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SBA Crash Course – Topic 4: The Transaction Screen Assessment

The Transaction Screen Assessment

Transaction Screen Assessments (TSAs) are often ordered in place of the Records Search with Risk Assessment (RSRA) due to either a lack of completed/signed Environmental Questionnaire, bank policy, and/or the site is a car wash only facility.

The only place in the SBA SOP that specifically states when you can use a TSA as a minimum starting point for environmental due diligence, is for a car wash only facility (as long as the property doesn’t also have a gas station, automotive servicing, etc.). This is because car wash facilities are relatively low-risk operations when it comes to potential environmental impacts. For all other higher risk operations, including automotive repair and maintenance, the due diligence must start with a Phase I ESA.

To clear up any confusion, if you are using SBA’s NAICS code list to determine if your property operation is environmentally sensitive, the code for car wash only facilities is “8111 Automotive Repair & Maintenance,” which is technically an environmentally sensitive industry; however, the subtext reads “except for ‘car wash only’ facilities which can start with a Transaction Screen.” Also, you can begin with a TSA if the subject property qualifies for a RSRA, as a starting point, as the RSRA is a minimum requirement for non-environmentally sensitive operations.

Many lenders, SBA and non-SBA lenders alike, are more comfortable having an environmental professional’s eyes on a property and being able to rely on their opinion rather than using a RSRA. In these instances, the Transaction Screen is a lower-cost alternative to the Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment and can be a useful tool in a lender’s environmental policy. A Transaction Screen Assessment (TSA) is a cost-effective environmental due diligence report, but based on the additional work required, a TSA will take longer than a RSRA to complete.