On Friday, January 23, 2015, Assouline & Berlowe partner, Michael Greene, presented to an assembly of environmental industry professionals jointly organized by Florida Atlantic University, ASHRAE and the Indoor Air Quality Association on the new Mold Assessor and Remediator Standards and Practices rules proposed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The proposed rules would create minimum practice requirements for both mold assessors and remediators in Florida beyond the existing licensing rules and requirements.
Michael was one of the original drafters, working on behalf of the Indoor Air Quality Association, of the original assessor and remediator licensing law enacted by the Florida Legislature in 2007. The first licensing rules were not established by the DBPR until January of last year and proscribe the minimum educational, experience and testing requirements for those in the mold industry.
The newly proposed rules are unique among Florida licensed professions in providing detailed procedures for the performance of assessment and remediation. DBPR is now deciding what measures and means should apply to both assessment and remediation instead of relying on or incorporating existing industry standards. The closest analogy would be if the medical professional licensing statutes mandated how a surgeon must hold a scalpel. Ultimately, if adopted the proposed rules will increase costs for property owners and consumers as, regardless of the professional opinion of the assessor or the experience of the remediator or the actual scope of the mold event, certain minimum tests and procedures are mandated. The rules are so specific that even the thickness of polyethylene (6-mil fire-resistant) for a containment structure is set forth. The timing of this rule is particularly disconcerting as insurance coverage for mold and other microbiologic contamination has become more limited and more expensive. In contrast to the many years required to promulgate the first licensing rules, the new practice standards rule appears to be on the fast-track; having had its first public comment hearing in September of last year, with public comments closing out on January 20th of this year.
Because certain industry sectors in specific cases, such as property managers, general contractors, engineers, government, and even homeowners, may be exempt from licensing (so long as they do not hold themselves out to the public as mold assessors or remediators), the rules could have the effect of promoting assessment of the presence of mold and remediation of contamination by persons who are also unskilled and untrained in the proper means and methods for resolving mold and fungal problems.
Michael has significant experience in both resolving and preventing construction and indoor environmental legal issues and served for nine years on the Board of Directors of the Indoor Air Quality Association. Michael has spoken on and published numerous articles, see http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/michael-s-greene.html. He is available for consultation by telephone or by appointment at 954-929-1899.
Another public hearing on the proposed rules will be held on February 26, 2015 at 10 am. The public may participate by telephone conference. For more information, please contact Michael Greene below.
213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3
Dania Beach, Florida 33004
Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton