This article addresses the affects of mold on structures, indoor environmental conditions, and health & safety. The fundamentals of dealing with mold contamination is a four-step process:

1. Initial Inspection 

a)  When an occupant is suspicious of mold contamination, contact a mold inspector. Signs of suspicious conditions include moisture on surfaces like walls and ceilings, damp or musty odors, and/or visible signs of dark stains on surfaces. 

b)  Conduct your due diligence! The inspector should be certified and there are many certifying organizations (Licensure is not required in CA). The inspection company should be “test-only” versus a full-service mold removal company to avoid the conflict of interest. An inspector should offer value in terms of service, experience, availability and price. The inspection typically involves a visual inspection, moisture readings of building materials and a written report with meaningful recommendations. 

c)  The recommendations conclude whether or not a mold remediation company should correct the problem. Sampling is recommended to verify the presence of mold and its impact on air quality. This is usually offered at an additional cost because a third-party accredited laboratory analyzes the samples. Those lab results should also accompany the inspection report.

2.  Remediation/Removal 

a)  If a problem has been identified, the next step typically involves a destructive process known as mold remediation. First, the source of moisture intrusion has to be identified and corrected. For example, if a leaky pipe is producing moisture behind a wall, the plumber needs to correct the defect. This ensures the moisture will not reoccur and produce mold contamination in the future.  

b)  Once the moisture problem is fixed (or concurrently), a mold remediation company should be employed to remove the moldy materials and clean the air of the affected area(s). This work should not be relegated to a handyperson.  

c)  The remediation company should be licensed and insured because they are going to be employing workers, demolishing parts of the structure and potentially building it back. As a rule, if there is going to be more than $500 worth of work being performed, a licensed contractor should be doing the work. However, that licensed and insured contractor should also be certified for mold remediation by a credible trade organization.

3.  Clearance Inspection 

a)  After mold remediation has been completed, a post-remediation verification (a.k.a. “Clearance”) should be performed prior to reconstruction to verify the area is clean and dry. It is prudent to use the same company that performed the initial inspection so that the process is administered consistently from beginning to end. 

b)  It should be noted that the inspection company should be a separate company than the remediation company to avoid a conflict of interest. There are companies that perform all four steps of the process; however, chances for improprieties exist and may compromise your legal standing in a lawsuit. Don’t allow a removal company to “grade its own paper”.

c)  A documented report of the findings should be provided by the inspection company along with lab results from an independent, accredited laboratory.  

4.  Reconstruction  

a)  Once a work area has been deemed ready for reconstruction with a clearance inspection, the final step is to rebuild the area so that occupants can resume normal activities of daily life. This final step can be performed by the remediation company or by general labor that specializes in the work needed. It should be noted that remediation companies tend to be more expensive for reconstruction work because of the cache associated with their respective specialty. 

b)  Quality, timeliness, and cost are all considerations at this step. As an apartment owner, returning tenants to a unit is top priority to mitigate further loss of rental income and/or costs for displacement.

c)  Addressing mold problems early and aggressively will ensure occupant safety, building preservation, and offer better protection against legal scrutiny.

Now that you know the “1, 2, 3’s and  a, b, c’s” to solving a mold problem, you can be better informed when making a hiring decision for a mold professional! Let’s hope you don’t have this situation. But if you do, hiring the right company can save you thousands of dollars in potentially unnecessary repairs that are sold by full-service removal companies posing as mold inspectors in order to be the first responder.

 

The above article was produced by Same Day Mold Testing, Inc. The company has over 15 years of experience and has performed thousands of mold inspections for commercial and residential customers.   Same Day Mold Testing, Inc. offers fast, affordable results for landlords and property managers concerned about the indoor environment of their buildings. For more information about our services and competitive pricing, visit us online at www.SameDayMoldTesting.com. You can even schedule appointments online 24/7! If you have questions about this article, feel free to send an email to samedaymoldtesting@gmail.com. If you suspect a mold problem or have a tenant concern, contact our office to discuss the matter at (800) 609-4214.