Mold Removal - Mold and Multi-Family
"Removing mold from a residential home is
difficult enough, but remediation becomes even more
complicated when other people live within the confines
of the same building."
Mold contamination and removal continue to be one of
the hottest subjects being discussed at every insurance
and remediation industry meeting, forum, convention,
The insurance industry has amended mold coverage, dropped
some coverage, and tightened its exclusion policies.
In response to this heightened state of awareness, those
that choose to or are asked to remove mold from a home
or building have been faced with serious processing
Mold remediation and restoration companies are faced
with added liability when asked to remove mold contamination
so that the once contaminated area can be made safe
again for human occupancy. The main issue concerning
mold remediation companies is "How do I remove
the mold and still protect myself against possible liability
and ensuing litigation?"
Since 1999, various training schools have emerged from
Indoor Air Quality associations and the Institute of
Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).
The protocols for removing mold and protecting customers
and workers have been slowly drawing closer to a consensus
concerning processing techniques and safeguards. Those
that should be concerned are the remediation contractor,
the insurance company, property management company,
the customer, and other people who may live in the same
Removing mold from a residential home is difficult
enough, but remediation becomes even more complicated
when other people live within the confines of the same
building. Especially affected are multi-family dwellings
like condominiums and apartment buildings. Although
visible mold is not present in these adjacent areas,
remediation contractors, insurance companies and property
management companies can be held accountable for spreading
the mold spores to other occupants' living space.
If an apartment or condo unit has visible mold growing
and the decision is made to remove the contamination,
how can the remediation contractor know that the mold
in the affected area has not previously spread via spores
to other units, hallways, etc? How can remediation contractors,
insurance companies and property management companies
know that the mold was not already there?
The best way that contractors can protect themselves
and others is to have all the areas at least air sampled
to get a complete picture of what is happening within
the confines of the building.
If a condo unit or apartment undergoes mold remediation
by all the proper protocols and even passes clearance
sampling, yet another occupant within the building claims
negative health effects, legal problems can occur. If
the now affected occupant has the air professionally
tested and the airborne spore levels are excessive,
the Industrial Hygienist (IH.) on the scene will probably
state that this is due to cross-contamination from the
earlier remediation of the other affected unit. Cross-contamination
occurs when the spores within the containment of the
original project somehow escaped and settle in other
units. The IH. will assume that the original mold project
containment was somehow breached or was improperly enacted
and the air cross-contaminated with airborne spores.
The situation can escalate as the other people living
in the building believe their living area must also
be contaminated. If airborne sampling reveals high mold
counts in those areas the remediation contractor will
be blamed first and the insurance company and property
management company second. The contractor at best may
have to clean all the units "affected" for
free without any compensation since they are judged
at fault. Even worse, inhabitants can claim negative
health effects placing the liability for their poor
health on the actions taken or not taken by the contractor
and the insurance company or property management company.
It becomes increasingly apparent that even though initial
sampling for areas outside of the original claim are
distasteful due to cost and effort, failure to define
genus and species of mold, as well as a airborne Colony
Forming Unit (CFU) counts, could lead to disastrous
results. Once sampling is completed and all the inhabitable
areas are recognized as either having or not having
excessive mold, only then can remediation commence.
Mold as a serious contaminant to homes, buildings,
and human health is not going to go away. The best all
concerned can do is to process its removal professionally
while protecting the original customer, adjacent customers,
the remediation contractor, and the insurance industry
Contact Puroclean Home Rescue for advice and assistance
when faced with multi-family mold contamination.