Reduce Liability Exposure from Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms – Article by Gregg Traum
Liablility To Owners and/or Property Managers
The reason structures suffer severe wood damage is because most Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms originates from water intrusion. All these conditions can create structural damage causing the need for wood replacement.
Some areas of concern are decks, balconies, staircases, meter and water heater closets, fascia, hand rails and roof sheathing. Wood exposed to the elements is susceptible to Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms.
When repairs are performed, a common problem occurs in the industry, Managers/ Board Members contact a Contractor to perform repairs for Wood Destroying Pest & Organism damage. It is essential for both Property Managers and Owners to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Structural Pest Control Board Act – Rules and Regulations and the Business & Professions Code. These are provisions which directly define the responsibilities for Structural Pest Control work.
- Contractors are not licensed to Identify Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms.
- Contractors cannot issue State required WDO reports or warranties on work performed.
- Contractors are not licensed to buy or apply state registered termiticides or fungicides.
- The conclusion is that the appropriate steps required by the State of California Structural Pest Control Board were omitted when working with Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms without identifying which Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms caused the damage and what the appropriate chemical treatments are required to be applied to all surrounding areas of wood material before new material is installed, the need for repeated wood replacement is inevitable.
Attaching new wood to infested wood only provides a new environment for Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms to continue. This is one of several reasons why construction projects will require additional recommendations for control measures when repairs to be performed involve Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms.
STRUCTURAL PEST CONTROL ACT
All structures that have any wood members are subject to the California Structural Pest Control Act. In order to perform an inspection. for wood-destroying pests and organisms, an individual must be licensed by the Structural Pest Control Board (Section 8550).
Licensing authorizes a Structural Pest Control Operator to identify Fungus, Dryrot, & Termite infestations, to provide treatment recommendations and costs for Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms, and the structural repairs needed as a result of damage to the structures.
It is important to note that both fungal infections and termite infestations may extend into concealed walls or areas defined as “Inaccessible Areas”. When infections or infestations are identified, the inspector must determine whether or not conditions extend into “Inaccessible Areas”. If the conditions do extend into a concealed wall, the wall must be opened for a “Further Inspection”.
One way to manage the responsibility for regular inspections of the common areas for Structural Pest Control and to minimize the costs for treatment and repair, is to have a Service Contract with a properly licensed Structural Pest Control Operator. The contract should require regular inspections of accessible areas. When fungal infections and termite infestations are identified, corrective treatment should be performed. There may also be provisions to repair or replace members of the structure at the earliest possible time in order to minimize costs.
TERMITE TREATMENT: (SECTION 1991)
Structures infested with termites need not necessarily be “Fumigated”. The fumigation process (a 54 hour procedure) requires relocation of occupants & tenting of property. Roof and landscape damage could occur. (Waivers for damage are required to be signed before the fumigation process can be performed)
A treatment option that is effective, does not require relocation of occupants, and is substantially less costly is called “Local Treatment”. This process of treating infestations involves injecting state-approved termiticides into the infested areas of the structure (vacating property or signed waivers for damage not required)
It is clear that it is essential for both Property Managers and members of the Board of Directors to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Structural Pest Control Board Act – Rules and Regulations and the Davis – Stirling Act. These are provisions which directly define the association’s responsibilities for Structural Pest Control work.
It is important when working with Wood Destroying Pests & Organisms that the Manager/ Owner contact a qualified Structural Pest Control Operator to work hand in hand with the Contactor selected to perform wood repairs to minimize construction cost, reduce liability exposure, and issue necessary warranties and guarantees on all work performed, or select a Structural Pest Control Operator that is also licensed as a General Contractor.
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