Our recent mould removal project took us to a large newly build hospital in the Midlands area. The hospital building project was very close to completion when one of the administrative buildings developed serious mould contamination problem. I was invited to investigate firstly the roof cause of the mound problem and secondly to suggest the best remedial approach in this sensitive environment.
During inspection it was quickly discovered that almost all internal plywood surfaces were contaminated by mould to some degree. The mould infestation was particularly confined to the internal parts of the structure and in particular in wall and ceiling voids. Quick testing showed that dominant mould contaminating the wall surfaces was Penicillium.
This particular Penicillium was a quick growing species considered slightly dry tolerant meaning that it did not require a lot of moisture to grow. The building suffered from elevated humidity mainly due to water release from the new building materials. The building has been shut from the outside environment before it had a chance to dry to a safe level. Water vapour in the air was encountering the cold plywood surfaces elevated the moisture content of the surface layer which got subsequently contaminated by Penicillium mould.
Due to the fact that we were working in a highly sensitive environment we have divided the project into two parts. Firstly we removed the mould from wall cavities under semi-controlled conditions utilising specialist air filtration equipment and surface and air sterilisation methods. Fortunately there were not many internal wall cavity spaces fitted with plywood so we were able to accomplish this part of the mould removal project in two days.
The second stage of the mould removal project was focussed onto decontamination of the loft areas. Due to scale and complexity of access the project took over 12 days to complete. We have employed full area containment method with full scale active air management system. The indoor air was constantly filtrated to prevent accidental release of mould spores to other areas of the hospital and also to prevent ourselves being exposed to the mould. We have fully removed mould and treated all the affected surfaces and sterilised the air within the affected areas.
Our client was particularly satisfied with the resulting effect and the thoroughness and management of the projects. In this particular case the protection of hospital patient and also the main building contractor’s employees was of utmost importance. Our projects range from small domestic mould removal to large scale operation like this but one thing they have in common is that they are all different and require slightly different method of dealing with the contamination. Other thing I like to stress in any mould removal project is that identification and resolution of the root cause if essential to achieve permanent solution.
By Tomas Gabor