A client contacted us with concerns regarding fungal contamination and asked us to carry out a microbiological investigation. Our main objectives of this investigation were to evaluate the levels of fungal elements in the indoor air and to evaluate the risk to the health of the property occupants.
The property we attended was a two storey detached building, situated in a woodland area and surrounded by mature vegetation. The ground floor of the building consisted of a large open plan living room, adjacent kitchen and dining area and several storage rooms. On the first floor of the property there are four bedrooms some with en-suite bathrooms.
Our surveyor conducted the microbiological investigation by means of a visual inspection, collecting microbiological samples and carrying out moisture mapping. When conducting a visual inspection of the building our surveyor found evidence of penetrating damp in the ground floor living room and in the bedrooms on the first floor. However there was no evidence of any visible fungal contamination on the internal surfaces in the building.
The fungal spore trap samples show that at the time of the investigation the overall concentration of airborne fungal spores in the indoor areas was lower in comparison to the existing environmental background. The spore trap samples collected in the habitable areas of the property were dominated by Penicillium/Aspergillus type of spores followed by Cladosporium spores and undifferentiated spores. The collected environmental background sample was dominated by undifferentiated spores, basidiospores, Cladosporium and Penicillium/Aspergillus type of spores.
The distribution of fungal genera indoors indicates a marginal elevation of Penicillium/Aspergillus type of spores in comparison to the existing environmental background. The Penicillium/Aspergillus moulds are closely associated with water damage in buildings and are also considered allergenic in sensitive individuals. The assessment of the indoor air quality in respect to fungal spores indicates that the indoor air quality is good. However, marginally elevated Penicillium/Aspergillus spores are also indicative of water damage in the property which created conditions favourable to fungal growth. Therefore we recommend that this water damage is repaired in order to further prevent fungal contamination.