Mould remediation – insufficient drying

In January last year I’ve been called to assess mould damage to a two storey detached property. The plumbing system in the dated house has suffered and failure which resulted into flooding of the whole house. This incident has happen over Christmas period and the occupier of the house was not present in the property the time. When he returned, he was greeted with a jungle of mould. The cover to all walls was so extensive that it wasn’t possible to stay in the property even for one night. Flood restoration company was called in to resolve the issue and start the remediation of the house. Complete removal of all non-structural components was required to safe the building. This has been done to a satisfactory degree and the property was put under a drying regime using industrial dehumidifiers.

The drying process was completed in several weeks as all internal walls were showing as dry. The property has then been left unoccupied for several further weeks while arrangements were made for further refurbishment. Once the property was visited again the owner was greeted with the mould in full bloom.

Severe secondary mould contamination of ceiling rafters

Severe secondary mould contamination of ceiling rafters

To the great disappointment of the property owner and also the insurance company the property was once again fully contaminated by mould. This time the mould has attacked structural timber in the house, all rafters and roof timber. I have carried out simple indoor air quality testing heavily reinforced by photographic evidence to prove to the insurers that the property is inhabitable and dangerous to work in. The results of the air testing are obvious from the photographs. Full decontamination treatment of the property was recommended before further restoration could continue.

Secondary mould contamination of roof timbers

Secondary mould contamination of roof timbers

The root cause of the second wave of mould infestation was the fact that the restoration contractor (major player in the field BTW) has failed to fully dry the property. In their rush for profit their neglected to dry the basement of the house, where incidentally all the water went. It soaked into dirt floor but did not drain. The ground floor was made of strong timber planks with substantial gaps in between. Once the dehumidifiers were turned off the moisture loaded air from the basement has found its way upstairs where in condensed on all the wooden surfaces triggering secondary mould contamination. We have been asked to decontaminate the property under control conditions which we carried out to the satisfaction of the client. Decontamination was then followed by the second period of drying, this time in the required areas. The re-drying of the property was estimated by us to be completed in 3-4 weeks. However a carpet cleaning company was appointed to carry out the task and to mine knowledge 15 weeks later they were still at it.

Roof timbers after mould removal

Roof timbers after mould removal

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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