IAQ Radio, episode 426 from August 12, 2016 featured John Downey, Ken Larsen, and Cliff Zlotnik. The group discussed, "Two articles which appeared in the August issue of the IICRC Journal along with details from the story behind them." While this description may not grab your attention, if you are involved in water damage or the property restoration industry, the content of the articles and the discussion on this podcast are important. Cliff and Ken expressed their concerns over the state of the water damage restoration industry with pointed critiques of the foundation behind the IICRC Applied Structural Drying certification and its subsequent incorporation into the IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration.
This episode discusses:
Is Applied Structural Drying (ASD) Scientific?
According to Cliff Zlotnik, no one knows "chapters and verse of the S500 better than Ken Larsen. Ken noted that in May 2012, the Journal of Environmental Health demonstrated that a water loss responded to within four hours showed an exponential increase (orders of magnitude) of microbial growth in floor materials. He was disappointed that so few IICRC insiders and leadership acknowledged the results of the research's feedback. Cliff Zlotnik writes in the IAQ Radio blog and show recap expanding on Ken's comments from the show,
Problems on water claims is a dominant theme. Contractors find their lack of control on their projects discouraging. Many declare water restoration work is no longer fun or rewarding. The bureaucracy and loss of control is a challenge to contractor’s patience and tolerance. Contractor’s are exhausted by the demand to provide non-compensated services and mandatory investment and utilization of drying documentation software. All these demands stem from the IICRC. The IICRC is the source of these ideas. Readership has been supportive of our method to inspire the IICRC to make the needed corrections.
Is Top-Down Drying Realistic?
Cliff Zlotnik was motivated to write his article after attending both of the early in-place drying courses. He said that he felt uneasy and uncomfortable about the methodologies for “top-down drying” being taught to restorers. After testing the theories in his original Restoration Science Academy training center he came to different conclusions. Cliff thinks the training courses were unrealistic and summarized part of the fix in tese words,
Simplify curriculum, remove complication. To paraphrase the late Jim Darling’s recommendation that the IICRC mold remediation course for workers’ whose first language was other than English could be done in 4 words: “mold bad-clean good!” Drying is pretty simple “wet bad-dry good”; we need to show workers how to get there. Lloyd’s [Weaver] method was simple and it worked. When the IICRC changed the WRT curriculum and exam and added committee “Made Up Stuff”: the IICRC drying formulas, equipment placements formulas, categories of wetness; I could no longer teach it. The photos in the article show air passing through materials and into interstitial spaces. Adjusting curriculum away from the dominance of in-place drying would be a good start.
The Role of Water Damage Drying Standards
Pete Consigli mentioned that good intentions, such as quicker drying times, can sometimes lead to unintended negative outcomes. He recommended the following,
Get away from prescriptive standards. Move to performance based standards. The separation of standards from the reference guide will reduce the confusion. Reference guide is being used and referred to as authoritative when it isn’t.
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