Disaster Advice
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Disaster Advice
Disaster recovery and restoration can be veiled in mystery to the many who have not undertaken specific training. This glossary explains technical terms to assist both report writing and the understanding of those technical terms so often misunderstood.


The Disaster Advice Glossary and its contents are the protected copyright of Disaster Advice


A safety acronym by health and safety professionals that describes B.A.C.K. as proper methods for worker bending and lifting techniques. B- bow back in when reaching for a floor item A- align yourself vertically before lifting C- chin up when lifting and K- keep feet on a diagonal with each other and keep feet apart.


Back Pressure

A forced air pressure which is present by design or error. In water damages when using air drying fans back pressure is a result of the improper use of air drying equipment. Back pressure in this instance is the restriction of air velocity while trapping humidity in a wall to a cabinet or corner. Back pressure can be present when drying fans are positioned improperly under wet carpets and to wall cavities.



A screeded adhesive applied to the back rear side of woven fabric goods such as found on carpets and some upholstery. The backcoat adhesive adds strength and durability while increasing the woven goods structural integrity.



Construction and non-construction grade soil which may or may not have been compacted and fills the soil void next to a building area previously excavated.


Background and Post Clearance Sampling

A means by which through observation and scientific methods industrial hygienists are able to attaining historical and current base-line data information for the eventual post clearance testing. Education Note In catastrophic disasters such as from fires and floods much of the historical and base-line data has been destroyed since the building microflora will have been changed and new baseline data must be established for the building and its occupants after restoration. See Baseline Data


Background Concentration

The level and concentration of air organisms and chemicals that are part of the natural processes alone. Education Note Usually background concentrations are gathered outside and upstream of the area or building in question. Background concentrations are usually a starting point for determining a safe or acceptable levels of outside gases particles and microorganism from that of inside gases particles and microorganisms. See Background Measurements Baseline Data


Background Measurements

The measurements usually required of non-effected atmospheres and materials which are used as comparative measurements measuring against questionable atmospheres and materials. Background measurements are measures of a control atmosphere or material. Education Note For example the temperature humidity and moisture contents readings of outside atmospheres and dry materials verses known or suspect wet atmospheres inside a building. See Baseline Data Comparative Measurements Moisture Content



The rear face secondary material which is attached to a primary material. Backings are commonly found on carpets area rugs vinyl floors upholstery and drapes.



The surface washing of soilborne contaminates and sewage back to its source or a lower level. Mitigation Note The process of removing sewage effluents from in and under contaminated buildings. By reflooding contaminated buildings and ground with fresh water and detergents causes flushing contaminates out of their settled sources. See Soil-Ground Flushing/Scrubbing



Single cell microorganisms that are arround and on us for all our life. Cell size ranges from 0.4 to 10 microns. Most bacteria are found in soil and some are able to live comfortably in controlled amounts in house dust and dirt and they are commonly found as part the general microflora of a building. Health and Safety Note Some bacteria are harmful to humans and can result in infection and disease. c Water damages in buildings can bring in unwanted bacteria as well as accellerate the growth of already existing microorganisms. Health Note Sewage Contamination Category-3 black water from sewage backflows into buildings bring in large amounts of sewage bacteria and coliforms. If the coliform bacteria are not removed by trained professionals the building can become a biological sink resulting in sickness and disease to the occupants. See Coliforms Sewage Contamination Category-3


Bacterial Plate Count

Following incubation a nutrient media on a petri dish where bacterial organisms are grown and counted by trained laboratory technicians and microbiologists.



A chemical or substance that inhibits bacteria growth but it not necessary is lethal to humans. Mitigation Note If the bacteriostatic material is applied on a large field of organic matter such as a sewage contamination in a building the bacteriostatic chemical dissipates and becomes inactive in the presence of heavy bacteria growth. Bacteriostatic chemicals should only be applied on a relatively clean area for the bacteriostat to be effective.



A wall or barrier that disperses screens or dissipates particles vapours gases light or sound and regulates their passage.



An air pollutant control devise that removes particulate matter and gases from air by forcing airborne contaminates through large filtering bags. Baghouses can vary in their purpose according to the filter materials medi and methods of collection. Mitigation Note Baghouse machines are used in large construction cleanup jobs where there is a considerable amount of airborne contamination. Baghouses are also filtering devices that are attached to vacuums extracting large amounts of dust dirt and construction debris. See Filtering



The person or company legally receiving the property contents of others.


Bailee Insurance

A special policy of insurance coverage which protects contractors who take possession the property contents of others.



The transfer of property contents to other persons for the purpose of storage cleaning or restoration with the intent of returning the property back to the person whom they belong.



A process through heating by which volatile organic compounds are released from their bond to a material and is vapourised in air resulting in the release curing and oxidization of some chemical VOC. Education Note When appropriate the bake-out process must be carefully used and monitored since the results can prove to cause more harm than another form of building cure. See Flush-Out


Balanced Drying

The drying method most likely to produce an even drying process throughout a wet building and its parts. Restorative Drying Note Related to water damage remediation The temperature and humidity controls necessary to dry a wet building and its contents using air movement and dehumidification. The fastest and safest drying method without over or under drying the building and its contents back to their pre-loss condition. Balanced drying requires trained technicians who understand psychometry monitoring and state-of-the-art restorative drying methods. See Dehumidification Baseline Data


Balancing by Static Pressure

Measurement and design of local exhaust system ducts by selecting the duct diameters that generate static pressure to distribute airflow without dampers.


barometric Gauge

An instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure. See Atmospheric Pressure



BASE is an acronym meaning the EPA recommended process in providing a Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation Study. See TIME


Base Flood Evaluation BFE

A description by FEMA describing the elevation of ground for which there is a one-percent chance in any given year that flood levels will equal or exceed it. The BFE is determined by technical analysis for a floodplain area and it is designated on that areas Flood Insurance Rate Map. It is known as the 100-year flood.


Base Molding

Usually vinyl and wood molding located at the base perimeter of a wall. Mitigation Note 1 When walls are wet from flooding the base molding must be detached to allow seepage and weeping of saturated moisture. 2 It is the water remediation industry standard of practice when appropriate to immediately install mechanical air drying equipment into wet wall cavities starting the interior wet wall drying process while removing high humidity and condensation resulting in the reduction of mold growth.


Baseline Emissions

As required for a particular pollutant the levels of the pollutant which monitoring of emissions are counted or calculated.



A substructure purposely cut or dug out below grade it typically contains a concrete slab floor and concrete pour or concrete block foundation walls. The basement walls in many mid-west and back-east buildings are the concrete foundation bearing walls supporting the above grade building.



Fungi spores produced by a basidium which are small club shape-like structures producing spores typically 4 at the tip of a stalk. Basidiospores are the largest class of fungi which include smuts rusts mushrooms puffballs and jelly fungi that typically grow on plants and soil. Education Note Basidiospore rusts grow on plant-like ferns including gymnosperms which are pine trees and cone producing trees and angiosperms which are seed bearing like grasses oak trees and strawberries producing an orange-like look. Basidiospore smuts are parasitic of angiosperms especially grass and sedges which produce a sooty look. See Ascospores Myxomycetes


Batch Sampling

The method of sampling and collection of the same substance or material over and over again for acquiring a known qualitative or quantitative scientific result.



Referring to insulation batt material are those insulating materials that are common in walls and attics and sometimes under a subfloor. See Insulation R-Value


Bay Window

A large projecting type of window made of a group of windows set at angles to each other and joined to each other on some sides.



The British Damage Management Association. The BDMA promotes and regulates professional standards in the UK for fire/water related claims and disasters.


Bearing Wall

A primary wall that carries the load from an upper part of the building. A wall that supports the weight of a vertical load and its own weight.


Beavioural Effect

The effect of chemicals gases microorganisms and pollutants to act together in a common atmosphere from within the building. The behavior of certain elements from within the building may change when temperature and humidity change during remodelling or restoration or when other agents are introduced in a building. See Biodiversity Ecosystem



A major organic intermediate and solvent derived produced from coal or petroleum. The simplest member of the aromatic series of hydrocarbons.



A software manufacturer that produces computer state-of-the-art building estimating repair programs which is updated annually. See Bluebook


Best Available Control Technology BACT

The Best Available Control Technology BACT in water damage remediation includes training equipment and industry standards implemented for the purpose of mitigating flood waters in wet buildings. Education Note If the appropriate remediation and drying equipment are not available or are not capable of functioning properly based on limitations such as electrical supply the BACT requires the lowest achievable control rate and method which can manage and mitigate the damage. Often the lowest achievable control rate in water removal and building drying can result in secondary damage and an increase of mould growth in wet building materials. This lowest achievable rate must be carefully monitored in its success or failure and the results reported to the building owner and insurance adjuster.


Best Conventional Control Technology BCCT

In water damage remediation the BCCT incorporates the best use of a control technology following industry standards offering the maximum benefit in water damage mitigation and restorative drying.


Best Management Practices BMP

In water damaged buildings BMP are formulated from practical training and knowledge using prior experience and judgement BPJ. Education Note On-site management in an emergency requires BMP to use all available engineering controls berms and equipment to contain water and sewage controlling the release or spill from entering other areas of the building. BMP assesses the damage and removes other items from possible harm including building occupants and workers.


Best Professional Judgement BPJ

An educational and experiential judgement tool used by environmental engineers industrial hygienists and water damage remediation contractors. BPJ chooses the best technology and drying equipment necessary to properly dry a wet building properly based on their training and experience. With the use of historical information and hypothesis modeling best professional judgement results in fact-finding problem identification and problem solving. See Extrapolation Hypothesis Theory



An improvement in the value of an item or material resulting from repair or replacement after an insurance loss.


Binding Arbritration

Binding arbitration is a legal action whereas all parties of a complaint agree to present their claims to a qualified arbitrator. An arbitrator acts as a judge and acts as the court and this person will hear all sides of the case including evidence and experts to reach a binding decision.



1 The increase concentration of organisms and waste in buildings and materials. 2 Elements that reside in building environments contaminated with normally low concentrations of various organic compounds. Health Note 3 The increased accumulation of viruses bacteria fungi and yeasts from improper cleaning and sanitizing.



A bioactivity process that takes place in the building natural biological ecosystem resulting in certain elements of growth such as fungi to become biologically active because of a flood and/or high humidity event.



Bioaerosols are airborne particles of biological origin including bacteria and viruses fungi and yeasts pollens and organic matter. Bioaerosols also include the cell structures and spore parts of non-viable components such as toxins. An aerosol containing living organisms or particles derived from living organisms such as pollen animal dander insect emanations microbial endotoxins and human skin scales. c An airborne organic contaminant that is either generated by or is itself a living organism such as fungi bacteria viruses and protozoa. Education Note Moisture-vapour and airborne contaminates from a flooded building that are forced in air from a surface through dynamic air movement contain bioaerosols. See Aerosol Air Movement



Biologically derived airborne particles that are living or originate from living organisms. They include microorganisms that are culturable nonculturable and dead microorganisms. Bioaerosols include microorganism cell fragments cell toxins and particulate waste products from all varieties of living things. Bioaerosols are unbiquitous in nature and may be modified by human activities. All persons are repeatedly exposed day after day to a wide variety of such materials.


Bioaerosols Assessment and Control

The name of a book published in 1999 by the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists ACGIH for practitioners assessing and developing mitigation strategies for contaminated indoor environments. Education Note Other practitioners in mitigation remediation and abatement will find this book applicable and valuable.



The natural ability of soil or ground to biologically-augment its biodiversity back to its normal background microflora over time.



A measure of the fraction of the chemical or biological agents of concern in an environment that are present at any one time.



A chemical disinfectant that kills living organisms. See Disinfectants



The metabolic breakdown of materials and their components into simpler components by other living organisms. Sometimes referred to as biodeterioration. See Bioaugmentation



The amount and species of organisms found living in soil or in a building environment.



Water moisture vapour and carbon base substances such as wood that become the energy of microorganisms allowing for the reproduction of spores. Biofuel is also the bacteria generated from sewage as a result of mainline sewer backflows into buildings.



The ability of anaerobic organisms bacteri to produce methane gas during their decay and decomposition.



In risk assessment property loss management and handling a biohazard can be found in a water damage building. For example in a building where effluents and bacteria are present because of a sewage backflow or the sewage may have come from an upper floors as in the case with high-rise buildings. A biohazard can be described in insurance terms as mold contamination where fungi is allowed to grow and the condition eventually effects the health of the occupants. A biohazard associated with the sewage related bacteria and the fungi from wet building materials can result in higher occupational exposures to worker who become involved with the cleanup of biohazardous materials. Education Note Improperly handled both sewage bacteria and wet building material fungi are known to cause serious debilitating health effects in workers. And if the contamination is improperly handled most likely the contamination is still present in the building causing a higher risk of exposure to the occupants and insured potentially resulting in a law suit. Adjuster Note Adjusters are becoming educated to this fact that contractors are leaving biohazardous substances behind while insurers are more and more asking contractors for their contractor license and liability coverage and certifications that they have been properly trained in all aspects of their trade before referring an emergency clean-up contractor under a preferred vendor program.


Biohazard Control

Any number of administrative methods engineering controls procedures equipment and manpower necessary to control or minimize the exposure of a biohazardous agent or material.


Biological Catalyst

A substance or material that increases the rate of chemical and biological reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical or biological change. Education Note In flooded buildings bacteria yeasts and fungi can be described as having biochemical reactions biological markers having homogeneous catalyst reactions if the building effected environment is left alone after a biological occurrence. Detergents and disinfectants oxides acting as neutralizing reactions can be stated as having heterogeneous catalyst reactions. With heterogeneous reactions the catalyst of detergents and some disinfectants provide the pathway by which the catalyst reaction can proceed where the biological activation of the pollutant energy becomes lower. Proper use of detergents and disinfectants increase the rate at which the biological reaction of harmful bacteria yeasts and fungi come to equilibrium although it does not alter the position of the equilibrium of the building resident microflora except may be for a short period of time after cleaning and disinfection. In certain circumstances very small quantities of a detergent cleaning and disinfectant agent can speed up biochemical reactions to a pollutant. Most catalysts are also highly specific in the type of reaction they catalyze particularly chemical disinfectants such as aldehydes iodophors oxidizers phenols and enzymes in biochemical reactions. Generally the term is used for a substance that increases reaction of the biological marker rate producing a positive catalyst. Some cleaning and disinfectant reactions can be slowed down by negative catalyst acting as a sanitizer or inhibitor of growth.


Biological Contaminates

Any one of a number of viruses bacteria fungi yeasts protozoa and helminths that are capable of producing allergic reactions illness and disease in persons who are exposed or susceptible. Also referred to as biological pollutants or biopollutants. See Biohazard


Biological Contaminates in Buildings

The presence of biologically derived aerosols gases and vapours of a kind and concentration likely to cause disease or predispose persons to adverse health effects inappropriate concentrations of outdoor bioaerosols especially in buildings designed to prevent their entry c indoor biological growth and remnants of growth that may become airborne and to which people may be exposed.


Biological Control

The elimination or reduction of undesirable species and colonies of organisms to safe indoor acceptable levels. See Resident Organisms Non-Resident Organisms


Biological Convergence

The tendency in organisms not closely related to each other to develop similar characteristics when living under the same condition. Mitigation Note Biological convergence may be apparent in sewage damaged buildings where porous building materials experience a heavy bacteria presence along with fungi growth.


Biological Disorder

A change in the biological ecosystem or mass in a building due to a disturbance. Education Note Most biological disorders in buildings are a result of a flood or some other disaster produced by water or humidity. Biological disorder can be produced from events such as sewer line and toilet overflows where the high concentration of biological waste disturbs the random selection and quantity of resident microorganisms through the addition of non-resident microorganisms that are pathogenic.


Biological Monitoring

The ability to use science in determining the microbiological organism presence and activity in building materials ambient air and in soil. See Air Monitoring


Biological Particles

Microbial particles such as airborne dust spores plant and animal matter which can cause asthma and allergies in some persons. See Bioaerosols


Biological Pathway

The exposure route from an identified source of a biological agent to building occupants.


Biological Toxins

Harmful toxins that are produced from biological particles and wet building materials that support biological growth and decay fungi mycotoxins. Other biological toxins can occur from such incidences involving sewage backflows bacteria endotoxins into buildings. See Endotoxins Mycotoxins


Biologically Derived Airborne Contaminates

Bioaerosols gases and vapours that living organisms produce. Biologically derived materials are natural components of indoor and outdoor environments but under certain circumstances biologically derived agents may be considered contaminates when found indoors.



The careful and safe removal of harmful microbiological agents. Education and Mitigation Note In sewage damage backflows effecting buildings bioremediation is the careful and safe removal of all sewage and bacteria under controlled conditions which are associated with sewage effluents. This includes all coliform bacteria and porous building materials and contents saturated with sewage. If the building materials and contents cannot be cleaned and disinfected to an acceptable level of cleanliness then the building materials and contents require replacement with new materials. In fungi contamination bioremediation is the careful and safe removal of all contaminated building materials and contents under controlled conditions which are associated with the fungi contamination. c In ventilation system cleaning and sanitizing bioremediation is the careful and safe removal of all dusts and debris in the HVAC supply air ducts followed by sanitizing removal of all contaminated insulation cleaning and sanitizing of the previously insulated surfaces cleaning and sanitizing of coils condensers drain pans plenum mixing boxes and all return air ducts. d In areas containing water or sewage saturated ground of a soil floor basement or crawl space substructure bioremediation is the containment and control of all standing water or sewage providing negative air out of the substructure where contaminated air does not effect the building interior air space and appropriate remediation measures in removing potentially harmful pathogens from the air and controlling pathogens in soil. Bioremediation of contaminated ground under a substructure is a complicated issue where each problem must be based on the conditions presented in each case.


Biotic Factors

The influence or impact which other living organisms resident and non-resident have on persons and the building environment. See Non-Resident Organisms Resident Organisms



The appropriate use of detergents and cleaners scrubbing and rinsing followed by sanitizers and disinfectants that are meant to reduce or eliminate surfaceborne contamination. To be truly effective biowashing especially to contaminated porous building materials must be completed twice to truly be effective.


Black Light Florescence

Special wide-spectrum high intensity black lights that are used to pick up patterns of urea and bacteria which fluoresce in the presence of high intensity black lights. The application of black light florescence ideal conditions are without the presence of sun light and is best completed early morning or at night when outside light sources affecting indoors cannot be eliminated.



An infection caused by inhaling in fungal spores. Blastomyces dermatitides is found in wet-damp wood and soil.



Household Chlorox-type chlorine bleach that has an active ingredient of approximately 5.25%u0025 hypochlorite. Safety Note For sanitizing already cleaned and rinsed salvageable hard-surface building materials use a 101 solution of water to bleach. If the hard surface has been cleaned with detergents the surface application of 101 water to bleach will give you approximately %u003C5000 ppm of remaining organisms in a given area.For contents test all contents for color safe and damage to the contents from oxidizing bleach. c For salvageable porous building material surfaces that are contaminate saturated they need to be warm water washed and scrubbed with detergents rinsed then bleach applied with a 51 solution having a dwell time of 10 minutes before fresh water rinsing or pressure spraying. d Bleach like any disinfectant should be removed once it has become effective. Mitigation Note Household bleach is the CDC EPA and health department disinfectant of choice in flooded buildings. See Disinfectants



In water damage the permanent removal and displacement of colours dyes and pigments from a material substrate due to swelling moisture and pressure. Technician Note Often bleeding of colours dyes and pigments effect other materials such as carpet resulting in their damage. To correct bleeding of a fabric the fabric should be kept wet and in solution along with a detergent. The surfactant in the detergent along with the detergent itself may temporarily suspend the migrant pigment dyes until the bleeding can be removed. But once the material is dry the bleeding is set into the dry fabric which most likely has permanently damaged the fabric finish.


Bleeding of Paint

A condition resulting in newly painted surface flotation of colour showing a bleed through of the subsurface. If the subsurface is wood the condition of bleeding usually is a result of tannin bleeding. Typically the subsurface was not prepped properly or primed with a base coat to eliminate a bleed through. See Tannin Bleeding



In water damage blistering are small bubbles or bulges of the finish coat caused from entrapped moisture and vapour pressure exerting up through the material to the finish. Blistering can be seen on painted drywall finished floors wallpaper vinyl wallpaper and on furniture.


Blisters on Hardwood Floors

In finish coats on hardwood floors such as urethane finish blistering and blister popping is the break down popping and release of trapped air and moisture vapour from under the blister. Some blister popping is due to excess moisture vapour pressure while other blister popping is from dry blisters.


Blisters on Painted Surfaces

Blisters on a paint film is a dome shape bubble of paint that has released its adhesion from the underside surface. The dome shape blister may be irregular or circular in shape. If the condition exists after a flood or there exists excessive moisture content behind the painted surfaces the blister may be filled with water or water vapour.


Blocking in Painting

Blocking is a paint condition resulting in undesired adhesion between newly painted surfaces such as painted cabinets and doors that have been closed and opened before or after the paint film was allowed to thoroughly dry and cure. Education Note Blocking refers to the new paint sticking to itself and usually the condition leaves bare patches of the substrate. Blocking may be a result of painting too soon after a water damage occurrence or the presence of to high of a moisture content in building materials.


Blocking of Hardwood Floors

In water damage mitigation blocking is an attempt to control the movement of a large hardwood floor during swelling. More than likely blocking will not succeed since hardwood strip floors swell mainly laterally and one or more wood section at the exterior walls require removal in large floor installations. Education Note When originally installed the edge of the hardwood floor perimeter to the wall must have no less than 3/8%u0022 clearance to allow expansion having less than that can become a concern during a water damage possibly resulting in one or more section of the hardwood floor perimeter to become removed in an attempt to salvage the remaining hardwood floor. In a total hardwood floor water damage blocking is most always futile since thousands of pounds of pressure are exerted on the floor through pressure which you cannot stop. See Hardwood Floor Cupping Parquet Floor



In painting terms blooming is a bluish fluorescent coat which forms on the surface of some paint films. The condition may also appear as a rust bloom. Both conditions are a result of insufficient film building during painting.


Blown Acoustic Ceilings

The adhesive and acoustic material sprayed on to a ceiling giving the ceiling an even appearance and better sound absorption. Prior to 1980 and as late as 1994 some of the blown acoustic ceilings contained asbestos.


Blue Glue

A colour and type of permanently sticky glue made for thick commercial-grade rubber-back carpet tiles. Mitigation Note During a water damage and the disengagement removal of wet floor tiles the concrete slab will permanently remain sticky with standing water on top. During the water damage flood extract all water off of the floor tiles and try not to allow flood water to entrain under the tiles. The tiles usually have thick rubber backing and it is almost impossible to get spilt water trapped under them. If the slab is definitely wet from the flood you will need to remove the tiles off of the wet concrete. When disengaging the floor tiles you will need to take special care of the tiles so they continue to remain salvageable. Place the back of two tiles together keeping the sticky side towards each other. Just stacking the floor tiles will result in some adhesive transfer to the face fibres of the next fabric floor tile.



A generic term used by many industries to describe industry pricing.



The Bluebook in water damage cleaning and restoration industry which is Copyright and is called The Bluebook of Cleaning Reconstruction and Repair Costs. This particular Bluebook is updated annually. Their phone number is 714/731-3389 or they can be contacted at www.bluebook.net.


Blushing on Paint

Blushing on paint is the dulling mottling or a cloudiness in film appearance as a bloom dull appearance in a lacquer. Blushing on paint is usually caused by drying of the paint under improper drying conditions.


Blushing on Wood

The cloud-like appearance under a glass that left a circle or ring from condensation of the glass. The transparent cloud is also apparent in water damages when buildings are flooded and high humidity exists. Condensation can form on some objects transferring their footprint under the finish of some furniture.



The temporary emergency measure necessary to secure close and seal a building after an emergency. Board-up is required after disasters including hurricanes fire damage tornadoes and earthquakes. Board-up after regular building floods are unusual unless the flood is a catastrophic flood or a fire is involved.


Bodily Injury

A bodily harm sickness or disease including care loss of services and death resulting from that injury.



An instrument which can see inside wall cavities ventilation ducting and inaccessible areas to assess and inspect for surface contamination or the condition of the surrounding surfaces. Some boroscopes are battery light operated and they have a telescopic 45 degree angled mirror on top to inspect surfaces while more sophisticated boroscopes work with laser-like precision they can see for long distances and closer detail. These boroscopes can be connected to video recording units for later playback.


Bottom Plate

The base plate usually made of wood or metal that represents the base of a wall or building frame where building studs are placed onto. Bottom plate may be described regionally as being a sole plate sill plate or mud sill plate.


Bounce Back

In restorative drying the term bounce back refers to ambient humidity that appears to be under control when using a dehumidification process but when that process is removed or turned-off bounce back occurs resulting in the return of increased ambient humidity. Restorative Drying and Education Note For example a wall drying system that is turned off because the face of the drywall appears to be dry including moisture measurement of the face of the drywall. Bounce back occurs when trapped humidity or condensation results in the wall cavity due to the drying or dehumidification process being turned off too soon or before the total wall cavity and surrounding building materials and insulation are allowed to completely dry. Bounce back has been studied and recurred and it is not unusual for a wall cavity to indicate a reduced moisture content of 30%u0025 but 12 hours later the wall cavity reads 60%u0025 Rh. See Dehumidification Shock


Bound Water

Water molecules that are held together in wood building material cells once they are saturated. Education Note Bound water in saturated wood cells is partially responsible for wood cupping warping crooking and twisting. This water cannot easily become vaporized and removed by normal drying processes without the aid of mechanical dehumidification equipment. See Adsorption Free Water


Boundary Layer

Associated with water damaged buildings the boundary layer is the very thin layer of water immediately next to a solid body that flows more slowly than the rest of the fluid. Restorative Drying Note The boundary layer is that layer of a wet porous floor where water continues to have surface tension. The boundary layer will inhibit evaporation from the surface of the porous material unless it is completely adsorbed by the hard surface removed through suctioning wicked-off through aeration or when complete evaporation takes place.



In ventilation systems it is the smaller fresh air side supply duct that branch off from the larger main supply duct. In sewer systems branching is a lateral which comes off from the sewer main to a building.


Brick Veneer

Usually the outside wall affixed to the stucco or unfinished wall having wood paneling and a vapor barrier that is an appearance item having no structural value. Some brick veneer are attached to concrete walls as a decorative finish.


Broad-Spectrum Disinfectant

Disinfectants that are capable of killing a wide variety of microorganisms. See Antiseptic



Inflammation of the bronchi the airway that connects the windpipe to the lungs. The health condition is brought about from persistent inhalation of airborne dusts and pollutants. See Occupational Related Respiratory Diseases


Brownian Movement

The random movement of particles suspended in motion with air or water. The Brownian movement phenomenon was observed in 1827 by Robert Brown with the suspension of particles in liquid as observed under a microscope. While Brown theorized his observations had to do with living organisms it wasn%u0027t until the turn of the 20th century kinetic theory was developed helping us to understand thermal agitation of smaller suspended particles in motion as their mass compared to true particles of larger surrounding bodies are effected by kinetic energy. In 1905 Einstein considered the problem which led to an equation connecting the observed motions with the Boltzmann constant. The development being based on the law of equal partition of energy. Education Note A smoke soot particle for example is battered about in air on all sides by the high speed movement of air molecules. The soot particle is absorbing kinetic energy from every direction. In this example the soot particle floating close to cooler surfaces such as a wall glass window stud nails to metal tend to magnetically migrate towards and eventually cling to cooler surfaces. If the whole wall was cooler than the heated indoor air such as from a fire the whole wall would be uniformly covered by smoke particles. Quite often on a wall stud nails or screws are even cooler than the wall surface and smoke particles deposit in a noticeable pattern. In the 1970 U.S. Steel Corporation conducted a series of experiments to investigate how %u0027ghost marks%u0027 can occur in a building due to dust build up. U. S. Steel determined that a distinguishable particle deposition pattern began to occur on a surface when there was %u003E3.3 degrees F. of difference in surface temperature relative to other parts of the surface. If this temperature varied %u003E 8 degreed F. then surface discoloration by dust through a given time occurred. See Kinetic Energy


Brown-Rot Fungi

A group of fungus that breaks down the cellulose components of wood. See Dry-Rot Fungi Wet-Rot Fungi White-Rot Fungi


BTU British Thermal Units

The unit of measurement to describe the increase of a temperature sufficient enough to raise the temperature of one-pound of water from one degree Fahrenheit.



The condition brought about by trapped moisture vapour pressure under paint or wallpaper.



A twisting and bending action by a wood material such as a hardwood floor. Buckling may be caused by several factors one being saturation of the wood cells by temperature and moisture vapour pressure. When a floor buckles the damage sections must be removed if there is to be any salvage value of the floor. Most often the whole floor is a complete and total loss.


Buddy System

A system of organization involving teams of employees in teams of two or more as a work group that can be observed work together and accept supervision. Education Note A buddy system is meant to reduce safety and health concerns heat stress while completing work more efficiently. Hazardous Materials Management Note In hazardous materials management a budding system consists of a system of organizing employees into work groups in such a manner that each employee of the work group is designated to be observed by at least one other employee in the work group. The purpose of the buddy system is to provide quick assistance to employees in the event of an emergency. The most senior or knowledgeable worker must observe other workers.


Building Cost Percent Change Factor

A comparison of current building costs to those in the same location built at an earlier date. Building cost percent change value is used in the renewal process to update previously established building values. Also known as trend factors inflation-guard factors material upgrading factors code-upgrade factors.


Building Envelope

The ambient area and atmosphere within the confines of walls roof and floors of a building. All materials that make up the building outside structure effecting the interior of the building and forces brought about because of those materials.


Building Performance Measurements

The performance measurements of a building at any time building occupants are present where temperature humidity and ventilation must be controlled. Education Note Most buildings will have three or four performance measurements for temperature humidity and ventilation. When occupants are in the building during weekdays where most if not all of the building is occupied when occupant loads are down usually after 5pm weekdays nighttime performance when the building is unoccupied except for janitorial cleaning and weekends and holidays when the building is normally empty. Building performance is an emergency efficiency control measurement.


Building Related Illness RI

A building which has been scientifically diagnosis as having a chronic illness and the illness will not go away on its own without scientific monitoring intervention and remediation. See Building Sickness From Flooding Sick Building Syndrome


Building Sickness from Flooding

Like humans buildings too are succeptable to colds flu and virus-like conditions. When flooding occurs in buildings wood and other materials become swollen and saturated. Mitigation Note In fresh water flooding if building materials and contents are not properly dried out cleaned and put back to their prior healthy state unwanted mold and mildew will increase and use wet damp moist building materials as their host material. Health Note In gray water and sewage flooding bacterial elements are able to harbor in sewage saturated building materials. If the building is not professionally decontaminated back to its prior healthy state bacterial toxins may eventually cause sickness to building occupants as well as produce other health effects. See Aflatoxins BRI Coliforms Endotoxins Exotoxins Gram-Negative Bacteria Mycotoxins Sanitization SBS Sewage Mitigation


Built-In Components

Permanent built-in finished cabinetry including but not limited to counters shelves desks drawers pantries storage closets hutches and bay-window seats. Mitigation Note Built-in finished components are usually not effected by most water damages since inspection and dehumidification drying if necessary can be conducted through the removal of the toe-kick core drilling into the toe-kick or drilling behind the base molding. If the built-in component is attached to an interior wall drying the underside of the built-in can be completed by drilling air and dehumidification holes from the opposite wall behind the frame work of built-in component. See Wall Drying Systems


Bulk Material Sampling

The random or specific sampling and scientific collection of water soil air and building materials for laboratory analysis. See Adsorbent Sampling Air Sampling Sampling Soil Sampling Surface Sampling Swab Sampling Tape Lift Sampling Water Sampling Wipe Sampling Vacuum Sampling



Any full or part-time trade profession or occupation.


Business Loss Interuption Insurance

A rider or special insurance coverage in an insurance policy which covers and protects a business during its downtime caused by a disaster or other event as outlined in the policy. Business interruption coverage provides protection for loss income and extra expenses that may arise due to a covered property loss. For example if a business is destroyed by fire business interruption coverage will allow the insured to continue business operations while restoration is in progress. Adjuster Note The business owner as policy holder is responsible for implementing what ever procedures are deemed necessary to reduce or mitigate the disaster. Quite often the business owner must hire and retain the services of contractors and disaster recovery services to reduce or stop the continued occurrence. Business loss interruption insurance usually allows for the temporary relocation of part or all of the business if the business cannot function or operate due to the disaster. See Disaster Management Disaster Recovery General Liability Insurance Coverage Total Loss Pack-Out


Business Property

The property pertaining to or intended for use in a business.



A pipe or duct usually controlled by valve or damper for conveying a fluid including air around an element of a system.



An industrial caused disease of the lungs produced by an allergic organic substance. Health Note Typically byssinosis is associated with the processing of cotton flax hemp and sisal. It produces a feeling of tightness in the chest and shortness of breath that may become chronic. In recent years ventilation cleaning technicians who disturb cotton and paper dust in dirty ventilation systems are exposed to byssinosis associated diseases. See Occupational Related Respiratory Diseases


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