Don’t Trust Your Builder, Protect Yourself From Mold
An error was made in the original construction which lead to dampness, which lead to mold growing. The contractor was a prominent local home builder. The homeowner asked the the builder to help investigate the water source, correct it and repair the damage. The home builder recognized their error, and to their credit offered to take care of the damage. That much of the story is positive, the rest of the story is not nearly so positive.
The home builder had an employee proceed to remove the mold affected drywall and baseboards. When they got to some materials that were not so easily removed, they told the homeowner that they were going “spray” the remaining materials and framing to “take care of the mold”. At about this point the customer lost confidence and called a company that does mold inspections and mold removal to ask how things should be done. If only the home builder had done his home work before the demolition began.
There are basic principles that govern how mold is removed and cleaned up. The mold guidelines help to protect the occupants and the structure from spreading the contamination. Unfortunately the home builder did not follow the guidelines and as a result has spread the contamination and probably caused much more damage to the home and significantly increased the cost of cleaning up the home. I say probably, because the mold spores that have been allowed to circulate throughout the house are small enough they are virtually invisible. So, a considerable amount of testing will be needed to measure the damage that has been done to other areas of the home. That is where it is at right now. One of the immediate questions is “who is going to pay for the needed testing?” And when the results are in the next obvious question is “Who is going to pay for the additional mold cleanup needed throughout the home?” Hopefully the home builder will step up again and be responsible, if they don’t it will probably go to court eventually.
The basic principles of mold removal include:
Isolating the contaminated area with containment barriers.
Maintaining a negative air pressure in the contained work area to prevent “leakage” into other parts of the structure. (Usually achieved by using a hepa filter negative air machine.)
Workers should wear proper personal protective gear.
Physical removal of mold or mold affected materials.
Thorough cleaning of the work area before containment is removed.
Sampling is optional, but a good idea.
If the builder had only educated themselves before they started a mold removal which they new nothing about. If they had only followed the mold removal guidelines they could have avoided putting the homeowners at risk and prevented thousands of dollars of additional damage.
The lesson is: “You be in charge of what is allowed to take place in your home. Educate yourself about mold, in case your builder knows nothing about it. Be prepared to protect yourself.”