13 Investigates


Water bugs, mold growth among issues discovered during inspection at Grant Sawyer Building

Posted at 6:06 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 21:18:59-05

New inspection reports reveal a series of issues discovered at the Grant Sawyer Building including, water bugs, mold growth and indoor pollutants exceeding 10 times acceptable standards. 

The reports obtained by Contact 13 show two inspections were conducted on November 3, 2017 and December 6, 2017.

In November an indoor air quality assessment with aerosol testing revealed elevated levels, up to approximately 10 times above guidelines, of aerosols commonly associated with human activity. The aerosols include items such as skin cell fragments, cellulosic fibers, and unidentified opaque particles. The increased levels were found in a variety of offices on the 5th floor.

When interviewed, employees complained of several symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, runny noses, sneezing, coughs, sore throats, body aches and sinus/ear infections. The symptoms reportedly cleared up when the employees went outdoors or returned home.

The inspection also noted the presence of pigeon droppings on the roof exterior and in the general area of the air handling unit. No feather fibrils were detected in the air samples and airborne fungal spore levels were normal.

The report emphasizes none of the data collected from the building would lead to a conclusion that the indoor air was hazardous when compared to OSHA exposure limits.

The report suggested improved house keeping to reduce the amount of dust in offices and quarterly cleaning of pigeon droppings on the roof.

The second inspection in December included an above ceiling report which detailed a number of issues.

Inspectors noted:

  • Electrical conduits (total of two and different locations) from the above mechanical room and roof mounted equipment through the 5th floor ceiling had water staining.
  • One mechanical room drain had water staining and impacted ceiling tiles.  This drain appears to have over flowed and ran down the side of the pipe.
  • Roof deck/pan water stains coming out of the factory connection points/seams in the file storage room.  The water source appears to be standing water in the mechanical room. This water leakage left staining in the light fixture lens that is still present.
  • There have been two different roof drain failures in the above ceiling area in the last 6 years.  The failures were due to cracks in the cast iron drain piping. These failures resulted in large volumes of water entering the offices.  The original cast piping is corroding and has been recently failing in the building due to age.  It should be noted that approximately a year ago the first floor restrooms in the west end of the building had a strong sewer odor.  This odor source was determined to be a cracked cast iron restroom vent pipe.  This crack was approximately 10 feet long and up to ½ inch wide.  This pipe was replaced.  
  • Three water stain locations were due to the roof drain connection through the roof with water running down the drain pipe insulation and discharging to the ceiling.
  • There is one above ceiling water staining that appears to be related to either the roofing envelope or the exterior building curtain wall (windows).  Could not make a determination at this time.
  • Above the ceiling in the break room, there was plastic installed to prevent water from impacting the ceiling tiles.  This is an old leak and appears to be related to standing water in the mechanical room.
  • The majority of the ceiling tile staining was due to previous leaks related to the VAV piping.  Inspection of the piping indicated that the leaks were from the valves.  We only noted one active leak and it was addressed by B&G HVAC at the time of the inspection.
  • The above ceiling inspection of the front reception desk area identified a 3 inch water stain that had signs of previous mold growth.  The actual mold growth appeared to be several ½ inch circles within the larger water stain.  The tile was dry at the time of the inspection

A spokesperson tells Contact 13 there are a series of project underway at the building including a new heating and air conditioning unit, and a new roof design which should be complete by the end of 2018.



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