April Showers Bring May Flowers to Texas

Spring brings warm weather and blossoming plants and flowers! Most Texans are more than happy to welcome the sun after the February winter storm, but with spring comes airborne allergens and molds. ERC is in full swing of conducting Indoor Air Quality testing after frozen pipes burst leading to flooding and potential mold growth in damp areas. Health effects from exposure to mold can vary greatly depending on the person and the amount of mold in the building. Symptoms that may occur include coughing, wheezing, runny nose, and sore throat. IAQ assessments are a proactive way of maintaining the health of your business and the people in the building. It’s never too late for an IAQ assessment!

The new season also inspires days outside at the park enjoying the warm weather. ERC is proud to help improve local parks, including dog parks, with our construction division. ERC recently constructed and installed concrete and gravel pads with stone bench seating areas for a DFW area dog park. ERC’s Project Manager, Will Springer, was challenged with the task of making the new seating areas exactly the same as the previously installed seating areas. Our team was able to not only complete the entire project within 23 calendar days, but also with no issues and a beautiful outcome! We are grateful for the tail waggin’ experience at the dog park and look forward to future ways of improving our local communities. Let’s build together!

Follow ERC on Facebook and LinkedIn for more news and updates!

 

Source: Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR)

For more information about molds, visit these sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Consumer Mold Information Sheet

Meet the Key Team Members of ERC!

We are proud to introduce our team and newest employees! ERC is constantly expanding and growing our offices to meet our clients’ needs.

From left to right, starting with the top row:

TOP ROW

  • Megan Allgeier, Office Administration, Dallas
  • Bobbi Blaire, Accounting/Office Manager, Houston
  • Max Sanati, Construction Engineer, Houston

ROW TWO

  • Emily Saravia, Sr. Administrative Assistant, Houston
  • Kambiz Moayedi, Vice President, Houston
  • Shelly Horan, Project Coordinator, Houston
  • Henry Akinniyi, Field Engineer, Houston – NEW in 2021

ROW THREE

  • Will Springer, Jr. Project Manager, Dallas – NEW in 2021
  • Kommy M. Azarpour, President, Houston
  • Dan Tibbals, Sr. Project Manager, Houston

ROW FOUR

  • Mo El-Jechi, Field Engineer, Dallas
  • Kevin Rezvanipour, DFW Area Manager, Dallas
  • Ann Latourette, Project Manager, Houston
  • Bryan Lord, Construction Coordinator, Houston – NEW in 2021

ROW FIVE

  • Sarah Hearn, Receptionist/Administrative, Houston
  • Atzimba Paterson, Proposal Coordinator, Houston
  • Kammy Moayedi, Field Engineer, Houston

As we reflect on 2020, we are thankful for the opportunities to continue serving Texas throughout the unprecedented pandemic. We have been able to adapt and find new solutions to work smarter and safer. In the midst of all this… we GREW!

This year we:

  • Celebrated 30 years of service,
  • Expanded our Dallas/Fort Worth construction division,
  • Purchased a new permanent Corporate Office in Houston,
  • Submitted over 550 proposals,
  • Were awarded more than 610 projects,
  • Renewed 44 master services agreements,
  • Signed 7 new master services agreements,
  • Entered into 6 new Job Order Contracting (JOC) agreements, and
  • Expanded into Louisiana with both environmental and construction.

We already have so much planned for 2021, including our first mold webinar (keep an eye out for an invitation) and continued growth of our construction division – both in Houston and Dallas! Stay up to date on all ERC news by subscribing to our newsletter (link above), follow our blog posts, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Linkedin.

From our ERC family to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year!

Dallas Construction

ERC is a Small Business Enterprise with two divisions; environmental and construction. We have made a tremendous impact in the Houston area landing a 5-year Job Order Contract (JOC) with a major governmental entity in Southeast Texas. Our focus during 2020 has been to continue growing the construction division, both in Houston and in Dallas. We have succeeded, despite the coronavirus!

ERC recently completed a construction contract for a complete build out of an additional storage room for a fire station in North Texas. Due to the current pandemic and COVID-19 guidelines, the city has set in place extra precautionary measures.

This fire station was outfitted for the additional 2-story storage room to store COVID-19 personal protection equipment as well as added emergency materials. ERC’s Project Manager, Will Springer, drove the project from commencement to successful completion within one month.

Know Your Molds!

What is mold and what causes it? Mold is a type of fungus that is present in our natural environment. Mold spores, which are tiny microscopic ‘seeds’, can be found everywhere, including inside buildings, and are a part of the general dust found in buildings and offices. These spores can start growing on building materials and furnishings if they get wet or stay moist. Mold growth should not be allowed in buildings and offices. Eventually, the mold will damage what it is growing on, which may include both the building and personal belongings. The key to preventing mold growth is to prevent moisture problems and quickly fix and dry any water leaks or spills that might occur.

What is the difference between mold and mildew? Mildew is a type of mold or fungus. A lot of people use this name to describe small black spots of fungus that can start to grow on damp surfaces. If mildew appears, that means there is a moisture problem.

What are the health concerns about mold? Health effects from exposure to mold can vary greatly depending on the person, and the amount of mold in the building. Symptoms that may occur include coughing, wheezing, runny nose and sore throat. People with asthma or mold allergies may notice their asthma or allergy symptoms worsen. Individuals with a severely weakened immune system who are exposed to moldy environments are at risk of developing serious fungal respiratory infections. TDLR recommends that people consult a health care provider if they are concerned about the effects of a moldy environment on their health.

What can be done about indoor mold? Investigate and correct moisture problems and remove mold growth. If mold can be seen or if a musty odor is present, a careful inspection of the building should be conducted. Pay attention to hidden areas, such as plumbing access areas, crawlspaces, behind mirrors and furniture, attics, closets and cupboards.

Correcting a mold problem requires fixing the underlying moisture problem, removing the mold, and keeping the building clean and dry in the future. Mold, generally, can be cleaned from non-porous surfaces such as concrete, metal, glass, tile, and solid wood. However, absorbent (porous) surfaces such as drywall, carpet, fleecy furnishings and insulation are more difficult to clean and often require removal.

Merely applying a chemical such as bleach to drywall, without removing the mold source, is not an effective, permanent solution. Painting over mold is also not effective, even Kilz doesn’t remove mold, it just hides it and often only temporarily. Personal belongings can be kept if there is no mold growth on them. These items may need a deep cleaning to remove mold particles (spores) that have settled in the fabric.

The building owner may want to hire a licensed Mold Consultant company, such as ERC, to determine the extent of a mold problem and to develop a remediation protocol to address it. Under TDLR rules, the remediation of 25 contiguous square feet or more of visible mold in properties with 10 or more units must be conducted by a licensed Mold Remediation Contractor. Small areas of mold growth (less than 25 contiguous square feet) can be cleaned/removed by an owner or by maintenance staff. Please note that testing to determine what kind of mold is present is not required prior to remediation or cleaning. However, to properly measure the effectiveness of a remediation project, testing before and after is highly recommended.

Source: Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR)

For more information about molds, visit these sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Consumer Mold Information Sheet

In the Swing of the 2020 Storm Season

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs June 1st through November 30th. Researchers have estimated 6-10 hurricanes predicted during the 2020 season – up to 6 major; with 13 total named storms. Ever wonder where the names for tropical storms and hurricanes come from? And why are they even named in the first place?

Prior to the 1950s, hurricanes and tropical storms were tracked by using the year and the storm’s order in that year. For example, the third tropical storm in 1920 would simply be referred to as “1920 Storm 3”. During the 1950s, meteorologists were having difficulty tracking storms in this fashion and started using names for the storms.

Today, the World Meteorological Organization is responsible for developing the names for both Northern Pacific and Atlantic storms. They use six lists of names for each, rotating them each year. Names of storms which have done tremendous damage such as Katrina, Michael, Sandy, and Harvey, have been retired from the lists and replaced with another name starting with the same letter. More than 80 names have been retired. Not all letters of the alphabet are created equal! Q, U, X, Y and Z have been omitted, leaving only 21 names on each list. And if there are more than 21 storms? Additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.

2020 so far:

  • Arthur – Tropical Storm, May 18th, North Carolina
  • Bertha – Tropical Storm, May 27th, South Carolina
  • Cristobal – Tropical Storm, June 7th, Louisiana
  • Dolly – Tropical Storm, June 23rd, NE US Coast (never landed)
  • Edouard – Tropical Storm, July 6, New Foundland
  • Fay – Tropical Storm, July 10th, New Jersey

Next 5 names:

  • Gonzalo
  • Hanna
  • Isaias
  • Josephine
  • Kyle

For the full list, visit the National Hurricane Center. While there, revisit some of the preparations you should take during this hurricane season.

 

AFTER SURVIVING THE STORM… THE BATTLE MAY NOT BE OVER.

MOLD

Mold can cause serious health problems. The key to mold control is moisture control. After the flood, remove standing water and dry indoor areas. Remove and discard anything that has been wet for more than 24-48 hours.

The EPA guide for building managers, custodians, and others who are responsible for building maintenance:  EPA-Mold

RENOVATION AND REBUILDING

Once the mold is remediated, it’s time to rebuild! But wait, there are regulations related to build back activities. Two to keep in mind:

Lead-safe work: By law, contractors need to use lead-safe work practices on emergency renovations on homes or buildings built before 1978. Activities such as sanding, cutting, and demolition can create lead-based paint hazards. Lead-contaminated dust is harmful to adults, particularly pregnant women, and children.

Asbestos: Anyone working on demolition, removal, and cleanup of building debris needs be aware of any asbestos and to handle asbestos materials properly. People exposed to asbestos dust can develop serious lung health problems including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Although the use of asbestos has dramatically decreased in recent years, it is still found in many residential and commercial buildings and can pose a serious health risk.

 

If your organization is affected by a storm and you do not know where to start… CALL ERC!

We offer turnkey services that can get you back up and running as quickly as possible. For those participating in TIPS or Choice Partners cooperatives, ERC holds disaster mitigation contracts designed specifically for this type of recovery.

 

Sam Houston Historic Park Renovations

The City of Houston General Services Department, on behalf of the Houston Parks and recreation Department, contracted with ERC to perform repairs of the historic buildings in Sam Houston Park. A total of eight (8) buildings were identified and a scope of work was prepared based on their unique needs. Although all eight buildings are of the same construction type, wood frame with wood siding, each has its own special set of requirements that needed to be addressed on an individual basis.

Building 6 – Old Place
Building 8 – Nichols Rice Cherry House
Building 10 – St. John Church
Building 12 – 4th Ward Cottage
Building 13 – Yates House
Building 14 – Staiti House
Building 15 – San Felipe Cottage
Building 16 – Pillot House

ERC proudly performed all tasks required and have come to project completion. We look forward to the park reopening and having the public continue to enjoy these historical buildings.

Testimonial

” I appreciate/we appreciate the good work that as occurred in the park. I have been very pleased with the craftsmanship and attention to detail. Thank you again and wishing you and your team health.”

~ Thomas McWhorter, General Services/Design & Construction/Parks Team – City of Houston

https://www.linkedin.com/company/28981459

Helping with Harvey Recovery…

… One Construction Site at a Time

The Wikipedia entry for Hurricane Harvey reads: “Hurricane Harvey is tied with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting $125 billion in damage, primarily from catastrophic rainfall-triggered flooding…”

Hurricane Harvey before and after
Harvey – Before and After

Harvey in numbers:

  • $125 billion in damages (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • Over 300,000 structures flooded
  • Up to 500,000 cars flooded
  • About 336,000 customers lost power
  • Approximately 40,000 people in shelters (Texas and Louisiana)
  • More than 50 inches (average) rainfall in four days
  • More than 80 lives lost

Recovery has been slow. FEMA, insurance… well, government just doesn’t move very fast and insurance companies have been bogged with claims. The losses were just catastrophic and will take time to get everything back to normal.

 

ERC is helping recover from this widespread catastrophe. In 2018, ERC was awarded the first FEMA-related contract through the City of Houston’s General Services Division. We are renovating the McGovern-Stella Link Neighborhood Library, part of the Houston Public Library System, after flood waters damaged the building. The scope of work includes flooring, electrical, millwork, and painting.

McGovern-Stella Link Neighborhood Library before ERC Renovation
McGovern-Stella Link Neighborhood Library – Before Harvey, Street view.

What makes this project different? The paperwork. In an effort to insure the City of Houston and FEMA are on the same page as to what work is covered and what will be reimbursed to the City, this project’s paperwork was fine-tuned to address this unique situation.

“We are thrilled to be working with the City of Houston,” states Kommy M. Azarpour, CAPM, PE, president of ERC, “We’ve had a long relationship with the City on the environmental side. This isn’t our first construction project with the City, but it is the first in our 2019 focus on our construction division.”

“We want to impress the City of Houston with our professionalism, while at the same time, being easy to work with,” says Max Sanati, ERC’s superintendent of the project.

When the project is complete, we’ll post photos to our website, so please return to see the end result!

If you’d like more information on what Houston is doing to help recovery and their efforts to reduce the risk of this happening again, visit Houston Recovers. If you don’t live in Houston, but want information about your nearby affected area, there are links to get you to your neighborhood information.