Is the indoor air contaminated?
Today we attended a Dental practice situated in Bridport, where we were asked to carry out an assessment of the indoor air quality in relation to selected biological contaminants. The building was a two storey former school building which was commissioned in 1874 and then fully refurbished in 1990. The ground floor of the building consists of four dental surgeries, staff room, a decontamination room, an office, three toilets and a changing room. The first floor of the building consists of a further 6 rooms one of which is used as an office and the remaining rooms are unused.
Beginning our assessment
Our lead surveyor begun his assessment by working his way around the building making a visual inspection for visible areas of damp or mould contamination. Once a visual inspection has been carried out, we could bring in specialist equipment in order to highlight areas of moisture and measure the full extent of it in order for us to make the most suitable remediation recommendations. Our surveyor set off around the building with a Hydromette HB30 moisture meter and a Tramex moisture encounter plus and carried out moisture mapping.
What did moisture mapping reveal?
When the first floor was inspected there was evidence of condensation mould to the corner of the windows and the stone window frames. Using the Tramex moisture encounter plus we took measurements of the moisture content which revealed normal levels of moisture. Our surveyor believes that the main cause of this fungal contamination was water vapour condensation on the cold surfaces around the window. All other rooms on the first floor were inspected however there was no evidence of any water damage, damp, leaking services or fungal contamination.
The ground floor was our next stop. Here we found further evidence of condensation mould in the external corner of the building, again the root cause of this is believed to be water vapour condensation on the cold surfaces of the wall. The external wall in this area appeared to be in good condition with no signs of deterioration or water staining and when tested revealed normal moisture content within construction materials. All other rooms on the ground floor were inspected and there were no signs of water damage, damp, leaking services or fungal contamination. The only other concerns on the ground floor were broken ventilation fans located in the staff room and the customer’s female toilet.
Preventing further condensation mould
Based on the results of moisture mapping, visual observation and microbiological sampling and identification our surveyor was able to conclude that the overall indoor air quality within the building is not currently affected by fungal spores and the extent of fungal contamination identified is low. Therefore none of the employees working in the practice can be considered at an increased risk to health due to personal circumstances.
As a result of our assessment our surveyor had a few recommendations for our client in order to prevent further condensation mould and improve the indoor air quality. We recommended that any existing fungal contamination is removed and the area treated with an anti-fungal treatment in order to prevent reoccurrence. In the areas where the property is suffering with condensation mould, the walls should be insulated and ventilation fans should be installed in order to encourage air to circulate. Finally we recommended that all existing ventilation fans that are currently broken, should be repaired.