IAQ.net Resources

EPA Building Air Quality Guide-1991

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Hiring Professional Assistance to Solve an IAQ Problem 105 Many IAQ problems are simple to resolve when facility staff have been educated about the investigation process. In other cases, however, a time comes when outside assistance is needed. Profes- sional help might be necessary or desirable in the following situations, among others: ■ Mistakes or delays could have serious consequences (e.g., health hazards, li- ability exposure, regulatory sanctions). ■ Building management feels that an inde- pendent investigation would be better received or more effectively documented than an in-house investigation. ■ Investigation and mitigation efforts by facility staff have not relieved the IAQ problem. ■ Preliminary findings by staff suggest the need for measurements that require specialized equipment and training beyond in-house capabilities. You may be able to find help by looking in the yellow pages of your telephone book (e.g., under "Engineers," "Environmental Services," "Laboratories - Testing," or "Industrial Hygienists"). Local or State health or air pollution agencies may have lists of firm offering IAQ services in your area. It may also be useful to seek out referrals from other building management firms. Local, State, or Federal government agencies may be able to provide expert assistance or direction in solving IAQ problems. It is particularly important to contact your local or State Health Department if you suspect that you have a serious building-related illness potentially linked to biological contamination in your building. If available government agencies do not have personnel with the appropriate skills 8 to assist in solving your IAQ problem, they may be able to direct you to firms in your area with experience in indoor air quality work. Note that even certified profession- als from disciplines closely related to IAQ issues (such as industrial hygienists, ventilation engineers, and toxicologists) may not have the specific expertise needed to investigate and resolve indoor air problems. Individuals or groups that offer services in this evolving field should be questioned closely about their related experience and their proposed approach to your problem. As with any hiring process, the better you know your own needs, the easier it will be to select a firm or individual to service those needs. Firms and individuals working in IAQ may come from a variety of disciplines. Typically, the skills of HVAC engineers and industrial hygienists are useful for this type of investigation, although input from other disciplines such as chemistry, chemical engineering, archi- tecture, microbiology, or medicine may also be important. If problems other than indoor air quality are involved, experts in lighting, acoustic design, interior design, psychology, or other fields may be helpful in resolving occupant complaints about the indoor environment. MAKE SURE THAT THEIR APPROACH FITS YOUR NEEDS As you prepare to hire professional ser- vices in the area of indoor air quality, be aware it is a developing area of knowledge. Most consultants working in the field re- ceived their primary training in other areas. A variety of investigative methods may be employed, many of which are ineffective for resolving any but the most obvious As you prepare to hire professional services in the area of indoor air quality, be aware that it is a developing area of knowledge. Hiring Professional Assistance to Solve an IAQ Problem

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