Mould removal principles

Mould remediation (removal) can be a complex task involving cooperation of refurbishment contractors, decontamination contractors, client, loss adjusters and indoor air quality consultants. Because each remediation project is different variety of remediation methods may be used during one project. No one method is suitable for all situations which is particularly true for large and complex projects. On large projects removal of mould contamination may involve

  • cleaning of the easily accessible surfaces,
  • accessing and cleaning of wall partitions,
  • wall cavities,
  • floor cavities,
  • lofts,
  • and inaccessible areas.

Most suitable methods have to be identified for each part of the project to satisfactory remove all hazards.

The objective of mould decontamination is not to fully disinfect or sterilise all indoor surfaces and contents, but rather to restore surfaces to ‘normal’ pre-incident conditions. For example, the presence of settled dusts containing spores from outdoor sources is not a problem, while the colonisation by any fungus and the predominance of species that do not normally occur outdoors are indicators of unsuccessful cleaning or remediation.

The primary response to fungal contamination in buildings must be prompt remediation of contaminated materials and infrastructure repair. The simplest and most effective remediation methods that properly and safely remove fungal growth from buildings should be used. In all situations, the underlying cause of water accumulation must be rectified otherwise the fungal growth will reoccur. The focus should be on preventing contamination, through proper building construction practices, maintenance, and prompt repair of water-damaged areas.

Mould removal contractors need to be well prepared for the task and they need to consider at least the following aspects of the decontamination project:

  •  CAUSE -Identification and rectification of the underlying cause. This task is usually carried out by and indoor air quality consultant with cooperation with building contractor.
  •  IDENTIFICATION OF SUITABLE METHODS – Development or use of an established remediation methodology- established businesses usually have their own particular methodologies but input from air quality consultant is essential at this stage.
  •  EQUIPMENT AND TREATMENT PRODUCTS – Cleaning equipment , Decontamination tools, Air filtrations equipment, Contaminant neutralisation Equipment and products  and waste handling tools.
  •  PERSONAL PROTECTION – Involves the use of suitable respiratory protection but also the use of full body coveralls, hand protection and disposable shoe covers to prevent cross contamination between areas.
  •  AREA CONTAINMENT – full area containment, partial separation, enclosures, decontamination area, semi-control methods.
  •  AIR FILTRATION – Negative pressurisation of the working area, HEPA filtration of the contaminated air
  •  WASTE – Handling, packaging, transporting and disposal.

Mould removal projects should be completed by independent and impartial third party evaluation to ensure the decontamination has been carried out to a satisfactory level. Removal verifications are  carried out by an indoor air quality consultant which may employ a variety of methods such as surface sampling (swab, tape lift) dust sampling, airborne viable moulds sampling , airborne non viable moulds sampling, settle plate sampling, Instant result ATP or protein kits and others.

By Tomas Gabor

Link through to Sysco - Nationwide specialists in hazard exposure monitoring
Hi, I have been working in my job as an Indoor Air Quality Investigator for a number of years and decided to share my experience with you. You can find lot of related information on my website toxic black mould
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