Episode 687: Rich Crim, PE & Ken Garza, CIH, MS - Reactive to Proactive IEQ GHP’s Unique Process

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Episode 687: Rich Crim, PE & Ken Garza, CIH, MS - Reactive to Proactive IEQ GHP’s Unique Process

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Show Resources: Show Discussion:

12:04:51 From Bob, Maine : Occom's razor
12:05:47 From cliff zlotnik : correct Bob Maine, please send your contact info to czlotnik@cs.com
12:24:57 From Ralph Froehlich : The spreadsheet evaluation is looking for abnormal or poor conditions, rather than looking for positive IEQ conditions. Has GBH identified any list of ideal IEQ parameters?
12:30:12 From Paula SCHENCK : Your bar graph makes sense to me when considering health as an outcome of poor IAQ. Mold is only an indicator of conditions that support many types of biological contaminants. Mold may be the agent but it is just as likely to be other biological contaminants. I agree wholeheartedly that managing water incursion is crucial! Nice approach!
12:31:45 From Mike : The call I’ve never gotten is “ Hey Mike, everyone in my building feels fine, can you come out and tell me why?” How do you convince building owners to use your proactive services? BTW, RIP Steve Hays
12:42:30 From Answerman : Thank you Ken and Rich!
12:47:02 From Paula SCHENCK : Some States have requirements for schools to have a proactive IAQ program. CT is developing the specs for one now.
12:51:27 From Remmie Arnold : Hotel room issues, if had to rank, would HVAC rank highest, or window wall leaks or bathroom leaks
13:02:08 From Victor Cafaro : Good show
Thank You All
13:02:11 From LSteinbronn : Thank you!
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Re: Episode 687: Rich Crim, PE & Ken Garza, CIH, MS - Reactive to Proactive IEQ GHP’s Unique Process

Post by CliffZ »


Show Number: 687

Rich Crim, PE Ken Garza, CIH, MS
Reactive to Proactive IEQ;
GHP’s Unique Process Encourages a Paradigm Shift

Good Day, on this week’s episode of IAQ Radio+, we welcomed Paul Crim, VP Dir of Project Operations and Ken Garza, CIH VP Industrial Hygiene to discuss the GHP story and their emphasis on Proactive vs Reactive IEQ. After many years working with large companies, hotel chains and others GHP is laser focused on changing client’s paradigm and focusing on IEQ issues proactively. This week we learned more about their unique approach.

Nuggets mined from this week’s episode:

Rich Crim and Kenneth Garza- GHP began when an architect Ron Gobbell and Steven Hays a chemical engineer/CIH formed a business partnership in 1977. The firm is passionate about providing architectural, environmental and construction services. The firm considers how buildings impact occupants and owners. The firm’s headquarters is in Nashville, with satellites in Texas, California, Florida & Colorado. The firm is now a woman owned business, Dominique Arrieta is the President/CEO.

Kenneth Garza- Reactive means there is an issue in a building and we need to fix it or tell the client how to fix it. Proactive means that we want to get ahead of issues before they become problems. It’s better to spend some money now and keep track of expenditures and savings rather than spending much more money later.

Rich Crim- A good percentage of our clients seek LEED certification for their buildings while others prefer to use LEED as a template or design standard and not opt for certification. We are seeing growth in other building certification programs such as Well Building as owners of LEED certified buildings seek additional certifications for their buildings. Well Building and LEED are complementary as LEED focuses on efficiency and Well Building focuses on the building occupants.

Kenneth Garza- Cowrote with an attorney a white paper titled “Toxic Mold Litigation: Perspectives on Excessive Mold Growth in Hotels”?

Kenneth Garza- Many of our clients are in the hospitality sector. When we examine a building; we look at both the interior and the exterior. We have opportunities to collect a lot of information which we chart onto spreadsheets. Data is crunched resulting in a grade for each indicator. Indicators tracked include: moisture management (grading and drainage), moisture intrusion, windows, odor sources near fresh air intakes, etc.
We look for: malodors, closed shades, condensation on windows, mold growth on metals, mold growth on nonmetals, staining behind vinyl wall covering.
When we look at Air Handling Units (AHUs) we look for: dirty filters, microbial growth, corroded drain pans, improper piping insulation, duct joint sealing, soiling near AHUs, use of deodorizing products in AHUs.
The Key Driver in guest rooms is malodors which negatively correspond to variations in overall room grades.

Rich Crim- We provide 3rd party water proof consulting, which may begin in the building design phase. Specification of methods and products for water proofing features such as flashing, water tightness of windows, material supply and storage, structural drying prior to installation of wooden framing, drywall and other porous materials. Water testing of windows and window installation including chamber testing.

Kenneth Garza- It’s common for hospitality buildings to undergo periodic refreshes or upgrades of soft goods and wallcovering every 15 years. These refreshes can result in IAQ problems when existing finishes are removed revealing fungal staining or shortcuts are taken such as installing new vinyl wallcovering over existing wall covering. We can advise the client what we recommend be done, however clients may disregard our advise for aesthetic purposes.
The biggest problem areas in hotels are: vinyl wall covering, HVAC, façade. A combination of these issues exacerbates the problem.
Rich Crim- added, it’s not just vinyl wallcovering. Vinyl doesn’t let gypsum breathe or dry. Building envelope and negative pressure issues. We don’t do much blower door testing we do test and balance HVAC systems. Covid has increased the demand for client requests for retrofitting existing buildings with negatively pressurized isolation rooms. This can have unintended downstream consequences.

Ken Garza- What was your worst asbestos litigation? All asbestos litigations are bad. Asbestos is a known carcinogen. We always recommend conservative solutions- “if I were you I would quickly solve the problem.”

Rich Crim- “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We recommend routine HVAC system main, maintenance, suitable filter upgrades, sensor checks.

Rich Crim- Do you perform HVAC commissioning? No, we subcontract this service.

Round Up-

Ken Garza- We received many Covid calls. In retrospect, much of the Covid efforts were focused on contact surface cleaning. A better solution was ventilation (dilution solution), upgrading filtration and engineering controls.

Rich Crim- We push the Proactive IEQ Approach in healthcare facilities where mold can be devastating.

Ken Garza- Clients see value in Facility Engineering Team Training to be prepared to respond to problems such as a sprinkler head break or frozen pipes by knowing where and how to turn off the valve. Valves should be periodically checked to ensure they are operational.

Rich Crim- Following Hurricane Ian we did moisture mapping, worked with building operations and restoration contractors to get everything addressed and to avoid leaving wet area behind.

Ken Garza- We rely on our noses to investigate odor problems. We can smell high humidity odors upon entering some buildings.
We use a qualitative approach; we document what we smell: musty, food, chemical, fragrance, etc. We compare odors in guest rooms and common spaces. Stinky rooms often equates to stink common areas.
Air freshening systems in lobbies or attached to HVAC systems, may be covering-up an odor problem.

Rick Crim- Agrees with Ken about odor diagnosis. A bathroom leak may be noticeable immediately while an HVAC or window leak may take time to notice.

Z-Man signing off

Name the problem solving principle that states: when you are presented with multiple competing hypothesis for a phenomenon, or explanations for an event, you should start by selecting the simplest and most likely one, the one that makes the fewest assumptions.

Ockham’s Razor
Answered by:

Bob Spielvogel
36 Oakland Road
Brookline, MA 02445
617.232.5369 (Office)
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Re: Episode 687: Rich Crim, PE & Ken Garza, CIH, MS - Reactive to Proactive IEQ GHP’s Unique Process

Post by RadioJoe »

Thanks to Ken and Rich for their take on Reactive vs. Proactive IEQ. With today's emphasis on data I thought this was a good chance to show how people are using data to avoid issues at their clients properties. I remember GHP from my early days in the asbestos world. Steve Hays was considered to be one of the gurus. Looks like he not only was a guru he built a great company that continues on today.
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