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Thread: mold

  1. #1
    Bode Cavallaro's Avatar
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    Default mold

    I'm new to inspecting. Just took the Oregon Certification test and waiting on my test results. I appreciate this site. I've been reading it every day for the past month or so and enjoy the serious comments, joking around and occasional tong lashings.

    I'm wondering how you report on what appears to be mold. For instance black stains on the underside of roof sheathing is a common occurrence in a poorly ventilated attic. I looked at some of the threads and thought I'd bring it up again.

    Some inspectors, including my instructor say not to mention the word mold. Call it staining, or what appears to be organic growth, etc, which makes sense to me since it is outside of my expertise and scope of the inspection.

    Obviously in the roof sheeting example with moisture being present, analyzing and determining if there is adequate roof ventilation, and that no bath or other vents are venting into the attic and advising the client of the condition appropriately is needed. But is there really anything wrong with saying that your not an expert but it looks like mold?

    Also, what are some ideas on how to word the recommendation for further evaluation by a qualified expert?

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  2. #2
    Bode Cavallaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    obviously I'm new to this....didn't pick a category....


  3. #3
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    Here is what the NC HILB says about mold reporting....


    http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineerin...wReporting.pdf


  4. #4
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    Default Re: mold

    "unless evidence suggests to the home inspector that the mold or mildew growth is a sign of abnormal or harmful water penetration into the building or a sign of abnormal or harmful condensation on building components."

    So when would mold/mildew/fungus growth be NORMAL?

    This has been hashed out here a few times already.
    I call out stuff when I see it. I call it a fungus/mold growth. I may not be able to tell them WHAT kind of fungus growth it is, or if its harmful, but I can tell them what I saw.

    I think just about every adult has seen moldy food in a refrigerator, so its not exactly something that needs special education or knowledge to recognize. Is it bad? I don't know, someone else will have to test it to find out. I'm just calling out that I saw it.

    By the way, I have been on a witness stand many times going over my repots. Some of them had notes about mold/fungus. While the lawsuit may not have been about mold per se, my notes and photos were still there. I have never been questioned whether I was qualified to make the call about mold/fungus being present.

    I say call it out if you see it. You could be very sorry if you don't.


  5. #5
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    I think what NC is saying is that if you say you see mold you need to also have a reason for the mold. You can't just say "I see mold" and leave it at that.


  6. #6
    Tom Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    Mold needs moisture to grow, I would call it out as moisture infiltration when seen, possibly leading to mold growth, unless you have a lab to identify it.


  7. #7
    Bode Cavallaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.

    Following is a paragraph in the contract I plan to use:

    Moisture equals mold - Moisture may be found in the structure during our visual inspection. If moisture is found, then it is scientifically known that moisture and mold are inter-related. We do not claim to have the background, education, or experience necessary to formulate an opinion as the the existence or non-existence of mold. If moisture is listed in any portion of the report, then we want our clients to understand that mold may be present and that they should meet with experts of their choice who have the background, education and experience to help them.

    What do you think if the wording?


  8. #8
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    The first three words could be trouble....Moisture equals mold. Moisture does not always equal mold. Sometimes it makes mud.


  9. #9
    Bode Cavallaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    Good point James.
    It looks like that heading could be eliminated and the paragraph would be fine with out it because it speaks to moisture being found in the structure.


  10. #10
    Bode Cavallaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    Actually, I'm going to have to give this paragraph some serious thought because it also states,,,

    If moisture is listed in any portion of the report, then we want our clients to understand that mold may be present and that they should meet with experts of their choice who have the background, education and experience to help them.

    ....not sure this is the right way to put it.

    Thanks



  11. #11
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    Default Re: mold

    It just strikes me as double speak CYA comments that really doesn't say anything.
    If you see mold, then call it out. If you don't see it, then don't comment on it.


  12. #12
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    It is not CYA...it is trying to be accurate in your comments. If you did an inspection on a house I owned and you said you saw mold...I would tell you to prove it and you best be able to do so.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: mold

    There would be a photo.


  14. #14

    Default Re: mold

    I am of the oppinion that if you are not qualified to determine the presence of mold, that you should simply state in your report: The presence of biological growth was observed in the area of... I recommend having a licensed technician test for the presence of wood destroying organisms ie;mold. It is always helpful to attach a photo if possible.

    George Hallaron: Owner primary inspector
    Bienvenue Home Inspections LLC
    www.bienvenuehomeinspections.com

  15. #15
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    Quote Originally Posted by George Hallaron View Post
    I am of the oppinion that if you are not qualified to determine the presence of mold, that you should simply state in your report: The presence of biological growth was observed in the area of... I recommend having a licensed technician test for the presence of wood destroying organisms ie;mold. It is always helpful to attach a photo if possible.
    In NC there is no mold license to be had. The nearest thing is an Industrial Hygienist.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: mold

    I use MLS = 'mold like substance' in my reports. Seems to work well so far. Clients like it and it allows me to speak freely without double speak.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: mold

    When I see mold I call it out that I have seen a fungus/mold growth, and they should get it checked out. I ALWAYS include a photo. For the fungus growth that is so common in crawlspaces around here, I tell them to pay attention to what the termite inspector has to say about it.

    I get the meaning of the statement. But, to me its CYA boiler plate. Yes, it puts the client on notice that if moisture is found (and reported), then they are on notice that there may be mold, and if there is, they should have it tested by the proper people. Don't get me wrong, its never a bad idea to CYA. I take care to do that in my contracts and reports as well.

    All I was saying is if you see it, then call it out, and don't be afraid to use the M or F words.
    Here are a couple examples of the photos where I called out fungus/mold.

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  18. #18

    Default Re:mold

    In NC there is no mold license to be had. The nearest thing is an Industrial Hygienist.

    James:
    In this case, replace my phrase: Lisenced technician with qualified personell.

    Markus:
    That is more than adiquate wording. IMO use whatever verbage that you are comfortable with as long as you stay less than spacific on the genetics of any type of growth.

    George Hallaron: Owner primary inspector
    Bienvenue Home Inspections LLC
    www.bienvenuehomeinspections.com

  19. #19
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    One reason to stay away from the word mold is that mold testing is paid for by the buyer. If in my report I stick with the moisture issues that caused the mold the repair is paid for by the seller. Mold testing can run several hundred dollars and it is almost 100% guaranteed that they will find mold so why bother to test for it.


  20. #20
    Bode Cavallaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    Not a good plan, in my opinion, to base how you report on who pays for what. That is negotiated between the buyer and seller and should not be of concern to the inspector. Right?


  21. #21

    Default Re: mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Bode Cavallaro View Post
    Not a good plan, in my opinion, to base how you report on who pays for what. That is negotiated between the buyer and seller and should not be of concern to the inspector. Right?
    I would simply report what I see. end of story. the house should speak for it self.

    George Hallaron: Owner primary inspector
    Bienvenue Home Inspections LLC
    www.bienvenuehomeinspections.com

  22. #22
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Bode Cavallaro View Post
    Not a good plan, in my opinion, to base how you report on who pays for what. That is negotiated between the buyer and seller and should not be of concern to the inspector. Right?
    Am I going encourage someone to pay for a useless test? Nope! If you feel the need to that is your prerogative. If you report the moisture issues properly the mold will take care of itself.


  23. #23
    Ted Williams's Avatar
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    Default Re: mold

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    The first three words could be trouble....Moisture equals mold. Moisture does not always equal mold. Sometimes it makes mud.
    Or mushrooms


  24. #24
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    Default Re: mold

    Here in eastern North Carolina, when a client says they want to know about any and all mold, I tell them that if they are afraid of mold they need to move to Montana. Around here, we breath it every day during this time of year.
    If I see mold, I call mold. But I have to be ready to discuss it logically with my client. There are 350,000 molds. About 3 will hurt the average person. A bunch could cause susceptible people some problems. A few will eat houses. Don't be afraid to tell your client straight and if you have to, recommend further analysis by a qualifed professional. That's our job.
    JLMathis


  25. #25
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    Default Re: mold

    This very issue ... "mold" ... came up today during a mechanical change-out final inspection today.

    They bought the condo from the bank who foreclosed on it, the a/c was not working and the place was musty smelling and moldy smelling (I was told) when they bought it. It has now been painted and the a/c system replaced.

    I told here that if she was still smelling the musty/mildewy smell (I didn't smell it) that there may be mold on the backside of the drywall where it is not visible and you can't get to it to clean it off.

    I told her (she had two little kids) that the main thing was that if someone in the family had asthma or other respiratory problems, then she should have a doctor test for allergies to everything, including mold, and if they were allergic to mold the doctor would know what kind and they could check for that, but if they were not allergic to mold then the musty/mildewy smell was not causing any problems.

    She was considering bringing in a 'mold is gold' mold inspector, but I told her that air samples tell you little or nothing, the same with surface tape samples, that first she needed to find out if anyone was allergic to molds, then, if so, to bring in an industrial hygienist - not to bother with the mold certified inspectors, and they will say they are certified, but by whom and for what, and after how many years of training (hours of training? ), etc.

    She said she knew about mold, that we are all just breathing in penicillin in its cultured state anyway.

    No, the mechanical system did not pass its inspection, multiple things wrong with it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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