Real Estate transaction goes bad due to improper cleanup.

Real Estate transaction goes bad due to improper cleanup & costs more in the long run…

This week, we have another story from out in the field, but this time from our Yorkton Saskatchewan operations. Several weeks ago we received a call from a home owner in Yorkton who was selling his house but the potential buyer was planning some reservations that would disturb the vermiculite in the attic. The vermiculite was analyzed by an accredited trusted lab and came back as asbestos containing.

An agreement was made on the purchase of the home with one condition, the vermiculite must be removed and paid for by the seller.

The seller contacted got mold?™ for a quote on the costs to remove the asbestos containing materials. Our Yorkton area manager Jason Forwood went out to take a look at the property to determine how best we could set up containment, temporary shower, find out if other materials such as batt insulation were present and to get a good understanding of the clearance our workers would have in the attic space.

We provided the seller with our quote and sent it via email with the following information in the body of the email.

This is a high risk asbestos abatement that will require OH&S notice of project which is 14 days minimum notice before project can commence. Included in the quote is third party consultant to provide containment pre inspection, equipment DOP testing, background testing, final visual clearance sampling, final air clearance sampling and final report as required by OH&S for High risk asbestos abatement.

3 stage containment with temporary shower including HEPA negative air filtration would be set up to prevent any cross contamination during abatement. All vermiculite and insulation would be double bagged in yellow asbestos bags, washed and removed through shower/chambers. After all ACM vermiculite is removed, the entire containment will undergo a thorough final cleaning, HEPA vacuuming/wet wiping followed by visual inspection by third party consultant. Once visual is approved the entire containment will be sprayed down with fibre lock asbestos glue down before final air clearance testing commences and containment is fully cleared for demobilizing.

The seller decided to take it into his own hands and hire a local company to come in with an insulation truck and suck out the vermiculite without reporting to OH&S, they did not set up containment, decontamination chamber, shower and did not involve a third party consultant to verify that the work was completed satisfactorily.

The buyer contacted an electrical company to have them come in and start replace the wiring as it is currently old knob and tube. The electrician that was contacted knew that vermiculite was previously in the attic and demanded to see a report stating that the work had been completed to satisfaction and that the air quality within the built environment was safe.

The buyer went to the house to start moving in and noticed that their was some debris laying on the carpet. The buyer then contacted got mold?™ for advice and asked if we could have the air tested in the home to make sure it was safe. We proceeded with having the air tested and analyzed by an accredited and trusted lab. Test results came back and fibre counts on one of three floors of the home were above the acceptable threshold of .01 and another was borderline.

Our consultant wrote up a scope of work and provided us with direction as to what procedures must be followed. Following the detailed scope of work, our quote to now re-clean the attic and clean the two floors affected amounted to $3,000 more than the original quote due to the fact that the two floors must now be cleaned as well as the attic, furnace and duct work.

We are not sure what the final outcome of this will be but we felt it would be a great story to write in order to help increase awareness and ultimately stop this from happening to you and others.

got mold?™ New office in Medicine Hat Alberta

got mold?™ New office in Medicine Hat Alberta

The number of calls got mold?™ receives in Southern Alberta has prompted the company to yet again expand its business by hiring a Manager and actively looking for a new office/warehouse space in Medicine Hat. As of November 10th, 2016, Mr. Mark French has assumed the role of Area Manager for Medicine Hat & Area and will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of got mold?™ Medicine Hat operations. Mark brings several years of training and experience in the industry to the got mold?™ team and we look forward to our future growth with Mr. French on the team.

Medicine Hat got mold?™ specializes in finding and fixing sources of unhealthy indoor air; sources which include mold, asbestos, radon, lead, MVOC’s, VOC’s, bacteria from sewer backup and a variety of other contaminants. Calls to got mold?™ originate from insurance companies, commercial, industrial & institutional clients as well as residential customers who typically have either experienced a major event such as fire or flood, or they are having health concerns while in the built environment, notice a smell, or they physically see something they suspect may be affecting the quality of their indoor air. In some cases, there are no visible signs of contamination, but troublesome physical symptoms appear such as headaches, nausea, skin irritation, bleeding noses or breathing challenges.

In all cases, got mold?™ is able to respond by having a skilled investigator examine the building for potential causes of unhealthy indoor air. The investigations are extensive and involve a variety of techniques, technology and if necessary a sampling strategy. Certified 3rd party labs analyze all samples and the results, positive or negative, are compiled and presented to the client in form of a report.

When it comes to removing contaminants, got mold?™ teams go to work utilizing the experience they have gained through the completion of more than 3000 projects throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta. got mold?™ is certified in all the latest contaminant management techniques and does not cut corners.

We look forward to serving home and building owners in Medicine Hat, Brooks, Lethbridge and surrounding areas.

Test for Radon, now is the Best time of year to test your home or office!

Saskatchewan & Alberta are known hotspots in Canada for radon gas, with pockets all over the place. Have your home or office tested now as it is the best time of year for this service.

Radon is a colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soils and rocks. Once this radioactive gas becomes airborne, it attaches itself to particles in the air and can then be inhaled.

Radon can enter your home or office building through foundation cracks and other unsealed openings in basement walls and floors. Radon levels are generally highest in cellars, crawl spaces and basements because these areas are nearest to the source and are typically poorly ventilated.

Although you will experience no immediate symptoms, the gas can damage lungs at the DNA level, potentially leading to cancer, when inhaled at high levels over many years. As a matter of fact Health Canada states that on average, 16% of lung cancer deaths are attributable to radon exposure in Canada. In 2006, an estimated 1,900 lung cancer deaths in Canada were due to radon exposure. Radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. The Lung Association states the same facts and has been very active in promoting awareness.

Health Canada’s new guideline was developed in partnership with the provinces and territories. It is now 200 becquerels (“bec‐ krells”) per cubic metre, much reduced from 800 becquerels per cubic metre in recent years.

Health Canada’s guideline for radon has always been based on the best available scientific evidence of health risk and two recent, independent scientific studies in Europe and North America have shown that the lung cancer risks extend to levels of radon found in some homes.

The only way to determine the actual concentration levels of radon in a home is by a direct measurement. got mold?™ can assist in properly setting up a test for your building. The tests take three to six months to complete. The best time to test is between September and April, when your windows and doors are closed.

Radon can enter any home, new or old. However, remediation options available to you may differ, depending on the type of foundation you have. If building a new home, speak to your builder about construction options that may reduce your risk. Every new home should be tested for radon by the homeowner after occupancy.

What if I get an unacceptably high reading? Radon concentrations in a home can usually be lowered by: reducing the emission from the ground into the building (for example, sealing cracks in cement foundations), and increasing the ventilation in basements and other enclosed areas where radon accumulates. We provide full service radon mitigation and look forward to serving you.

Typically the cost to mitigate radon concerns range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the amount and type of work required in order to effectively mitigate. Please note that radon ‐ reduction techniques may also result in energy savings and lower your utility bills.

Radon levels vary not only from one geographic area to another, but from house to house and building to building. A survey conducted by Health Canada in the 1970s showed that radon levels in certain Canadian cities were higher than in others. However, these same studies showed that it is impossible to predict whether any one house or building will have a high level of radon. Your home or office may have very little radon gas, while your neighbour’s house or office has significant levels.

Based on past experience, multi‐story apartment buildings are much less likely to have radon problems.

How safe are public facilities (hospitals and schools)? Government and Certain jurisdictions are currently testing for radon, for example they are testing school divisions that wish to have their facilities tested. Initial testing has been completed. In the case of health care facilities, officials from Saskatchewan Health will work with Regional Health Authorities and other stakeholder groups to ensure that owners/operators of these facilities have the necessary information to determine the safety of their facilities, and collectively determine if strategies to address radon need to be developed to maintain safe facilities.

Fill out the form to the right to test your home of office for Radon or call 1-888-909-6653

Structural damage caused by water, mold, insurance claim.

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Structural damage caused by water, mold, insurance claim.

Recently, we assessed an insurance claim in Regina Saskatchewan where water was leaking from the main floor kitchen. The leak was hidden as it was caused by strain on a pipe below the sink drain Y to the stand pipe and caused it to crack the pipe in behind the cabinets.

The leak went completely unnoticed for a long period of time. The insured only knew he had a leak when he found what looked like mold growing above the baseboards in the basement. Insurance was called and a claim ensued. The insurance company agreed on a scope of work and a price to get the water damage cleaned up and we commenced services.

Once we opened up the ceiling of the basement, we found that the structural integrity of the building was compromised. The I joists had water damage over what appears to be a long period of time. The long term moisture damage has caused the growth of mold and dry rot on the joists.

When we contacted the insurance adjuster to discuss the issues we found, she informed us that they will not be covering any further damages as the damages are not due to the immediate resulting damage from the water. Since there is a structural concern, we retained the services of an engineer on behalf of our client.

A total of three wood I joists were damaged and the wood webs along with the top and bottom flanges on each of the I joists have excessive decay, leaving the remaining wood structure soft. Sections of the web and flanges have been eaten by the mold to the point that they are missing. The rim joist in the area of the damaged wood I joists along with the 2″ x 4″ wood sill located at the top of the concrete foundation wall have also decayed, leaving the remaining structure soft.

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Following the engineers instructions, we will replace the three I joists that span 13 feet. The I joists will need to be replaced from the outside as there is no way to twist them in. Replacing from the outside requires us to remove and replace some of the siding on our clients home.

In order to follow through with the engineers recommendations we must have an electrician remove wiring and a mechanical contractor remove the ducting that is in the way. We will replace the existing damaged rim joist and sill plate at the top of the concrete foundation and the floor sheeting.

An annual inspection could have potentially saved this homeowner thousands of dollars in repairs that are not being covered by insurance.

 

For more information in regards to our inspections and moisture mapping please visit our web site got mold?™

Attention renovations & Demolition contractors

vermiculite - zonolite - insulation

Attention Renovations & Demolition Contractors!

We have a story that we would like to share in regards to contractors making costly and dangerous mistakes when it comes to asbestos. Our hope is that you will share this information with friends and family and help spread awareness. WorkSafe BC put out this video stating that since the year 2000 more deaths have resulted from asbestos related disease than any other work place injury.

We want you to be aware and protect yourself, your workers, your clients and the environment. Some of the issues we run into are minor, others are moderate to extreme.

Recently, OH&S in Saskatchewan released the new asbestos abatement manual and regulations.  Since its release we have been receiving more and more calls with some not so good situations where contractors have employees performing demolition on buildings built before 1990, without first having an asbestos audit completed. In some cases the asbestos containing materials are uncovered by contractors who are aware and realize right away that they must call in a professional, but other times nobody is made aware and this is where things become quite involved.

In some situations the contractors are performing a site visit after one or two full days and sometimes more where disruption of high risk asbestos containing materials has happened. At this point it is possible that the entire building, including the HVAC system would be compromised. Much worse, the contractors workers were exposed to high counts of asbestos fibres, building occupants are exposed and all of their belongings can even become contaminated and along with asbestos fibre disruption comes costly cleanup following OH&S regulations that must commence.

In North Battleford Sask, we were called out to assess a situation where a contractor bought a building built in the 60’s for an office space. The contractor came up with a game plan as to what demolition was required in order to properly renovate the building for offices/shop space. The demolition crew was assembled and began demolition over a weekend. Some cinder crete walls were in the way and so they were demolished. When the crew took the materials to the City of North Battleford landfill, little did they know that the City would be hiring a consultant to test the materials for asbestos prior to putting them through the crusher.

A consultant from Prince Albert was hired by the City of North Battleford. The tests came back and asbestos containing vermiculite was found to be present. OH&S got involved and the area at the landfill was hoarded off with danger tape until a consultant was available to write a scope of work and the building that was purchased for office and shop space was shut down. Worker asbestos exposure reports had to be filed with OH&S and testing of the building purchased for office/shop was required immediately.

A scope of work was created by the consultant and got mold?™ was retained by the contractor to perform the cleanup at the landfill. This scope of work consisted of high risk abatement set up and procedures to be followed. In order to follow the scope we were required to build a very large structure to contain the asbestos containing materials, provide a generator, lighting systems, temporary shower for showering in and out and heated water for the shower.

A consultant was required throughout the process with daily air monitoring, occupational testing and clearance testing along with a detailed report. As you can understand, this was a very elaborate and costly cleanup that the contractor was on the hook for.

Key lessons to be learned from this story are the following:

1. Before starting a renovation project, hire a professional consultant to determine whether your home or business has materials that have asbestos in them.

2. Determine whether or not the project will potentially disturb the asbestos.

3. If the consultant finds that the renovation project could release asbestos fibres into the air, then make sure you have an abatement plan in place by working with a professional abatement contractor.

This is just one story, we look forward to passing on more stories and lessons from out in the field.