Building structures of all types and sizes are potentially vulnerable to mold damage. Microscopic mold spores are abundant in nature and are ever present inside and outside of buildings. When water intrusion or high humidity occur in the built environment, mold spores activate and grow into colonies. Indoor mold growth in built environments can generate unpleasant odors, cause adverse health effects, degrade building materials, and reduce a building’s value.
RHP’s professionals have decades of experience in investigating the presence and causation of mold growth in a variety of building types including commercial, industrial, institutional, healthcare and residential settings. RHP services include inspections, detection, testing, remediation specifications, remediation oversight and verification.
Signs and Sources of Mold in Indoor Environments
The signs of a potential mold growth problem in a building can appear as water stains on building surfaces or furnishings, foul/musty odors, respiratory irritation/illness or unexplainable fatigue and headaches. Mold growth requires all three of the following conditions:
- Viable mold spores (which are ever-present indoors and outdoors)
- Organic material for mold to grow on such as wood, paper, fabrics, and settled dust
- Moisture from leaks, floods or just high humidity.
The first two causes are unavoidable. Therefore, the cause of mold growth is always moisture or humidity-related. The prevention and solution of mold problems in buildings requires diligent moisture management. Any water released by leaks or floods must be thoroughly dried within 48 hours, otherwise the ever-present mold spores will begin growing colonies. Moisture testing equipment including infrared thermography can help identify concealed conditions and validate the efficacy of drying techniques.
When the visual appearance of mold is not present but occupants are experiencing possible symptoms, air and surface mold testing can be conducted to help determine if a concealed mold growth condition is occurring.
Our Mold Testing Procedures
Whether emergency response or long-term restoration, RHP’s approach to mold inspection projects begins with detailed visual observations, the use of state-of-the-art moisture detection equipment coupled with knowledge of the built environment and construction technology.
Airborne and surface sampling can be utilized as a complementary tool in the site assessment to help resolve any uncertainties or to further document observations. Air testing can be by a spore trap method to compare mold spore concentrations in various parts of a building versus outdoor background levels. This method can help identify areas where concealed mold growth might be present or to verify acceptable conditions. Air sampling can also be conducted by culture methodology where mold spores can grow in a petri dish for more detailed identification of a genus and species that may be problematic.
Surface samples can be collected for laboratory analysis to help determine if suspect stains are mold or to determine if a surface has been adequately cleaned/remediated. Mold testing and analysis can provide insights into type and species of the any detected mold. RHP’s mold inspection and testing services include a detailed report of findings along with explanations and recommendations for next steps, if needed.
Our Mold & Moisture Intrusion Core Services
Mold Assessment and Mitigation Protocol
- RHP provides clients with a holistic picture of their built environment, facility, or structure with respect to mold by combining the best practices of precise mold investigation and mitigation techniques as recommended by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), AIHA, OSHA and EPA. Key factors include visual inspection data, mold sampling (air and surface), moisture mapping, and building envelope assessments. The compilation of the data combined with RHPs extensive experience provides an accurate analysis of the cause of mold growth as well as a series of remediation recommendations help ensure mold is properly removed and does not return. Our recommendations are used by building owners, facility management, insurance adjustors, and contractors effectively and efficiently to return the built environment to its original condition.
Airborne and Surface Mold Sampling
- RHP uses a variety of different techniques to competently detect and identify mold growth in a building. These techniques may include surface sampling and/or air sampling. While useful in helping to characterize or confirm, or to supplement visual observations, sampling is only one of the tools used by RHP to evaluate known or suspected mold conditions in a building.
- Using state of the art instrumentation, RHP generates sourcing maps of a given water intrusion event as well as the extent the water has traveled through the building structure and into and behind materials such as drywall, hardwood flooring, and ceiling tiles.
- Either as part of the RHP generated remediation protocol for a specific built environment to be used by other professionals, owner, or insurer as a third-party verification; RHP can reinspect and scrutinize a facility or structure after a prescribed remediation plan has been completed to ensure all remediation steps were completed successfully. Both a thorough visual inspection as well moisture and mold tests are provided to better assure the completed remediation was effective.
Building Envelope Assessment
- Water intrusion often comes from outside a building. Whether it is a leaky roof, seepage through a foundation, poor window seals, exterior cladding, flashings or any of the many other ways water can infiltrate a building. RHP utilizes moisture detection instruments and thermography to augment visual inspection techniques to reveal concealed infiltration routes. Properly designed, installed and maintained elements of a building’s envelope are critical to a healthy built environment.
HVAC and Humidifier Assessment
- External water intrusion sources are not the only routes moisture enters a building that can cause mold to develop. High relative humidity conditions due to non-functioning or ineffective HVAC systems or humidifiers can lead to mold growth. RHP can assess and diagnose ventilation related problems and provide effective recommendations for corrective actions and for the restoration of damage caused by mold.
Emergency Response – for cleanup projects
- In a worst-case scenario of flooding, burst pipes or storm damage, RHP can guide restoration crews to properly address damage as well as any health and safety concerns from contamination so that the structural repairs and cleanup will result in a healthy building.
Certified, Professional Mold Inspectors
RHP applies the standards and guidance outlined by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) when conducting site assessments and developing mold remediation protocols and recommendations. These standards serve to provide common, industry-accepted language and concepts that are universally recognized as state-of-the-art.
When to Request Mold Assessment Services
Mold growth in any building represents concerns beyond the building structure and its surfaces, the health and safety of building occupants as well as the overall integrity and value of the structure must be considered during inspections, mold detection, and remediation of mold. Building maintenance personnel and occupants should look for warning signs of potential areas of mold growth. Some things to watch for are:
- If an area feels damp or has had detected leaks
- Indoor relative humidity routinely exceeds 65%
- Musty odors
- Ceiling, wall or floor staining
- Symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, headaches, or sore throats that only arise or worsen in a particular indoor space.
There are also regular times when a mold inspection and mold testing should be completed. Some of these times include:
- After a flood, storm damage or sewage backup.
- Before a property transaction.
- Before and after mold remediation.
Mold Inspection, Mold Detection, Mold Testing, and Mold Remediation Design and Verification Services From RHP
If you would like to learn more about the range of RHP’s mold services or would like to request an on-site visit, please do not hesitate to contact RHP. RHP has a knowledgeable and courteous staff ready to help you. Please call (773) 867-6010 or reach out on our contact form.
Scientific risk-based guidance and solutions you and your company can trust.
RHP Risk Management is a leader in the field of Industrial Hygiene, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Built Environment, Risk Management, Dose Estimation & Analysis, and Exposure Simulation Testing. Our highly trained and sophisticated team of professionals work together seamlessly on small and large projects. Our roster includes certified industrial hygienists, public health scientists, risk assessors, certified safety professionals, field staff, an engineer, an anthropologist, an economist, certified paralegals, and support staff.
We work with our clients to develop solutions to their most pressing concerns. Understanding exposures and risks through a grounding in a sound, defensible, state- of- the- art scientific approach gives our clients peace of mind. Empowered by a comprehensive understanding of exposures we can provide, clients are better equipped to recognize previously unseen business risks, manage known risks, target areas for control systems, comply with regulations, and to be braced for regulatory or litigation actions. Senior staff have served as experts in front of stakeholders, public, workers, regulatory, and State and Federal courts.