I address this question almost weekly. Inevitably a Realtor or a home owner calls my office. They think there may be some mold in a subject property. Sometimes, they can see it. Sometimes, they think they smell it. I typically begin to explain our process for a Certified Mold Inspection. "Titanium Laboratories begins each mold inspection with a thorough visual inspection. We look for signs of moisture, water damage, possible leaks, water intrusion, we measure the humidity and the temperature, among the collection of various other data. All of which provides important clues to resolve a mold issue."
Alas, the golden question. "Can I just have your company test for mold? I don't think that I need a full mold inspection."
Well yes, we can do that. But you are short-changing yourself. You see, when addressing a potential mold situation, the most important part of the mold inspection is to determine the underlying cause of the mold growth. The NY City DOH specifically states, "In all situations, the underlying cause of water accumulation must be rectified or fungal growth will recur." (Although our company is located in NJ, the NY City DOH is considered the industry standard for mold removal and remediation.)
Keeping the above in mind, what good would a mold test do for you if there were no mold inspection? A mold test is a single element of a Certified Mold Inspection. The last thing that you want is to know that there is a mold infestation in your home or in your client's home, but with no proposed solution.
At this point, where Titanium Laboratories practices, NY & NJ, there are no licenses required to provide mold inspection services. The last time I checked, some states were beginning to institute licensing requirements to certified mold inspectors, but none passed final legislation. What that means to you and to your clients is that in most parts of the country anyone can designate themself a mold inspector and institute any procedure for ther service that they wish. As a result, you must be extremely diligent to make sure that you are going to get the information from your mold inspection that you require to make informed decisions.
When considering a Certified Mold Inspection, always be sure that you will receive the following from your mold inspection company:
1. A thorough visual inspection of the subject property
2. Sampling (Air/Swab/Bulk) should be relinquished to an independent, AIHA accredited laboratory for analysis.
3. Not only should you receive a full copy of the original laboratory report, but an explanation of the analysis. Your report should provide you with the various species of mold that were identified in the sample by the Mycologist, the colony counts of each species, and the concentrations.
4. RECOMMENDATIONS: This is the main reason that you are hiring a mold expert. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience. Your Certified Mold Inspector should analyze the data from the visual inspection, the laboratory analysis, and provide you with any recommendations to make corrective actions. Would you go to a doctor, get a diagnosis, but not inquire about a course of treatment?
Steve Spinelli, C.M.I.
Titanium Laboratories, Inc.