The Indoor Air Quality Association is known for a lot of things: an outstanding national conference and expo, superior publications, a dynamic chapter network and robust government affairs work, just to name a few. One area where IAQA truly excels, but which gets little recognition, is in building bridges to other organizations, trades and professions, and connecting people and organizations who otherwise might not have worked together.

Several years ago, when IAQA worked closely with IICRC on the development of the first edition of the S520 Standard for Professional Mold Remediation, we recognized a lack of depth in the area of mold remediation with regard to HVAC mechanical systems. IAQA leaders with strong relations to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) brought IICRC and NADCA officials together, and soon NADCA became a major contributor to the S520 standard. In fact, S520 defers to NADCA standards for HVAC system cleaning procedures.

More recently, IAQA began building a relationship with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). After delegates attended each organization’s respective conferences, it was clear that there existed a superb opportunity: to co-locate annual meetings and combine exposition halls. After careful planning and negotiations, ACCA and IAQA will hold their respective 41st and 12th annual meetings side-by-side, with members of both groups convening three times daily at the combined Indoor Air Expo, featuring more than 300 booths, in Fort Worth, Texas, Feb. 24-26, 2009.

The combination of the IAQA and ACCA expositions more than doubles the size of the Expo for IAQA, and opens up fantastic educational opportunities for members of both groups. In fact, IAQA and ACCA members are so excited about this event that earlier this summer the respective Orlando chapters held a combined chapter meeting. According to IAQA Orlando Chapter Director Marlene Linders, “The positive response from both industries was overwhelming.”

In the last six months, IAQA has added two more important organizations to its partner list: the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). IAQA and RIA have signed a memo of understanding, formalizing their intention to collaborate on a number of industry initiatives. “This partnership will have a positive impact industry-wide and for each of our associations in particular,” RIA Executive Director Don Manger said.

Subsequent to signing the MOU with RIA, leaders of IAQA brokered negotiations between the Indoor Environmental Standards Organization (IESO) and RIA for the creation of an American National Standard for fire-damage restoration. IESO is an ANSI-accredited standards development organization. RIA has agreed to co-fund the development of a new standard under the auspices of the IESO Standards Development Committee, with RIA helping to populate a portion of the committee’s membership.

IAQA also signed a MOU with ASHI this summer. IAQA will help those in the home inspection industry increase their awareness of microbial issues and other indoor environmental concerns, while ASHI will help IAQA members better understand the dynamics of home inspections and real estate transaction work. These are just some examples of IAQA’s bridge-building work. IAQA also co-sponsors the annual AHR Exposition produced by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and IAQA representatives serve on ASHRAE technical committees. IAQA, along with ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council, and many other organizations, recently co-sponsored the GreenSummit conference in Phoenix, Ariz. IAQA also took part in HUD’s 2008 National Healthy Homes Conference in September.

IAQA’s work in bringing together professionals from the many disciplines that constitute the IAQ industry is core to the association’s mission statement. It is critical work that has resulted in significant advances across a wide spectrum of trades and professions. We hope you will consider joining IAQA, both to gain from the relations that IAQA creates for its members, as well as to help IAQA continue building bridges across industries.