Mark Kerney
ROCKVILLE, Md. — Members of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) will hear a panel discussion titled “Mold: What Contractors Need to Know” at the association’s annual convention in Palm Desert, Calif. The discussion will take place on Wednesday, March 5 at the Desert Springs Marriott Resort.

Panelists will discuss the issues surrounding the mold problem in order to give contractors a more comprehensive understanding of the mold situation.

According to MCAA, the discussion is designed to educate customers, workers, and suppliers about mold. Topics to be considered include addressing mold in service agreements and contracts and methods of limiting mold exposure. The session will also focus on insurance issues, such as limiting liability through precise documentation techniques and proper contracts.

Panelists will include:

  • Insurance broker Jeff Slivka, vice president of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Philadelphia;

  • MCAA board member Mark Kerney, president of Hill York Service Corp., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.;

  • Attorney Bill Walsh, partner, Pepper Hamilton, Washington, D.C.; and

  • Joel Applebaum, assistant vice president — Construction, CNA Insurance Co., Chicago.

    Insurance Concerns

    “Eighty percent of what we deal with today is about mold,” said Slivka. “We help put risk management programs together to include prevention and insurance information for builders and building managers.”

    Slivka said he will be acting as a moderator of the panel and will begin his contribution with a “review of what we know to date” about mold. “I want to get people fired up about the topic and get some interaction going,” he said.

    Slivka noted that he would like to emphasize one particular point: “Don’t panic, don’t get scared, don’t be ignorant. Mold is an issue, but I think the media, legal, and mold remediation communities have blown it out of proportion. The media is hyping ‘toxic mold.’ What really is toxic mold?

    “Address the problem and don’t wait for something to bite you in the butt,” Slivka advised. “You can modify the process and product to remove or reduce your exposure to the mold issue.”

    Contractor’s Perspective

    Kerney said his focus is on what contractors should be looking at right now — and where they should be heading if they want to address this issue before it addresses them.

    Kerney gave The News a preview of his presentation, which included a background of the problem. “We have all been through many years of performing construction and service work without any thought of mold as a high-risk, high-liability issue.”

    He said he would outline “steps to shrink the bulls-eye,” stating, “We need to develop a mold program for each company, including four key elements: awareness, inspection process, documentation, and response.”

    Kerney said there are two specific things that MCAA can do for contractors:

    1. Provide a model awareness program.

    2. Provide a response and remediation strategy.

    Look for more coverage of the mold panel and the MCAA convention in upcoming issues of The News.

    Publication date: 03/03/2003