Howard Wolf & Mili Washington IICRC S500 & S520 Updates

Air Date: 3-14-2014 | Episode: 319

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome Howard Wolf and Mili Washington for a discussion about the two most popular Institute for Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) Standards the S500 and S520…

Full Description:

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome Howard Wolf and Mili Washington for a discussion about the two most popular Institute for Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) Standards the S500 and S520. We learned during our recent interview with Mili that both the ANSI/IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration and the IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation are coming out for another round of public review. This week we LEARN MORE from the IICRC Standards Chair Mr. Howard Wolf and Mili Washington about why another round is necessary, what changes we can anticipate and more.

 Howard Wolf has been involved with the cleaning and restoration industries since 1984. He has extensive disaster and large project experience, with particular expertise in institutional, industrial and hospitality facilities. In 2001, Mr. Wolf started HW3 Group, LLC, a firm committed to serving the restoration industry in the areas of investigation, research, marketing, operations, field management and project management. Between 2002 and 2004, Mr. Wolf sold all contracting businesses, keeping his consulting business and started an education and technical support institution, which was merged to become the Commercial Drying and Restoration Institute in 2009. Currently, he is the Chairman of the IICRC Standards Committee and Chairman of the S500 4th edition committee.

 Mili Washington has been The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) Standards Director since June 2011. Her focus has been to streamline the standards development process and strategy at the IICRC, work toward American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval for new and revised ANSI/IICRC standards, and use more digital tools to make virtual collaboration really come to life. For the past eight years, Washington has focused her work in the area of standards development and management. In her previous role as manager of standards and guidelines for the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), she oversaw three ANSI accredited standards committees that developed 20 ANSI standards for the occupational health and safety profession.

Z-Man’s Blog:

Everything from Everybody

Mili Washington, the IICRC Standards Director and Howard Wolf, the IICRC Standards Chair joined RadioJoe and I on today’s episode of IAQradio. We regret that Howard experienced phone trouble and dropped in and out of the discussion. The good news is that Howard and Mili agreed to join us on a future show to continue the discussion of IICRC’s water damage restoration and mold remediation standards.

Nuggets mined from today’s show:

  • According to Mili Washington, the IICRC has an open door policy on participation in standards writing, and hasn’t turned any wannabe participant down. A major challenge to standard writers in general is getting the needed number of volunteers. Restoration contractors either don’t have the time or don’t want to utilize it on committees writing industry standards.
  • IICRC has opted to use a less stringent balance on consensus bodies. As per ANSI requirement for non-safety standards, the balance requirement for IICRC standards is to not have more than 50% of the voting membership represented by any single interest category.
  • Substantive changes in an ANSI standard triggers public review of standard.
  • When substantive changes are 5 pages or less, ANSI allows public comment and committee action time periods of 45 days to be reduced to 30 days.
  • Comments and objections can follow an appeal process up to and including ANSI.
  • Accompanying a standard with reference guide is unique to the IICRC. The IICRC plans to separate standard from reference guide in future editions.

Howard Wolf:

  • Progress report: S500 halfway through comments, prepping for 3rd public review. S520 working through first review.
  • Due to absence of the need for governmental regulation, IICRC standards are a hybrid between prescriptive and performance documents.
  • S500 air movement calculations are receiving the most comments. Howard contrasted the differences in air mover requirements for drying walls and wet carpet in a large ballroom.
  • The Inspection section of S500 precedes the equipment calculation section. Many contractors mistakenly jump to equipment calculations without reading and understanding inspection. The Inspection section offers latitude in equipment recommendations. Contractors may deviate from S500 equipment recommendation with one caveat, “you have to have a method”.
  • “Can’t turn hard to the right”, S500 needs to be careful not to abruptly change direction of the document, to prevent contractors from losing their insurance coverage.
  • Howard feels that retired contractors can represent the interests of contractors, while I opine that the interests of a retired contractor and a working contractor are different.

Dieter asked: Who is the referee during standards writing activities? Pete watchdog Consigli queried about oversight. Mili answered both, it’s not uncommon for standards writers to referee their activities.

Dieter opined that industry standards shouldn’t be too specific and I share his sentiments.

Two additional points worth further discussion in the next round are:

  1. Can and should IICRC standards include dissenting opinion?
  2. Third Party Administrators and industry standards.

Everything for everybody, I opine that it was and is IICRC’s intent for S500 and S520 standards to be the authoritative prescriptive resources for everyone. The conversation will continue.

At the heart of it, I am a LibRepairian, an advocate of more freedom of choice for insurance repair contractors and less regulation either from government or overly prescriptive industry standards. I’m an advocate of good practice standards rather than best practice standards.Unless they are standing in water onsite next to me, I opine that it is unlikely that a group of experts sitting in their “dry tower” will have the most efficient, practical and cost effective solution to the problem at hand.

Today’s music: “Water Song” by Hot Tuna

Z-Man signing off