Got Mold? Tips for Selecting Remediation Company

With the commercial real estate industry buzzing about liability and health issues raised by mold infestation, property owners are faced with the challenge of finding qualified, reputable remediation contractors, says Steve Silicato, REM, CIE, vice president of MARCOR Remediation Inc.

Silicato will offer his tips for finding a qualified mold remediation expert at the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties' Mold and Commercial Real Estate Conference in Dallas on March 5.

He notes that with states enacting laws that demand written disclosure of the presence and location of existing mold infestation to prospective tenants or purchasers, there still are no federal or state standards for acceptable mold levels in buildings or homes.

"With mold being touted by some as 'the toxic tort of the new millennium,' it has created new business opportunities for inexperienced entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the 'mold is gold' mantra," Silicato says. "In fact, there are more billboards in Texas which seems to be the hub of mold hysteria advertising mold remediation cropping up every day.

Because there is no single certification for remediators, there is considerable risk to companies should they hire a firm that has little or no remediation knowledge or qualifications, he added.

Silicato recommends building owners and facility managers/engineers seek the following qualifications when selecting a contractor:

  • Demonstrated experience/expertise in mold/microbial remediation in a commercial building environment rather than residential experience.
  • Demonstrated expertise in constructing and installing negative-pressure enclosures to prevent mold spores from migrating to non-impacted areas of buildings.
  • Proof of written maintenance programs and integrity testing on all HEPA-equipped air scrubbers/vacuum cleaners to ensure efficacy.
  • Proof of pollution liability insurance, which includes mold remediation and does not exclude "microbial matters."
  • Resumes of key project personnel, demonstrating training and certification for proficiency and competency in the guidelines and standards established by nationally recognized organizations and trainer providers, such as the Indoor Air Quality Association or the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning & Restoration.
  • Proof of written work practices and procedures specifically for microbial remediation.
  • Documentation of OSHA-managed safety programs, i.e., respiratory protection programs, medical surveillance programs, hazcom training, etc.

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