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Construction Insurance Bulletin

Construction and Environmental Risk Management

By November 4, 2014No Comments

Site management includes proper storage of fuels and other potentially toxic supplies. Fuel tanks require secondary containment for rupture control and a safe low-traffic location. Other potential toxins need proper containment and inventory control.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will remind you of these requirements if you fail to comply.

Environmental awareness is critical to avoiding problems:

* Roofing. When roofs leak, mold grows in the affected area frequently because wet, dark, cooler areas promote mold growth. When performing repairs, always check for mold. Take pictures of any suspicious growth and show the owner. Contractors are often blamed for mold after the repair when common sense might suggest the mold occurred during the leak. But the time for remediation is before new materials are installed. Check for mold. Any large black or white stain should be sampled and tested by trained mold inspectors. Don’t take a chance with mold.

* Equipment. When diesel equipment is used around an area which has or had heating oil storage tanks, any leak can be attributed to the contractor. Check the soil in the area where work is to be performed. Does it smell like heating oil? Does it look stained? Is there any evidence of overfilling the tank? Get samples and send them to a laboratory for testing before the project starts.

* Avoid toxic products. The green product industry has blossomed over the past few years. The products have nearly the same efficacy of traditional formulations, and have the benefit of not creating long-term problems for the owner.

Think environment before a job starts. What is already there which needs documentation as an existing condition?

These conditions may be an opportunity to increase the contract, but they will certainly be a point of contention if not documented properly.