Tim Reddin from Global Builders at work on the Chambers Street DFACS office. The facility is expected to re-open by next week after some repairs. Air test determined there was no mold threat in the building.
Independent air tests conducted this week at the closed DFACS office on Chambers Street determined the air was “as good inside as it is outside,” according to a contractor hired to address issues with the state leased facility.
The building was suddenly closed July 28 after a worker spotted what was first thought to be black mold behind a panel and some employees reported feeling ill.
The air test this week however, determined that while the building does have “some basic rot,” the air is fine.
Andy Thompson, a spokesman for Global Builders Restoration, said their company was contracted by the owner to take whatever steps are necessary to get the building re-opened. The building has been leased to the state’s Department of Family and Children’s Services for decades by an owner from the metro area.
Thompson said they used an independent lab and an outside industrial hygienist to check air quality there. The tests showed “the air inside is as good as air outside.”
Thompson said the actions by the DFACS administration to close the office until the air tests were conducted are sensible precautions. He said while the building is already closed, Global Builders has been hired to address some of the many other issues including leaks, pulling up old carpet and the rot.
They expect to complete work by next week and will schedule another air test. “We are going to test again just in case we stir something up we didn’t know was there,” he said.
Thompson said the fears of black mold are not unreasonable, but, “the problem is a lot of stuff looks like mold.”
In this case, later examination determined the angst-inducing substance was “basic rot from the condensation of an air conditioner.”
He said the only way to determine if there is black mold is with the tests, which are $800 to $1,000. “You can’t tell by looking,” he said. “Just because you have some funky looking stuff doesn’t mean it’s hazardous.”
Thompson said the Global work crews are confident enough nothing hazardous is in the air that they are not using respirators or special suits during the work.
Clients of DFACS who need in-person services have been advised to visit other DFACS offices in the region. Employees of the local office are working from other DFACS sites.