Concern: Harper’s Choice Middle School: September 20th, 2019 (CXHCMS2019000115)

Conference Room
Date of IEQ Report Form
Date of Report
A musty odor was reported in the Conference Room.
IEQ Investigation Process

Identify deficiencies that may impact IEQ and/or sources of odor concerns. Typically includes the following depending on the nature of concern, but not limited to:

  • interview/questionnaire of concern individual(s)
  • inspection above drop ceiling (condition of roof deck, pipe insulation, return air plenum)
  • inspection of ventilation system (operation of variable air volume box and outdoor air dampers, check controls, measurements of carbon dioxide, temperature and relative humidity, sources near outdoor air intake, measure return and supply air volume, cleanliness of coils, liner and condensate pan)
  • inspection of exterior
  • inspection below drop ceiling (housekeeping, sink and floor drain traps, signs of past and present moisture concern via visual and/or moisture meter, mold growth, ensure connection of current and capping of abandoned sanitary vents, odorizers, excessive plants and fabric items, identify potential pathways, and measure volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and lighting)

Date(s) of Assessments: September 19 and 25; and October 3, 8, and 24, and December 9, 11 2019

A musty odor was detected within the conference room and administration office.

It was reported that the odor had begun at the beginning of the year.

A recent roof replacement had occurred. 

The as-built drawings (roof) were reviewed to determine if a roof-drain had been improperly re-routed or damaged due to the recent roofing project. No concerns were identified.

Piping was observed above the drop-ceiling. No concerns were identified.

No odors were detected above the drop-ceiling.

The roof deck was screened with a thermal infrared camera. No thermal anomalies indicative of moisture intrusion were observed. 

The Roof Top Unit (RTU-6) that services the space was assessed. No concerns or odors were identified within the unit.

The odor appeared to be the strongest in the Conference Room.

A thermal infrared screening was conducted in the Conference Room. No thermal anomalies indicative of moisture intrusion were observed.

Elevated moisture was not detected in the drywall of the Conference Room (drywall setting).

Plumbing drawings depicted a sewer line directly below the Conference Room. Building Services (Plumbing) assessed the line via a clean-out located in the main hallway. No concerns or clogs were identified. 

Smoke testing was performed in the Conference Room to identify air movement patterns. The Conference Room was positive compared to the Administration Office. 

As a definitive source was not initially identified, an air scrubber was placed in the unoccupied conference room to limit air from pushing into the occupied administration area.

After continued investigation, the cove base was peeled back in the conference room. Mold growth was identified on the backside of the cove base and on the drywall (dry). The same condition was identified on a shared wall in the adjoining storage closet.

A potential moisture source was not identified. It is likely that too much water was used during summer cleaning efforts on the floor or water got into the building due to the recent roofing project. The drywall may have dried quickly due to elevated temperatures over the summer (HVAC was off for roofing project) delaying the Office of the Environment's ability to identify the source of the odor during our initial visit.

After the drywall was removed, odor concerns were again reported to the Office of the Environment. The Office of the Environment utilized a non-invasive moisture meter and identified elevated moisture underneath floor tile within the conference room and storage room.

The Office of the environment met onsite with Building Services.  A heat-gun was used to remove various floor tiles. A strong odor, identical to the odor observed by occupants was identified underneath of the floor tile.

A floor tile was also removed from within the main administration office (near front door, closest to conference room). No odor was present underneath of that tile.

The bulletin board in the administration office was removed. No mold growth or odors were associated with the bulletin board.

CONTACTED ON 3/6 - Odor still occurring. Contacted BS inquring about roofing projects, etc.

Corrective Actions
September 28th, 2019

A board-approved restoration contractor removed impacted materials in the Conference Room and adjoining storage closet under a negative pressure containment.

December 9th, 2019

A board-approved restoration contractor removed the floor tile within the conference room and adjoining storage room. The removal work was conducted under containment. The areas were then dried using fans, heaters, and dehumidifiers over the weekend. The rooms were inspected after drying. No odors were noted. The concrete subfloor will be sealed and re-tiled the week of December 9.

Tracking Number