Shopping Mall

Projects: Catastrophic Microbial Investigation & Remediation Plan – Mall

Industrial Hygiene and Building Sciences

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Situation

A 720,000 square-foot mall was damaged by Hurricane Rita. ATC was called in to assess the water damage, water penetration and potential mold growth. Additional work included a moisture survey to help identify damaged materials, a relative humidity survey, the preparation of remediation protocols and the identification of damaged materials. So much water had collected in the roof-based HVAC systems that seven major roof collapses hit the mall’s major stores, opening chasms of 1,000–2,000 feet. Every store had approximately 4” of water in 90 tenant spaces. Until ATC arrived on the scene, the client had rented drying equipment to extract water at a cost of $200,000 per day. A theater complex within the mall escaped with little damage, but a two-week absence of air conditioning encouraged mold growth across many of its 1,700 seats. The theater initially decided to dispose of the chairs and reorder, a process which would have taken months.

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Results

ATC helped the real estate property management firm save $400,000 by verifying that building areas were dry two days prior to the removal of the original drying equipment. To help the theater re-open and save the cost of repurchasing seats, we prepared a chair-cleaning protocol that was completed within ten days. The theater opened just in time for the release of Harry Potter, which brought customers back in droves. ATC spun some magic of its own. Our survey collected an average of 2,000 moisture samples. Within five days, we had completed all work and delivered a preliminary report describing the state of the environment inside the mall. Remediation protocols were prepared, including square footage of materials for removal, containment, removal, inspection guidelines and personal protective equipment guidelines. We supervised the removal and conducted sampling to provide clearance of remediated areas.