The following is Part 4 of a 4-Part series on the Preparation of Mold Remediation Protocols that Post Remedial Verification, Project File Documentation, and Examples of Inappropriate Protocol Content. The goal of a Mold Remediation Protocol (MRP) document is to provide a guideline for the remediation contractor to complete the project in accordance with current industry standards and demonstrate that the building is safe to occupy.
The purpose of the PRV is to document the mold remediation activities were successfully completed. This is a two step process and is completed by the use of both visual and laboratory data. The first step is a visual inspection of the containment area look for any dust or debris. This can be referred to as a white glove test. If the containment area is cleaned to the consultant’s satisfaction, then sampling for laboratory testing can be conducted.
As with other areas of remediation guidelines, there is considerable discussion as to the number and type of samples to be collected to complete a PRV. At a minimum, it is recommended that non-viable air quality samples be collected inside the containment area and outside the building. In addition it may be prudent for the consultant to sample each unique area inside the building that is providing makeup air that migrates into the containment area. There may be three or four unique sources of air that is pulled into the containment area. The samples that are collected outside the containment are used for comparison to the mold species and population observed inside the containment. In addition, tape life samples should be collected on the surfaces that were abated (i.e. wood framing).
The MRP should also clearly state how the laboratory data from the PRV will be assessed and what will be acceptable. The consultant should remember that air is a heterogeneous medium (not homogenous) and there are diurnal cycles in the production of mold spores during a day’s 24 hour period. To complicate this further, there will be a time lag period between the changing outdoor air quality and the migration of this air into the building and then into the containment area.
The MRP should state the limitations of what the consultant will accept for indoor-outdoor differences and mold species found inside the containment area but not the outside. Thus, when the laboratory data is received there will be agreement whether the contractor passed or failed. Some consultants state that they will only accept an air quality sample inside the containment if
the species and populations of mold spores are less than or equal to that found outside. However, in order to acknowledge the heterogeneous environment and lag time for equilibration, it would appear appropriate to allow an increase in the amount seen inside the containment to the outside comparison. In addition, it would appear that a minimum amount mold spores may seen inside the containment area even though they were not observed outside at the moment the sample was collected.
The Consultant preparing the MRP should remember that air quality samples are only a snap shot in time, that at best, represents the air quality at the moment the samples were collected. As the only guidance currently available for the consultant are publications by professional organizations and individual authors that vary greatly, the author of the MRP should decide for themselves what are the limits that best meet the needs of their client.
The MRP should specify that the Contractor provide a remediation report at the conclusion of the project. The following is the content of a remediation report that should be placed in the project file:
The Consultant should issue a letter to the client that presents the laboratory data collected during the PRV. The content of the letter should state that based on the visual inspection and PRV data, that it appears that the contractor has completed the remediation activities in accordance with the MRP, and thus, current industry standards.
The following are actual excerpts from MRPs that were prepared by Consultants that are to be avoided or clarified:
The purpose of the MRP is to provide guidelines for the remediation Contractor to complete a project in accordance with current industry standards and demonstrate that the building can be occupied. Preparing a MRP with the content described herein will greatly reduce the future liabilities for the Property Owner, Consultant, and Contractor. However, the first step is for the stakeholders to find a competent Consultant.
At Farsight Management we understand that not all indoor air quality companies are created equal.
We feel that it is imperative to educate ourselves, our employees, and our customers. You can trust that we follow all the national standards in regards to indoor air quality. This includes mold remediation, lead abatement, asbestos removal, and everything that we do.