Early detection and action are critical to stopping mold problems in commercial properties from getting out of hand. When is mold remediation required for your building and what does a commercial mold remediation project look like?
Growing Concern: Time for Commercial Mold Remediation?
Mold is a common problem in buildings but can be hard to tackle in commercial properties. Early detection is crucial to limiting damage and protecting the health of your tenants. Let’s take a closer look at the threat mold poses to your property and your options for commercial mold remediation services.
What Is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that grows on almost any kind of organic material. Molds are common in buildings where organic materials like wood, carpet, or insulation are exposed to moisture. It grows quickly in dark, warm, and damp environments. It reproduces by releasing microscopic spores into the air that can contaminate new areas.
Why Is It Dangerous?
Exposure to mold spores is linked to a range of health effects. Susceptibility varies, but these commonly include:
- Sneezing and nasal congestion
- Coughing and wheezing
- Irritated eyes and skin rashes
People with mold allergies can experience more severe symptoms including:
- Shortness of breath
Mold exposure has been linked to the development of asthma symptoms in young children who are genetically susceptible to asthma. Some studies associate toxins produced by some molds with serious conditions including emphysema and organ as well as nerve damage.
Where Does It Commonly Occur?
Mold can occur anywhere in a building where moisture is allowed to build up. In commercial buildings it is commonly associated with:
- Roof leaks
- Landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under a building
- Unvented dryers or combustion appliances
- Bathrooms and shower stalls
- Areas that have been flooded
What Should I Look For?
Mold usually becomes visible as dark spots on ceilings, walls, or damp corners. Areas that have been subject to leaks or flooding should be closely watched. Reports of building occupants experiencing unexpected hay fever or allergy symptoms may also indicate that mold is present in your building.
What Is Mold Remediation?
Mold remediation is the process of containing and removing mold contamination in your building. It should be carried out by reputable, qualified environmental services or industrial hygiene professionals who use the correct protective equipment and take the proper steps to prevent disturbed mold spores from spreading further in the building.
A typical mold remediation project includes:
- Installing temporary barriers to prevent further mold contamination
- Removing affected materials such as carpet, ceiling tiles, or siding
- Safely demolishing affected areas
- Cleaning and sealing material that cannot be removed
Remediation work does not usually include fixing the source of the contamination, such as a leaking pipe, although this must be done to prevent the problem from recurring.
When Is Mold Remediation Required?
Remediation is required anytime a significant mold infestation is suspected in your building. This can usually be identified through a visual check by a professional.
Further testing is usually not needed to confirm the presence of mold. However, a remediation company may test moisture levels or air samples in your building to determine:
- The extent of an existing mold problem
- A check for non-visible mold infestation where occupants report symptoms
- Identification of mold forms that are of particular health concern
As a commercial building owner or manager, detecting and remediating mold early is to your benefit, not only to protect both the health of your tenants, but also the value of your investment.
How Much Does It Cost?
While mold infestation is often easy to spot, the full extent of the problem is rarely visible. What you see is often only “the tip of the iceberg.” This makes it difficult to estimate the extent of remediation necessary—as well as the likely costs.
Survey vs. Service
Many contractors will offer a low “remediation” fee upfront and then hike prices as the complete scale of the problem becomes apparent. Full-service industrial hygiene companies like Total Environmental Concepts prefer to offer a separate mold consultation service to establish the extent of the problem from the very beginning.
A survey will typically include:
- Initial identification and additional testing
- Phase II “destructive” survey to establish how far the mold has spread
While a survey typically costs a few thousand dollars, it allows a more accurate estimate of the remediation work that will be required at the outset.
Size of Project
Pricing on commercial remediation projects is closely linked to the size of the project. While the smallest projects can cost between $2,000 to $5,000, larger projects typically fall in a range between $30,000 to $50,000. Other factors that affect the cost of projects include:
- Accessibility of the affected areas
- The type of material being treated
- Removal of material vs. cleaning and sealing
- Unexpected contaminated areas
Complex problems, such as when infested areas include asbestos-bearing materials, require special treatment, which can add to the cost.
When Is the Best Time to Treat
The key to successfully containing and treating mold is to catch it early. Fortunately, most commercial properties have a building manager who should be alert to potential trouble spots.
While severe contamination may require that your building is evacuated, mold can often be treated when units are overhauled between tenants. However, care must be taken that the infestation does not move between units as they are renovated.
How Can We Help?
Total Environmental Concepts provides a wide range of environmental and industrial hygiene services. As a full-service environmental and industrial hygiene provider, we offer separate consulting and full construction services to identify and treat mold in your commercial building. Our highly-trained staff also offers:
- Full mold treatment certification (D.C.)
- Comprehensive air sampling services
- Complex (mold+asbestos) remediation services
Learn about our mold remediation services: