Questions about what exactly workers are doing underneath the shroud at Madison Beach Hotel continue. A Madison Patch reader sent us these photos today and asked what isocyanate is used for and why workers might be using it during the current work at the hotel.
Representatives of the hotel, and town officials, have said that the hotel is doing remedial work on insulation on the east and south the hotel, the sides that are most exposed to the weather. One town source said that the decision was made to do the work, in part, after thermal imaging showed that steel was right up against the exterior of the building in some parts of the building.
The pictures sent to us Thursday show a sign that says, "Warning. Isocyanate Vapor/Mist. Respirator with an organic/N95 filter required."
Workers required to have special safety equipment
Robert Kowalski, the area director for the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration, said workers are required to use special safety equipment while using isocyanates.
Kowalski directed us to an OSHA website page that has information about isocyanate on it: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/isocyanates/index.html. It says:
Isocyanates are compounds containing the isocyanate group (-NCO). They react with compounds containing alcohol (hydroxyl) groups to produce polyurethane polymers, which are components of polyurethane foams, thermoplastic elastomers, spandex fibers, and polyurethane paints. Isocyanates are the raw materials that make up all polyurethane products. Jobs that may involve exposure to isocyanates include painting, foam-blowing, and the manufacture of many Polyurethane products, such as chemicals, polyurethane foam, insulation materials, surface coatings, car seats, furniture, foam mattresses, under-carpet padding, packaging materials, shoes, laminated fabrics, polyurethane rubber, and adhesives, and during the thermal degredation of polyurethane products. Health effects of isocyanate exposure include irritation of skin and mucous membranes, chest tightness, and difficult breathing. Isocyanates include compounds classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause cancer in animals. The main effects of hazardous exposures are occupational asthma and other lung problems, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.
Workers at the Madison Beach Hotel construction site Thursday said they were not using respirator equipment, but they also said they were not involved with installing the insulation. It appeared, from the activity in the parking lot, that a wide variety of activity is going on or is being planned soon in or around the building, including tiling work, glass work, and other construction work. Someone from Cooney Sanitation was also there early in the day, and appeared to be either working on or pumping out the septic system.
Officials say shroud is intended to keep building and workers warm during construction work
Hotel officials have said that the shroud is intended in part to keep the building and workers warm while work is being done on the insulation. Propane tanks surrounded the shrouding Thursday, and were connected through pipes to the inside of the shrouding.
Also on Thursday, there was what looked like old insulation in construction vehicles outside of the hotel. In addition to work being done at Madison Beach Hotel, there were also several pieces of construction equipment and rebar, or reinforcing rods, on the beach in front of the hotel. That construction equipment, and material, belong to a construction project being done on a seawall in front of a house next to the hotel. Seawalls up and down that part of the beach were destroyed during Tropical Storm Irene this past summer.
John Mathers, a representative of Distinctive Hospitality Group, which has been managing the hotel since July 2011, said the construction work is still being managed by GBC Construction, and that he did not know the specifics of the construction work being done Thursday.
Hotel officials say they hope the hotel will be open at the beginning of May
Lou Carrier, president of Distinctive Hospitality Group, said Madison Beach Hotel officials hope to start inviting members of the community in around the beginning of April to see the hotel, and that he's confident the hotel will be open at the beginning of May.
The hotel originally had hoped to have everything finished by early 2011. The opening was later moved to May 2011, and the opening date been moving ever since. The latest target announced was March 2012. The hotel hosted several weddings and events during the summer and fall of 2011, operating under a series of temporary certificates of occupancy from the town.
A permanent certificate of occupancy has not yet been granted.
The ongoing construction project has become something of a tourist attraction for both local resident and people from out of town. On Thursday, in addition to the local resident who sent us these pictures, was a college interior design student who was taking pictures. Sh said she was interested in looking at the interior of the hotel when it is done for a project she hopes to work on.
If you see something you're wondering about, at Madison Beach Hotel, or other parts of town, email us, send us your pictures, send us your videos to firstname.lastname@example.org.