When good weather falls on a weekend or a weekday, it is wise to reserve a room or two.
Asbestos is removed from a building, which may cause noisy work
Perhaps the biggest concern for responders in a disaster is health. In the midst of a disaster, those working or living in highly toxic or hazardous locations may not feel like doing much at all, so they can’t spend a lot of time on the cleanup—long-term cleanup doesn’t start until a structure has been removed and cleaned. Even contractors and homeowners may need to wait until dust has settled before they can start cleanup, and that’s if the area hasn’t already been cleaned or used for a living. On those grounds, you may need to take extra precautions—such as using a different building color.
The presence of asbestos
Before you start developing a project for your next house, it’s always wise to research what’s in a building you plan to renovate. Not only can asbestos be toxic and dangerous, but a small amount can be deadly—even thousands of micrograms can kill. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulations on asbestos use. Read the EPA website to learn more. While not dangerous to you, asbestos can also be harmful to your people and to others’ people. If you are concerned about a building having asbestos, it’s worth testing whether it has it.
Aluminum siding for paint removal
Also known as xylene, xylene is used to repel water and to assist in rendering a surface impervious to water. Conventional construction materials emit xylene and cause problems when they are exposed to water. Based on the EPA’s rules, a house built using aluminum siding is likely to have higher levels of xylene than an identical home constructed using regular siding. If this appears to be the case, it can be expensive to remediate—and it won’t last long.
Also, if the building has always had it, it is likely that the sun will eventually erode the siding, which will then fall off and contaminate the surrounding soil. In that case, it’s best to check again with an outside, qualified builder.
In fact, many traditional builders like Dayton Builder Supply, licensed and bonded, are voracious consumers of scientific studies from around the world and have all considered levels of xylene to be above the EPA’s new 100 micrograms of xylene per cubic meter maximum. That number represents about 25 doses.
For water filtering and filing, Dayton Builder Supply recommends eliminating as much exposure to water as possible. For a house with vinyl siding, Dayton’s Rob Hill recommends, “dip-and-drill” into the soil above the exposed area. Tip: Keep the shoring construction away from foundations. If using clay-based siding, make sure cracks are sealed, and if waterproofing, make sure the holes are sealed. Keep outside walls covered with debris to keep the builders and bystanders safe. Also, if the house has a high load, perhaps a barn that leaks in when rain is coming through, Dayton suggests using honey trap or for-bid large tubing to waterboard a large part of the roof.
Cleaning and prep areas
Have a plan in place for how you’ll clean up immediately following a disaster and before you start preparing the next house.
In a disaster, groundwater can enter your house through cracks in the foundation and will then move up through the roof. This can leak in through the roof and into your home. To prevent this, make sure you have access to sewage disposal systems and sump pumps, and also a pump with a high/low switch, which you can set to drain pipes at different depths. Also make sure a sump pump can drain at least two inches in any one direction.
Another area that often floods and/or leaks is your sump pump, which is vital for generating fresh water and for groundwater removal and pollution reduction. Make sure it’s hooked up to a pump and disconnected from the house.
Also, make sure to install a high drain valve on your electrical service. If you have a power outage, the electricity will be cut off at your kitchen or bathroom faucets. Finally, make sure gas, water, and electricity have an uninterrupted supply throughout your home.