Condo Media - April 2018 - 26

disaster remediation

T

he first thing to know about
disaster remediation projects,
Paula says, is that "all are different," ranging in difficulty
from small and straightforward to massive and complex, depending on the location, the extent of the
damage, and (in a condominium community) the number of units involved.
While the strategies and equipment
will differ, all remediation projects require careful planning, coordination,
and communication.
FIRE: SOOT AND SMELL
Most of us think of fire damage in terms
of the charred remains of devastated
structures. But for a remediation company, the issues are the odor, discolored
walls, and layers of ash a fire leaves
behind. Paula's short description of
fire remediation: "Everything has to be
cleaned-inside and out."
And she does mean everything: "Every
piece of furniture, every knick-knack,
every dish, every utensil, every piece of
clothing will have soot on it." And every
item will have to be cleaned to remove
the grime and eliminate the odor. To
accomplish that, virtually everything in
the house is packed and transported to a
company building. Clothing, sheets and
towels, and the like will be dry-cleaned;
everything else will be wiped clean to
remove ash and residue so fine it is invisible to the naked eye.
Inside the property, technicians
attack the odor created by ash and
smoke. Walls, floors, ceilings, cabinets-all will be wet cleaned or cleaned

26

CONDOMEDIA

with a chemical sponge. If cleaning
doesn't remove all visible soot stains
and odor, the surfaces will have to be
sealed and repainted or replaced.
The air also must be cleaned. This is
accomplished using air scrubbers with
charcoal filters. All particulates and
odors pass through filters in the machine and aid in cleaning the air and
minimizing odors. To eliminate lingering odors, remediation specialists use
one of two machines, depending, Paula
says, on "what has burned." Protein
creates the most stubborn odors,
which require an "ozone generator."
As the name suggests, this machine
generates ozone, which reacts chemically with particles it touches to create
odorless molecules.
Wood-burning odors and many plastics require a "thermal fogger," which
emits a dense fog cloud capable of
penetrating surfaces that trap smoke-
walls, floors, and ceilings, for example.
The fog particles, which are similar in
structure to smoke particles, neutralize
them, eliminating the odor they create.
Because the particles created by both
thermal foggers and ozone generators
are potentially harmful if breathed in,
Paula notes, residents can't be present
when either machine is running.
MOLD: EASY TO SPOT,
DIFFICULT TO REMOVE
You usually think of mold problems
originating in a condominium unit, and
that is often the case, but not always.
Mold can begin in common areas,
too-basements or laundry rooms, for

example. Wherever mold originates, it
is usually easy to detect: a musty odor,
water stains on walls or ceilings, and
peeling paint or wallpaper are all telltale signs, Paula says. Sometimes the
mold growth is visible as discoloration
on buildings, and it isn't always black,
she notes. "It can be quite colorful."
Association managers, board members, or unit owners seek remediation
help when they suspect mold or have
confirmed it with a pre-test. Pre-tests
are common, Paula notes, when residents think mold might be the cause of
medical problems they are experiencing. The company's first step, after
verifying the mold growth, is to track
the source of the water responsible for
it and make sure the problem has been
corrected.
The next step is to assess the scope of
the project-how extensive is the mold
growth? Is it confined to one unit, or
has it spread to others? Is it in readily
accessible areas or behind cabinets that
will have to be removed?
Once they have determined what's
involved in the remediation, "We
talk to everyone who needs to be
informed," Paula explains. That discussion covers both the remediation
process itself and any reconstruction
work required afterward. "We need
an end game," she adds. "Before we do
anything, there has to be a plan in place
to put the unit back together. The goal
is to get everything back in working
order as quickly as possible."
There are many different types of
mold, but the removal process is the



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - April 2018

Contents
Condo Media - April 2018 - BB1
Condo Media - April 2018 - BB2
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover1
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover2
Condo Media - April 2018 - Contents
Condo Media - April 2018 - 2
Condo Media - April 2018 - 3
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Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover3
Condo Media - April 2018 - Cover4
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