PureProtect Pty Ltd © 2020. All rights reserved
We are commonly called to conduct mould inspections when the occupants of buildings or home owners see mould growth on building materials, on walls or ceilings, on their furniture or on clothing in their home and the occupants feel a sense of urgency to find out if there is a serious mould problem. As mould is predominantly microscopic, when mould becomes visible on surfaces in your home or building, the mould contamination problem is likely to be well developed.
Often people call us simply looking for peace of mind. They might have heard about mould problems on the news or may know someone that has had an inspection and they are curious about their own home or building. Most of the time these people do not have issues but we commonly find potential problems that need addressing.
The truth is mould spores will sooner or later grow anywhere they encounter suitable levels of food and moisture. Moulds readily proliferate in buildings that contain excessive moisture, as many building materials are suitable food sources. Mould can cause odours and aggravate breathing problems such as allergies and asthma. Toxic mould can cause indoor air quality problems leading to allergic reactions and other symptoms. PureProtect can test for these unhealthy moulds, including such potentially toxic moulds as Stachybotrys, also known as “black mould”, which may be polluting your indoor environment. Some mould species have been linked to multiple air quality problems often referred to as Sick Building Syndrome. Within a sick building, you could be breathing mould spores and mycotoxins that are compromising the long-term health of your family or employees.
We do not offer free mould inspections. When you engage PureProtect to conduct a mould inspection, you are placing your trust in us to thoroughly inspect your home or your building for moisture damage and mould contamination, we expect you will want experience and expertise, someone who understands how buildings work, you will want a thorough examination, and not just a ‘quick fix’.
We value our clients trust, and this is reflected in the detailed nature of our inspections and our reports. As licensed builders and experienced and qualified consultants, we add a level of detail to our inspection process that you will not get from most companies, and we believe our experience and expertise is worth the applicable fee.
Our inspection service is geared to provide you with meaningful results, a document with information you can act upon, our reports are not designed to try and impress you with screeds of scientific or medical journal information, or thermal imaging information that is without substance, you need information that makes sense, information that you can base important decisions upon, decisions like is my home or my office safe for me, is my health at risk, are the tenants really exposed to mould or are they simply trying to break their lease.
Our inspection process will commonly recommend a mould testing process if we suspect your home or building may have a hidden mould problem or you are wanting answers to questions which cannot be provided based on a visual inspection only.
A PureProtect mould inspection report
Our reports will document the issues we uncover, we will reference the relevant standards, recommend solutions, provide specific scopes of works for remediation and building repair or building rectification. This is our point of difference; most companies cannot match this.
For many of our clients who suffer from a diagnosed mould illness, there is considerable apprehension when buying or leasing a home or building. We understand this and we recommend a mould and moisture inspection in that situation. Unfortunately, it is fairly easy to cover up serious mould issues for a short period of time with cleaning or painting the affected areas, however air problems cannot be covered up and we can find them with testing methods.
The answer to this question is a question, and that is “what do you want to know about the air quality in your home or building that cannot be answered by visual assessment?
If visible mould growth is present, a mould sample is not really needed to determine if what can be seen is mould. However, laboratory confirmation might be useful in some cases, particularly in an insurance claim. A person can normally detect visible mould growth just using their eyes, it should be remembered however, that mould that has reached the “visible” stage in its growth is well along in its life cycle. Microscopic mould needs to be quite dense on a surface before it becomes visible to the naked eye.
The main purpose of air and surface mould sampling as part of our assessment is to answer questions that the naked eye is not capable of discerning, including whether mould particles or spores have been released from areas of visible growth into the general environment so that occupants are being exposed, or whether mould growth is present at sub-visible concentrations. This is especially important in cases where the source of moisture was elevated humidity rather than liquid water. Mould sampling can answer questions relating to mould contaminants that may have spread beyond areas known to be affected into adjacent spaces.
Air sampling provides only a “snapshot in time” of mould concentrations in your home or building, surface samples from horizontal surfaces often provide some indication of the extent to which mould contaminants have been released into the air over an extended time.
It is even possible to say that mould sampling is often conducted to determine whether areas are not contaminated and therefore do not require mould remediation. These areas then of course require protection against cross-contamination.
Do-It-Yourself mould test kits have become more popular in recent years to test homes or buildings for mould. The fact is you will almost always find some type of mould in your home environment. The questions you cannot answer on your own are: How much mould is there mould growing in my home? What kind of mould is predominant? How do you know whether the type of mould is a risk or not? How far has the mould issue spread inside the home or building? What proper procedures do I need to take to fix the mould problem? A mould professional from PureProtect can answer those questions, a mould testing kit, unfortunately, cannot.
Mould indoors does have the potential to cause health problems. Moulds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mould or mould spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic reactions to mould are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Moulds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mould. In addition, mould exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mould-allergic and non-allergic people. If you are concerned about your possible exposure to mould, we would recommend you contact your health professional.
The single most important thing to know about mould growth, whether in a home or commercial building, is that excessive moisture is the almost always the primary culprit.
There are other factors required including time and food sources. If moisture isn’t present long enough, germination of spores often fails or significant growth does not occur. Food sources are plentiful in most homes or buildings including materials such as gyprock, wood, paper, paint film and of course dust.
The answer to this is often you can stay home but by no means is this always practical or safe. If you are contemplating whether you should stay home during mould remediation work or leave your home or building, here are some important questions you should ask yourself.
How sensitive to mould exposure are you?
When remediation activities are taking place, concentrations of mould inside the contained areas will reach peaks much higher than concentrations prior to start of work, this is because hidden reservoirs of mould in the building are disturbed. We always advise that people who are highly mould-sensitive should consider alternative accommodation while remediation is in progress.
What areas of the building are affected or what systems are affected?
If the kitchen or the only bathroom are affected, it will be difficult to remain in full occupancy. Is there is an alternative bathroom that can be used, and/or are you willing to put up with a temporary “kitchen” consisting of perhaps only a refrigerator, hotplate and microwave? Even though it may be possible, it could pose some real inconvenience.
How extensive is the remediation work?
A small project can often be completed with minimal disruption, while a larger project may go on for weeks. With some projects where all areas are affected, this can require a full or partial pack out of contents in the home as well as other procedures such as containment which can restrict your access to some areas of the home.
How much does noise bother you?
The containment requirements of remediation often require constant operation of negative air machines and sometimes dehumidifiers and other equipment. These create considerable noise, which bothers some people more than others and if in proximity to bedrooms can disrupt sleep.
All of our technicians are IICRC certified, not just the owners of the business, we uphold the remediation methods outlined in the IICRC Standards. The IICRC Standards are internationally recognised, peer reviewed methods that are followed by all reputable mould remediation companies around the world. Remember that mould has to be completely removed, the moisture problem fixed, and the wet materials either dried or replaced. Any other mould killing services are a wasted expense.