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

Asbestos FAQs

What is Asbestos?  Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion.  Asbestos includes the mineral fibers chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and any of these materials that have been chemically treated or altered.

Brief History:  Although the use of asbestos dates back to prehistoric times, the mineral came into popularity during the Industrial Age. Asbestos manufacturing was not a flourishing industry until the late 1800s, when the start of the Industrial Revolution helped sustain strong and steady growth of the industry. That’s when the practical and commercial uses of asbestos, with its myriad applications, became widespread.

Is asbestos hazardous?  Asbestos is harmful if the fibers become airborne and are inhaled. Fibrous asbestos can fracture into fibers small enough that they can penetrate deep into the lungs, where they can interact with the body to cause cancer or other illnesses. Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) that are intact and in good condition are not hazardous to building occupants under normal conditions.

How might I be exposed to asbestos fibers?  Asbestos can enter the environment from weathered natural mineral deposits and fiber releases arising from man-made asbestos products. Asbestos may be found in products like floor tiles; roof shingles; cement; mastic adhesive; automotive brakes and; electrical, plumbing, acoustical, and structural insulation. Asbestos fibers are released into the air when these products are disturbed.

What is my risk of being exposed?  Exposure, generally, is during construction where ACM is disturbed to the point of becoming airborne. While asbestos remains in place and non-friable (cannot be easily broken down and made airborne), adverse health effects are unlikely.

What if I’m exposed?  If you feel you have been exposed, visit your physician. The most common test used to determine if you have been exposed to asbestos is a chest x-ray. The x-ray cannot detect the asbestos fibers themselves, but can detect early signs of lung disease caused by asbestos exposure. Another tool used by physicians, called a pulmonary function test, can also be useful in identifying lung capacity changes. Periodic health examinations by a physician, including a chest x-ray and review of asbestos-based risk factors, can be effective. Asbestos risk factors include levels, frequency, and length of asbestos exposures; period of time since exposures; and smoking history. The combined impact of cigarette smoking and fiber exposures can increase the chances of asbestos-related lung diseases.

How do I avoid exposure?  Pay attention to warning signs around construction sites. Contractors removing asbestos are required to contain these areas so asbestos is not released outside of the work area, to monitor the area for possible exposure, and these areas are to be easily identified with proper signage.

How can I tell if something contains asbestos?  It is not possible to visually determine if a material contains asbestos. The presence of asbestos can only be determined by specific sampling and analytical procedures conducted by qualified individuals.

I have asbestos in my home. Do I need to do anything about it to protect my health?  Most of the time, no. The common materials used in home construction are floor tile, roofing and siding. These materials are very strong and don’t readily crumble and release the asbestos fibers unless they are subjected to strong forces. If you never have the need to disturb these materials, you may be able to leave them alone. But if you know that a needed repair or renovation will disturb the material, you may want to start planning with your consultant to abate the asbestos during the project.

What do commercial property owners/managers have to do with a construction project containing asbestos?  There are regulations in place that require owners to know if there is ACM in the building before commencing construction/demolition work. An asbestos survey must be performed and proof of such survey is required in order to obtain the necessary permits. This work is completed by an Asbestos Consultant, such as ERC. If any asbestos is to be removed, a consultant must provide instructions for safe removal (Asbestos Specifications or Design). Additionally, a consultant provides oversight of the removal with onsite monitoring throughout the project.

Is asbestos hazardous?  It is the unique physical shape of asbestos that gave it many practical applications and also makes asbestos hazardous. Asbestos is harmful if the fibers become airborne and are inhaled. Fibrous asbestos can fracture into fibers small enough that they can penetrate deep into the lungs, where they can interact with the body to cause cancer or other illnesses. Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) that are intact and in good condition are not hazardous to building occupants under normal conditions.

If asbestos is so dangerous, why was it even used?  Asbestos was so useful because it was incredibly strong and resisted many elements well. It is so strong because of its natural composition. These fibers are extremely durable and resistant to wear. These are the properties making asbestos so attractive for adding to all types of products:

  • Inert: That means they have little or no chemical reaction when blended with other materials. This quality makes ACM stable and seemingly safe to handle.
  • Non-Flammable: Asbestos materials withstand extreme heat and pressure without breaking down.
  • Non-Corrosive: Asbestos fibers don’t rust or corrode when placed in wet and moist conditions.
  • Low Thermal Transfer Rate: Asbestos insulation was considered the best material to control heat loss and gain.
  • Tensile Strength: Asbestos fibers were enormously strong.
  • Lightweight: Some standard products had their weight cut in half when blended with high ratios of asbestos fiber.
  • Flexible: Asbestos fibers bend, twist, and turn while maintaining their strength and without giving up other properties.
  • Durable: Asbestos fibers do not break down, even when exposed to corrosive ultraviolet rays and acids.
  • Readily Available: Asbestos is commonly found in deposits around the world.
  • Economical: Because asbestos is common and lightweight, its mining and shipping costs are low. The savings were passed down to the consumer, along with all the other great features asbestos appeared to offer.

When was it realized that asbestos was a health hazard?  In the early 1900s, Dr. Hubert Montague Murray at the Charing Cross Hospital in London reported on lung disease in an asbestos textile worker. An autopsy confirmed the presence of asbestos fibers in the worker’s lungs. It was not until 1924, however, that the first case of asbestosis was reported in a medical journal. Documents from the 1930s and 1940s reveal that many asbestos manufacturers were aware of the serious health issues surrounding asbestos, but kept the information secret from workers and from the public. During the 1960s, evidence emerged indicating that asbestos fibers posed a dangerous medical risk. The United States federal government began to regulate asbestos in the 1970s through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Wasn’t asbestos banned years ago?  Only a few asbestos products are banned in the United States. You can still easily buy many asbestos products from the local home improvement store.

DANGER Asbestos Removal SignWhat if I work in a building currently under construction and there are asbestos warning signs?  Do not enter the area. Wherever asbestos is being removed (abated) the contractor will put up a containment with warning signs, so any airborne asbestos fibers do not migrate into the occupied areas. This work is strictly regulated and monitored for the safety of the abatement workers, as well as the occupants. Air monitoring is done throughout the abatement to ensure exposure does not exceed a very finite limit set by the Federal Government.

What happens with the ACM that’s removed from buildings?  ACM is carefully contained and transported in a sealed container to a hazardous waste disposal site. Because of its features, asbestos never breaks down and remains in these sites forever, unless removed and transported to a different site. The whole process of removal, transportation, and disposal is very tightly regulated.

 

For more information about asbestos, visit these sites:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Occupational Safety & Health Agency (OSHA)

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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

ERC Remains Strong for YOU!

ERC is closely monitoring the recent events of COVID-19. We would like to assure you that we are fully operational and our commitment to our clients continues unscathed. All necessary precautions have been taken in to place at all of our ERC locations to include heightened personal hygiene and workplace sanitation.

ERC’s continuity plans are set and in place ready to support our clients at any given moment via virtual meetings and secure file sharing. To keep within the best interest of all parties involved, any cancellations or postponements of any kind will be communicated swiftly and efficiently.

As new information comes to light, we will make the proper accommodations as to better serve you. We remain calm and alert as we come together during this time of need and support our fellow communities.

Thanks for doing business with us.

It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.

ERC President, Kommy M. Azarpour, was recently invited to deliver a presentation on Mold in Our Environment to the Senior Building Coordinators at Prairie View A&M University. The presentation covered the most common molds found in our environment, sources, locations, prevention and proactive approach. We, at ERC are committed to providing the utmost customer service to our clients and at the same time acting as a source of valuable information to our clients’ faculty and staff. Being able to provide a sense of health and safety awareness is among one of our top priorities at ERC.

Upcoming Event:

Be sure to stop by our Booth and say hello!

“We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right.” ~ Aretha Franklin

 

Texas is my Valentine!

Go Out With a Bang!

2019 is coming to an end and ERC plans on ushering in the new year with arms wide open! We’ve come a long way this year and will continue to strive for success in everything that we do from start to finish.  As our business continues to grow so will our team; please welcome the newest team members to ERC; Daniel Tibbals – Sr. Field Engineer and William Springer – Jr. Project Manager. Keep an eye out for our 2020 Newsletter to include upcoming projects and a short bio on our newest team members!