When it comes to mold, we often don’t think about it until there’s a problem and mold has emerged. However, as building managers, it is imperative that mold is addressed preemptively before it can get out of hand. That’s when mold evaluations come in handy.
When you get a mold evaluation done on your property, there are a few steps that the professionals take to ensure that your building is mold-free. First, the contractor will conduct a visual inspection to find and identify any evidence of fungal propagation. He or she will typically use moisture meters, thermal imaging cameras, and hygrometers to help find any moisture that may be present. “Without some sort of moisture problem in a structure, you won’t have a mold problem,” said Matt McGrath from McGrath Environmental Associates. “This can include moisture incursion related to roof leaks, foundation leaks, leaks due to plumbing, or elevated humdidity levels.” These issues can emerge from direct sources such as a burst water pipe or less straighforward issues such as an issue with the HVAC system.
After the visual inspection, the contractor will collect air samples, tape lift samples, and bulk samples from your building. These will help the contractor evaluate what everyone in the building is being exposed to, if mold is indeed present. After the work is complete, the samples taken will be analyzed, and you will receive confirmation regarding whether mold truly is present within your building or not, and steps will be taken to help eradicate the mold effectively.
Depending on how large your facility is, the time it would take to conduct a mold inspection can vary. “Air sampling takes 10 minutes per sample location,” McGrath said. “If your facility is highly compartmentalized, more sample locations should be considered.”
Although many opt to obtain a mold inspection for their buildings only when there’s a problem, we recommend getting an annual inspection, especially if you have any employees or occupants who are highly allergic to mold. “Annual visits and testing can confirm that the air quality inside your building is acceptable,” McGrath said. “People have different sensitivities to different types of mold. The majority will complain of allergy-like symptoms or illness while occupying the structure. A common complaint is that they feel congested, have headaches, and will feel better after leaving work for the day with symptoms returning upon arrival the following day.”
If you aren’t sure where to begin looking for a company to provide a mold inspection for your building, we recommend that you avoid using a company that provides both the testing and the remediation procedures. Thanks to our friends at McGrath Environmental Associates for helping us to put this article together.