Guidance for cleaning and restoration professionals dealing with COVID-19 mitigation, from RIA, IICRC and NADCA

by Brianna Crandall — April 1, 2020 — The Restoration Industry Association (RIA), The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC), and the NADCA (The HVAC Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Association) have undertaken several initiatives in recent weeks to help cleaning and restoration industry professionals deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. The results are highlighted below.

Collaborative guidance for COVID-19 mitigation

RIA and IICRC collaborated to prepare a comprehensive guide for cleaning and restoration contractors working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is considered “preliminary” because of all the unknowns surrounding the behavior and transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but industry experts compiled research, best practices and resources about infection control from previous related outbreaks as well as current knowledge from the CDC and EPA about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Preliminary Report for Restoration Contractors Assisting Clients with COVID-19 Concerns” asserts that “it is imperative that restoration professionals be clear about what their services can, and cannot, accomplish for the client.” The authors are quick to point out that “Common sense should prevail in all cases. Anyone using this document should understand the document’s limitations, and rely on his or her judgment, or as appropriate, seek the advice of a competent professional in determining the exercise of reasonable care in any situation. All persons using this document must be and remain, updated and informed about developments pertaining to COVID-19 and the restoration industry so that he/she may implement changes in procedures as appropriate, as well as adhere to all applicable federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations.”

The document, which is currently 10 pages long, covers:

  • Basic information about coronavirus
  • Infection control principles
  • Potential services
  • Pre-work preparations
  • Crew safety
  • Cleaning of touchpoints
  • Applying disinfectants
  • Post-work project evaluation
  • Project documentation

As the report points out, “the crisis nature of the COVID-19 response means that many typically available supplies may now be in short supply,” meaning that contractors may need to “use personal protective equipment (PPE) items they are not familiar with, or potentially reuse single-use products,” and that there may be shortages of disinfectants. A helpful Restoration & Remediation (R&R) magazine article covering the report also points out that “Infectious control environments must be treated differently than any of the remediation projects that are more familiar to most restorers.”

“Essential services” action request

RIA, IICRC and NADCA issued a joint statement communicating to governmental officials the need for professionals in America’s HVAC, air duct cleaning and surface cleaning / disaster restoration and indoor air quality (IAQ) industries to be considered in the “essential services” category during the COVID-19 outbreak. RIA also sent a similar letter to the governors of all 50 states and is asking members to download the letter and send it to their state officials as well.

Industry briefings

RIA conducted an Industry Briefing Town Hall on COVID-19 on March 5, which is available on YouTube. RIA’s COVID-19 Industry Briefing Part 2 recap video is also available on YouTube.

RIA encourages restorers to continue to monitor guidelines and information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other authorities.

For further cleaning and restoration industry resources and updates, visit RIA’s COVID-19 Resources webpage, IICRC’s Disaster Resource Center page, and NADCA’s COVID-19 Resources and Information page.