Case Study: Multi-Family Residential Building (Post-Fire Assessment & Sample Collection / Remediation Oversight)
RHP Risk Management was contacted by a client who is an insurance adjuster specializing in smoke and fire damage-related claims. The project involved a vintage 3-story, 7-unit brick building on the north side of Chicago. A fire had occurred on the top floor rear porch which impacted the rest of the building to varying degrees. A combination of fire-response and an open building envelope caused a mold problem throughout the building which added an additional layer to the subsequent restoration project.
- RHP’s role initially involved conducting an assessment of the building while interior demolition was being conducted and focused on three main items: moisture, mold growth, and smoke odors.
- Subsequent site visits were conducted by RHP to assist the client in navigating environmental issues that needed attention to assist the building owner in restoring the building back to pre-fire loss condition. One early site visit included the collection of plaster core samples from walls throughout the building which were submitted to an accredited laboratory for analysis of fire residue components. This analysis generated data proving combustion byproducts (soot, char, and ash) impacted the porous building materials, indicating further demolition was needed. Subsequent site visits were conducted to develop data and observations to be included in a performance-based mold and fire damage remediation protocol which is based upon ANSI/IICRC and RIA Guidelines.
- RHP provided periodic remediation project oversight at key milestones as recommended in the protocol as well as “clearance” sampling and a final walkthrough with all stakeholders to ensure all tasks were effectively completed.
- RHP analyzed and reported final results to client. Made recommendations and continued to assist throughout the mitigation process.
Case Study: Residential Fire and Water Damage Restoration (Post-Fire Assessment & Sample Collection / Remediation Protocol)
RHP was called following a fire at the client’s residence that sustained fire and water damage. Prior to RHP’s involvement, a contractor removed the fire damaged building materials were removed, including drywall, flooring, and other building components of the home’s first and second floor. The contractor reportedly performed surface cleaning on all remaining surfaces within the home and utilized ozone to neutralize residual fire-related odors.
- RHP visually evaluated the residence as well as conducted an invasive investigation of the remaining building materials for fire-related soot, char and ash in the home to determine if they are suitable to remain and if they have been remediated by the restoration contractor. In areas of suspected presences of combustion byproducts, RHP collected representative samples for submission to a laboratory for confirmatory analysis.
- To assess the likelihood that a section of building materials, such as drywall, may be present off-gassing or odor concerns in the future, RHP collected bulk material samples for laboratory analysis (optical microscopy, electron microscopy and elemental identification by EDS, and headspace analysis by GC/MS for airborne volatiles indicative of pyrolysis).
- Utilizing a digital moisture meter and infrared camera, RHP identified any areas within building materials containing elevated moisture levels. RHP made recommendations for additional drying or demolition needs.
- RHP performed a thorough visual assessment for the presence of mold growth on water damaged building materials. In areas with suspected presences of mold growth, RHP collected representative surface samples or bulk material samples for submission to a laboratory for confirmatory analysis. RHP also collected indoor air quality sampling for airborne mold spores to document baseline conditions and substantiate the need for microbial remediation work.
- RHP developed a performance based remediation protocol for the cleaning of surfaces impacted by fire as well as a remediation of building materials affected by mold growth caused by water originating from firefighting efforts.
- RHP drafted a protocol for further remediation based on visual observations and laboratory analysis.
- RHP completed a final assessment verifying surface cleanliness of remaining building materials and verify achievement of remediation objectives. Using a thermal-imaging camera and digital moisture meter, RHP confirmed dry conditions, collected samples for airborne mold spore concentrations, and collected representative surface samples for the purpose of determining whether “adequately clean” surface conditions have been achieved for char, soot and ash. A walkthrough with stakeholders was conducted to subjectively assess odor perception in the home.