Mold testing, inspection, and mitigation, removal, abatement or remediation in Southeast Michigan houses.

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Mold Testing, Analysis, and Evaluation

No one-size-fits-all protocol is appropriate for evaluating mold in a building. We have identified five distinct types of evaluations, each with its own scope, purpose and emphasis:

1. Screening and Testing

Done even though there is no prior indication that anything is wrong. Usually requested by the purchaser in a real estate transaction, or by a proactive property manager. Some insurance companies are requiring evaluations prior to renewing coverage. 

The evaluation is non-invasive and nondestructive, generally limited to readily accessible areas and surfaces. The Scope is intended to cover the entire building and even the grounds. Two key issues are addressed:

  • Are building conditions favorable to mold growth? More specifically, is there evidence of substandard ventilation or water control? To answer this question, the inspector will rely on measurements of temperature and moisture in the air and building materials, visual evidence of existing and prior mold incidents, and comparison of building and site details to Best Practice as described in the current Code and in other compilations.
  • Does the air within the breathing space indicate anything unusual that would suggest a hidden mold problem? Air samples collected from one or more interior locations are analyzed at an accredited laboratory; the types and numbers of organisms identified are then compared to general guidelines and to the outside air.

A written report then documents the procedure, findings, conclusions and general recommendations (if any). Specific recommendations are more appropriately considered to be in a Scope of Work investigation (below).

2. Prevention

Done prior to, or during construction. Similar in approach and purpose to Screening, but also includes analysis of the building prints and specifications, so that changes can be incorporated into the construction. The air sampling may be deleted, or retained as a post-completion demonstration that the preventive measures were successful.

3. Analysis and Confirmation

Performed because of a prior suspicion, but no clear evidence, of a mold problem. Usually prompted by odors or occupants' health problems, or by apparent evidence of someone's visual observation. The procedure is similar to that of a Screening evaluation, but is guided by occupants' answers to a battery of questions designed to narrow the focus.

NOTE: It is important to determine where/when the problem appears, and also where/when it does not.

4. Scope of Work

Follows Confirmation or a "failed" Screening; may require a second site visit. Often involves intrusive/destructive investigation, i.e. inspection within wall cavities, above ceilings, behind appliances, etc. The idea is to estimate the location and extent of contamination, and to identify appropriate methods for cleaning it up and addressing deficiencies in the building. 

Fact of Life: Without completely demolishing the property, nobody can guarantee that all problems and their precise boundaries have been identified.

5. Clearance

Done to verify the effectiveness of remedial work. Because there is no universally accepted standard, it is essential that the method, location and criteria for the Clearance evaluation be spelled out in the remediation contract.

If air samples are part of the Clearance evaluation, then then samples should be taken both within and outside the work area, to be compared to baseline samples that were collected from the same locations before the work began. We know of cases where contractors were hired to clean up visible mold (no prior air samples having been taken, as is the recommended procedure), then learned that the client would not pay because a post-abatement air sample collected in another part of the house indicated "excessive" molds.

The Importance of Proper Evaluation

It should now be clear that evaluation of mold amplification in a building involves much more than the collection and analysis of surface or air samples. Each type of investigation involves a different objective, requires a different type of data to be collected, and deals to one degree or another with aspects of building science, not just microbiology.

Very few firms have the necessary skills and experience, and some are just following the "Mold is Gold" bandwagon. Here's one example. Caveat emptor

One final note. While it is interesting to have a Latin name to attach to an organism, it is almost never useful information, because the decisions of how and whether to remediate are the same no matter what the species. As one of our customers put it, "A mold is a mold is a mold."

Proudly serving the following Southeast Michigan (SE Mich, MI) counties and communities:
Washtenaw County, Livingston County, Lenawee County, Jackson County, Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Monroe County, Hillsdale County, Ingham County, Lapeer County, Saint Clair County
Addison, Adrian, Allen Park, Ann Arbor, Armada, Auburn Hills, Belleville, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Blissfield, Bloomfield Hills, Brighton, Britton, Brooklyn, Canton, Carleton, Chelsea, Chesterfield, Clarkston, Clawson, Clinton, Commerce, Dearborn, Deerfield, Detroit, Dexter, Dundee, Ecorse, Erie, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Flat Rock, Fowlerville, Franklin, Fraser, Garden City, Grass Lake, Grosse Ile, Grosse Pointe,  Harper Woods, Hartland, Hillsdale, Highland, Holly, Howell, Hudson, Huntington Woods, Ida, Jackson,  Jonesville, Lake Orion, Lansing, Lapeer, Litchfield, Livonia, Macon, Madison Heights, Manchester, Marine City, Mason, Michigan Center, Milan, Milford, Monroe, Morenci,  Mount Clemens, New Baltimore, Newport, North Branch, Northville, Novi, Oak Park, Onsted, Pinckney, Pontiac, Port Huron, Plymouth, Redford, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Romeo, Romulus, Roseville, Royal Oak, St. Clair, Saint Clair Shores, Sand Creek, Saline, Shelby, South Lyon, Southfield, Spring Arbor, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Tecumseh, Temperance, Trenton, Troy, Union Lake, Utica, Walled Lake, Warren, Waterford, Wayne, Westland, White Lake, Wixom, Woodhaven, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti, Whitmore Lake, Webberville, Woodville | | | | | |