Process is Everything with Mold Removal
By Jack Corry
“The best way to get rid of mold is to find it, remove it, and clean it up,” says Jack Corry, owner of Water, Smoke & Mold Removal in Sacramento, CA.
As a mold removal specialist, Jack recommends landlords and property owners know the steps for mold mitigation to protect themselves. Mold lurks everywhere and early detection is key to saving money, preventing lawsuits and pricey repairs.
Insurance coverage on toxic mold in a home can run between $2,500 – $50,000 according to Lisa Gibbs in her recent article in CNN Money (www.money.cnn.com). The American Bar Association reported a 200% increase in defective mold litigation within a five year span. Farmers Insurance noticed a 1,100 increase in mold related claims within the past 10 years, according to information on their website (www.farmers.com).
So what are these mold mitigation steps to ensure your properties are mold free and your liability is reduced?
Identify the mold problem.
Because mold can grow wherever moisture may collect or absorb into materials, hire an environmental testing company to conduct mold testing.
- Make sure the company is certified.
- Ensure a third party lab analyzes mold samples to pinpoint the type. This ensures there are no conflicts of interest in mitigation and repairs.
- No mitigation or repairs should be done at this point, just testing of the location for toxic mold sources.
Obtain a mold cleaning protocol.
Connect with your environmental company to acquire a mold cleaning process.
- Submitting a strategic process to mold mitigation companies secures the best bid.
Choose a mold mitigation company.
Selecting the right company to alleviate your mold problem is essential to saving money and eradicating the problem long-term. Consider these three things before hiring a mold mitigator.
- Is the company insured, including pollution insurance?
Due diligence will uncover whether insurance exists or if the company has had any lawsuits or other claims. Confirm the mold mitigation company can adhere to the mold cleaning protocol.
- Check References.
Client testimonials are the best advertising of quality control and competency.
How was their work ethic? Did they provide excellent customer service?
- Are they certified to clean mold?
Last month we talked about mold myths that don’t resolve the issue. Unless mold is alleviated, occupants are at risk. Ensure you’ve hired a certified, insured mold mitigator to protect yourself and save money long-term.
Mitigate the mold.
Once hired, ask the company to provide an outline of their mold mitigation process. Common process is to regularly check-in with landlords and property owners to update you on mitigation progress. Knowing the mitigation process ensures you aren’t getting overcharged and work is progressing steadily.
- The company should guarantee mold clearance. Property owners should pay only for one clearance test. Additional testing, even if necessary, should not be added to the original contracted price.
- If additional mold is found during the mitigation phase that is beyond the original scope of the contract, the property owner should secure a change order for all additional work. Although initial testing may have been thorough, conditions may have allowed additional mold growth or unseen mold growth was found creating the change order need.
Conduct a mold clearance test.
Once your mitigation company has completely alleviated existing mold, have an independent third party environmental testing company conduct mold clearance testing to ensure mold has been cleaned and the area is safe. This checks and balances system reduces your risk by ensuring mold has been properly cleaned.
- Ensure the environmental testing company sends these new tests to a second independent lab for analysis.
- Once the tests are completed, obtain a clearance report from the third party environmental testing company. Should issues arise later, this report provides a documented date showing the mold was cleaned from the area(s) in question.
Before repairing any damage or completing construction, obtain a signed clearance report from the environmental testing company. Once that company signs off on the mitigation, you can move forward with repairs. While new mold issues may arise based on normal environmental or weather-related conditions, you know that all precautions and necessary actions were taken and completed for mold removal.
Mold mitigation, removal and repair are the necessary process to prevent health-related issues from potentially toxic and/or deadly situations. Major players in mold mitigation include property owners, property managers, homeowners associations, tenants, and environmental testing companies, mitigation companies, testing laboratories, repair companies and insurance companies. Wherever you fall within that list you are a key player in the complete mold remediation process. You may find yourself liable if a mold situation is discovered but ignored.
“Time is the greatest element when dealing with a mold situation,” Corry says. “The faster you find it and deal with it, the faster you’ll resolve the issue and reduce your financial risks.”