What is Your Mold Prevention Strategy?

Mold inspection photoWhy Do Mold Prevention?

Mold has become such a nightmare for property owners, contractors, suppliers, and employers, that if you haven’t developed a prevention program, you probably should. Particularly if you have any direct or incidental responsibility for residents or tenants or employees and customers. Here is a quick outline for what should be in a basic mold prevention program. It’s not complicated.

You’ll want to craft a written prevention program to educate your organization on the impact mold “liability” can have on the company. Should you wish to insure mold’s risk, the likelihood that any insurance company will offer any mold coverage these days is slim to none. ‘Mold/fungus’ has become a standard exclusion in most property/casualty insurance policies.

How do you get started? What follows is a brief outline of what a mold program can include. This will get you thinking in the proper direction. (If you want to develop a complete staff training program, it would be a good idea to talk to a certified industrial hygienist (CIH) or a mold specialist to address any specific needs of your organization or property.)

1. Mold Awareness

This section provides some background information to site personnel, residents and tenants.

  • Current industry issues with mold.
  • Describe mold/mildew/fungus. How it proliferates, what it looks like, why it exists, where to watch for it, how it smells, etc.
  • Impacts on human health – actual or perception of hazards and symptoms.
  • Risks related to customers or other third parties.
  • Addressing mold awareness with tenants.

2.  Mold Prevention

This section addresses most ways to prevent water from entering the building and should be shared with on-site personnel and tenants.

  • Overall description of how water can get into a structure-leaks, floods, vapor and ventilation deficiencies.
  • Addressing mold issues (and other housekeeping) with company staff or with tenants in your lease agreements.
  • Use of mold resistant materials/products—caulks, paints, sealants, carpets, etc.
  • Notification process for staff or tenants. Do’s and Don’ts on housekeeping.
  • Documentation process.
  • Reducing moisture/water infiltration:
    • Type of construction, specifically with building envelope, type and maintaining roofs.
    • Quality of construction.
    • Sequencing or construction.
    • Quality control of contractors on new construction and maintenance.
    • Are contractors aware of mold issues?
    • Procedures for drying out wet/damp areas. Why urgency matters.
    • Infrared imaging to identify possible areas of water intrusion in building envelope

3.  Mold Control Program

This section addresses the remediation once mold is found in the structure/building. Depending on the extent of the impacted area, experts in the field of indoor air quality or water and mold remediation should be engaged.

  • What do you do if mold is discovered or suspected—documentation, photos, notification, isolating impacted areas.
  • Remediation—evaluating and selecting a remediator, developing reports, referring environmental consultants (should have contacts list), safety (Personal Protection Equipment and the plan for treatment.)
  • Selection of remediation contractor—references, contracts, insurance requirements, statement of qualifications.
  • Areas of concern during remediation:
    • Impact of cleanup
    • Extent of cleanup
    • Cleanup standards
    • Protecting other materials in structure
    • Ventilation and air cleaning

Conclusion

The key element to an organization’s mold program is prevention. Not of mold, but of water intrusion. Mold can too easily become the nasty by-product of the real culprit, water intrusion. In order to truly avoid future mold problems and significant liability, you must be vigilant to prevent water from spilling into or entering your structure. That is usually easier said than done and requires the help and attentiveness of everyone working in or living in the structure.

Please call Floodco LLC for additional help or questions on mold prevention issues.    406 892-1717

Posted by Lloy. Source material from Institute of Risk Management & Insurance.

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