Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana’

Ten Tips to Avoid Structural Mold from Flooding

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Nonprofit Contact Person: Doug Hoffman
877.251.2296 ext. 876

August 15, 2016 (Abita Springs, LA) – A few simple steps can save property owners thousands of dollars of damage due to structural mold growth, according to Doug Hoffman, executive director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (, a nonprofit organization that trains and certifies indoor air quality professionals. Taking the necessary steps to avoid structural mold growth not only preserves the integrity of a structure but also the health of its occupants, further explains Kurt and Lee Ann Billings, authors of the book MOLD: The War Within, which details lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina. Flooding area residents must be proactive, act quickly, and use proper personal protection equipment when implementing the following ten steps:
1. Remove any standing water using a pump or a wet vac. If the water damage is from a broken pipe, be sure to turn off the water supply.
2. Remove wet carpets, rugs, draperies and personal belongings. Clear mud and debris from floors and foundation walls to allow the subflooring and foundation to dry.
3. Remove and discard water-saturated sheetrock and insulation 18 inches above the highest watermark to increase structural drying. Remove water-damaged flexible ductwork and water-damaged insulation around metal ductwork.
4. Remove all mold growth on remaining structural building materials by mechanical means or complete removal if necessary. The easiest and most effective way to initially clean mold from structural building materials is to use a commercial wet/dry HEPA vacuum, followed by wiping, scrubbing, scrapping or sanding for complete removal.
5. Don’t use bleach to clean mold. Bleach is an effective sanitizer but it will not remove mold at its “root”. The mold will look like it’s gone but it is not; it will only grow back.
6. Use sanitizers on any portion of the structure contaminated by sewage or flood waters.
7. Dry the structure out as quickly as possible as structural mold begins to form in the first 24-48 hours. As soon as the above removal steps are completed, turn up the heat, circulate the air with fans, and use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor humidity below 50 percent. Hot, dry air dries things faster than cold moist air. If there’s no electricity, open windows and doors to get air moving to speed up the drying process, if weather permits.
8. Check the attic as undetected roof leaks can later cause structural mold problems.
9. Inspect windows on the outside of the structure, checking for damaged caulking and seals that could lead to future water leaks.
10. Don’t seal it up until it’s dry. Siding, sheetrock, and flooring repairs should be done only after the substrates are completely dry. Confirm moisture content by using a moisture meter.
For more information on water damage and flood resources, please see, or to locate a certified mold inspector or remediator in your area, log onto or call 1.877.251.2296.

Is Training Really Necessary?

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Abita Springs, LA

Some people our industry view training as unnecessary.  Whether initial training or continuing education training, they view any legislation regarding licensing “unnecessarily burdening” if it includes a requirement for training, either in the field or in the classroom.  This seems to ignore some pretty important reasons for training.

“When I was working as a Roofing Contractor in the State of Florida, the rules and regulations, along with the Building Codes changed on a regular basis,” proclaimed Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI.  “Hurricanes and other wind events required the administrators of these rules to review them on a regular basis and make changes to the regulations as they needed.  Frankly, had I not been required to take 14 hours of continuing education every year for my license, I would still be nailing every single with three nails instead of five!  It’s cheaper and, after all, it was good enough for my Dad!”

The mold industry is very dynamic.  New chemicals are being developed every year that are less toxic and more eco-friendly.  New air scrubbing techniques have been produced which are less expensive and more effective.  The understanding of symptoms related to building illnesses is ever expanding as is the medical world beginning to link health concerns with indoor environmental issues.  How would a mold professional be incentivized to stay up with this trend if they aren’t required to do so?  Realistically, there is little incentive.

Many professionals come into this mold industry with little or no field experience.   They see an opportunity to make a lot of money but don’t have the skills or knowledge to complete projects expeditiously and economically.  The legal industry is jammed with lawsuits against incompetent and untrained contractors who hold themselves out to the public as “certified” when they got their certification through an online agency without having taken a single class.

The State of Florida is setting the standard in the industry for Mold Assessment and Mold Remediation.  There is little doubt that they have written a solid licensing law which requires both initial training and continuing education for its licensees.  Washington DC has followed their lead and, we suspect, more States will.  Louisiana, the first state to put a licensing law in place, requires 24 hours of training with an additional 4 hours of Law and Business Ethics.  Frankly, how else would a professional understand his legal obligations to the citizens of the state without such training?

We encourage all legislators who are considered licensing this industry to take a good close look at the elements of the licensing law they are requiring.  Require certifications from good, competent and credible certifying agencies who, in their certifications, require some level of training and field experience.  The public is relying on your expertise to protect them from the incompetent, untrained contractor who, just yesterday, was working as an unlicensed handyman.

For more information on the licensing requirements in your state or for information on NORMI, contact us at 877.251.2296 or

Top Ten Tips to Avoid Structural Mold from Flooding

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

December 2, 2012 (Abita Springs, LA)—A few simple steps can save property owners thousands of dollars of damage due to structural mold growth, according to Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (, a nonprofit organization involved in providing training and certifications for mold and indoor air quality professionals. Taking the necessary steps to avoid structural mold growth will not only preserve the integrity of a building but also the health of its occupants, further explains Kurt and Lee Ann Billings, authors of the book MOLD: The War Within, which details lessons learned from Katrina. Disaster area residents must be proactive, act quickly, and use proper personal protection equipment when implementing the following ten steps:
1) Remove standing water—remove wet carpets, rugs, draperies, personal belongings (if possible) and exterior mulch against the foundation walls, etc., to allow the subflooring and foundation to dry.
2) Dry the structure out as quickly as possible—this is the most important thing you can do as structural mold will begin to form in the first 24-48 hours. Remove water-saturated sheetrock 18 inches above the highest watermark to increase structural drying.
3) Turn up the heat and use a dehumidifier—when drying out a structure and/or its contents, reduce the indoor humidity to less than 60% and use heat to speed the drying process. Hot, dry air dries things faster than cold moist air.
4) Circulate the air—turn on fans and dehumidifiers or open windows if there is no electricity to get air moving around to increase drying.
5) Don’t seal it up until its dry—siding, sheetrock, and flooring repairs should be done only after the substrates are completely dry. Only use plastic to prevent further water damage.
6) Don’t use bleach—it is an effective sanitizer but will not remove mold at its root. The mold will look like its gone but it won’t be.
7) Check your attic—undetected roof leaks can become big structural mold problems later
8) Inspect windows on the outside of the structure—check for possible water seepage through the caulking/seals.
9) Remove all mold growth on building materials by mechanical means—such as sanding or complete removal.
10) Use sanitizers—on any portion of the structure contaminated by sewage or flood waters.

For more information on water damage and flood resources, please see or to locate a certified mold inspector or remediator in your area, log onto or call 1.877.251.2296 or at 1.877.751.3500

Chinese/Contaminated Drywall Fix Unveiled–Remediate Correctly

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

REPRINT from News Press, Ft. Myers, FL (Dick Hogan)

A national mold remediation trade organization was in Fort Myers on Thursday demonstrating a Chinese drywall fix that carries a 10-year warranty and follow-up visits to ensure the hardy bacteria that cause air quality problems are gone for good.

The drywall, imported from China mostly between 2004 and 2008, emits sulfur compounds that corrode air conditioning coils, electrical wiring and numerous other metal items. Residents claim health symptoms ranging from nosebleeds to respiratory problems.

Almost 1,400 Lee County homeowners have reported to the property appraiser’s office that they have defective drywall.

Experts disagree on exactly what causes it, but many builders remove the drywall, strip a house down to the studs and use a powerful vacuum to get rid of any remaining dust.

The Abita Springs, La.-based National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors developed its procedures to give homeowners some assurance that they can get long-term relief, said Doug Hoffman, executive director of the organization.

“Prognosis without diagnosis is malpractice,” said Hoffman, who is one of the instructors at classes his group is giving around the state to introduce the program.

About a dozen state-licensed mold remediators and building contractors got instructions in such arcane topics as preserving enough of the drywall as legal evidence so that the homeowner won’t be precluded from suing the builder or drywall manufacturer.

“It’s not cheap,” Hoffman said – $86 to $96 per square foot for spraying a biocide formulated to penetrate walls and kill the bacteria that cause the problem, then ripping out all the bad drywall, vacuuming out all the possibly contaminated dust and retreating with the biocide.

After that, he said, the drywall remediator does annual checkups and puts a monitor that records temperature and humidity to make sure the homeowner doesn’t leave the house without air conditioning – a sure way to trigger a relapse.

“It loves moisture,” Hoffman said. “Anytime you have moisture in the environment, you’ve got a problem.”

Della White, co-owner of Fort Myers-based Environmental Services Group, said she thinks the training and certification will make the process of drywall remediation more certain for homeowners and the people doing the work.

“I think it’s going to provide us with a path to follow,” she said.

For more information on training go to and register for an upcoming class in your area or call the NORMI Hotline 877.251.2296×8911

Letter from the Editor on Chinese Drywall Training

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

“We have been studying the Contaminated Drywall issue (formally referred to as ‘Chinese Drywall’, ‘Defective Drywall’, ‘Imported Drywall’ and ‘Corrosive Drywall’) for nearly two years. Our team of expert researchers, engineers, construction professionals, microbiologists and remediation specialists started in the summer of 2008 when clients first called NORMI looking for solutions. There has been a lot of ‘misinformation’ dispensed and ‘gimmickry’ solutions offered to address these problems but finally, we have found the solution and are proud to partner with Best Training School to train professionals on the assessment and remediation of Contaminated Drywall (CDW).

The problem first required intense scrutiny and investigation through a variety of disciplines. We have looked at the building science aspects of the problem, IICRC S-520 and NYC Guidelines for potential mitigation/remediation solutions, microbiological analysis utilizing DNA sampling and straight microscopy to help us identify a more holistic approach to the problem and relied on our intense construction background to propose a solution. But that wasn’t enough! Once you have a proposed solution, a mitigation/remediation protocol that works, how can you find someone who is well-trained AND insured to actually perform the work?

Now we have accomplished our purposes: provide a program that really 1) identifies the problem, through proper assessment, 2) effectively removes the source of the problem, through remediation protocols that are holistic, effective and specific to the unique job and 3) provides the customer with a guarantee that the problems WILL NOT return, a warranty aspect absent from many proposed solutions.

Well-trained, highly skilled, licensed and insured professionals for assessment AND remediation with protocols that work—come see for yourself at the next Best Training School CDW Certification class near you!” Doug Hoffman–Executive Director of NORMI

The NORMI Certified CDW Remediator (CCDWR)—The NORMI Certified CDW Remediator is a fully licensed and insured construction professional who has met the stringent requirements associated with the mold remediation certification (NORMI Certified Mold Remediator) also offered by NORMI. Having been trained in the standard remediation protocols (IICRC S-500, IICRC S-520, NYC Guidelines, EPA, and others) the NORMI Certified CDWR fully understands how modifying existing cleaning, restoration, mitigation and remediation techniques accomplishes the overall goals of contaminated drywall mitigation/remediation. When implementing contaminated drywall mitigation/remediation the utilization of proper containment, establishing negative pressure, use of Personal Protection Equipment and chemical/mechanical sanitization techniques are vital to the successful project. The NORMI CDWR attends this training with a rich background of training and experience so projects can be initiated immediately upon completion of the course. Requires 1-Day Training (8 hours)

The NORMI Certified CDW Assessor (CCDWA)—The NORMI Certified CDW Assessor is a fully licensed and insured professional trained in all aspects of IAQ-related and CDW assessment because, first and foremost, the issues related to corrosive drywall are indoor air quality problems. The “rotten-egg odors”, the VOCs, relative humidity anomalies, and surface contamination all affect indoor air quality and must, therefore, be fixed and continually managed. The assessment process identifies those factors contributing to the symptoms in that specific and unique project then proposes protocols that mitigate or remediate the problem. The solutions are specifically tailored to match the design, construction and nature of the problem. In some cases the contaminated drywall is asymptomatic and requires only the installation of IAQ management techniques, light mitigation and/or containment. In other cases, removal of the contaminated drywall is in order. Rather than taking a “let’s kill the flea with an elephant gun” approach, the NORMI Certified CDWA is trained to match the solution with the problem. There will be no “unnecessary” redundancy just to cover up or mask the problems. The problems are identified and protocols written to solve the problem at its source. Requires 2-Day Training (16 hours)

The NORMI Healthier Home Warranty is the goal of all mitigation/remediation projects. A home that has been properly assessed and remediated qualifies for the ongoing warranty which guarantees to the homeowner, the problems were solved. Upon completion of the project the homeowner is presented with a NORMI Certificate of Sanitization as a third-party confirmation that all protocols were followed resulting in a post remediation verification that all levels of IAQ are in “expected/normal” ranges. The NORMI Certificate of Sanitization then becomes the basis for the ongoing warranty. Should the homeowner elect to continue this warranty, an annual compliance review is scheduled and ongoing IAQ management through IAQ monitoring and maintenance is implemented.

For more information on how this training and solution could help you, call the NORMI CDW Hotline at 877.251.2296 x 8911 or email Classes now being offered at


Sunday, June 27th, 2010

June 24, 2010

In the last few weeks judges in Louisiana and Florida are adjudicating drywall cases and finding in favor of the plaintiffs. What this means to the industry could be significant, of course, but what it means to the plaintiff is, in our opinion, more significant—BECAUSE there is no contractor who can do the work with the proper insurance. That’s a problem!

“A Florida family has been awarded $2.46 million in the first Chinese drywall lawsuit to be heard by a jury. The decision was seen by some as a ‘bellwether’ case, which could forecast how other juries may respond to similar evidence that will be presented in other trials over Chinese drywall that has caused problems for homeowners throughout the United States.”

“Earlier this year in the Federal MDL, Judge Fallon awarded $164,000 to a Louisiana family that filed a Chinese drywall lawsuit against Knauf. The ruling equated to about $81 per square foot. Since that ruling, Knauf has begun seeking settlements with U.S. builders who bought their drywall.”

“Judge Fallon has also issued a ruling that awarded $2.6 million to seven Virginia families who filed a lawsuit against China-based Taishan Gypsum Co. over drywall problems. However, it is unclear how the families will collect, since China does not acknowledge civil lawsuit judgments in the U.S., and the company did not send a representative to court to answer the charges.”

So, here are the problems: 1) how many appeals will be filed to slow down the payback process, 2) how are they going to collect from the defendants, if they even will, and 3) if they can get the work down for the awarded amount, WHO is insured to do the work and what protocol will they follow?

The first two questions are, of course, the most difficult. We are dealing with an international community (so political pressures are great) and a country (China) to whom we are incredibly indebted (according to U.S. treasury nearly $755.4 billion at last year’s end). There is little doubt that the plaintiffs are in for a very long fight.

The third question, however, is being addressed by NORMIPro Management ( and its team of experts. With engineers, IAQ specialists, laboratories, Remediators, assessors, and insurance professionals on board, NORMIPro Management will soon introduce solutions that could give hope to the plaintiffs in two areas: 1) that they will be able to do the work for less that the amount of money they’ve been awarded and, 2) that those who do the work will have the proper insurance.

The third piece of the NORMIPro Management package that may be in place shortly is an insured guarantee that the problems will be solved and solved permanently. Following proper IAQ Management techniques and the NORMI Sanitization Protocol, which helped hundreds of homeowners following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, these Chinese Drywall issues can be resolved and resolved permanently.

There is hope for the victims of Chinese Drywall and it may not be in the court system. This hope may soon find its way into the marketplace…where it should be!

Challenging the NORMI Proctored Examinations

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors has introduced the first of its kind, proctored interview exam for those interested in becoming certified as a Mold Assessor (CMA) or Mold Remediator (CMR). Managed by the NORMI Standards and Compliance Division, the two-part examination/interview process now guarantees that the applicant has a clear understanding of the work he intends to perform as an assessor, investigator, or remediator in the mold industry.

“We have always taken our examination processes seriously and tried to develop a way to insure that those who are working in the mold industry truly understand the problems with which they are dealing and the potential downside litigation that exists when they fail to do it right,” commented Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI. “This interview process provides a one-on-one opportunity for Joe Lombardi, our Director of Compliance and Standards Division to discuss with the applicant any questions they answered incorrectly and talk about how they intend to build a solid business, keep their insurance current, understand the re-certification process, and meet the current applicable licensing laws. It’s a terrific way to be sure the public is protected from incompetent work.”

Effective immediately, the new proctored interview becomes a part of the Mold Assessor/Investigator and Mold Remediation certifications and the NORMI Board of Directors anticipates expanding this program to all certifications after January 1, 2010.

In addition, those willing the challenge the NORMI Proctored Examination without having taken an associated course may do so by contacting the NORMI Standards and Compliance Division and scheduling, in advance, a seat at the next location. This affords an opportunity for those wishing to be accredited by NORMI to begin the process of becoming certified after they have met the educational/experience requirement, insurance requirements, and paid the associated certification fee(s).

Lance Eisen, NORMI Chief of Operations, responded, “With mold licensing laws now in place in the States of Maryland, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida it becomes more important than ever to separate the trained from the untrained. This proctored examination/interview program takes our certifications to a new level. Never before has the industry required this kind of scrutiny and we are proud to separate ourselves out as a leader in the mold industry, an industry that has been fraught with fraud and misinformation. The public can be sure that when they hire a NORMI Certified Mold Assessor or NORMI Certified Mold Remediator, they are hiring someone who knows what they are doing.”

For more information on training contact or call 888.856.4803 and for more information about the NORMI Certifications or Proctored Examination/Interview Process, contact 877.251.2296, NORMI Standards and Compliance Division.

Tags: certified Mold Assessor, Certified Mold Remediator, cma, cmr, National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors, normi