Not too long ago we were called to investigate the indoor air quality and overall safety of a building in Bristol. Prior to our arrival, the property had a history of persistent damp problems on the ground floor. The owners have been lining indoor areas with plastic sheeting in order to mask the deterioration of the walls. After investigating the property it was clear that a considerable amount of maintenance was needed in order to prevent further water damage to the building. Fortunately, at the time of the investigation, the air quality in the building was good, with no fungal contamination present in the building but the damp problem was endemic throughout the entire house.
Conducting a Mould Survey
In order to ensure that the air quality was safe enough for the occupiers, we conducted a mould survey. Our fungal spore trap samples that at the time of the assessment the overall concentration of airborne fungal spores in the indoor areas was lower in comparison to the existing environmental background. In addition, the mould spore samples collected were comprised of undifferentiated spores, basidiospores and cladosporium spores. Positively, the composition of fungal genera in the indoor samples was indicative of normal conditions.
Damp Inspection: The Source of the Damp
In the front of the building, e found significant evidence of rising damp, with minor water damage to decorative finishes. Despite the dampness, there was no fungal contamination on any of the wall surfaces. Similarly, the internal rooms showed evidence of rising damp, with deteriorated decorative coating in the corner of the room. Our damp inspection suggested that the main cause of the moisture was vegetation growing on the side of the building. The storeroom had also been suffering from plant growth on the external wall of the building. In addition, the practice managers office showed signs of damp with deterioration of the external and internal walls present.
Mould Survey Findings
By conducting a mould survey and damp inspection we identified that the property was suffering from rising and penetrating damp in several rooms of the property. In order to reduce the dampness in the building we recommended that the vegetation be removed from the side of the building, and to repair against root damage. With regards to the reception, and an office and stairwell, we recommended that the affected walls be treated with water impermeable coatings and for redecoration to be utilized as and when needed.
Our assessment of the indoor air quality at the Bristol building indicates that the indoor air quality has not been affected by elevated numbers of fungal spores. Based on the results of moisture mapping, visual observation and microbiological sampling we identified that the overall indoor air quality was good. None of the employees working in the building can be considered to be at an increased risk to health due to personal circumstances. We recommended that the property owners carry out the necessary building maintenance and repairs so as to reduce the likelihood of problems in the future.