Indoor Air Quaility (IAQ) Assessment Protocol
for Public Schools

The Bureau of General Services (BGS) has provided technical assistance to public schools for several years, performing assessment and interpretation services and overseeing mitigation pertaining to indoor air quality concerns. The Legislature (5 MRSA -1742-E) has determined that the Bureau shall be the lead agency for State facilities and Public Schools for asbestos, lead and indoor air quality concerns.

Any request for assistance shall be a written request from the Superintendent of the Local School District to the Manager, Environmental Program, Division of Safety and Environmental Services at 77 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333. Although the Bureau may be present at the request of a Superintendent, it does not necessarily "represent" the Superintendent or the District. It is essential that Bureau staff be recognized as a neutral party and that they are present to determine facts.

In our role as a resource to Local School Districts, the Bureau has developed a two-phase IAQ assessment protocol. The Environmental Program Manager works with the Superintendent to help determine the type and extent of any assessment within this protocol. There shall be no charge for any services provided by Bureau staff.

Phase One of the protocol is a site visit and IAQ assessment by Bureau staff. Bureau staff will meet with the Superintendent, walk through the facility to evaluate building conditions, conduct interviews with impacted personnel, and perform selective air tests. The Bureau staff then writes a report and sends it to the Superintendent within two to three weeks. Many times this preliminary IAQ assessment provides sufficient information to identify the cause or causes of a problem, potentially eliminating the need and cost of a more comprehensive assessment.

When necessary, the Phase Two Comprehensive Assessment is conducted by a consultant that is pre-qualified by the Bureau, with the cost of this assessment being paid by the Local School District. Please contact and work with the Bureau staff before selecting your Phase Two consultant.

A. Phase One - Site visit and IAQ assessment by Bureau staff

1. Bureau staff is provided at no charge.

2. The IAQ assessment will evaluate the building conditions and solicit concerns. The resulting report will comment on whether the cause for the noted concerns can or cannot be substantiated, suggest potential next steps, and recommend whether or not a comprehensive assessment may be necessary.

3. This IAQ assessment will start and end with an interview with the Superintendent plus other selected staff. The initial interview is necessary to explain the extent and limitations of the assessment. The exit interview has proven beneficial to explain the findings of the assessment and provide an opportunity to indicate the source or sources of concern.

4. The IAQ assessment generally will include:

  • A building walk through and evaluation.

  • Selective air testing for CO, CO2, temperature, relative humidity, dust particulate.

  • Thermographic evaluation for moisture intrusion.

  • A review of any related written reports or activities.

5. The Phase One IAQ assessment does not include specialized comprehensive air testing, i.e., air and bulk sampling for mold.

6. The Phase One Report provides guidance to the Superintendent for appropriate next steps. We encourage the Superintendent to continue using Bureau staff as a resource.

B. Phase Two - Comprehensive Assessment

The Phase Two comprehensive assessment may be significantly more intensive and time consuming than the Phase One assessment and shall be performed by consulting personnel pre-qualified by the Bureau.

1. Any consultant shall be reimbursed by the Local School District.

2. During the Phase Two assessment, Bureau staff is available to assist the Superintendent with review of the consultant’s proposal for scope of work and to review the consultant’s final report.

3. The consultant’s final report shall be prepared in an Executive Summary format and must be very detailed to include:

  • Specific assessments performed,

  • Rationale for such tests,

  • Photo documentation,

  • An interpretation of results,

  • Recommendations for corrective action.

The consultant shall provide two copies of the report to the Superintendent and one copy to the Bureau.

4. Comprehensive air testing is not advised except for specific circumstances to confirm a hypothesis. Should comprehensive air testing be utilized, the client should be advised in advance of the rationale, effectiveness and potential utilization of any results. We encourage Superintendents to consult with Bureau staff if comprehensive air testing is recommended as part of the scope of the consultant’s work

5. Any questions about the final report shall be directed through the Superintendent and addressed by the consultant.

C. Mitigation:

Any mitigation, or corrective activity, is the financial responsibility of the Local School District. However, the Bureau offers to review any mitigation plans, prior to initiation of activity, to assist the District in obtaining maximum effectiveness.

Conflict of Interest

No party, entity, corporation, and / or partnership performing assessments for the Bureau or School Administration on any given project shall be eligible to perform remediation or abatement on that project.

Contact:

Program Manager, Div. of Safety & Environmental Services
Bureau of General Services
77 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0077

Tel: (207) 287-4151
Fax: (207) 287-4845

Updated 13 January 2012

Initial Questions for Public School IAQ Assessment

Please be prepared to answer these questions after submitting your initial request to the Environmental Program Manager:

1. What is the nature of the problem?

2. Have there been any prior IAQ assessments or reports? When were they done?

3. What steps, if any, have been undertaken to correct the nature of the problem?

4. Has anyone who is in the building reported any health concerns potentially related to the problem? If so, have they been to a physician about their symptoms? Please provide additional information if available.

5. Do you have a service contract or maintenance program for the ventilation system in your school? If so, how often is this system serviced and what is the most recent date of service?

6. Are you planning any upcoming renovations to the building? If so, have you submitted an application to Dept. of Education for Revolving Renovation Fund assistance?

7. What is the last date of the AHERA inspection for the building?