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Leighton Associates


HIRING PROFESSIONAL HELP

What Are Your Options?

When seeking a solution to your mold problem, you may consider the following options.

Department of Health

There are two principle concerns with mold problems: the health of the occupants and physical damage to the building. While the Department of Health is a logical choice considering the health concern, you will probably find that your local department does not have the expertise or resources to help you with the health effects of mold, much less correction of the problem. In many areas, it can take weeks before a DOH representative even visits your home.

Do-It-Yourself Home Tests

This may be an appropriate choice if you have a very small, simple and localized problem. It is relatively inexpensive and fairly easy to administer. However, if your problem is more significant, you may quickly discover the problem exceeds your skill level. Serious mold problems require immediate, aggressive intervention.

Professional Engineers

Engineers specialize in building structure so their services may be helpful if there is significant damage to your home or building. However, their education, experience and licensure is not related to the health hazards or investigation of mold and other microbials. They may have some general knowledge of the issue, but rarely have extensive expertise.

HVAC Professionals

Increased publicity regarding indoor air quality has naturally attracted many HVAC service companies to add mold investigations to their list of services. In some cases, heating and ventilating systems can be the cause or serve as a distributing agent of biological pollutants in the home or office, and you may ultimately need their services. However, like engineers, their credentials are not in the health or environmental fields. Making an HVAC service your first call is like calling a Cardiologist before visiting your family doctor. It is better to look at the big picture and, once the problem is diagnosed, go to a specialist if needed.

Industrial Hygienists

Industrial Hygienists are a part of the health profession. Their education, experience and certification is all focused on the health and safety of people in a variety of environments. Under the umbrella of industrial hygiene, professionals can specialize in areas such as environmental testing and investigation. A professional with proven expertise in this area, coupled with broad based exposure to air quality problems, is probably your best choice for initial consultation and impartial advice.

Guidelines for Selecting A Professional

Indoor air quality and mold remediation is a growing field and consequently, is attracting an influx of new vendors (both good and bad) into the field. Those professing to offer these services should be questioned closely about their related experience and their proposed plan to diagnose and resolve your problem.

Credentials

In addition to asking about the company's experience in solving similar problems, ask about the training and experience of the staff that will be performing the work. There are no federal regulations covering professional services in the field of mold and indoor air quality, but there are certifications offered which require classroom training and passing a test of the related subject matter. Certifications in the field of mold and indoor air quality include: CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist), CMRS (Certified Mold Remediation Supervisor) and CIAQP (Certified Indoor Air Quality Professional). Do not hesitate to ask about the consultant's credentials.

Scope of Service

Indoor air quality problems and remedies vary considerably, so a competent professional will ask questions about your situation to determine if he can provide the appropriate services to help you. Once the professional has an overview of your circumstances, he should briefly and clearly explain the scope of services to be provided, the information he expects to obtain, and the work product (e.g. written report, laboratory test results, remediation specifications, etc.) he will deliver.

Conflicts of Interest

When selecting professional help, be aware of potential conflicts of interest. For example, someone who works for a remediation company may have difficulty conducting an objective investigation since his company can benefit from his recommendations. For best results, you want an objective party to conduct the investigation and manage the project. Select a professional whose future income is not related to his findings and recommendations.

Cost of Service

Finally, the consultant should estimate the cost of services to be performed. Be aware that some vendors price their initial visit very low and once on site, bill for additional services such as extra testing. This can easily add hundreds of dollars to your bill. So, be sure to ask the vendor what charges beyond their initial quote might be incurred.



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