Would you do this if they signed off....?

Roofing company that we did work for in the past calls last week. Working on a elementary school. Rain came, roof leaked, badly. The called us after they discovered it last week (no one was in building from Thursday prior to Sunday and it happened anytime between then....)

Went over all the "concerns" with doing this with them on the phone last week. Recommended that the carpet be removed. With direct glue down, it could still be damp underneath. Wished them well. Shared concerns with health issues for the kids and staff if anyone has sensitivities/mold allergies. Could be a huge liability on them if they don't deal with it properly.
They had the "carpet specialist" from the district come out and look at it. Said the carpet was fine and if it was wet underneath, the glue would be failing. He couldn't pull the carpet up anywhere and said it just needs to be cleaned and they want a 'deodorizer" applied. Called us back to do that. He said the smell is almost gone, not as noticeable.....Told him it would intensify when we clean and add moisture to the areas.

Went to the site today and our tech said it still had a strong odor (this is over a week since the loss). They have desks and furniture everywhere. 2nd floor room that isn't accessible and we didn't have enough hose on the truck. Thankfully.....

We told them everything would need to be removed or we will charge contents manipulation. Charging for extra hose....and we can't do it until the week of Aug 14 (I know I said we were slow in a post last week...but that all changed. Booked out the rest of this week and next week, plus guys on vacation, figured they would find someone else with having to wait and school starting).

Sending the estimate anyway...they still want it. This is what we put in the notes....

Client reports previous water loss in area. Carpets have dried and odor from water loss still present. Odor typically indicates some sort of bacteria or mold growth has occurred. Cleaning will not remove the bacteria/mold/odor if it is present. Odor will intensify once we clean since we are re-introducing water to the affected areas. Water marks may not come out of wall panels. If rooms are cleared of all items, we will remove contents manipulation fee.

This is not any type of remediation for pre-existing conditions and is a cleaning of carpet fibers only. No liability assumed by Bxxxx Cxxxx. We will require sign off on these disclosures prior to any services being performed.

Mold testing recommended. Proper remediation by a company that specializes in this is what is recommended to ensure it's removed and there are no future health issues or concerns for people in these areas.

IF they sign off....would you do it anyway? Any chance of us being liable for anything in this situation?

I don't know of any "agencies" to report something like this too to make sure they do the right thing. Should I contact the school district and tell them what we saw/think....then risk the roofing company finding out and loosing a client? No windows in the place...forced air circulation so it's likely not contained to the 3 rooms anymore. I think about my kids and the teachers...and what it would be like if anyone got sick from this....

The roofing company is looking to minimize their costs, but I think they should test and then file insurance claim if remediation needs to be done. However, if the aren't going to do that, then they will hire someone else....so why not get the money for doing the job they are contracting us for?

If we are covered by them signing off....do we do it?

Oh my lord.

If you don't want to do it, just say so. Stop making up excuses.

I clean up and deodorize for our local schools all the time. Roof leaks, mold, funky smells, etc.


If we are covered by them signing off....do we do it?
Meg, that's a legal question better presented to a lawyer.

If you agree to do the work knowing that it may not address the issue and that down the road it may become even a greater issue, are you completely not liable?

I don't know and possibly neither do the above jockeys.
Is the carpet glued to a wood sub floor or a concrete? If it's wood, I might be hesitant to do it, but since it's a school, it's probably concrete. Buy a case of microban, HWE, post spray some microban, leave some blowers behind, and collect your fat check.

If the job is too big, just admit it. Otherwise, quit whining and go to work
Hey Meg, There are a number reasons to run; not walk but run away from this job. If you would like to discuss it PM me and we can talk.
That is a realistic possibility. I think we as individual owners must decide on what your risk is going to be.

I'm sure there was or is some microbial activity but being CGD carpet we would have no problem cleaning a carpet such as described.

If it had fecal matter, ecoli or gram negative bacteria I would be the first to say No Way.

However I'd have more concern cleaning urine soaked carpet and claiming it was safe again than the carpet in the school. Little chance of people walking barefoot or laying on it.
When it comes to waivers and qualifications, remember that every parent of every child that attends that school hasn't signed anything that will stop them from filing suit against you.
Just one of a couple of dozen major liability issues. If or when a lawsuit occurred the carpet cleaner would not likely be covered because they do not carry contractors pollution liability insurance. At that point you would be completely on your own with regard to covering your defense costs whether you had any real liability or not. One other small note the roofing contractor can not indemnify you from liability from either the school or any student or parent.
As the district's carpet cleaning expert is sure that cleaning the carpet would be sufficient and there would be no potential future problems I'm sure he would have no problem in assuming full liability (in writing) if there was. I would love to see his face when he is handed the waiver of liability form.
Truth is you are less of a target without the insurance.

Attorneys know that even if a suit is frivolous, most insurance companies will settle on a little 10-20k just to avoid court.

It's a common practice according to Ed Cross. File suit against everyone and anyone that ever stepped on the premises.

Without insurance you only have what you have. Not really the big target attorneys are looking for.

Personally we clean up following mold, trauma, sewage, hoardings, Cdif, MRSA and the cleaning of the school's carpet would be on the low end of risk for us.

However that is the great thing of being an independent business owner. You make decisions that are right for yourself.
Cleaning the CGD carpet using a truck mount, especially if it is over concrete, will mitigate this situation as the fungus is likely feeding on organic material spilled on the carpet surface. The glue may or may not be compromised. I would clean the carpets as an attempt to reduce the odor and recommend that a water damage restoration be called to inspect the affected areas.

I suspect that the walls and or ceiling is wet. If the water marks were from a previous loss that was not properly dried a small amount of water will reactivate dormant growth and cause or contribute to the odor.
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