Buildings and structures constructed prior to the mid 80's may have materials that have been identified as potentially hazardous to occupants and contractors. In order to confirm the presence of hazardous building materials, an assessment is undertaken in which areas are inspected and/or sampled to identify typical materials such as:
- lead paint (interior/exterior)
- lead pipe water distribution
- mercury (thermostats, florescent lighting)
- PCBs (transformers)
Nichols has undertaken hazardous building materials assessments for various clients throughout western Canada.
This information is then used to implement mitigative measures or properly plan for renovations and demolition programs.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral primarily used in building materials for its flame retardant and insulation properties. The material is often mixed with cement or woven into fabrics or mats. Asbestos fibres are most commonly found in boiler rooms and piping insulation, cement products, floor coverings, and ceiling tiles.
Asbestos containing building materials (ACBMs) contain microscopic asbestos fibres that may become airborne when damaged. The inhalation of asbestos fibres has been known to cause significant health problems. Until the early 1980s asbestos-containing insulation was used in office buildings, public buildings, and schools.
If ACMBs have been previously identified prior to building renovations, demolition or possible mitigation, a plan must be implemented to properly protect occupants and workers and properly dispose of waste materials. Inspections are undertaken to ensure that proper engineered controls, personnel protective and abatement procedures are followed. Nichols has experience with abatement management and supervision for numerous clients.
Radon is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas produced by the natural breakdown of uranium found in concrete, brick, stone and soil. Radon gas can enter buildings through floor cracks, sumps, and joints and accumulate in poorly ventilated areas, such as basements and crawlspaces. Exposure to high levels of radon can be hazardous to human health. Radon can be found throughout Canada and the U.S. in virtually every kind of building – homes, offices, schools, hospitals and other facilities.
Nichols has experience in implementing radon testing programs, both long term and short term for various clients in western Canada.
Moulds are fungi that grow in damp or humid environments. Mould can develop from poor ventilation, flooding, or building leaks such as damp basements, on bathroom surfaces, against exterior walls, or on window frames. Mould spores to some people can present as allergens and irritants that can cause allergic reactions or respiratory disease.
When mould is discovered after a leak or during renovation, an abatement program should be undertaken by accredited contractors. The proposed abatement program must include engineered controls, proper methods, personal protective equipment and waste handling/disposal procedures that protect occupants and contractors. Nichols has experience with overseeing mould abatement programs with various clients throughout western Canada.
Air Quality Assessments
Nichols can also assess commercial/industrial indoor air quality (IAQ) via air sample collection with respect to potential irritants/pollutants such as:
- volatile organic compounds (VOCs);
- particulate matter (dust, silica);
- welding gases
- mould spores