Indoor Environmental Science Forum Show from Tampa, Florida – Pete Consigli, Richard Alexis, John & Lydia Lapotaire and Peter Crosa

Air Date: 2-24-2017|Episode 449

The Indoor Environmental Science Forum was held this week in Tampa, Florida. The event included two days of top notch speakers on timely topics including: Assessment and Developing Protocols; Applied Research on Duration and Causation; Risk Management, Legal Issues, Contracts and AOB’s; Malodor Complaints; Working with Insurance Companies, TPA’s and Remediation Verification/Project Clearance and more.

Full Description:

The Indoor Environmental Science Forum was held this week in Tampa, Florida. The event included two days of top notch speakers on timely topics including: Assessment and Developing Protocols; Applied Research on Duration and Causation; Risk Management, Legal Issues, Contracts and AOB’s; Malodor Complaints; Working with Insurance Companies, TPA’s and Remediation Verification/Project Clearance and more.

Four of the organizers and speakers will be joining us live today to recap what they learned and discuss where it goes from here. Richard Alexis is a consultant and educator in South Florida, Pete Consigli is the Restoration Industry Global Watchdog and John Lapotaire is an Orlando Consultant and the IAQA President. Peter Crosa is a independent assurance adjuster and current president of the National Independent Insurance Adjusters Association NAIAA.


Z-Man’s Blog:

Indoor Environmental Science Forum – Tampa Florida

February 21-24, 2017

Richard Alexis, a Florida mold assessor, envisioned exposing a group of Florida based mold assessors and mold remediators together with a carefully selected panel of notable industry experts. Pete Consigli and John Lapotaire helped develop and coordinate the program and facilitate the event. The theme of the program was “Anatomy of a mold remediation project: developing professional protocols.”

Day 1

  1. Assessment and developing protocols (John and Lydia Lapotaire)
  2. Pittsburgh protocol,an alternative approach to microbial remediation (Cliff Zlotnik)
  3. Mold remediation case studies (Eric Shapiro)
  4. Applied research on duration and causation (Ralph Moon, PhD)
  5. Industry standards of care and guidance documents IICRC S-500 & IICRC S520 (Ken Larsen)
  6. Round table discussion and open forum

Day 2

  1. Risk management, legal issues, contracts and AOBs (Harvey Cohen, Esq.)
  2. Limitations, complications, complexities and conflicts (Eric Shapiro)
  3. Occupational & occupant exposures, sampling strategies and working with consultants and project stakeholders (Ralph Moon PhD)
  4. Working with insurance companies, TPAs and networking in disaster zones or on large projects (Ken Larsen)
  5. Post remediation verification and project clearance (John and Lydia Lapotaire)
  6. Investigating & troubleshooting malodor complaints (Cliff Zlotnik)
  7. Round Table Discussion and Open Forum

Nuggets mined from today’s episode:

Z-Man- Why did you organize the event?

Richard Alexis- Four years ago, when the keynote speaker at Florida’s first formal mold assessment and mold remediation event asked the audience of 100+ attendees how many were familiar with the IICRC’s S-520 mold standard and only 5 people raised their hands, he knew there was need for training courses in the fundamentals of mold assessment and remediation.

How is Florida mold legislation going? 

Richard Alexis- Florida Mold legislation is going very poorly. There is no money for policing and enforcement. There is a deplorable level of unlicensed activity. No effective action against unlicensed. The program has too many voids and is too week.

Z-Man- It’s astounding that there are 17,000 people licensed in FL either as mold assessor or remediator. These 17,000 people are making a mountain out of mold.

Yin and Yang, the audience was divided between assessors and remediators who came with separate sets of needs, wants, and opinions.

Pete Consigli- Richard was the event organizer. I was the conference facilitator. The IESF event sprung out of IAQ Training’s Healthy Building event at 7 Springs Resort in PA. Training at the first IESF event last year was done by Joe Spurgeon, PhD. What to do next? Networking meeting with John Lapotaire to develop the theme. I filled a secondary role in co-preparing the program.

John Lapotaire (President of IAQA)- The IAQA has established geographic regions. A goal is to stimulate more member-to-member interaction through regional events which are closer for members to attend. Supporting the IESF made sense to the IAQA because it serves local IAQA member.

John Lapotaire- Florida law- FL has thousands of people in restoration and mold remediation services with various levels of training, experience and talent. The intent of law was great: protect the public by requiring practitioners have a minimum level of education, experience and insurance. As a right to work state, FL sought to protect jobs resulting in a loopholein law. The loophole permits workers to work under the supervision of a licensee. So, anyone who states they are directly being supervised by a licensee is permitted to work. One licensee (including an out of state licensee) can supervise hundreds or even thousands of employees. The law has resulted in a surge of both substandard and exaggerated remediation. A plethora of mold assessors take a single air sample on a jobsite and then declare a home grossly mold contaminated. The IESF is a platform to train and inform assessors and remediators of industry standards. ASTM- 7338 is relatively unknown that isn’t being met.

Z-Man follow-up:  Is anyone aware of any incidents where the government has cracked down?

John Lapotaire- We have been involved in several situations that have been pursued up to and including criminal prosecution. The state is overwhelmed.

Z-Man: What percentage of mold assessment and mold remediation is flying under the radar of licensing?

John Lapotaire- Hopefully that number is less thanthe number of people who are licensed. A company can have a single licensee qualifier supervising crews with no licensees or training. Richard Alexis- A tremendous amount of unlicensed activity occurs as handy men are hired to perform. remediation.

John Lapotaire- 17,000 people are paying the state licensing fees and getting no benefit from the fee.

RadioJoe- Paying money and receiving nothing in return is a common complaint about licensing. Some mold laws have been done away with after the early adopters comply.

Pete Consigli- My 30,000 feet view is that FL should get rid of the law. If the point of the law is to protect the public and the public isn’t being protected, why have the law. In California in 1980 there was a consumer protection rant about the use of solvents for on-location dry cleaning. The ethical cleaning firms met the licensing requirements. Two years later the state dissolved the law; waste of time, efforts and  money of those who complied.

John Lapotaire- Define intent. Ensure the providers of professional services have training, experience and insurance. If the state doesn’t require training or experience and allows it to be done under no supervision than the license fee is a tax for doing business. If no criteria is to be met there is no need for licensing. Licensing won’t prevent unlicensed handy men from doing mold remediation. Licensing should create a minimal work standard and affect the height of the bar. States should adopt industry standards as law and enforce training, experience and track good or bad performance.

Peter Crosa- (President National Independent Insurance Adjusters Assn.) For 40 years I’ve been licensed as an independent insurance adjuster, a concealed weapon carry holder and a private detective. There is no ongoing requirement for qualifying competency, the license fees I pay are taxes.

RadioJoe- Peter, what do insurance companies think about licensing? 

Peter Crosa- I’ve heard no discussion about it, they mistrust and question everything you do, licensing causes to mistrust you more.

Richard Alexis- I’m required to purchase an insurance policy with $1,000,000 limit. Only the licensed person pays for the insurance. If insurance companies would investigate all of the people who fall under the licensee it would open up eyes. Untrained individuals take money from public.

John Lapotaire- It’s not licensing. It’s a lack of knowledge how to perform assessment and remediation. The focus should be on educating insurance companies on minimum standards so they can discard assessments that are little more than few air samples. Poor assessment result in excessive remediation fees and inflated insurance claims. The solution must be top down. Insurance companies need to know what a proper assessment should include.

Pete Consigli- 17,000 people are seeking CEU credits. People should be more concerned about getting education to improve, CEUs should be secondary benefit. People who care will come to programs that advance industry. Examine the event content for “good meat and potatoes,  the gravy is the CEUs”.


Joe Hughes spoke about Jack Thrasher, MD Science of Toxicology.  With much sadness, we are sorry to inform you that Dr. Jack Thrasher passed away on Friday, January 27, 2017.  Dr. Thrasher worked tirelessly throughout his life to advance the science in the field of toxicology.  He freely shared his knowledge and expertise with everyone.  Dr. Thrasher joined IAQ Radio for an interview on 10-14-2011, Episode 223.  He also would send occasional emails about shows and guests.  The IAQ world has lost a tireless advocate.

Pete Consigli- I first met Kurt Bolden in the late 1980s when he came to Dri-Eaz courses I was teaching. Kurt was a 2nd generation cleaner who was energetic and entertaining. He was innovative, sharing his  inventions with the industry. He invented the Xtreme extractor. His HydroLab was the leading edge of ASD houses. He started an equipment rental business to make renting equipment affordable. He had a passion for training with his Xtreme Team. Whatever he did, it was like he did it on steroids. He was chosen as a Cleanfax man of the year. He was the memorable referee for the RIA Donnybrooks.  He liked to cook. He brought his big trailer grill to summer camp, causing Joe Lstiburek to remark, it’s the Indiana State Fair. His interview on IAQradio (11-20-15, Episode 392), was done live from a course at the HydroLab. He flooded and dried own house and put it on YouTube.

Z-Man- Kurt Bolden was a student of mine. I remember him as a big guy who always made a big impression. A fitting adage for Kurt was anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Kurt was inquisitive and creative. Kurt was proof that sometimes the smartest person in the room isn’t the PhD it just might be the young guy.


Richard Alexis- Newbies could appreciate and understand and move up in quality. Attendees appreciated the level of presentations and professionalism. Opened their eyes to potential of interdisciplinary approach. Let’s Continue raise the bar.

John Lapotaire- Ralph Moon’s duration of loss studies. Wetting building materials and observing for 5+ years to measure deterioration. Duration of loss studies help determine coverage. Expose different building materials to water measure absorption, metal framing fresh and salt water. Particle board, it takes 7 years for tackstrip to deteriorate to dirt. He believes he’s able to determine the extent of the loss using science. Long term versus short term. Help settle claims. The longer he keeps a study in progress,  the more it confirms his opinion on long term damage. Different views on standards.

Peter Crosa- Impressed watching level of engagement and the questions that were asked. The attendees were plugged in and dedicated. Wished the insurance company could see the level of commitment. Instead, they think it’s all about trying to get more money. Encouraged the IICRC to reach out to insurance adjusters.  The IICRC should modify training sessions for insurance personnel.

Lydia Lapotaire- Z-Man’s presentation on tracing and identifying nuisance odors. The survey questions to ask, what to look for and how to isolate.

Pete Consigli- The Emmy for Day 1 goes to Ralph Moon for his duration and causation presentation, The Emmy for Day 2 goes to Ken “Rainman” Larsen- for his passion and TPAs presentation. Attendees got new info from different perspectives. Pittsburgh Protocol and Diagnosing and resolving odor problems. Eric Shapiro’s meat and potatoes remediation. New stuff and new presenters pushing the envelope.

Peter Crosa- Contractors are moving away from program business. Code Blue, Alacrity, Crawford Connection are the center of the altar for the insurance industry.

Pete Consigli- Harvey Cohen, opened Day 2 with a logical progressive presentation on how claims handled, how to avoid litigation, in Harvey’s words: “it’s all about the justice”.


Observers:  Josh Winton & Mike Gonzalez from Discreet Restoration-

  • information friendly environment,
  • industry veterans sharing with younger guys, more education than other events in the past,
  • we’ve become new IAQradio listeners.
  • We want to learn and do the right thing and perform at a high level. We’re often guilty until proven innocent as remediation contractors.
  • Encourage peers to attend. Ideas to implement and having new information resources to rely on.

Richard Alexis- I’m kwelling(Yiddish word meaning glowing, pride).  Seeing notes being taken by audience andand questions being asked. It was an exceptional interactive learning experience.

Lydia Lapotaire- Pleased that newbies who were too nervous to ask questions during her presentation brought them to her after. It’s fulfilling helping new people.

John Lapotaire- All speakers made clear that we are available. We’re trying to share info not trying to keep secrets.

Z-Man- I wince every time I  hear IICRC S-500 and S-520, I was excited to see John and Lydia demo their use of ASTM standards. Ken “Rainman” Larsen has chutzpah (Yiddish word for boldness). He’s out on the edge, leading the conversation about injustices suffered by restorers from TPAs. He challenged the audience to “grow a spine” and used Super Mario. Hysterical video with subtitles he inserted to make his point.

Pete Consigli- I will speak for the vendors and sponsors. AEML Labs, Ron Mazur and Ken Rothmel from Sunbelt provided needed financial support. Ken poured his heart out about how Sunbelt can help attendees. Particles + sold instruments. The JonDon table had good traffic. I told Harvey Cohen that if was unable to stay till conclusion that we would use the fake Harvey (oversized cutout) if needed.

  • Next year-Working title, Microbial trench warfare: a day in the life of mold assessors and mold remediators. Featuring a mock deposition, microbial jeopardy with Ralph Moon, some demos showing how equipment works.
  • Last thing learned, the attendees loved the town hall meeting. Insufficient time for Q&A. Own the week after Presidents day. Consider moving the event to Orlando or South Florida.

Z-Man signing off

Trivia Question:

What is the number of the Florida legal statue that governs all mold professionals which includes mold assessors and mold remediators?


Chapter 468, Part XVI of the Florida Statutes and Rule 61-31 of the Florida Administrative Code.