Since cleaning a square foot of flooring
on a construction site is not the same as
cleaning a square foot of wood flooring
that contains human remains, routine
tasks such as the removal of flooring, ceilings, walls and cabinetry must frequently
be pulled from other categories even
though the allowance does not reflect the
additional risks of dealing with biological
fluids and OPIM.
Estimating software allows for an
hourly rate, but then requires one to add
in each individual task broken down by
square foot to build the estimate in order
to arrive at an accurate reflection of the
costs associated with the scope of work
performed. The estimate must also reflect
the total hours required for the various
tasks associated with a bioremediation
project because many of them are time
and labor intensive.
Hazardous waste management
A portion of the estimate that may generate questions involves determining
an accurate cost for the disposal of hazardous waste. The amount of contents a
biohazard container can hold is based
on weight. These containers will be filled
with the affected structural surfaces such
as flooring, subflooring, drywall, etc., and
all non-porous items compromised by
biological fluids or OPIM. The containers
also hold the used PPE (gloves and suits)
and the discarded/contaminated towels.
A qualified company knows there are
very specific OSHA requirements concerning how the containers are to be packed.
Due to the possible exposure to sharps,
waste is not to be “compressed” into the
container. Therefore, when an item is
placed into a container, one is not allowed
to compress the contents to allow for additional room so more items to be placed
inside. A container is considered full when
it meets the weight restriction or when it
cannot hold any additional contents.
There are also very strict regulations
regarding the generation, transportation,
record keeping and storage of biological material. The cost of the containers
will typically include fees relating to the
transportation of waste and possibly additional licensing. The cost also includes
alterations made to transport vehicles to
meet requirements to legally transport
the biological waste, temporary storage
fees, the pick-up fee per container, and
the disposal fee which is determined by
weight. The number of bio containers utilized during the course of a job should be
clearly documented through a manifest.
The “comparative estimate”
A comparative estimate is a tool used
to determine if the completed work has
been invoiced at reasonable and customary rates. Bioremediation is an emergency service and in most cases the work
has already been completed by the time
the claim has been filed. Companies offering this service are not bidding on the
job when evaluating the invoice, and the
question is not necessarily who could
have done the work the cheapest, but
rather if the price charged was within the
reasonable and customary rates for the
geographical area and the industry itself.
A company offering a comparative estimate may not be aware of any complications that arose and other factors impacting the project. The review is usually
based on photographs without the benefit
of being onsite to observe the job being
performed in real time.
When evaluating the scope of work,
Resolving the claim
there is no specific requirement by OSHA
as to what is a preferred/recommended
method to eliminate odor, nor does the
EPA recognize any one chemical that will
sanitize and disinfect on its own. There
are various ways to evenly distribute odor
neutralization and the use of one method
over another is a matter of preference.
This does not mean that one method or
the other is incorrect, much less unrea-
sonable or unnecessary. The techniques
utilized by one company should not dic-
tate the procedures employed by another
in its cleaning process.
In some cases an adjuster may have
very specific questions about the scope
of work such as why a specific task was
performed or why it took so much time.
These are very relevant and legitimate
questions to ask when determining if the
costs and scope of work to be performed
are appropriate. The remediation company should be able to provide the answers
the adjuster is seeking.
Understanding what comprises bioremediation projects and how they differ
from more traditional restoration claims
is an important step to understanding the
scope and cost involved. Contractors performing this type of work should have the
proper training, expertise and insurance
so the employees, insured and the insurer
are all protected.
Michele Jacob is the claims manager
with Archangels BioRecovery, Inc. and
came to the bioremediation industry
with 23 years of extensive experience in
property and casualty claims. She can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This type of work can take both a physical and
emotional toll on employees. Ongoing and extensive
training in crisis management, post-traumatic stress
disorder and sensitivity/compassion should be
provided to all technicians.