Q. I SEE MOLD UNDER MY KITCHEN SINK……OR ON MY BEDROOM WALL…..OR BEHIND MY WASHING MACHINE, ETC. IAQM IS A LICENSED MOLD REMEDIATION COMPANY. WHY CAN’T YOU JUST COME REMOVE MOLD IF I ASK YOU TO?
A. Texas is one of a handful of states in the country with mold regulations. These are called Texas Mold Assessment and Remediation Rules or TMARR for short. I won’t bore you with all the details in these rules, just the basics. So here goes!
A licensed remediation company cannot perform mold removal without a Mold Remediation Protocol, REGARDLESSâof the amount of mold. Protocols are prepared by licensed Mold Assessment Consultants, third party consultants hired by you and are not affiliated with our company.
Q. WHAT DOES THE MOLD ASSESSMENT CONSULTANT (MAC) DO?
A. A licensed Mold Assessment Consultant works for you. You pay the MAC and they work on your behalf to make sure the mold removal and cleaning is done properly. At the same time, they work in concert with us to make sure that the project is performed in the manner in which the MAC has prescribed in the protocol. The MAC is involved in the project before we can begin work. Without a protocol, we would not be able to bid the project because we do not know the extent of the work that the MAC will prescribe.
Q. WHY AM I REQUIRED TO HAVE A PROTOCOL?
A. If you want IAQM to remove the mold on your property (and why wouldn’t you?), Texas requires that you have a PROTOCOL prepared by a licensed mold assessment consultant (MAC). This is basically a scope of work that gives direction as to how the remediation project is to be executed by us. Some of the components are: Underlying cause and source of moisture, location and estimate of quantities, what PPEâwe are to use, engineering controls, whether or not the project requires a containment and where it should be erected, the air filtration system to be used, whether or not there should be notice signs, should dehumidification be used, description of demo and removal, the use of chemical solutions, how the materials are to be cleaned, and what the clearance procedure would be.
Why can’t we determine our own scope of work? Because the same person doing mold inspections ANDâremediation can cause some sticky ethics issues. The regulations were put in place in 2004 due to media attention over “toxic black mold” and the influx of inflated insurance claims for remediation projects. Suddenly anyone with $50 and a computer generated certificate was a “certified mold inspector” and could do the remediation for you as well. If you want to see a good example of this watch http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/part-undercover-house-19284456
Q. DO I HAVE TO HIRE A LICENSED MOLD REMEDIATION COMPANY TOâREMOVEâMOLD?
A. Residential- If you own a single family residence, duplex, quadplex, or building with less than 10 residential dwelling units in it, NO. You can do the job yourself, you can hire “Joe Dan Handyman,” or any unlicensed contractor do the work. This would mean that you would not require a PROTOCOL. Of course there are risks associated with doing it this way. They may not use environmentally controlled containment during removal of moldy materials, which could contaminate the rest of your home with mold spores. They could use biocides improperly, making you and your family sick. You also would not be able to get a Certificate of Mold Damage Remediation (CMDR), a Texas Department of Insurance and Department of State Health Services form that states the project has been done properly and meets the requirements to continue insuring your property if the work is part of an insurance claim.
Commercial - If you own a building open to the public, the rules are different. You are required to follow the TMARR and hire an MACâto prepare a protocol and use a licensed remediation company if there is more than 25 square feet of contiguous visible mold. The only exception to this rule is if the building is under construction. This does not mean a renovation or remodel. This means a Certificate of Occupancy has not been issued.
Q. WHAT DOES THE MOLD ASSESSMENT CONSULTANT DO?
A. A licensed Mold Assessment Consultant works for you. You pay the MAC and they work on your behalf to make sure the mold removal and cleaning is done properly. At the same time, they work in concert with us to make sure that the project is performed in the manner in which the MAC has prescribed. The MAC is involved in the project before we can begin our work. Without a protocol, we are not be able to give a complete bid on a project because we do not know the extent of the work that the MAC will prescribe.
Q. WHAT IS THISâABOUTâ25 SQ. FEET ANDâAâNOTIFICATION TOâTHEâSTATE?ââDOESâTHATâMEANâI AMâONâSOMEâMOLDYâHOUSEâLIST?
A. This is the most asked question of all. First.....the 25 sq. feet rule in the TMARRâis completely misunderstood and misused, even by licensed companies who are supposed to understand it! If you have 25 sq. feet of contiguous visible mold in your building that simply means we have to turn in a “notification” to the state of Texas that we are performing remediation at your property. We have to fill out a form with details about the project, email it in, pay a fee, and then wait 5 business days before we can start your project. In some cases we can call and ask permission to start earlier than 5 days. In most cases they will let us. Why do they do this? It’s not because they want to know about your building. It’s a way to check on US and make sure we are following the regulations. They make us wait 5 business days so they can process it in their system, possibly assign one of their enforcement inspectors to show up on the days we said we would be working, and check to make sure we are doing it right. They could not care less about your house. They are looking at our license, the protocol, our containment, making sure our workers are registered, making sure we have a work plan on site, etc. Put your mind at ease regarding notifications.
A. Again, this confuses even those in our industry but it’s really pretty simple. It has to be visible to the eye. It has to be in close proximity (contiguous). In our industry, we have to remove materials until we are at least 1 foot past the last visible mold. Less than a foot apart is how we define close proximity. So ....a 12 foot spot on one wall and a 13 foot spot on another wall in the same room is not 25 contiguous. It also has nothing to do with the amount of building materials being removed. Or what you think is hiding behind the wall. Or the amount of invisible mold spores in the air. It says what it is and is what it says.
Remediation is scheduled. What to expect.
Q. HOW LONGâDOESâAâREMEDIATIONâPROJECTâTAKE?
A. The average one containment area remediation project takes 5-7 days. One to 2 days for the containment, removal, and clean up. Then there is a 24-48 hour time period where the containment is left in place and the HEPA air filtration equipment does the work. At that point the MAC is notified that the project is ready for a clearance inspection. Allow 1-2 days for that and waiting for the lab results to come back. If the lab results are good, the remediation is considered complete and you can start repairs/restoration. IAQMâoffers restoration services but you are free to use a contractor of your choice for this part. Larger remediation projects will take longer. We provide an estimated timetable with every job we do.
A. For the most part, you can stay in your home during remediation. The purpose of containment is to keep the rest of the home safe during remediation .Exceptions to this would be if we are doing a large portion of your house, or if all your bathrooms and/or kitchen are part of the project. We ask our clients to remove their small, portable items and contents from the remediation areas prior to remediation. Of course if the contents themselves are contaminated and are part of the protocol, leave them in place. Keep in mind that the containment areas will be inaccessible to you once we begin until clearance is achieved.
Q. AFTER THE WORK HAS BEGUN, CAN I GO INTO THE CONTAINMENT?
A. No. The containment is there for a reason. If you go into the containment there are a few things that could happen and none of them is good. First, you are endangering your own health. Second, you are opening up a pathway for the mold spores to get into the residence. Our workers are trained to not let this happen. You are not. Finally, if the project does not pass and you have been inside the containment you will end up paying for the retest. If you have to see what is happening inside the containment, ask the mold remediation contractor to take pictures or install a clear poly window in the containment wall. That will allow you to see what is happening without having to open up the containment.
Q. CAN WE TURN THESEâDARN AIR SCRUBBERS OFF?!
A. No. The air scrubbers need to run uninterrupted until the lab results show proof that there mold spores concentration inside the containment is lower than the outside comparative. Iâknow that they are bit noisy but they are there for a good reason. You can enjoy the quiet when we give you healthy air back.
Q. WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN THE LAB SAMPLES COME BACK AND THE PROJECT HAS FAILED CLEARANCE?
A. It happens. If a remediation company tells you it’s never happened to them, they are either brand new or lying. From time to time, projects do not pass the clearance tests. Please consider that 250,000 mold spores can fit on the head of a pin. It only takes 25 of an individual species of mold to fail the test. The standards are very rigid and for a reason. It does not mean we did a bad job. It may just need a re-wipe down inside containment and more air scrubbing or it could require additional investigation to see if there are more areas that need removal. If it is something we missed we take care of the costs for the re-clearance testing. Your health is important to us.