A Seattle K-8 public school built under state sustainability protocols had to be shut down after staff and students complained of annoying odors. When toxicology testing showed that high pH and moisture content in the concrete flooring had reacted with carpet adhesive and backing to produce methyl hexanol, a volatile organic compound, the school district had no choice but to carry out expensive repairs. Photo: Seattle Public Schools Carpet adhesive and moisture reacted. Opened in September 2009, the $37-million school struggled with complaints about the smell until closing in April 2010. The toxicology investigation confirmed the extent of the problem.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.