Condo Fumigation Overcomes Architectural Challenges

The Landing condominium in Coronado, Calif., is a distinctive five-story, 3.5 millioncubic-foot building with 92 units. Built in 1986, the structure became infested with drywood termites, which heat and localized spot treatments failed to control. In late 2009, the building management decided fumigation was necessary and called in several companies to inspect and provide a fumigation recommendation.

In January, Payne Pest Management in San Diego was chosen to handle the job. Owner Willie Payne brought in Statewide Fumigation in Escondido, Calif., to fumigate the building. “Because The Landing has such a distinct architecture and unique configuration, we started prepping the building a month in advance,” Payne said. “This job required working hand in hand with the landscapers, the maintenance crew and building managers.”

Distinct features

One unique feature at The Landing is a courtyard inside the center of the structure filled with a variety of plants, flowers and other exotic vegetation. To ensure plants would not be affected by the fumigation, Payne and the team at Statewide worked closely with the building’s landscaping crew. “There were a lot of palm trees, lush vegetation and exotic flowers and grasses we had to be very careful about,” said fumigation manager Barry Einstoss, who operates the Statewide Fumigation National City office. “There also was a French drain beneath the courtyard that posed a challenge.”

The French drain — a ditch covered with gravel — ran along a sidewalk on the interior, so extra time and care was needed to seal off the drain before the fumigation. Only a thin layer of gravel covered the French drain, so Einstoss and his team decided to tarp and sandbag the drainage system, which was almost 500 feet long.

“We had to place separate tarps over the drains and sandbags over the tarps,” Einstoss explained. “We had to make sure that no gas would pass through the gravel and into the drains and sewage system.”

Another challenge was the steepness and unevenness of the roof. “The roof was staggered. While some areas were flat, others were peaked,” Einstoss said. “Even though there were flat areas on the
roof, the crew members wore their fall protection at all times for added safety.”

Communication to residents

Payne conducted four town hall meetings with the residents to explain the fumigation process.  “We showed them how to bag their food, told them what needed to be removed, and talked about what they could expect before, during and after the fumigation,” Payne explained. He also met with the board and homeowners’ association to share this information. Because The Landing is a vacation home for roughly 20 percent of the residents, members of the Payne Pest Management crew bagged food, at an additional charge, using Nylofume® bags for the condo owners who could not be there before the fumigation. READ MORE

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