When it comes to liability for site contamination, do I need to be wary of commercial and industrial properties in general?

You do in fact need to be wary – at least initially – of any property that was formally used for commercial or industrial purposes. In some cases, you may need to conduct an investigation to confirm or allay such suspicions. You can start by conducting your own research and/or surveys, which do not require any technical investigations and may help you to determine whether your initial suspicions were justified. Extensive information is available in Germany concerning industry specific contaminants, possible input sites, characteristic pollution profiles, and potential hazards.