Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category
|It has been said that God created mold to irritate property owners. Who said it first remains a mystery but I strongly suspect that the first one to mutter that phrase owned property with moisture issues and a ticked off tenant.
While it is true that mold has been around long before humans inhabited our planet, it can be a serious thorn in the side of even the most diligent property owner.
Understanding mold, where and why it exists, and how to get rid of it has become something of an “unofficial” industry that has blossomed from the widely publicized lawsuits involving mold exposure and property damage.
Unlike other hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead-based paint, mold is unique in that regulatory agencies such as EPA or OSHA have declined to regulate or establish permissible exposure limits for this potential hazard. Realizing that the establishment of realistic permissible exposure limits, or regulatory requirements for mold inspectors or mold abatement contractors is not likely to happen any time soon, one must tiptoe through a proverbial minefield of do’s and don’ts. Step on a “don’t” and its game over….you’re headed to court.
The Nightmare Scenario…
Mold needs certain things to exist. First it needs a food source. The paper layer on your drywall or that newly finished hardwood floor will do nicely. The next thing mold needs is a water source. For that we need look no farther than that leaking pipe you’ve been meaning to have fixed or those pesky lawn sprinklers that spray the side of the building at 3:30 AM every morning. Next we need 48-72 hours, no problem with that one. The last thing we have (but don’t necessarily need) is the tenant that stayed up late watching a special investigative television report called “Sick Building Syndrome-Is Your Home Killing You?” Now that we have all of the necessary ingredients for that nightmare scenario we hoped we’d never find ourselves in, let’s talk about what not to do.
Since I’ve discussed a few “Do not’s” lets discuss some “Do’s” that may keep a situation from being blown out of proportion and becoming that “nightmare”.
In the end, tenants want a safe place to live and property owners want to provide that safe place. A partnership between owners/management, tenants, remediation contractors and consultants is essential. Let’s face it, pipes will burst, water heaters will leak and tubs will overflow. How and when the situation is addressed will, in every case, dictate the outcome. If handled properly the moldy nightmare can be avoided.
Santiago Concepcion is the Senior Project Manager and Assistant Training Director for NationalEcon Corporation – A leading environmental consulting and training firm located in Anaheim, CA. National Econ Corporation provides professional mold consulting, testing and training services as well as the EPA-Accredited Lead Safety for Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) initial and refresher courses in English, Spanish and Korean. For more information visit nationalecon.com or
As summer begins, NAA/NMHC remind members of their obligations under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA). Specifically, the 2008 law requires all pools with single main drains to install a secondary anti-entrapment system, unless the main drain qualifies as “unblockable.”
Last September, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) revoked its earlier definition of unblockable pool drains, creating confusion in the industry and significant compliance hurdles. At the urging of NAA/NMHC and other industry groups, the CPSC has extended the compliance deadline until May 23, 2013. In related news, the CPSC also has rejected an NAA/NMHC supported petition from the hotel and pool/spa industries encouraging the CPSC to effectively revisit the decision on “unblockable drain covers” and designate covers of a sufficient size as a compliant product. The CPSC, however, agreed to hear the petition of a manufacturer that offers an alternative pool drain system designed to prevent entrapment.
NAA/NMHC JOINT LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM NEWS
|New ADA Pool/Spa Accessibility Requirements Go into Effect May 21.
Unless the Department of Justice (DOJ) issues another extension, the new pool and spa accessibility requirements of the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards (ADA) are scheduled to go into effect on May 21. While the new requirements have a limited impact on the apartment industry, operators that open their pools/spas to the public (i.e., sell pool passes, host swim meets) or receive some federal assistance would have to comply.
Legislation to block enforcement of the new rules has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. Most notably, on May 10, the House passed the FY2013 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill (H.R. 5326), which includes an amendment to block DOJ funding of the new pool/spa regulations for one year. It is unclear if the Senate will take similar action.
In addition, the House Judiciary Committee held a subcommittee hearing on April 24 to discuss the DOJ’s guidance and specifically its failure to adhere to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). NAA/NMHC weighed in with a letter of support for the proposed rule (FR 2012-6747), which would extend the compliance deadline until September 17.
The DOJ hosted a webinar to clarify how the new provisions apply to existing pools/spas at public accommodations. An archived version of the May 2 webinar will be posted here.
NAA/NMHC are working with outside counsel to provide additional guidance on the accessibility requirements. Additional information is available here.
This article published compliments of the National Apartment Association. If you have any questions, please contact your local affiliate, the Apartment Association of Orange County, at (714) 245-9500.
Please visit the Orange County Fire Authority’s – OC Safe Apartments Blog to learn all about safeguarding apartment communities located in potentially threatening wildland fire areas.
With the advent of warmer weather, reviewing California Fire Code with your residents about grills on balconies, decks, and patios is a good idea.
Grills, smokers, barbeques, and fire pits are not allowed on balconies, decks, and patios that can burn, OR are within 10 feet of building construction that is burnable. This code is written for multi-family buildings that are three or more units. There are exceptions to this code and they are listed below.
1. A sprinkler system on the patios, balconies, and decks.
2. LP-gas cooking devices having a LP-gas container with a water capacity not greater than 2.5 lbs.
In the Resources and Tools section a ”Barbeque Balcony” flyer has been posted. Partners of OC Safe Apartments are encouraged to post, send, and give the information to their residents.
Please subscribe to the Orange County Safe Apartments Blog:
Employee Rights Notice Posting
As of April 30th, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board will require most private sector employers to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA guarantees the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity or to refrain from engaging in any of the above activity.
The notice should be posted in a visible place where other notifications of workplace rights and employer rules and policies are posted. You can find a printable version of the poster at http://www.nlrb.gov/poster. The poster is required to be 11 x 17 inches, in color or black and white. Employers should also publish a link to the notice on an internal or external website if other personnel policies or workplace notices are posted there.
For Further information about the posting, including a detailed discussion of which employers are covered by the NLRA, please visit http://www.nlrb.gov/faq/poster.
Local Businesses Recognized for Achieving
Energy Efficiency Success
LOS ANGELES, March 29, 2012 – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced today that more than $30 million in rebates and incentives are available this year to business customers for qualifying energy-efficiency projects. The announcement was made at SoCalGas’ annual Business Expo in Pomona, Calif., where over 300 business representatives learned how they could save energy and money through the utility’s programs and latest green technologies.
Six local businesses also were recognized by SoCalGas for their outstanding efforts in energy efficiency and conservation. Because of their efforts, these businesses have reduced emissions and saved more than 2,531,588 therms of natural gas, the equivalent of taking 3,500 cars off the road.
“These businesses have proven that using natural gas efficiently means getting more for less,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SoCalGas. “We make every effort to help our customers plan for a sustainable future by providing services and incentives that can positively affect their bottom line.”
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. in Carson was one of the six to receive an Energy-Efficiency Excellence Award at the Expo. The award recognized Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. for installing a waste heat recovery system at their facility, saving the company an estimated 1,117,955 therms per year in energy. Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. qualified for SoCalGas’ Energy Efficiency Calculated Incentive Program and received an incentive for $543,432 for their energy efficiency efforts. “The incentives we obtained from SoCalGas went a long way to help us improve our productivity,” said Chris McWilliams, area manager for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. “We encourage other businesses to do the same and take advantage of the many programs and rebates that are available.”
Another Energy-Efficiency Excellence Award went to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Calif., for their pursuit of advancing energy efficiency solutions in their daily operations. For some time now, Huntington Memorial Hospital has been achieving a reduction in energy costs by operating steam powered absorption chillers as part of their cooling equipment. To achieve further reduction in their energy costs, the hospital upgraded to direct digital controls, installed pipe insulation, and added new heat exchanger controls to improve their facility’s operating efficiency. “These new energy efficiency improvements are saving us over 578,000 therms per year in energy,” said Thomas Romeyn, director of plant services at Huntington Memorial Hospital. “SoCalGas was critical in helping us achieve our clean energy goals. Because of our energy-efficiency upgrades, we qualified to receive an incentive check for $315,266 from the utility.”
Other award recipients included the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Califia Farms LP in Bakersfield, Cate School in Carpenteria, and Archer Daniels Midland in Colton.
SoCalGas’ incentives cover many types of natural gas equipment, as well as energy saving projects. The incentive payouts are based on the amount of natural gas saved, and they often reach several thousands of dollars per project.
In addition to the announcement of Energy-Efficiency Excellence Award recipients, the Expo featured workshops for local business owners who want to save money by using green technologies and strategies. Participants learned how to identify, evaluate and select the technologies that best fit their financial goals while reducing waste and improving energy efficiency. Case studies and details were provided on: photovoltaic systems, energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction/recycling. There were also exhibitors and vendors showcasing the latest energy-saving tools for those in attendance.
Business owners and representatives had an opportunity to learn about SoCalGas’ On-Bill Financing program, which provides qualified energy-efficiency projects with interest-free loans for up to $100,000. They also learned how the utility can identify process improvements that can help save energy, lower operating costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the variety of assessment tools to help business customers identify convenient energy efficiency improvements, rebates are available for more than 100 pieces of qualifying energy-efficient equipment, such as steam traps, insulation, boilers, water heaters, and a variety of foodservice equipment.
For more information, business owners and representatives can visit SoCalGas’ website at socalgas.com/energyefficiency.