Keep it Safe!
Most people have an idea what that means. In the water damage and mold industry it is basically a mini quarantine. Once Mold Detection has been accomplished the purpose is to keep mold and dangerous bacteria inside this contained area while work is performed and keep the occupants safe.
The reason I bring this topic up is that I was asked to evaluate a Mold Detection and Remediation that a Restoration contractor recently performed for a house I inspected during the purchase of this house.
I asked the restoration contractor for pictures of the containment, equipment used and the moisture readings to show proof that the work was done. In short he did not supply any. Since the house was vacant at the time the work was performed I suspected that was a possibility knowing the ‘Contractor Mentality’ in certain situations. Why is this a concern?
If containment is not used then mold spores, mold mycotoxins, and dangerous bacteria then spread throughout the house and the air ducts in the house aide in doing this. Mold spores and mycotoxins don’t go away on their own and there are dangerous bacteria that can stay alive for up to 5 months after an area is dry. Then anyone who moves into the house will inhale these contaminants that can make them sick or in the extreme case ….die!
It is SOP, or standard operating procedure, to take pictures of the work performed, containment, equipment used and moisture readings for several reasons.
1. Insurance adjusters require these from their vendors to get paid for the work they charge for. If there is not a picture of equipment being charged for in a room the contractor does not get paid. This actually happens since the restoration contractor does no bill the insurance company until the work is complete. And there are times when the technician or supervisor forgets to take some pictures and the company does not get paid.
2. To legally defend themselves from being sued over mold or bacteria contamination by residents who may be affected by this. They can show in the pictures that the work was performed properly.
3. To prove to the customer that they did the work they charged the customer for when needed.
Because no proof of work performed was given in regard to containment, equipment, and moisture readings I had to recommend ‘sterilizing’ the whole house with various equipment and techniques to ensure the new owners would be safe when they moved in.
FYI: The Restoration Contractor was not happy when being called out on this. Because the house was vacant and it was a ‘Cash Deal’, meaning no insurance was involved the Contractor was not as diligent as he should have been in this case. Or the Contractor simply took liberties not to do things he was charging for thinking that no one would find out. In either case it was a wrong move.