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ATLANTA, GA, Feb. 16, 2001 -- LAWGIBB Group and CONNOR Environmental Services and Engineering Assessments have been awarded four area contracts totaling $120 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Real Estate Assessment Center.

The two firms, which have formed a strategic alliance called the 'LEAD Team,' have been retained to perform nationwide lead-based paint evaluations for Project Based Section 8 multi-family housing. The companies formed the team due to the complementary expertise and nationwide resources for lead based paint evaluations and management.

The scope of work initially covers more than 1,850 properties, comprising 46,000 dwelling units. The contract requires teams of inspectors and risk assessors, certified in lead based paint inspection and risk assessment, perform evaluations in 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

The LEAD Team will provide HUD REAC, housing agencies, and property owners and managers with lead evaluations utilizing state of the art field techniques and equipment, including wireless data collection and transmission features. The LEAD Team will develop and manage all the data to provide information necessary to manage lead-based paint and reduce lead-based paint hazards in Project Based Section 8 Housing.

Lead is a naturally occurring element that is toxic to humans of all ages when ingested or inhaled. Lead is most hazardous to the nation's roughly 20 million children under the age of six, whose developing nervous systems are particularly vulnerable to lead and whose normal activities expose them to lead-contaminated dust and soil. High levels of lead in the blood of young children can produce permanent nervous system damage. Recent research indicates that relatively low levels of lead in blood can produce significant nervous system damage, such as reduction in intelligence and attention span, reading and learning disabilities and behavior problems.

"This program is a proactive effort on the part of HUD to support privately owned, federally-assisted housing in their requirement to comply with legislation targeted at identifying, controlling and eliminating the lead risk to youth," said Bruce Coles, President, CEO and Chairman of LAWGIBB. "Our LEAD team is honored to have been selected to provide the technical expertise on this important project."

For more than 50 years, the LAWGIBB Group has provided consulting services for many high profile and complex projects, including lead-based paint surveys for The National Park Service in such well-known properties as the White House Visitor's Center in Washington, DC, and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pa., and the relocation of the Cape Hatteras Light Station in North Carolina.

CONNOR Environmental Services & Engineering Assessments, formed in 1991, has designed portfolio compliance programs for multi-family property owners throughout the country and Australia. CONNOR's compliance assessments programs are in place in more than 300,000 rental units. CONNOR's programs have saved rental property owners over $1 billion in compliance cost, fees, potential fines and penalties.

"These evaluations will enable property owners to focus their resources on specific lead related issues," said Patrick T. Connor, President of CONNOR, "This targeted cost effective approach will result in significant reduction of lead-based paint hazards in Project Based Section 8 housing."

About LAWGIBB Group:

Founded in 1946, LAW acquired the prestigious firm GIBB Ltd., based in Reading, England, in 1989, forming LAWGIBB Group, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The company has expanded its scope of operations to include many traditional engineering and scientific disciplines, and today is widely recognized as one of the world's leading engineering, environmental and design consulting services companies. The firm now has more than 3,500 professionals working in over 100 offices around the world with projects in 160 countries worldwide.

About CONNOR Environmental Services and Engineering Assessments:

Formed in 1991 CONNOR Environmental Services and Engineering Assessments, a Baltimore, MD firm, is a leading consulting firm to the commercial/multifamily industry. The firm employs more than 50 professionals providing national coverage for property transaction due diligence.

Return to: 2001 News Releases