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Chicago Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Surveys in High-Rise Commercial/Residential Buildings

If you need indoor air quality (IAQ) testing/sampling in high-rise and commercial residential buildings in the Chicago area, call us at 973-366-4660 or email us at info@atlenv.com for details and a free estimate.

Written By:  Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, CSP, President
February 28, 2020

Chicago Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Surveys in High-Rise Commercial/Residential Buildings

We have provided Indoor Air Quality to high-rise building owners and tenants since 1984 in Chicago.  Our offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Boston have further added to our knowledge and experience in the unique problems Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of high-rise and large commercial residential buildings, as well as the problem in large densely populated communities.

Our experience includes Post-9/11 Building Air Quality in the areas surrounding Ground Zero in New York City (NYC).  This included testing/sampling for asbestos, lead, arsenic, mercury, concrete, dust, PCBs, VOCs, mold bacteria, and many other items.

We have developed a distinctive approach to evaluating individual tenant spaces and entire high-rise buildings for air quality, including molds, bacteria, Legionella bacteria, and chemicals.  Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and Building Related Disease (BRD) are more likely in large commercial spaces because of the complexity of the HVAC systems, variety of tenants, space constraints and the surrounding area.  As buildings age, the potential for isolated Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) problems increases while the possibility of building-wide problems decreases.


  • LOCATION: Heavy commercial or industrial area with carbon monoxide, diesel exhaust, dust, smokestack emissions, cooling towers, and noise.
  • AIR INTAKE LOCATIONS: Location of intake on the ground level adjacent to loading docks below ground intakes or on roofs where exhaust and intakes are adjacent can result in exhausted air being retrained into the air intakes.
  • VERMIN: Rats, mice, birds, and pets who can spread germs and disease.
  • BUILDING AGE: Over time buildings and building systems deteriorate, become inoperable or accumulate debris.  Common problems include sewer gas, mold, debris in HVAC Systems.
  • VARIED OCCUPANCY: Combining offices, computer equipment, printers, health care facilities, daycare, restaurants, schools, warehouses, factories, studios and residential apartments, condos, timeshare all in the same building each with different environmental needs results in air quality differences for numerous tenants.
  • MOLD: Problems due to leaking pipes, roof leaks, flooding, condensation, window leaks.
  • ALLERGENS: Cockroach, dust mites, and rodent allergens can cause allergic reactions.  Dog and cat allergens can even be brought in on occupant’s clothing not just from the pets themselves.

To test and remediate air quality problems, we offer a phased approach to identify the problem rapidly and cost-effectively.


For tenant space – 1 day

For entire buildings – 1 to 4 days

  • We identify complaints through preliminary discussion with occupants and building services personnel.
  • A thorough inspection of HVAC Systems and occupied spaces.
  • Direct reading instrument testing/sampling for temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, moisture, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOC).
  • Limited testing/sampling for highly suspect agents such as mold, bacteria, chemicals, insects, dust, and allergens.
  • A formal report identifying problems and recommended corrective measures, OR recommendations for additional tests based on initial findings. In 70-80% of the time we can identify the problems in the Phase I survey.


Where situations cannot be resolved by a Phase I evaluation, and the extent of the problem is greater than anticipated, or more testing/sampling and evaluation is necessary; a Phase II Investigation would be performed. Each situation is unique, but the following are some of the tests that could be performed.

  • More extensive examination of the interior of the HVAC System including opening ductwork and test for molds, bacteria or chemicals—both air sampling and bulk/surface sampling.
  • Testing/sampling and analysis of airborne bacteria;/fungi (Bioaerosols), Mycotoxins or Endotoxins.
  • Microscopic assays – Air-O-Cells and Transparent Tape Imprints for mold, bacteria, fibers, dander, or pollen.
  • Particulate assays – microscopic identification of fibers, pollens, fungi, or asbestos. This can include forensic analysis using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).
  • Chemical assays – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), specific chemicals and identification of unknowns including Industrial Hygiene.
  • Indoor allergens – dust mites, cat and dog dander, cockroach allergens, endotoxins.
  • Fire residue – in the event a fire was involved either inside or vegetation wildfire, we can test for fire residues.
  • Final formal report identifying problems and solutions.

Contact us today at 973-366-4660 or e-mail to info@atlenv.com to discuss your unique Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) needs and obtain a complimentary, no-obligation quotation for indoor air quality testing/sampling and consulting services tailored to your organization’s requirements.

For more information, you may also reach us using our online form.

Our primary service areas are New Jersey NJNew York NY, (New York City)Pennsylvania PAConnecticut CTDelaware DEMassachusetts, (Boston) MARhode Island RIWashington DCWisconsin WIMaryland MDMichigan MIIllinois (Chicago) ILVirginia VAIndiana INGeorgia (Atlanta) GAAlabama ALNorth Carolina NCSouth Carolina SCTennessee TNTexas (Dallas, Ft Worth) TXOklahoma OKDCArkansas AR, Florida FL. We can service most other areas of the U.S. but with some added travel charges.

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