Mold Facts for Business Owners
Suspect mold in your business?
Here’s what to do!
Look for the Cause
Mold needs water or moisture and oxygen to grow. Water does not have to flow into the building for there to be enough moisture to promote the growth of mold. Although one-time leaks or burst water pipes may not be a problem if repaired, even a one-time leak, if not properly addressed, can cause unacceptable mold growth. There are a number of potential causes of moisture or water entry:
- Lack of building maintenance
- Poor building design or construction
- Using wet building materials
- Leaky pipes, windows, or doors
- Regular, or even one-time flooding
- Simple plumbing mistakes
- Excessive humidity and condensation
- Improper landscaping design or maintenance outside the building, causing water to flow toward the building
- Any other serious water-related problems
Address Moisture or Water Issues Promptly
If your building is experiencing water penetration, consistent moisture, or leaks, demand that the landlord investigate the cause and promptly provide you with an action plan. If the landlord does not act, put it on notice that you intend to act and that you will hold the company responsible for the costs. Give notice to your insurer. Do the same if you are the building owner.
Call in professionals to make an assessment. To stop further mold growth, the landlord or you must investigate and fix the source of the water or moisture. Ask for the help of contractors, the building designer, and environmental experts to assess, identify and repair the source. A number of companies investigate mold and will come up with action plans to address it. Responding to mold involves more than just determining and fixing the source of the water. Often several experts must be involved, including experts in toxicology and epidemiology. Expert testing may cost thousands of dollars. If mold is found in large enough concentrations, the building must be cleaned and remediated to ensure the safety of the occupants before they return. Once the problem is fixed, ask the expert to certify that the building is "clean," or demand such a certification from the landlord.
Source: EHS Today