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Clients and Project Types

Featured Projects

Ellis is called in on a variety of situations, each unique. Below are examples of the variety of work we do.

Monitoring for Mold

After a university dormitory building had sat vacant and locked for several weeks, maintenance employees began to notice the formation of mold on furniture and carpet.  Ellis conducted a visual assessment in the impacted units.  After consulting with the Owner, Ellis brought an abatement contractor to the site, then managed the removal, cleaning, and drying process.  All had to be complete prior to the start of the new academic year.

This project was a favorite of Ellis employees because it was a true public health service.  Ellis identified the hazard and its source, then recommended and monitored appropriate cleaning, disinfecting, and drying of each dorm unit.

Ultimately, Ellis was able to clear all units as safe for students to occupy.  Ellis’ services helped to protect occupants from a mold hazard that would have worsened if not correctly handled. 

Occupancy Clearances, Post- Woolsey Fire

Testing for Air Quality and Soot, December 2018

The Woolsey fire in Los Angeles County burned more than 1,500 structures and forced the evacuation of over 250,000 people. After the fire was controlled, residents were anxious to get back to their homes and businesses. Schools, nursing homes, and hospitals also needed to respond to the special health concerns of their occupants. Ellis assisted by conducting post-fire sampling at several sites.   

Using hand-held particulate counters, Ellis conducted air monitoring for lingering fire particulates:  Ultra-Fine Particles (UFPs, a component of smoke), nuisance dust and respirable dust were primary health concerns.  All were measured in real-time with pre-calibrated, Ellis-owned electronic monitoring devices. 

Because soot is a known carcinogen, Ellis also sampled playgrounds, sand, and sawdust.  Soot can only be differentiated from (more common) ash particles by collecting bulk samples and submitting them to a certified lab for analysis with an electron microscope.

This project is a favorite of Ellis employees because we were among the many who were able to help the people in need.

Roofing Removal

Ellis recently administered the removal of a 6” layer (yes, you read that correctly) of built-up roofing felts at a major international film studio in Southern California.  HVAC equipment had been jammed into a small roof space for years, making access difficult.  The project presented additional obstacles:  

  1. The removal had to be performed at night when employees weren’t working.
  2.  In order to be compliant with city noise ordinances, the abatement work crew had to modify their removal techniques to reduce noise levels.  
  3. Removal of softer materials, such as mastic on wood deck and foam roof insulation, were therefore done during the night.  Removal of metal materials (which created noise) was done early in the morning.  

Ellis managed and monitored the abatement effort, and also provided “real-time” sound pressure level monitoring. 

This project is a favorite of Ellis employees because of the dual challenge of the scope of material removed and the work constraints.

Fire Restoration, Demolition in Southern California

Property Description: A 1-story 15,000 s.f., steel and metal-sided furniture factory in Glendale, destroyed by fire in June 2011.

Environmental Issues Identified: On June 1, 2011, a fire of unknown origin became so hot that it warped steel and caused lead-based primer to peel away from structural steel. 

Ellis provided the initial hazard assessment, searching for metals, asbestos, mercury, and other contaminants that could potentially have been released during the fire.  As anticipated, significant amounts of lead and zinc were discovered in debris and on surfaces. 

Services Provided:  Following its initial hazard assessment, Ellis:

  1. designed an appropriate hazmat cleanup and demolition plan;
  2. procured bids for the demolition and cleanup of the structure and debris that remained;
  3. monitored the progress of the work, tested, and provided a final clearance certificate.

Summary: Structure and content loss due to the fire were estimated at $1,750,000.  Cleanup and demolition efforts managed by Ellis required an additional $0.2 million to complete.  The final result: a clean concrete pad and lot, suitable for rebuilding. 

Pre-Renovation Abatement Services

Property Description: A 10-story 130,000 s.f., steel and concrete dormitory building in Westwood, abated in 2012. 

Environmental Issues Identified: An environmental hazards survey conducted in 2004 revealed the presence of asbestos, lead and other environmentally hazardous materials in the building. The building was completely renovated in 2012.  Ellis was retained to provide the following environmental services.

Services Provided:  Based on the environmental hazards survey provided to Ellis, the following services were administered:

  1. designed abatement plans for asbestos and lead
  2. conducted additional bulk sampling for materials that were exposed during the demolition process
  3. monitored the progress of the work, tested, and provided a final clearance certificate.

Summary: Ellis was on site from March 2012 to November 2012 to provide its services. The dormitory re-opened successfully in the spring of 2013.

Mold Abatement

Ellis managed the removal of water- and mold-impacted wallboard from a brand new, 11-story office building in Burbank.  The damage occurred after a general contractor allowed the drywall subcontractor to install wallboard on metal framing BEFORE  the roof was completed.  Heavy rains came, inundating all floors and ponding along the base of the inner walls.  Nothing was done and mold was the predictable result.  The lower 2 to 4 feet of mold-infected wallboard was removed on all floors.  Inner wall spaces were then cleaned, disinfected, and dried thoroughly.  Ellis prepared specifications for removal, procured bids from qualified abatement contractors, managed the removal, and provided final inspections and clearance monitoring.

SCAQMD Procedure 5 Asbestos

Property Description:  An 11-unit apartment complex in West Hollywood. 

In December 2011, the building owner initiated repair and renovation efforts without an asbestos survey and without filing notification to the local Air Quality Management District (AQMD).  The AQMD investigated the site (in which interior demolition had already occurred), then issued a "Notice to Comply," or "NTC."  The NTC stipulated that the Owner retain a California-Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC) to perform a hazard assessment, including bulk sampling of disturbed materials.  Ellis was retained to provide this service.  If asbestos is identified, Ellis will provide the necessary "Procedure 5" application to the AQMD.  Then, on behalf of the Owner, we'll procure and administer the services of a licensed abatement contractor for all cleanup activities.

Asbestos/Lead Assessment

Property Description:  Culver City Veterans' Memorial Building, a busy civic and events center for Culver City and surrounding areas. 

Environmental Issues Identified: Asbestos floor tile, tile mastic, and lead-containing wall tile were identified during Ellis' initial asbestos survey.   Above the auditorium, 200 l.f. of asbestos pipe insulation impeded renovation of the building's ventilation system. 

Services Provided: Ellis performed a pre-renovation survey to identify asbestos and lead-containing building materials in construction areas.  After identifying the asbestos pipe insulation noted above, Ellis managed the procurement of bids for abatement on a rush basis in order to return the auditorium to service as quickly as possible.  The work was completed on time and within estimated costs.  Ellis has now been retained to assist in bidding, administration, and inspection of remaining asbestos-containing materials.

Pre-Renovation Abatement

Property Description: Cox Building - Los Angeles Southwest Community College

Environmental Issues Identified:  Asbestos was identified in floor tile, tile mastic, and other materials in this relatively new, four-story classroom building. Lead was identified in damaged paint throughout the building. The building underwent a major renovation in 2013/2014.

Services Provided: Ellis performed a pre-renovation survey to identify asbestos- and lead-containing building materials and surfaces.  Following the inspection, Ellis assisted the Community College District in procuring bids for abatement of identified hazardous materials.  Ellis was also onsite during abatement to conduct air monitoring and inspections and provided a clearance notice for the building upon completion.

Occupational Exposure Assessment

Property Description: 30,000s.f. warehouse with a  welding center, chemical storage, and mechanical shop.

 Health and Safety Issues Identified:  Concerns were raised over the short and long-term effects of welding fumes and dust created in this unventilated work area.

 Services Provided: Ellis conducted industrial hygiene monitoring, including testing for dust, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, carbon, airborne metals, and ultra fine particles.

 Summary: Following its investigation and testing, Ellis provided guidance on improvements to overall and local ventilation in the building.

Electrical Fire Remediation

Property Description: 1,100s.f. building in Darwin, California - used as a Post Office and a Community Room.

Environmental Issues Identified:  There were concerns of potential contamination from asbestos and lead, after an electrical fire damaged walls and ceilings in a community room.

Services Provided: Ellis conducted lead, asbestos, and mold sampling, and assessed the condition of all suspect materials in the building after the fire.

Summary: Lead and asbestos was found to be present in the building. No mold growth was detected at the time of the inspection that was conducted shortly after the fire.  However, the risk of potential mold growth remained since interior walls had been soaked during fire suppression efforts.  Ellis provided guidance on remediation of the site. 

Hazardous Material Abatement

In September of 2008, Ellis completed the administration of abatement at this 11-story former office building in San Pedro. Because the building was scheduled for demolition through explosive implosion, Ellis had to ensure that all potentially hazardous materials (which could become airborne during demolition) were first removed. To do this, Ellis specified and procured bids for the removal of all non-structural materials in the building. When the project was complete, only steel and concrete remained.

Ellis’ administrative efforts ensured that:

  1. All hazardous materials were identified, sampled, and quantified.
  2. Only reputable, bonded, and insured contractors were allowed to bid the work.
  3. Qualified contractors received a concise set of removal specifications to include all requirements for utility shutoffs, site security, removal work methods, critical dates, waste transport, and final clearance criteria.
  4. Upon completion of the project, the demolition contractor had certification from a California CAC (Certified Asbestos Consultant) that all asbestos and other hazardous materials had been removed.
Asbestos removal was performed by Marcor Remediation of Cerritos, California. The implosion of the building was performed by Dykon Blasting Corporation, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Pipe Insulation Removal

Located at 900 North Alameda in downtown Los Angeles, Wilshire Annex is a large data center facility totaling 450,000 square feet spread over five floors. Wilshire Annex is structured as a partnership between The Carlyle Group and Euristates, Inc.

The owner desired to use existing concrete tunnels beneath the structure to run a new communications networking cables. Ellis made the preliminary hazard assessment of these tunnels and found damaged pipe insulation (among other hazards). Ellis procured bids for and managed the cleanup of these tunnels in 2008. Routing of new cables through the cleaned tunnels began in late summer.

IAQ and Hazmat Testing

To date, Ellis has provided IAQ and hazmat testing and inspection services at the UCLA Life Sciences building, Campus Health Services, Medical Plaza Building, Murphy Hall, Young Research Library, Franz Hall, and Schoenberg Hall. In 2011 and 2012, Ellis conducted monitoring/inspections during asbestos and lead abatement at Dykstra Hall and the Guest House complex. More information regarding the Dykstra Hall project can be found here.

Lead Paint Stabilization/Restoration

After decades of service, original lead paint was beginning to peel from the ceiling above this historical painting in Glendale.  In 2010, Ellis administered the stabilization of lead paint, followed by the restoration and re-painting of the ceiling surface. The enclosed work area suspended 70 feet above the auditorium floor, can be seen in the photo below. 

Asbestos/Lead Building Survey

Property Description: Former Military Research Complex. Five circa-1970 buildings. Total area = app. 380,000 s.f.

Environmental Issues Identified: Asbestos in fireproofing, wallboard and flooring throughout. Lead in damaged paint. Possible soils contaminants.

Services Provided: Ellis performed pre-demolition asbestos and lead surveys, as well as a Phase I (historical records search) site assessment. Later, Ellis prepared budget cost estimates and specifications for removal of all hazardous materials.

Summary: Ellis estimated $484,000 in pre-demolition abatement costs. The lowest four bids for this portion of the work ranged from $462,000 to $502,000. Once demolition was complete, Ellis surveyed exposed soils for PCBs and other contaminants during grading efforts.

“We were completely satisfied. Please keep up the good work and quick response time.”
~G. Rose, Facilities Director, Santa Monica College~

Pre-Demolition Survey

Ellis provided a pre-demolition asbestos survey of 7 power plants in California prior to filming efforts by numerous local studios.

Preliminary Endangerment Assessments (PEAs)

Administered by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), a PEA "provides basic information for determining if there has been a release of a hazardous substance that presents a risk to human health or the environment." A PEA requires that an initial work plan be presented to and approved by the DTSC. This is followed by soils testing and, whenever contaminants are identified, supplemental site investigations and soils remediation. The entire PEA process can require up to 3 years for completion.  Ellis has successfully completed more than 20 PEA-related projects on behalf of Southern California school districts.

Phase I Site Assessment

Property Description: 5-Building Student Housing Complex on the Loyola Marymount Campus. Circa-1960 construction.

Environmental Issues Identified: Asbestos in sprayed-on ceilings, wallboard, and flooring throughout.

Services Provided: Ellis performed pre-demolition asbestos and lead surveys, as well as a Phase I (historical records search) site assessment. Later, Ellis prepared budget cost estimates and specifications for the removal of all hazardous materials and managed the bid phase and demolition process on behalf of the owner.

Services Provided: Ellis performed pre-demolition asbestos and lead surveys, as well as a Phase I (historical records search) site assessment. Later, Ellis prepared budget cost estimates and specifications for the removal of all hazardous materials and managed the bid phase and demolition process on behalf of the owner.

Summary: Ellis estimated $500,000 in total demolition costs. The winning proposal for the work was offered at $437,000. Bids ranged from $437,000 to $600,000. Ellis worked with the bidders to ensure that at least 50 percent of all building materials will be recycled and re-used. The work was completed one week ahead of schedule, with zero cost overruns.

“Ellis is a great fit for our campus. The staff is friendly, helpful, and guides us when we need direction. We look forward to maintaining our relationship for years to come.”
~R. Torkelson,  Former Sr. Project Manager, Loyola Marymount