Indoor Air Quality at Work

July 19, 2009

What Building Facility Managers Can Do to Promote Good Indoor Air Quality

Most of us work in an office and spend 8 hours a day in an environment that we have little or no control of.  Which leads us to ask the question “Who” is in control of the indoor environment where we work?

As an occupant of an office building, understanding the role of the building management in maintaining a healthy and comfortable indoor environment is an important step in understanding how you can fit into the picture. EPA and NIOSH recommend that every building manager obtain and use the Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers.  The guide provides practical suggestions on preventing, identifying, and resolving indoor air quality (IAQ) problems in public and commercial buildings.

The guide helps building managers:

  1. Designate an Indoor Air Quality Representative, who serves as the contact for indoor environment issues. The IAQ representative should be accountable for the quality of the indoor environment and should have the authority, knowledge, and training to oversee or carry out the following steps in a good indoor air quality management plan:
  2. 2.      Assess the current condition of the indoor air in the building by:
    1. identifying and reviewing records pertaining to the HVAC design and operation
    2. developing an indoor air profile of the building, identifying potential pollutant sources, if feasible
  3. Address any existing and potential indoor air quality problems.
  4. 4.      Educate building staff about indoor air quality management by:
    1. providing training opportunities
    2. establishing clear pollutant source management policies
  5. 5.      Operate and maintain the building and ventilation system for good indoor air by:
    1. establishing or reinforcing standard operating and maintenance procedures
    2. responding quickly to leaks, floods, and other accidents that occur in buildings to prevent indoor air quality problems from developing
  6. 6.      Manage potential pollutant sources such as:
    1. smoking
    2. remodeling and renovation materials and furnishings
    3. housekeeping and pest control products
    4. exhaust fumes from loading docks or garages
  7. Communicate with tenants and occupants about their roles in maintaining good indoor air quality.
  8. Establish clear procedures for responding to indoor air-related complaints.
  9. Keep a record of reported health complaints to aid in solving indoor air-related problems. This will help improve the chances of correctly diagnosing and then fixing problems, especially if a pattern in complaints can be detected.

You can download the guide at the EPA web site by following the link below.

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/largebldgs/baqtoc.html

Microshield can help you with the implementation of the guide and provide the necessary training to successfully provide a healthy work environment.

www.Microshield-ES.com


Microshield IAQ and the American Indoor Air Quality Council

July 17, 2009

The American Indoor Air Quality Council promotes awareness, education and certification in the field of indoor air quality.  Our mission is to establish credible certifications that provide value to certificants, their clients and the public.  It is their goal to serve the public interest with integrity as an independent certifying body.

As the Council grew, so did interest in starting similar organizations in other states. In 1998, the corporation changed its name to the American Indoor Air Quality Council, and began to grow nationally.  By September 2000, the Council had grown to over 500 members with 23 corporate sponsors.  By 2002, the IAQ Council had reached approximately 3000 members, 200 corporate sponsors and had 46 local chapters in 26 states and several international locations.

On January 1, 2006, a major event changed the scope of the Council’s activities. As part of a unification agreement with the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) and the Indoor Environmental Standards Organization (IESO), the Council no longer offers membership services, but instead focuses exclusively on certification programs.  At the end of 2006, the IAQ Council had 5351 certificants in nine disciplines related to IAQ consulting, investigation, remediation and administration.  Governance of the IAQ Council, The operations and governance of the IAQ Council function at three levels. Final executive authority is vested in a Board of Directors by the Council’s bylaws.

The Board of Directors in turn appoints a National Advisory Board to assist them in their decisions. The National Advisory Board is composed of both IAQ professionals and members of the public sector, and offers the Directors an independent perspective on issues facing the IAQ industry. The National Advisory Board also oversees the implementation of basic certification and operational guidelines common to all Council  certification programs.

Finally, each Council certification program is operated by a separate Certification Board, which presides over the awarding of certifications in its category. Certification Boards are composed of experts who have field experience in the values required for eh certification, and each of them holds the certification that he or she votes to award. Certification Board members develop and approve all examination materials and eligibility requirements, and review all application materials. They approve the awarding of certifications by unanimous vote.

http://www.microshield-es.com


What to Look For in an IAQ Professional

July 17, 2009

What to look for when Hiring an IAQ Consultant

Most of us spend 90% of our time in indoor environments. Indoor air quality (IAQ) issues impact the lives of people across the globe. Problems with poor air quality in buildings and homes can result in health concerns, liability issue, lost productivity, and decreased property values.

IAQ problems in non-industrial buildings such as homes, schools and offices are often caused by complex, inter-related issues. Diagnosing and fixing the sources of poor IAQ may require the professional expertise of one or more consultants or contractors. It is important that individuals be highly qualified to fully investigate, identify and/or mitigate the total problem according to recognized industry standards and guidelines. Verification of contracting or remediation work, if requested, should be conducted by an equally qualified third-party consultant.

Many firms are available today to help find solutions to IAQ problems. However, in most parts of the country the IAQ industry is not regulated. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you utilize a qualified professional.

The good news is, there is an easy way to make sure that only qualified individuals and firms deal with these complex problems. The largest organization of trades and professionals dealing with IAQ issues is the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA). Since 1995, IAQA has delivered the industry’s most prestigious and respected IAQ and mold training programs. Many IAQA course alumni with sufficient experience and knowledge have also become certified by the American Indoor Air Quality Council (AmIAQ), prestigious, independent certification body for the industry. These trained and certified professionals are available to resolve your IAQ issues.

Contact Microshield Environmental Services Today.

Microshield Environmental Services, LLC & John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
The most trusted names in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

www.microshield-es.com


Beware of the “Free Mold Inspection”

July 17, 2009

Like any other industry, the mold remediation and inspection business has its share of scams, cons, and rip off artists who seek to profit from your lack of knowledge about mold.  

The worst perpetrators of mold scams are mold removal/remediation contractors who also offer mold inspections and mold testing services.  Their scam is creating non-existent mold problems and charging you thousands of dollars to fix them.

If you encounter a mold inspector who also does mold removal/remediation, (or visa-versa) Just Say NO! There are plenty of quality contractors available that don’t do both.

And especially watch out for contractors who offer “FREE MOLD inspections”. That’s a major red flag!

Many contractors offer “FREE” clearance testing also, (which is equivalent to grading their own test). Don’t fall for it! Clearance testing is crucial to the mold remediation process and should never be performed by a mold removal contractor waiting to get paid for his work.

The best way to avoid getting scammed is to avoid using mold removal/remediation contractors for mold inspections.  A certified inspector that is not in the mold removal business will have no vested interest in how your inspection and testing comes out.  The inspector’s position should always be unbiased, neutral, and without conflict of interest.  Be sure whoever you do choose isn’t looking for remediation work for their own company.  Sadly may unscrupulous companies use the “FREE MOLD INSPECTION” as a tool to justify their inflated remediation proposals.  These contractors play on your fear of mold and use their testing and inspection to foster and justify this fear.

If you have any questions or feel you may have a mold problem visit us at www.Microshield-ES.com


Florida Mold Law; Senate Bill 2234

July 17, 2009

Florida Senate Bill 2234 was. This law will prevent conflicts of interest; require education and licensing amongst other requirements for mold inspectors and removal companies alike.   This law was designed to protect the consumers.    The law will be effective in 2010; until then there are no requirements.  “Caveat Emptor”  “Let the Buyer Beware” when hiring a mold inspection company.

These few basic tips and information can help you avoid getting scammed and ensure that your mold issues are handled ethically, honestly and professionally. Take the time to read it. If you have any questions, please call us.

1.    Make sure your mold inspector is not in the mold removal/remediation business.

We believe it’s a serious conflict of interest for the company you pay to “inspect” for mold also profits from the “removal” of mold. There are plenty of companies out there that do both, the question is; how can you ever truly be sure that they are not creating more work for themselves – work that doesn’t really need to be done? The opportunity for corruption is far too great. The only way to know for sure that you’re not being “set up” and scammed into spending thousands of dollars you don’t need to spend is to make sure the person you hire for mold inspections has no affiliation with any mold removal contractor.

2.    Check your mold removal/remediation contractor’s experienced and references.

AND CALL THE REFERENCES! Don’t take anyone’s word for it when it comes to shelling out thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars for remediation work. Ask for references for jobs that are at least 10 to 12 months old. Why? Because every mold remediation job looks great as soon as it’s finished. But if remediation work is not done correctly, it can take several months to realize it.  As a rule, if mold does not reoccur in that time, then the work was done correctly. A remediation contractor, who has nothing to hide, has no problem giving you references. If a contractor gets offend by your request, say Good-Bye!

3.    Never allow a contractor to provide clearance testing for his own remediation.

Many remediation contractors will offer to provide FREE clearance testing after they’re work is complete. Nice gesture, but don’t fall for it. The reason they do that is so they pass their own work and get paid. Also, they more than likely quoted you a firm price in order to get the work in the first place and if a third party inspector fails his post-remediation clearance test, he has to keep coming back until he gets it right. A “free clearance test” from a contractor offering to pass his own work is not a good deal for you. Always insist on an independent third party post-remediation clearance testing and make sure your agreement with the contractor states that he will come back and correct his work if it fails.  And don’t settle the account until you see the clearance report in writing and be sure to have a post-remediation clearance test that CLEARS       your home before you pay your remediation contractor. If you agree to make progress payments, make sure the final payment is a significant percentage of the total job price so the contractor is motivated to finish the job correctly.

4.   Ensure your contractor is a Florida Licensed Contractor.

Anyone can print “Licensed and Insured” on a business card but not everyone can actually pass the Florida Licensing Exam.  Many remediation contractors will tell you that they don’t need to be licensed but the truth is that each governing body of each Florida municipality has different requirements.  Some municipalities require that you be licensed if your remediation work involves any other licensed contractor such as an electrician, plumber or Air Conditioning Contractor.  Not many remediation jobs won’t involve an electrician or plumber.  Other municipalities require no license for those only conducting “repair” work or the removal and replacement of wallboard and cabinets.  Regardless of the current status of any Florida municipality Governor Crist has recognized the need to provide Florida citizens a law that requires the licensing of all mold inspectors and remediation contractors and will no longer allow a remediation contractor to conduct his own testing or clearance.  Senate Bill 2234 signed into law on June 28, 2007 effective 2010.

www.Microshield-ES.com


Are you working in a Healthy Indoor Air Quality Environment?

July 17, 2009

Microshield IAQ For Buildings and Property Managers

Microshield Environmental Services specializes in providing Indoor Air Quality solutions that work. We take into consideration the whole picture, and then provide you as the property owner, options that greatly improve the air quality in your property.

According to the World Health Organization, 30% of buildings experience some form of sick building syndrome. Problems involving mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria, stale air, poor ventilation, odors, and microbes are commonplace.

For these problems, Microshield has the solution: a proactive, IAQ and HVAC Management Program.

Many commercial and industrial facilities are faced with the problem of Poor Indoor Air Quality, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). In many cases, poor ventilation, mold and bacteria, or excessive emissions lead to employee complaints of headaches, nausea, and general respiratory tract irritation, leading to decreased productivity. Sick building syndrome has recently received much media attention, and has been brought to the forefront of workplace safety concerns.

Microshield Environmental Services site inspections include:

  • Inspection of the structure inside and out with emphasis on ventilation system, building layout, and structures condition
  • Thorough inspection and evaluation of ventilation systems, and air flow patterns
  • Employee interviews and review of health records
  • Inspections for hazardous chemical usage and storage
  • Air sampling for biological aerosols, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and other irritants and pollutants
  • Evaluation of the moisture content of building materials and HVAC system throughout the building
  • Indoor Air Quality Home / Building Test

Based on the findings of our investigation, Microshield will recommend corrective actions, if necessary, as well as assist your organization in achieving environmental conditions that will provide optimum health and comfort for your employees. If a potentially serious indoor air quality problem is documented, Microshield can provide the following services:

  • Write specifications for, and oversee implementation of, required corrective actions.
  • Expert witness testimony during litigation.
  • Supply required Right-to-Know information to employees.
  • Expert Investigation services.

Visit us at www.microshield-es.com


What do you do if you have mold growing in your new home during construction?

July 17, 2009

In an industry choked with energy efficient, high capacity, low E, variable speed, high seer, energy saving, cost effective, options its easy to see why it quickly becomes overwhelming for the new home buyer to narrow their selection when it comes to builder options.

Homes are most definitely built more efficient and structurally sound as was evident in last years hurricane season. And yes Builders have successfully developed new building techniques and continually improved upon their design, function, and efficiency of the homes they build. But still many of the things builders can and should include in their homes they just don’t.

They continue to overlook many of the major issues confronting today’s home buyer. Primarily mold. Yes Mold. What exactly is available to today’s home builder or more importantly today’s home buyer? And why aren’t we more aware of these options?

Mold pretreatment is available. Its just that mold pretreatment is marketed directly to the builder. Its left up to the Buyer to ensure that their home has been mold pretreated.

I researched many new home mold pretreatment programs and found quite a few out there in web world. I found chat boards full of talk about this mold pretreatment or that. Talk about whether or not EPA registration was necessary.

It took me some time. I did my homework. I spoke to many builders and buyers. Talked with a lot of company brass. I even spent a lot of time discussing antimicrobials with many different chemists. But I kept coming full circle to Microshield Environmental Services.

So you have to ask yourself if its there, affordable, and effective, why aren’t they all using it.

Well I have to believe its us. The buying public. Today’s savvy home buyer. Yes that’s right. In today’s market if you want it you have to ask for it. So get out there and demand that your home that was exposed to the elements during construction be mold pretreated with Microshield.

I truly believe that in the very near future all homes will require a mold pretreatment just like they require a termite pretreatment. When it comes time to sell your home this may very well become an issue. So find a pro-active builder that cares about the homes they build and get a Microshielded home.

The research is easy you can just search the web for mold pretreatment or go straight to the Microshield Environmental Services website at http://www.microshield-pretreat.com/


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