Chris Watson, CIEC – Colorado Flood Recovery Report

Air Date: 10-11-2013| Episode: 301

Chris Watson is a Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant with over 23 years in the restoration and remediation industry…

Full Description:

Chris Watson is a Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant with over 23 years in the restoration and remediation industry.  He currently serves as the Principle for Environmental Assessment Group which specializes in Construction defect, moisture management and litigation support with an emphasis on crawl spaces and the indoor environment for chemically sensitive clients.  He also serves as the Principle for Signature Building Concepts which focuses on re-construction of faulty building envelopes.  Chris is the inventor of the DrySPACE crawl space systems, FAWS (Filtered Air Wash Systems), HUFFERS (Hepa Filtered Downdraft Air Wash Tables) and the CSAR (Crawl Space Assessment Report).  Chris has been a speaker at the National IAQA Convention regarding “Special Needs For Special Clients” and has served on the advisory board for the Colorado Chapter of IAQA.  He recognized as an Expert witness and has provided support for such notable projects as Denver International Airport, the State of Colorado and numerous high profile Celebrities.  He is currently working with clients recovering from the recent Colorado flooding and will give us an update on activities in the area. This area has some unusual building science and disaster recovery challenges.
Z-Man’s Blog:

                                                                 Hell & high water

According to Chris Watson, a Littleton, Colorado based CIEC much of his home is classified as a cold climate zone. Unique ground soil characteristics and building code requirements add complication to restoration following the recent catastrophic flooding. Due to bentonite clay soil which is prone to expansion homes must be anchored into underlying bedrock to remain stationary. Many homes are built over crawlspaces. Local building code requires that a moisture barrier be installed on the interior side of framing.

Nuggets mined from today’s episode:
•2,000 square miles affected by flooding of unprecedented magnitude.
•17,000 homes suffered water damage of which 90% are uninsured.
•Rising ground water is filtered while flood water is black water.
•Crawl spaces are “out of sight and out of mind”.
•Corrugated cardboard concrete forms in crawlspaces become petri dishes when wet.
•Property owners with limited restoration budgets are forced to economize.
•Restoration contractors trying to work within limited budgets and maximize cost effectiveness for homeowners use less aggressive resulting in risky restoration.
•Big desiccant drying equipment went to service schools, libraries, museums and commercial properties.
•Emergency responders from other parts of the country are unfamiliar with the unique local characteristics.
•Local crews who were roofers last week are (untrained) restoration contractors this week.
•Home owners and untrained cleanup contractors don’t realize that air movement with fans doesn’t dry materials without air exchange
•The federal government shutdown has slowed emergency assistance.
•Drywall which tests dry with moisture meters may conceal an underlying problem; moisture trapped at moisture barrier installed on the interior of framing may be undetected by moisture meters and infrared cameras. Impedance type moisture meters [Tramex and Gann] with hammer probes are most appropriate.
•Wall drying systems can effectively dry some insulating materials and not others.
•Moisture trapped at moisture barrier installed on the interior of framing that is undetected and un-dried results in elevated fungal levels post remediation.
•Remediated homes experiencing problems due to haphazard or incorrect remediation.
•According to an EPA study, 1/3 of indoor air originates in the crawlspace and rises due to stack effect or convection.
•Lack of containment is a common technical error.
•Chris feels improper and incomplete remediation will result in a local health epidemic, seasonal allergy levels are already elevated.
•Advocate for isolating soil from living environment.
•State of Colorado is temporarily permitted ACM to be disposed of, which results in other problems at transfer stations and landfills
•Drying and air purification equipment should be cleaned and decontaminated between projects to prevent cross contamination with: cat dander, ACM, etc.
•”Be kind to your neighbor.”

Wisdom from Dieter, “contractors think they are drying” versus know they are drying and when materials are dry.

Today’s music: “Hell or high water, Colorado flood song” by Blake Reid

Z-Man signing off