmental Contingency Fund amount, including a description of how the comparable projects are an appropriate predictor of the potential abatement or mitigation costs for the converting project. Radon Contingency Fund: For a single-family residence, the PHA may use an estimate for testing of between $100-$275 per unit and between $1,500-$3,000 per unit for mitigations, or other amounts based on a professional recommendation and as approved by HUD. For a multifamily building, the PHA may use an estimate for testing of between $50-$80 per unit and between $2,500-$4,000 per unit for mitigation, or other amounts based on a professional recommendation and as approved by HUD. Testing must be completed before HUD can issue the RCC (for public housing conversions), RAD Conversion Agreement (for PRAC conversions), or RAD Approval Letter (for Mod Rehab/SRO conversions) by at which point HUD and the PHA or owner can determine if the contingency will still be needed.