PHH ARC Environmental review of Okanagan College Campuses

In 2007 Okanagan College undertook a comprehensive risk assessment of the institution, in order to identify and mitigate those risks.

One of the results was an environmental review of our campuses, a lengthy process that commenced last April which has just been completed by PHH ARC Environmental
Because we are committed to a healthy, safe learning and working environment, a primary focus for that assessment was the presence of mould. That was partially a result of our experience with the Ponderosa building at our Penticton campus, and through recognition that much of our infrastructure is aging.

The review led to identification of mould at a number of locations (14) on the campuses and while the great majority of the instances are minor and can be dealt with quickly, others require greater attention.

The first outcome of the report was the closure of the Y1 portable on the Kelowna campus. The consultants found evidence of mould in the building and a mould spore count that was higher inside the classroom than in surrounding outside air. The concentrations of mould spores within the Y portable, while higher than the outdoor air immediately near the building, were lower than concentrations found at other outdoor locations. (As a note, there are no specific guidelines regarding acceptable and unacceptable levels of mould spore count in air quality tests, although Health Canada recognizes that mould growth in a residential building can pose a health hazard - see www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

We felt it a prudent precaution to close the portable and have rearranged classes and meetings to other locations. As noted, other issues were identified through the survey and we will be dealing with those.

One that the consultant and Facilities have identified as a priority involves the skylights in the Library building on the KLO campus. There’s evidence that the seals on the skylights are failing and evidence of mould spores in the air. A complicating factor in dealing with the issue is the fact that there is friable asbestos in the materials around the skylights and the work that is conducted to remediate the mould issue and failing seals will have to be conducted according to Canadian Construction Association Level 3 procedures. (What is friable asbestos?  This link - www.wisegeek.com/ - gives  a good explanation. What are Canadian Construction Association Level 3 procedures? Check this link for an explanation - www.cca-acc.com/documents/

With the consultant’s report in hand, Facilities is now examining when and how best to address this specific issue, minimizing impact to and ensuring safety of students and staff. The PHH ARC report identifies small problems in Salmon Arm and Kalamalka, as well as other areas in Kelowna which require minor or modest remediation. Most of those can and will be dealt with by Facilities personnel. 

Regional Deans have copies of the consultant’s report and will be advised of work schedules to rectify the problems. The report can be accessed through myOkanagan under express reports - follow the link to the sub-category of surveys.