Bill Weber is an ISEAI Full Member who is a Principal Consultant at AVELAR.
What is your primary field of work and where are you located?
My primary field of work is solving problems in buildings. I generally assist clients in two ways. One way is through litigation, where there is a third party (contractor, ‘house flipper’, landlord, property seller) that is ultimately responsible for the water intrusion and resulting mold growth and other defects or deviations to the property. The other common way that I help clients is working with their health practitioner and their Indoor Environmental Professional, if they have one to uncover and help remediate hidden mold reservoirs within their living environment that is causing inflammation. As a licensed general contractor for almost 30 years, I use my experience from the Insurance Repair and Remodeling industry and pair it with litigation support and consulting from the past 6 years. This experience of working with and for insurance carriers, attorneys, commercial property managers, public entities and homeowners prepared me well for the field of work that I am in.
My office is in Northern California, but I have serviced clients throughout the United States and abroad (I am currently helping clients in Canada and the United Kingdom). I do offer remote consultations but prefer a boots-on-the-ground approach whenever possible. I feel like the potential to miss something is very high when relying on clients to provide accurate and detailed information, especially when there is cognitive decline.
What are your specialties and unique perspectives on environmental health?
I think my specialty is the ability to counsel and assist clients with very hard decisions as it pertains to the home. While diagnosing problems and issues in a home, there always seem to be circumstances and extraneous other issues that need to be addressed in parallel. I believe that sampling and inspections need to include crawlspaces and attics and interstitial cavities; these are areas that rarely get improved so the history of the home is undisturbed. I believe that more sampling up front saves time and money on the backside. I am a strong supporter of MSqPCR dust collection sampling, paired with culturalable dust, when needed and direct contact swab sampling when applicable. Exterior MSqPCR dust collection is very important when determining whether the exterior fungal ecology has an influence on the indoor fungal ecology. The more I learn about our environment and the factors that cause and exasperate inflammation, the more I have appreciation for the complexity of the human body.
My unique perspective is that my family have all been impacted with autoimmune disorders that, unfortunately, I have no control of or the ability to fix whereas those that are impacted by mold and or bacteria illness due to their indoor built environment, I can help.
“While diagnosing problems and issues in a home, there always seem to be circumstances and extraneous other issues that need to be addressed in parallel.
How did you get into your field of expertise and what led you into the realm of EAI?
I started in the interior environment cleaning business when I was 16 years old, cleaning carpets. From there, I learned how to clean all other household items using the least abrasive and caustic cleaning agents. After being trained in water, fire and smoke damage repair and restoration, I found it even more important to restore the building without encapsulation, deodorizers and anti-microbial products whenever possible. Due to the level of detail and ‘safe cleaning methods’, my company was sought after for difficult and high-risk clients and environments like hospitals, daycares and clients who were immunocompromised. I chose to pursue higher education within the industry and enter the leadership realm to share what I had learned [that differed from most of my peers]. After working as a contractor, I had an opportunity to become a consultant and use these skills to help more people.
What are one or two of your biggest EAI “aha” moments?
One of my “aha” moments was about eighteen years ago when I received a large sewage backup call in a commercial building in San Francisco where there were high-risk occupants. In an effort to reduce our liability and safeguard the occupants, I decided to try using high-heat and low volume water to clean and sanitize the affected areas. Amazingly, without the use of disinfectants, sanitizers or anti-microbials we were able to clean all areas with amazing results. I then realized that chemicals were not always required. This changed the way that we did business and caused us to review what we used and why we used it.
Another “aha” moment came when my health personally suffered due to mold exposure. On a construction defect litigation project in Kauai, I was investigating a large crawlspace. The crawlspace had a white film on some of the wood that would later test as Aspergillus penicilloides. That day, my throat started to constrict, and I lost my sense of smell and taste for several days. I am now sensitive to that species and react the same way without proper PPE. The experience drastically increased my empathy as it became more personal.
“I then realized that chemicals were not always required. This changed the way that we did business and caused us to review what we used and why we used it.
What would you like the public and other ISEAI members to know?
I would like the public and other ISEAI members to know that I am passionate about my clients’ health. I would like them to know that I want nothing more than to see people thrive in their indoor environment (not just survive). I would like them to also know that I am dedicated to findings hidden mold and moisture reservoirs, determining their source and devising a plan for remediation and repair. And, if there is a third party responsible for the damage, I am passionate about helping pursue them for financial assistance.
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