By Jason Harris
The fundamentals of dealing with mold contamination are a four step process:
When an occupant is suspicious of mold contamination, contact a mold inspector. Signs of suspect conditions include: moisture on surfaces like walls and flooring, malodors such as damp musty odors, and visible signs of discoloration or dark stains on surfaces. The inspector should be certified and there are many certifying organizations. Licensure is not required in California. An inspector should offer value in terms of service, product and price. The inspection process typically includes a visual inspection, temperature and humidity readings, moisture readings of building materials and sampling. The inspection report should provide findings of all aspects of inspection and testing. The conclusions and recommendations should offer the next step whether or not to have a mold remediation company correct the problem.
If a problem has been positively identified, the next step typically involves a destructive, invasive process known as mold remediation. First, the source of moisture intrusion has to be identified and eliminated. For example, if a leaky pipe is producing moisture behind the wall, a plumber needs to correct the problem. That way, you know the moisture will not reoccur and produce the mold contamination again. Once the 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. This work should not be relegated to a handyperson. The remediation company should be licensed and insured because they are usually going to be employing workers, destroying 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.
Clearance Inspection: After mold remediation has been completed, a post-remediation inspection should be performed to verify the area is cleared prior to reconstruction. A documented report of the findings should be provided by the inspection company. It is prudent to use the same company that performed the initial inspection so that the process is administered consistently from beginning to end. It should be noted that the inspection company should be a separate company than the remediation company to avoid 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.
Once a structure or area within the structure has been deemed ready for reconstruction by the clearance inspection, the final step is to rebuild the area so that occupants can resume normal activities of daily living. This final step can be performed by the remediation company or by general laborer that specializes in the work needed. Quality, timeliness, and cost are all considerations at this step. As an apartment owner, returning tenants to the unit is top priority to mitigate further loss of rental income and/or costs for displacement.
The above article was produced by Same Day Mold Testing. The company was established in 2005 to serve owners, managers, and tenants in the arena of mold contamination. If you have questions or would like more information about this article, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online at www.SameDayMoldTesting.com.