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Environmental Services Group has performed assessments in all aspects of indoor air quality and hazardous materials. Case studies have been created for some of the more out of the box circumstances as documented in the menu to the right.
Mold Commercial Office Building
Some more exciting commercial mold inspections have included multi-storey multi-tenanted buildings. There are issues that can be difficult to pin point without intrusive investigation and the most sophisticated hand held tools such as thermal imaging becomes heavily relied on. Exterior pre-fab finishes and stucco finishes can cause moisture intrusion in cryptic seams or crevices making mold detection difficult without proper equipment.
Mold Retail Building and Property Management
Environmental Services Group was hired by a property manager for a retail plaza. In this instance a bank’s utility room housing a leaking hot water tank backed onto the neighbouring fast food chain’s set of bathrooms. Both bathrooms were also slowly leaking at plumbing joints inside the wall cavities.
Mold impacted drywall was removed inside a containment while still maintaining the bank’s security and providing bathroom facilities to the patron’s of the restaurant. An insurance claim was not made by either tenant as plumbing repair was part of the property management’s responsibility.
Mold Home Builder-Residential
Environmental Services Group was called out to a set of 5 residential lots where houses were partially built and then abandoned by the original builder because of finances. ESG was able to work with the new builder and the municipality to determine what remedial efforts would be required to each structure so that the final construction could be completed.
Eight lots in total were abandoned. Three lots were completely torn down to concrete foundation as wood members were too affected by mold and moisture.
The remaining five lots were restored using a combination of dry-ice blasting, surface cleaning, anti-microbials and HEPA vacuuming. All cleaning stages were documented. Final swab surface sampling of the wood structures were sent to a laboratory for mold analysis. A verification report was generated for each structure and provided to the builder and the municipality. The municipality was satisfied with the mold cleanup efforts and the documentation provided by ESG and gave the builder authorization to proceed with construction.
Asbestos Air and Bulk Sampling
A contractor performed a complete interior demolition of a home as part of a larger renovation project. The project included electrical re-wiring. The re-wiring required an inspection and approval from the Electrical Safety Authority. The ESA inspector arrived on site and identified asbestos on the construction site.
Environmental Services Group was requested to provide asbestos bulk sampling, abatement plan to appropriate contractors and final air sampling to show that abatement was successful and airborne fibres were then within acceptable concentrations according to the Ontario Asbestos Regulation.
The asbestos survey is typically established before the asbestos management plan. ESG has performed asbestos surveys on various buildings from small garden sheds to 500,000 square feet commercial properties. Contractors call us to perform asbestos testing on buildings where small or large interior renovations will be completed.
Asbestos Management Plan
ESG has established a very easy to use complete asbestos management plan for multiple building types including large residential apartments, condominium buildings and commercial retail and industrial warehouses.
Lead Based Paint and Lead Hazards
Lead paint, lead coatings and lead in dust can be hazardous to humans. ESG has assessed residential and commercial facilities for the present of lead in paint and lead in dust. The EPA in the US is defining lead based hazards in dust and defining lead based paint. In Canada paint coatings containing lead are defined as Lead-Containing. In Ontario, there are construction guidelines from the Ministry of Labour in classifying work that will disturb lead-containing paint.
Some sampling has included older residential buildings that are inhabited by children. Brain development can be negatively affected when lead has poisoned the body. Unfortunately lead can taste sweet. We have performed testing on homes where high concentrations of lead was found in blood samples taken from children.
Environmental Services Group was asked to assess coatings in a public gymnasium. Various colours of paint were used as part of the line markings for the gym. Lead and PCB’s are regulated substances and disposal is part of their regulation over seen by the Ministry of the Environment.
Designated Substances Surveys
Designated Substances and Hazardous Materials surveys are required for building demolitions including interior renovations. The DSS is a requirement enforced by theMinistry of Labour under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
We have had to perform designated substance surveys on homes and buildings that were partially demolished. The Ministry of Labour can put a STOP WORK order on a project when workers may be at risk. This can happen when the project management team overlooks identifying hazards to employees.
Indoor Air Quality:
Typically an odour can arise and is noticed when occupants first walk into a building. Most odours are not noticed after a certain period of time because the olfactory system becomes overloaded or saturated.
Our inspections for odours can include office buildings and residential homes. One of our findings in an office space included an individual who experienced a chemical odour everyday around 3pm. Upon arrival, we had no traces of odour. Walking around the area with handheld equipment and our noses at the ready, we found nothing until about 10 after 3 when two cubicles down another occupant began to treat his feet with an anti-fungal foot spray that he used for FOOT odour.
Large computer server rooms storing important data require temperature controls, CO2 controls and dust controls. These rooms can be labeled “Clean Rooms” where entry and exit are controlled including the tools and equipment brought in to control dust accumulation inside the room. Particle counting is the established method to test for dust concentrations inside these Clean Rooms to determine if cleaning was effective. Environmental Services Group can test clean rooms according to the most current ISO Standard 14644 for Clean Rooms.
Contaminated HVAC Assessments
Dust streaking on plenums can usually indicate contamination inside the HVAC system. Usually when a roof top system is present factors outside the building will affect the indoor air quality.
Some of the most common contaminants affecting HVAC systems in the Toronto area are roofing tars, vehicle exhausts, restaurant exhausts, insects and pigeon or pest excrement. Dust accumulation and mold are also prevalent inside the duct work and can affect employee comfort.
Sampling for dust levels, mold contamination and bacterial or microbial build up can be a good indicator to the level of contamination inside the ventilation system.
Roofing tars cause a large amount of odour complaints. The heated tar gives off a very strong odour.