Mold Removal Standards 2023

Mold Removal Standards 2023

Mold Removal Standards 2023

Responsible homeowners have questions whenever they discover mold for different reasons most commonly the concern revolves around health in general.  Homeowners understand that mold remediation is a important maintenance issue and should be addressed by a competent mold remediation professional. Homeowners also need to know who they can trust whenever such a problem arises in their home. Homeowners like to do research to find out which companies have information to help educate their customers.

At Mold Metrix we believe this is important because many states do not regulate mold remediation or mold removal projects.  States such as New York, Florida and Texas provide valuable guidance to the mold remediation industry with regards to practicing standards and each of these states rely on the ICRC S 500 water damage restoration and S520 mold remediation standards in addition to their respective mold decontamination statutes.

IICRC S500 and S520 Mold Remediation Standard

The IICRC has played a central role in the cleaning and restoration industry for many years by providing industry standards and best practices. The IICRC’s course on water damage is the industry standard for training on water damage mitigation.  After the famous Ballard mold lawsuit was decided, the IICRC decided that a working standard should be created for mold remediation. The standard produced by the IICRC for mold remediation is known as the IICRCS 520 standard and reference guide for mold remediation. Rather than focusing on visible contamination, the S500 focuses on the extent of mold contamination.

The ICRC S 520 defines a mold remediation project in terms of the following three conditions:

Condition 1: a normal living environment. This is the normal living environment that one would expect in a home, office or commercial building.

Condition 2: an indoor environment that is contaminated with settled mold spores and fragments. Condition 2 areas are located directly near or adjacent to a room with active mold growth.

Condition 3: an indoor environment contaminated with visible or active mold growth.

S520 Mold Removal Approach

From its introduction the IICRCS 520 approach has moved the mold remediation industry forward. to better understand the mold remediation standards there is certain terminology which must be defined.

In the S 520, the term “should” means that the practice or procedure is the accepted standard of care, and should be followed, but is not mandatory.

the term “shall” means the practice or procedure is mandatory due to laws or regulations. This use of shell comes from the legal terms used in the writing of laws and regulations.

The term “recommended” means that the practice or procedure is advised or suggested, again not mandatory.

The term “limitations” refers to restrictions that are placed upon the remediator that result in a limit on the scope or on remediation activities.

The term “complexities” means situations that cause the mold remediation job to become more difficult or detailed, but that the work can still be performed adequately.

The term “complications” means situations that may arise after the start of a mold remediation project which may change the scope of work.

mold remediation

Category 3 Water and Mold Remediation

Category three water is almost certain to cause mold growth. The IICRC S 520 mold remediation standard defines category three water as grossly unsanitary contaminated and containing parthenogenic taxonomy genic or other harmful agents. Category three water is any water that enters a home from beyond a sewer trap. Other examples of category 3 water include all water entering from outside the dwelling, ground water, river water, and or fish tank water.

When reporting water damage and mold remediation to your insurance company the proper way to create a claim is as a category three water damage. Category 3 water damage includes toxigenic or other harmful agents including, but not limited to gas, lead, asbestos, animal droppings and mold.









Unsalvageable Mold Category

A category three water loss will create a condition 3 mold environment in as little as 72 hours and sometimes faster than that depending on the contamination levels of the water. Moldy materials are generally classified as either salvageable or unsalvageable. Organic based materials are able support mold growth very easily are typically classified as unsalvageable due to mold growth and or contamination. Examples include books, papers, carpet padding, baseboards, drywall, vinyl plank, and wood flooring.

Salvageable Mold Category

Not all organic material is automatically classified as unsalvageable. For example; studs, floorboards, and joist systems are all structural components made of organic material. However, these materials are structural and are usually salvaged unless they have decomposed to the point where they are structurally sound.  Contents are defined as the personal property held within the dwelling or office.  Contents restoration is a separate, but related claim for mold contamination.  Concerns related to salvageability and cost should be discussed with the mold remediation manager.

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Personal Protective Equipment

Any project classified as a mold remediation project or classified as a category 3 water damage should be expected to use protective gear including, but not limited to rubber gloves, rubber boots, a Tyvek suit, mask and or respirator. In some cases a self-contained breathing apparatus may be necessary due to the level of mold contamination. Additional protective equipment may include lighting and lighting setup. Additional fees may be incurred for projects located in attics and crawlspaces.

Containment Standards For Mold Removal

Mold remediation projects with less than 10 square feet of mold do not require additional containment measures beyond HEPA air filtration.  Containment on a mold remediation project can be as simple as closing a room door and covering it with a containment plastic and zipper. In other cases, full scale containment is necessary. Any questions or concerns you may have about containment and your mold remediation project should be discussed with your project manager. They should be able to explain All decided courses of action as well as how they have applied the IICRC S 500 standard.

Air Filtration For Mold Remediation

Inhaling mold is one of the easiest ways to become affected by it. This is why mold remediation professionals must also include HEPA air filtration add negative air systems on all mold remediation projects. In this way we can improve and preserve the integrity of the indoor air quality.

Mold Remediation Cleaning Standards

The IICRC S520 mold remediation standard is to remove all affected materials and to remediate mold contamination. What this translates to is the safe removal of affected materials, including cutting out and bagging materials for removal. Mold remediation does not mean zero mold present. The goal of mold remediation is to restore mold levels to within safe acceptable levels.

If you or anybody you know needs mold remediation, Choose Metrix Over The Matter, because the Power to Change the Matter is in the Metrix.

What is Mold Contamination

What is Mold Contamination

What is Mold Contamination?

What is microbial contamination? Where does mold come from? Is mold contamination a health concern issue? How do you properly get rid of mold?  These are just some of the questions home and business owners ask when they find out they have a mold problem.

Microbial contamination refers to a variety of microorganisms, including mold, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa; and fungi, which include molds, yeasts, and their byproducts and toxins. All of these can affect the health of a building and its occupants.

In this paper, we will begin by answering the question: what is mold contamination? A full discussion of related issues will follow in subsequent papers released by Metrix Restoration. As a starting point, the proper job sequencing for a typical mold remediation project includes but is not limited to: identifying and stopping the source of moisture; setting up containment; establishing negative air; removing contaminated building material; cleaning surfaces; drying the affected area; and conducting post remediation evaluation. The IICRC S520 defines mold contamination as any non-condition 1 indoor environment.

Condition 1: a normal indoor living environment. This is the normal indoor living environment that one would expect in a home, office building or commercial building.

Condition 2: an indoor environment that is contaminated with settled mold spores and fragments. This could be an area that is located near active mold growth, but does not have active mold Itself. For example, the room adjacent to an effected area may not have active growth, but could have settled mold spores originating from the effected zone.

Condition 3: an indoor environment contaminated with visible or active mold growth.

Mold Contamination Begins With Water Damage

Almost all plants and animals need light, but both fungi and bacteria do not because of their method of obtaining energy. In all forms of life, as we know it on earth, water is a requirement. Thus, if a building stays dry, no form of life can live on it. This means that if buildings are kept dry, mold and other bacteria would not become an issue effecting the living space of a home or an office.

When water enters a building in any form the potential for microbial growth to become established is solidified and potentially increases with time.  Many types of contamination affect homes. Some of these contaminants are beyond the scope of this paper. The primary types of microbial contamination that this paper covers are molds. Microbial contaminations include microscopic particles and spores that need water to survive and proliferate. All living organisms on earth need water to survive. While spores can exist in all buildings, a wet building is almost certainly going to contain spores, and these sports will lead to mold growth.

One of the easiest ways to determine if a building has a mold problem is by odor. Odors detected in water damaged buildings can be caused by wet structural materials. The odors released by microbial growth are musty or earthy odors and are scientifically known as microbiological volatile organic compounds.

Spores Are A Major Concern For Mold Remediators

Mold spores are a major concern for remediators because of their very small size. Mold spores can be anywhere there is air, including under carpet, inside wall cavities, under kitchen cabinets, virtually everywhere. Most are usually not a problem unless mold spores land on a damp spot and begin growing. They digest whatever organic material they grow on to survive. Some molds grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation, while other molds feast on everyday dust and dirt that gather in the moist regions of a building.

Generally, molds are hydrophobic. This means that spores do not like water itself. While mold spores need water to colonize, they like wet organic substances, not a puddle of standing water. These airborne mold spores are looking for a proper location to reproduce. The location must provide food, water, and a calm environment, preferably darkness and acceptable temperature. The inside of a building wall cavity is perfect, except that wall cavities are normally dry. Simply add water, allow the area to stay wet for a few weeks, and mold grows.

Mold starts from a spore. Once the mold finds an acceptable environment, growth starts. Mold grows into a plant like structure having a network of tubular branches called hyphae. Hyphae are genetically identical and are considered a single organism or a grouping called mycelium. Once mold becomes visible to the human eye, this grouping is then called a colony. In most residential and commercial water damage, mold remediation becomes a standard after 72 hours.

As colonies of mold continue to grow, they reach a point where it becomes time to continue their life cycle. This is when mold begins to produce and release spores into the environment, known as sporulation. Two types of spores are produced during sporulation: viable spores and non-viable spores. Viable spores are active and can establish new colonies. These types of spores may also be allergenic, and or contain toxins. Non-viable spores are not active and therefore cannot begin new colonies. The term settle spores refers to those spores which are present on surfaces but are not active. This distinction is necessary for defining conditions of mold contamination.

Mycotoxins are released by molds as part of their natural defense system.  Humans are also sensitive to mycotoxins produced by mold and are subject to related health effects.  Among the most common mold types encountered by mold removal professionals are Stachybotrys, Aspergillus, and Penicillium.  Stachybotrys requires a constant water source to thrive, in other words, a very moist environment.  Unlike Stachybotrys, both Penicillium and Aspergillus are able to grow in low moisture environments. Mold does not “die” when a structure dries out, it simply goes into a “dormant state”.  This is why non-salvageable materials are disposed of during a mold remediation project and structural materials such as studs and joists are dries and decontaminated.

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Mold VS Mildew

The words mold and mildew are often used interchangeably, but they are distinct species within the fungi family. Mold is one of nature’s chief decomposition mechanisms. Molds that decay dead organic matter that was once alive, such as trees, leaves, cotton, leather, wolves, are known as saprophytic molds. Molds are part of the natural environment.  Molds are fungi that can be found both inside or outside throughout the year. The problem with saprophytic mold is that it does not understand the difference between a dead tree and the forest, and a two by four wall stud that came from a dead tree and a home, that we do not want decomposed.

Indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Problems may arise when mold starts eating away at materials, affecting the look, smell, and possibly, with respect to wood framed buildings, the structural integrity of buildings. Mold reproduces via a very small seed, called a spore. Mold spores are very small and are typically found to be 2.0 Microns in diameter. Because of this very small size, mold spores are invisible to the human eye, and are everywhere there is air. Most can grow on virtually any substance or material, if moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic food source is present. Molds reproduced by creating tiny spores that cannot be seen without magnifying them through a microscope. Mold spores are very similar to dandelion seeds as they continually float through the indoor and outdoor air using air currents as transport.

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Biohazard & Fungal Clean Up

Whenever human and or animal biological wastes or fluids are involved in a mold removal project, the project also becomes a biohazard cleanup.  Mold removal professionals should also be aware that any mold remediation involving bird or bat droppings may also involve cryptococcus neoformans and histoplasma capsulatum which are known to cause serious respiratory disease.  Mold remediators should also take special precautions when conducting inspections or mold removal projects involving any rabid animals.

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