Real Estate Journal — Owners, Developers & Managers — October 25 - November 7, 2019 — 13B


M id A tlantic

O wners , D evelopers & M anagers By Frank S. Romeo, Jr., Partner Engineering Preventing mold from impacting your air quality and property value humidity levels.

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the Federal OSHA General Duty Clause. Building owners or managers may be required to address the quality of the property’s indoor environ- ment to protect the health and safety of occupants. Can you proactively look for mold in a building? Try to identify anything that looks like it could be a source of water intrusion, including active leaks, roof ponding, stained ceiling tiles, or wet carpet and flooring by windows and doors. A certi- fied industrial hygienist or other licensed professional can identify mold in your building

through visual inspections, air quality testing or infrared testing. Moisture mapping technology can evaluate build- ing materials for elevated moisture presence, help detect water migration from one building area and material to another, and aid in identify- ing and tracking the drying progress of previously water- impacted materials. Can you prevent mold from growing in the first place? The best mold prevention plan is preventing water intrusion and maintaining good ventilation, as well as

ongoing building operations and maintenance. Start by taking care of any deferred maintenance items such as aged building facades, general property maintenance items (such as cleaning gutters, roof scuppers and drains), and a roofing examination by a certified roofing specialist. Note any areas where water is draining from parking lots and sidewalks, or ponding against the building, and en- gage a civil engineer to rem- edy surface drainage issues. Optimize your HVAC system for good air ventilation, and thermostats that measure

owbig of a concern is mold for indoor spaces in build-

What happens if I have mold that needs to be re- moved? There are a variety of ways in which you can remediate mold in your building, includ- ing drying and cleaning of exposed mold from materials such as PVC and metals, and removal of impacted porous materials (drywall, wood, carpet, fabric, etc.) under the supervision of a licensed mold abatement professional. Frank S. Romeo, Jr. is the president of Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. 

Mo l d i s one of the mo s t pe r - vasive hid- den dangers t o i n d o o r air quality ( IAQ) and o c c u p a n t

Frank Romeo, Jr.

health in a building envi- ronment. About 80% of the Industrial Hygiene issues we deal with in buildings are due to mold. People erroneously assume that mold is only a concern in humid climates during the warm summer months, but the root cause of mold in a building is any kind of water intrusion and trapped moisture generally coupled with poor ventila- tion. Going into the winter months, this can happen due to heavy rain and snow, which can intrude build- ings through penetrations, improper drainage, leaky roofing, and other structural concerns. Why is mold such a hid- den danger? One of the challenges is that mold growth is often not detected until it becomes a se- rious issue. Mold colonies can start behind exterior walls, behind wall boards, in attics and in roofing insulation, in as little as 24 to 48 hours after water exposure. By the time it is detected, it’s usu- ally in the form of poor IAQ – unpleasant moldy odors, allergies, sick occupants. In severe cases, tenants may be displaced or need relocation, which could result in expense or loss of revenue for all. What other risk factors in buildings can result in mold? Mold spores are ever-pres- ent in our environment, and therefore can grow in and on any porous building materi- als under moist conditions. Additional risk factors can in- clude poor ventilation, leaky plumbing, areas of the build- ing (or entire buildings) that are closed up for some period of time, and improper insula- tion from outdoor weather. Are building owners li- able for mold issues? Over the past few years, several states have added mold regulations. There are also many industry standards that are utilized, for example



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