Mold Prevention Training

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Mold –It’s All About Water!

How is mold controlled on a construction project? By controlling water intrusion – that’s the answer! Mold has been around for a long time, and has always been a challenge on construction projects. However, with new construction materials being even more mold susceptible, and record-breaking lawsuits for exposure to mold growing, it is now more important than ever to work aggressively to prevent mold growth. Mold needs three things to grow:

1. An organic material (drywall, ceiling tiles, carpet pad, wood)
2. Mold spores (they are always in the air)
3. Water/moisture.

Since all construction projects use organic building materials, and mold spores are ever-present in the air, the only “ingredient” that can be controlled to prevent mold growth is water/moisture. It is not always easy to control water intrusion on a construction project, but vigilance and an aggressive response are the keys to successfully controlling or preventing mold growth.

There are a number of known “toxic” molds, and the presence of these molds has resulted in an abundance of multi-million dollar lawsuits in the last fi ve years. For these reasons, it is more important than ever to control water intrusion, aggressively clean up water intrusion, and get rid of wet materials promptly so that mold growth and the possibility of lawsuits can be avoided.

As difficult as it may be to control or prevent water intrusion on a construction project, it is ALWAYS cheaper than dealing with mold. The “MasterCard” ad spoof shown above gives an idea of the relative cost of preventing water intrusion and dealing with the effects of water intrusion on a construction project.

Controlling Water Intrusion - $10

Every effort and technique possible should be used to prevent and control water intrusion. Depending on the phase of construction, this can be a daunting challenge, but prevention of water intrusion at the source is the fi rst line of defense in preventing mold growth.

Cleaning/Drying Water Intrusion - $100

When efforts to prevent water intrusion fail, the second line of defense is an aggressive response to dry out any materials that have become wet. If drying efforts do not seem to work, then the only other solution is to quickly remove and discard the wet, organic materials. Mold will grow on drywall if it is allowed to stay wet for 48 – 72 hours. This does not allow a lot of time for response. Every day someone must assure that drywall, ceiling tiles and other porous, organic materials are still dry and mold-free. If water intrusion occurs and some of these susceptible materials become wet, efforts to dry out these materials must begin promptly. While the drying effort is underway, someone must monitor its progress to assure that the wet materials are beginning to dry out. If not, then work must begin—no later than 48-hours later—to cut out or remove the wet materials and discard them. This may seem like a drastic measure, but it is substantially less expensive than dealing with moldy drywall.

Mold Remediation - $1,000

If mold growth occurs, professionals must be called upon to remediate the situation. First, an industrial hygienist should be called upon to assess the situation and provide guidance on what measures must be employed to remove the moldy materials. Then, with the assistance of the industrial hygienist, a specialized mold remediation contractor must be brought in to safely and effectively remove the moldy materials. Afterward, the industrial hygienist will perform sampling to assure the work has been performed successfully, and “clear” the area for re-occupancy.

Aggressive prevention and response will prevent the chance of a mold-related lawsuit. Since the price tag of this kind of lawsuit can be incredibly large, following the steps outlined above is the best assurance of staying away from the courthouse.

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