ICS Magazine

IICRC Standards

April 8, 2009

The IICRC has been involved in writing standards for the cleaning, restoration and remediation industry since the late 1980s. The IICRC has taken this leadership to advance the science for our industry.

The IICRC serves as a non-profit certification body to set and promote standards and ethics. It works with volunteers to advance communication and technical proficiency throughout the industry. It serves as conduit for information exchange with industry partners and works to promote consumer, worker and environmental protection. The ultimate goal of the IICRC is to advance the science of inspection, cleaning and restoration industries.

IICRC became an American National Standards Institutute (ANSI) accredited organization several years ago to bring additional creditability to the work that is done by hundred’s of volunteers. ANSI accredits U.S. Standards Developers to bring conformity assessment system to the standards writing practice and to ensure integrity of the U.S. voluntary consensus standards system.

ANSI provides an assurance of Openness, Balance, Due process, Transparency, Consensus, Public Notification and Review, and an Appeals Mechanism through a Consensus Process.

Consensus Process
Open-ness. Participation shall be open to all persons who are directly and materially affected by the activity in question. There shall be no undue financial barriers to participation. Voting membership on the consensus body shall not be conditional upon membership in any organization, nor unreasonably restricted on the basis of technical qualifications or other such requirements.

Balance. The standards development process should have a balance of interests. Participants from diverse interest categories shall be sought with the objective of achieving balance.

Consensus. Substantial agreement has been reached by directly and materially affected interest categories. This signifies the concurrence of more than a simple majority, but not necessarily unanimity. Consensus requires that all views and objections be considered, and that an effort be made toward their resolution.

Lack of Dominance. The standards development process shall not be dominated by any single interest category, individual or organization. Dominance means a position or exercise of dominant authority, leadership, or influence by reason of superior leverage, strength, or representation to the exclusion of fair and equitable consideration of other viewpoints.

Consideration of Views and Objections. Prompt consideration shall be given to the written views and objections of all participants, including those commenting on the PINS announcement or public comment listing in Standards Action.

Consensus Vote. Evidence of consensus in accordance with these requirements and the accredited procedures of the standards developer shall be documented.

IICRC has developed Policies and Procedures to follow the ANSI Essential Requirements and the IICRC Standards Committee is continually updating their policies to keep up with the requirements. The IICRC Standards are procedural standards. They are based on reliable principles, review of available scientific and industry literature and information and practical experience. In addition, there is extensive consultation with and information obtained from numerous other sources.

All jobs are unique and in certain circumstances, common sense and professional judgment may justify deviation from this Standard and Reference Guide. It is the responsibility of the individual to verify on a case-by-case basis that application of this Standard and Reference Guide is appropriate. While the deviation may be appropriate, carelessness is unacceptable and common sense and professional judgment are to be exercised in all cases.

IICRC S520 is presented in a two-part format: the procedural standard and the reference guide. The Standard summarizes the significant and important procedures and methodologies of a mold remediation project, while the Reference Guide restates, embellishes and further explains those procedures and methodologies, and provides additional background information, which supports the Standard. It is the intension of the standards committee that both documents be published together.

This standard was written for use by those involved in the industry, primarily for companies and workers, and secondarily, for others who are also involved in the various industries the standard was written for. The IICRC works through the ANSI process to set a standard of care which IICRC defines as, “practices that are common to reasonably prudent members of the trade who are recognized in the industry as qualified and competent.” The industry feels that it is important to set our own industry standards so that government officials don’t do it for us.

The IICRC defines 5 critical terms used in the document. Each carries their own weight and the readers of the document should become familiar with these terms. The five terms are:
  1. Shall: when the term “shall” is used in this document, it means that the practice or procedure is mandatory due to natural law or regulatory requirements, including occupational, public health and other relevant laws, rules or regulations, and is therefore a required component of the accepted “standard of care” to be followed.
  2. Should: when the term “should” is used in this document, it means that the practice or procedure is a component of the accepted “standard of care” to be followed, while not mandatory by regulatory requirement.
  3. Recommended: when the term “recommended” is used in this document, it means that the practice or procedure is advised or suggested.
  4. Can: when the term can is used in this document, it signifies an ability or possibility open to a user of the document, and it means that a referenced practice or procedure is possible or capable of application, but is not a component of the accepted “standard of care” to be followed.
  5. May: when the term may is used in this document, it signifies permission expressed by the document, and means that a referenced practice or procedure is permissible within the limits of this document, but is not a component of the accepted “standard of care” to be followed.

So you see that when the IICRC sets out to write a standard a lot more goes into the process than you may think. Of course then we have to find the volunteers to help us carry out the process as well, which is where you all come in.