Step 1. Initial Mold Inspection
One hundred percent of mold remediation projects begin with the initial inspection. This step cannot be skipped as the initial mold inspection is what provides the mold removal expert with details needed to begin. Critical information about areas effected is gathered during the initial mold inspection such as: primary and secondary mold contamination. Primary areas affected are often visible & are what prompt a customer to call for a mold inspection; however, secondary areas & or items effected are usually not discovered until a professional mold inspection is conducted.
Sometimes mold testing is conducted to identify secondary areas or items with mold contamination. Industry standards do not require mold testing when mold or what appears to be mold is present. Two examples of when testing before the removal of visible mold may be used are cases of high health risk and disputes between tenants and property owners.
Step 2. Create Mold Remediation Protocol
During the initial mold inspection measurements, and a minimum of ten photos will be taken, but is more common for a mold expert to capture 20-30 photos, plus 1-2 videos of the area effected. These photos and video are used both as evidence to support mold remediation recommendations and as notes used to create a mold removal protocol. Pictures of what is affected and what is not affected will be taken, both inside and outside the home or office. The main reason for these types of photos is damage liability.
Measurements, photos & videos are used primarily to reconstruct the effected zones. Sketches of the contaminated areas are computer drafted and included with the estimate. Organizing this information allows the mold inspector to present it to a customer in the easiest to understand way. Communication with a customer is key and helps to establish expectations for the completion of a mold remediation project.
Step 3. Containment
Taking the time to apply floor protection, move the customers’ belonging to safety and setup mold containment measures is key. In fact, no mold remediation project should begin unless these preliminary actions have been taken. Not only does this make the mold remediation safe as possible, it also puts the customers’ mind at rest.
Step 4. Air Quality Control
Air quality control is the number one safety concern of all mold remediation projects. For example, there are two mold concern classifications: structural & health. Until air born mold levels become elevated above 10% of the air born mold outside, the mold concern is structural damage. This remains true, unless the customer falls into a high-risk group. Spreading mold contamination to non-effected areas is the majority of mold remediation liability. Therefore proper air quality control measures must always be used in mold remediation.
Step 5. Demolition
Demolition is the mold removal aspect of mold remediation. This involves surgical removal finishing construction such as drywall, cabinets, and shelves. Content manipulation can also be itemized as part of demolition is mold removal projects. Examples of this would be removing and discarding moldy books, furniture, or other related items.
Step 6. Decontamination
After moldy materials have been safely removed from the work zone, structural decontamination can begin. Simply “fogging” the air with a mold killer is a violation of industry standard. Surfaces must be wiped down and HEPA vacuumed, wooden surfaces must be exfoliated, mold staining addressed, all while maintaining air quality standards under negative pressure.
Step 7. Structural Drying
Structural drying is half the battle of mold remediation quality assurance and is where many mistakes are made. After all the moldy material have been removed and the area has been decontaminated, the area must then be dried. If this important step is skipped or done improperly, the mold infestation will continue, and the mold remediation will fail.
Step 8. Post Remediation Inspection and Testing
A mold remediation project manager should always thoroughly inspect a project upon completion for quality assurance. All dry goals such as moisture content levels and relative humidity should be met. In certain cases, post mold remediation clearance testing is conducted and can be covered by most insurance carriers.
In mold removal projects where post remediation testing is requested, testing must be conducted while containment remains in place. Air samples taken after containment has been broken down can not reflect the true microbial levels within the remediation zone. Samples may be collected by the hired remediation company but should be tested by an independent laboratory.
Step 9. Final Mold Cleanup
The final mold cleanup is not a “white glove maids cleaning”, it is a final “construction cleanup”. IICRC standard S520 states that the goal of this step is to achieve a clean dust free environment.
After the last cleanup is finished, the area can once again be inspected, and a certificate of mold remediation completion can be issued.