Few deny that the property restoration industry has progressively become more difficult, due to a catastrophically diminished trust between insurers and service providers. Today, the intensity of this lack of trust has produced a market whereby administrators of preferred vendor programs, service provider networks and third-party administrations (TPAs) privately negotiate stipulations with insurance carriers that are blatantly substandard, along with the promise to impose rules upon service providers who participate in their programs that are patently unfair. The result, too often, is a property owner who does not receive a competently executed restoration effort and/or a shortfall in a fully justifiable insurance settlement. The service provider must choose between the risk of participating in an incompetently executed restoration effort, or prudently performing the project competently while forfeiting justifiable and necessary revenue.
The solution may be found through the regular involvement of an entity that can build trust between the insurer and service provider through the evaluation and guidance of an independent expert in the competent delivery of structural restoration that is in accord with the industry’s accepted standard of care to be followed; a RIA Registered Third Party Evaluator (RTPE)**. The RTPE would represent the needs of the structure — not the financial interests of the service provider or insurer.
Who would qualify to be this RTPE? It should be someone formally trained at the highest level in restoration practices, a truly seasoned professional with a significant portion of their careers, spent in the development of skills and knowledge pertaining to the restoration and/or repairing of structures and contents. This would indeed contrast with many who claim to possess authoritative understandings on projects upon which they have never set foot, and trades in which they have never actually executed in commerce.
A CMP CAN BE AN IICRC S500-2015 “IEP”
The RIA’s Certified Mold Professional is one of the industry’s premier credentials with a “focus on general inspection procedures for contaminants indoors (chemical, biological, particulates, fire residues, etc.). The course emphasizes the interrelatedness of building systems and the predominance of situations where indoor environmental quality is impacted by multiple problems or contaminants. Candidates will be able to identify what is impacting the interior of a building and which general cleaning approaches would be appropriate for improving the indoor environment.” 1
The ANSI/IICRC Standards S500 (drying) and S520 (mold) speak repeatedly of the use of an “Indoor Environmental Professional” (IEP) whenever the project includes environmentally sensitive contaminants.
These ANSI/IICRC standards define an IEP as: “an individual with the education, training and experience to perform an assessment of the microbial ecology of structure, systems and contents at a job site, create a sampling strategy, sample the indoor environment and submit to an appropriate laboratory, interpret laboratory data and determine Category of water or Condition 1, 2, and 3 for the purpose of establishing a scope of work and verifying the return to a normal microbial ecology (e.g., Condition 1).” (S500-2015, 2015, p. 16)
What “education, training and experience” qualify an individual to possess the title of an “IEP”?
There are many sources of education with an intense focus upon subject(s) described in the IICRC’s definition for IEP. Those who try to convince others they are an “expert” in a subject as a result of attending a single course are usually mocked. An authentic expert is frequently identified as a result of others declaring them to be such — whether they like it or not.
RIA offers one such advanced IEP formal education and training titled Certified Mold Professional (CMP), wherein the student undergoes an intensive program with a focus on such skills.2 Currently, a CMP must be able to prove a minimum of five (5) years of verifiable work experience related to the restoration industry and/or three (3) years of verifiable supervisory experience. Therefore, prerequisites for attending the CMP course can include a Mold Remediation Technician course, like the IICRC Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT), and/ or the ACAC microbial technician/supervisor courses.
The process of acquiring the CMP credential includes several prerequisite courses that can be from multiple education providers providing a broad scope of perspective on the subject of indoor environmental evaluations and repairs.
Those who have successfully acquired their CMP may choose to identify themselves as an “IEP” as described within the ANSI/IICRC industry standards, if they so desired. The CMP credential lends particular significant value when seeking a qualified RTPE who functions as an IEP on a structural restoration project.
Activities of an IEP include:
• 10.6.7 Preliminary Determination: The “preliminary determination” is the determination of the Category of water. If the preliminary determination is that the water is Category 1, then the restorer can proceed without contamination controls (e.g., erecting containment barriers, initial cleaning establishing pressure differentials). With regard to Category 2 or 3 water intrusions, remediation should occur prior to restorative drying, and restorers shall use contamination controls and appropriate worker protection. Where necessary, an indoor environmental professional (IEP) should be used to assess the levels of contamination.” (S500-2015, 2015, p. 39) subsequent data is interpreted by the IEP. Then, the IEP, or other qualified individual, may develop a remediation plan.” (S500-2015, 2015, p. 15)
• “Post-remediation verification: an inspection and assessment performed by an IEP after a remediation project, which can include visual inspection, odor detection, analytical testing or environmental sampling methodologies to verify that the structure, system or contents have been returned to a Category 1 or uncontaminated level.” (S500-2015, 2015, p. 17)
An entire section of the ANSI/IICRC S500-2015 (Section 12) is dedicated to the activities and purpose of an IEP
on water damage losses. They have been spoken of in the Standards for more than a decade — but now they are being more heavily emphasized as a component to a competently executed restoration project. This is particularly important when we consider a significant change in the categorization of water (categorization is roughly defined as the degree of contamination in the water).
CATEGORY: “SPECIAL SITUATION” HAS CHANGED
The prior S500s standard defined a “fourth category” of water and called it a “special situation.” It was roughly defined as a water intrusion that involved “a regulated or
Those who try to convince others they are an “expert” in a subject as a result of attending a single course are usually mocked. An authentic expert is frequently identified as a result of others declaring them to be such — whether they like it or not.
• “Assessment: a process performed by an indoor environmental professional (IEP) that includes the evaluation of data obtained from a building history and inspection to formulate an initial hypothesis about the origin, identity, location and extent of contamination. If necessary, a sampling plan is developed, and samples are collected and sent to a qualified laboratory for analysis. The hazardous material” (S500-2006, 2006, p. 14). The 2015 edition of the S500 has changed the name of this category along with a new description: Regulated, Hazardous Materials and Mold.
This change is significant, since the presence of visible mold on a water-damaged structure is surprisingly common. Frequently, an IEP will be necessary to assist in the preliminary determination, assessment
The “RIA Registered Third Party Evaluator (RTPE)” is a proposed idea under consideration by the RIA. This series of articles is drafted with the intention of determining market interest and sentiment. You are strongly encouraged to provide feedback on this subject — both positive and negative — through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the editor of this magazine, mcarrozzo@ restorationindustry.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
and post-remediation verification. As stated repeatedly throughout the S500-2015, restoration professionals should remediate mold contamination prior to drying. This important emphasis within the industry standards will effectively change the way a conscientious service provider competently approaches their drying projects. A CMP who exercises a position of an IEP can effectively guide a service provider in engineering an effective and justifiable remediation and drying strategy.
RTPEs WITH A CMP CREDENTIAL AND THE TPA
Entities who have negotiated program stipulations with the insurance carriers (TPAs) carry the fiduciary responsibility to represent the interests of the entity they claim to serve: the insurance carrier. This is their customer — not the service provider or property owner. Furthermore, these TPA entities are frequently grossly unqualified to speak to the scoping or procedural needs of the restoration project on any level! They are far from recognized as “expert” among their industry peers, and are repeatedly informed of this fact by those who are indeed “reasonably prudent members of the trade who are recognized in the industry as qualified and competent” (S500-2015, 2015, p. “Important Definitions”). These facts should alarm all who are involved in an insurance claim. Any homeowner who suffers damages from a covered peril according to the terms of their insurance policy can file an insurance claim and is entitled to have the expenses related to their property being competently restored. To establish the scope of work and requirements of a competent restoration protocol, an RTPE could be retained by the property owner to define the needs of the project. If the insurance company and the TPA were indeed interested in serving their common customer (the property owner), they too would welcome the qualified evaluation of an RTPE who possesses a CMP credential.
Service providers who participate in claim referral programs regularly encounter disputes from unqualified program enforcers. A qualified RTPE can provide an unbiased description of the structural repair needs and a competent execution. The insured can then include the expense of the RTPE in their proof of loss declaration. This can also be of value to the service provider as they submit their justifiable charges for the services produced with the protocol compiled with the RTPE’s inspection and report.
The TPA can then stick to what they do best: assemble documents in preparation for the licensed adjuster’s review and expedient file closure.
An RTPE who has accumulated adequate education and experience along with the prerequisites leading to their attaining a CMP credential can be a valuable indoor environmental professional (IEP) in determining the usual, customary and justifiable services required to competently restore a structure. The first advanced credential acquired by those seeking to be an RTPE could be the Certified Mold Professional (CMP). The next credential they would be wise to seek is their Water Loss Specialist (WLS).
We will review this credential next month. RIA