I get a lot of comments about my 2003 Chevrolet SSR Truck. Mainly from car enthusiasts, but sometimes from people who see my license plate FUNGI and remark, “that’s pretty cool”. I usually end up explaining what I do for a living and that’s almost always elicits a “ewwww” comment. Yes, mold is yucky for the most part and it is never pleasant being around it or cleaning it up. But you need people who are willing to do this work, or else you are going to end up causing more problems for yourself.
Speaking of . . . . I usually end up seeing at least one case per month where a person has been treated poorly by a home builder, management company, or landlord who is for the most part unqualified, untrained, inexperienced and most definitely unlicensed to remediate mold. Here in the state of Texas, there are rules and regulations (Texas Mold Assessment and Remediation Rules passed in 2007 by the legislature) that give the Texas Department of State Health Services oversight over the industry which includes issuing licenses for individuals and companies doing mold related work. The license eligibility requirements are formidable and very expensive. For all of its preparedness, the state legislature dropped the ball when they handed out several exemptions including home builders, persons who do not remediate mold for a living but have been hired as agents, re-modelers, management companies, landlords and water restoration companies who advertise they can clean up mold but don’t have the license.
First, the home builders
I get the fact that home builders want to be able to fix their own mistakes, but what I don’t get is why they don’t want to do it right. I have seen builders remediate mold without containment, air filtration devices and no personal protective equipment for their workers. In other words, they could not do much worse even if they tried. Their attitude is that they can do anything they want and there isn’t anything that can be done about it. The bottom line is, they are right. They have an exemption that needs to be evaluated and changed to require that they get a license like everyone else. That way, the work will be done right. Surely, public health is more of a priority than this.
The re-modelers are exempt from holding a license or abiding by the TMARR rules if they encounter mold in the middle of a re-model. They can do what they want and the homeowner doesn’t know the difference. Most of the time, they tear out the contaminated materials and carry them through the house exposing the family all the while.
They know the rules, but are constrained by their budgets. Most want the job done right, but they are focused more on how to get something fixed for the least amount of money possible. This means they clean it up with a little bleach and then paint over it with some product like KILZ.
Like management companies, they are looking for the best fix for the least money. They are more likely to follow in the footsteps of the management companies by painting over the problem. It looks good for a while, but the mold will invariably return and it’s almost always worse than it was before.
Water restoration companies
Most of these companies have certifications in a number of disciplines including water, fire and mold clean up. Note, I said certifications, not licenses. They clearly know how to do it right, so the only disadvantage is that they (an unlicensed company) cannot sign a Certificate of Mold Damage Remediation. The CMDR is a Department of Insurance form that most real estate agents will ask for after you disclose your mold issue when selling a home. Also your insurance company may ask you for one as well after the work has been completed.