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Planning for Success

Monday, June 13, 2011
Planning for Success

Planning for a successful mold remediation includes both the identification and correction of the building or building system conditions that caused the mold growth, as well as, safe removal of moldy building materials and cleaning and/or treating of remaining building surfaces in a manner that does not spread mold spores or fragments to other areas of the building.

As a first step, the identification of moisture sources, causes and pathways that are causing or contributing to the formation of mold growth is critical. This may be as simple as identifying and repairing a leaky pipe or hot water tank or as complicated as involving, mechanical engineers, structural engineers and/or forensic architects to evaluate the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, or the roof, window, foundation and façade assembly details for moisture contribution.

In some instances the presence of mold growth is apparent. In other instances, identifying the extent and location of moisture impacts to building materials or contents help determine the extent of the potential mold growth. Also, mold growth may be "hidden" within wall, ceiling, and floor or roof assemblies or inside HVAC systems, ductwork or pipe insulation and the full extent of the mold growth will not become apparent until these areas are accessed. As such, proper remediation planning includes delineating the impacted areas and then outlining steps to carefully contain areas for the safe removal and cleaning/treating of moldy building materials and contents. Remediation plans vary greatly depending on the size of the moisture and mold impacted area, building use and occupancy and often require revision if circumstances change or new information becomes available in terms of hidden moisture or mold conditions. A priority in remediation planning is to outline steps which may include a combination of isolation, use of containments, pressurization and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration equipment to protect the health and safety of the building occupants by avoiding the dispersal of mold spores and fragments where they can be inhaled.

Finally, options to address health related concerns of the occupants in the areas to be remediated include one or a combination of the following: consultation with a health-care professional, conducting mold remediation work during off hours or over the weekend, and/or relocation of occupants until remediation is complete and moisture source(s) are repaired. One should also take into consideration the mold remediation contractor’s ability to contain/minimize aerosolization of mold spores and fragments in the building in question before deciding to relocate occupants.

What about emergency situations that require a rapid response? In these situations, planning is even more critical to ensuring a successful outcome. If you have never been involved in an emergency mold remediation or moisture event project, we would recommend you retain the services of a consulting firm that has experience in mobilizing qualified experts to ensure success.

Our experience has shown that a well designed and implemented plan will result in a successful mold remediation project. Please contact Harry M. Neill, CIH at 610.524.5525 ext 15 to discuss the best approach for your next planned or emergency mold remediation project.



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