News in brief from the March 2001 issue of Building Design & Construction.
Mold causes rash - of IAQ suits. A building owned by Irvine Apartment Communities, Newport Beach, Calif., is just one target of a recent spate of lawsuits in the state related to alleged indoor-air quality problems caused by 'toxic molds.' Some 800 complaints were reported last year in Sacramento alone. State Sen. Deborah Ortiz has drafted a bill to set standards for microbial contamination and allow code officials to act when they find the mold, which can cause bronchitis, vertigo, memory loss and allergic reactions.
Recycling mandates spread eastward. State environmental officials in Massachusetts have followed the lead of peers in California, Florida and North Carolina by enacting a landfill ban on most construction and demolition materials  , in hopes of boosting reuse and recycling. Most concrete, asphalt, steel and brick wastes are already recycled, but carpet, gypsum and windows are rarely recovered. Contractors expect project costs to rise because of the new law, which takes effect in 2003.
Resource for lamp recyclers. A new Web site, www.lamprecycle.org  , helps building owners with questions about recycling fluorescent and HID lamps, which often contain mercury.
Rise in A/E liability rates expected. Professional liability insurance premiums for architects and engineers, currently at historical lows, are likely to rise over the next year, according to an AIA survey of leading insurers. While recent new offerings have helped keep prices down, nearly all respondents said premium rates will rise in 2001. The eight-year nationwide construction boom is expected to increase claims activity.