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Mold may be visible or concealed, detected or only suspected. Whether you’ve got obvious mold or water spots, or you’re noticing possible side effects of mold including allergies, coughing and sore throats, it’s time to call in an environmental consultant who can help you determine the source and cause of your trouble.
But how do you know who to call and more importantly, who to trust? When it comes to mold you don’t want to take any chances. It can be dangerous and detrimental to your health and to those who share your space. So it’s important to find a reputable company to help with inspections and remediation.
Use these tips to help you select a company that will root out your mold problem at the source and help prevent it from recurring.
Before you hire an environmental consultant, check their company history. Have they been around the block a few times or is this their first foray into mold remediation?
It’s a good idea to know not only how long the company has been in business but how long they’ve been handling mold.
And while experience doesn’t always guarantee quality, it can be a good first sign that the company you’re dealing with understands your needs and what to do about problems that arise.
Check to see that their experience matches your needs, too. Some mold remediation companies focus on residential services and have extensive experience dealing with mold in homes. Others are known for their experience in the public sector, in schools, government buildings and historical sites or even commercial sites like retail and other corporate or industrial locations.
Be sure that the experience and qualifications of the company you’re considering match your own needs and expectations.
Check with the company you’re considering hiring to see which professionals they have on staff and which are outsourced or contracted.
Ideally, look for a company with on-staff certified safety professionals, including an industrial hygienist.
An industrial hygienist will use an exacting methodology to determine the potential for hazards and assess the risk in your particular situation. The hygienist will also implement controls to minimize risk and ensure the safety of those involved.
On-staff safety professionals create a more streamlined experience with a clear chain of command, designated responsibilities and a team-oriented approach to addressing your needs.
When you’re already dealing with the challenge of mold, you want a reasonable assurance that the company you hire will be accountable and make the remediation experience smooth.
Whether on-staff or outsourced, relatively new to the field or long entrenched, you want to be sure that you’re dealing with certified professionals.
Hygienists should be certified by the American Industrial Hygienists Association (AIHA) and other professionals should be certified by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP).
These organizations set quality standards and provide members with the training and resources that they need to protect your space from the ravages of environmental hazards.
Beyond certification, check to see whether the professionals you’ll be dealing with keep their training current and skills refreshed. Experience is one part of the equation; continuing education is the other.
As tools, techniques, technologies and even scientific understandings of mold and hazardous materials change, your professionals must continue to learn and to stay abreast of new information, changes in the industry and even regulatory requirements.
Ongoing education can reassure you that you’re dealing with people who are dedicated to providing you with the best service possible.
You may also want to ask whether technicians and safety professionals hold multiple certifications. This can help make for more efficient use of staff on a project and result in not only a quality result but also a lower cost to you.
Reputation in any industry is important and arguably none more so than when dealing with health and safety.
Even if all other signs look positive – an experienced company, staff that is engaged in ongoing education, certified professionals – few things are as powerful as a good reference.
Ask the company that you’re considering hiring to provide you with references and then follow through by checking those references and asking questions about the quality of the company’s work, their responsiveness, accountability and expectations.
A reputable company will be happy to provide you with multiple references to support their services.
It may seem like a small detail and it often goes overlooked as you consider your options, but a reputable company will carry insurance and can provide you with their certificate of insurance on request.
Having insurance provides you with the peace of mind that should something go awry, you have a fallback. It also lets you know that the company you’re considering takes their business and responsibilities seriously and has taken measures to protect themselves and you as their client.
You probably won’t be able to judge their workmanship before you hire them, but even after you hire a company it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on what’s happening in your space so that you can be assured that the job is being done properly.
It’s also a good question to ask as you check references: does this company contain the work area so mold isn’t inadvertently spread throughout the space?
Mold comes with many dangers, from mild to deadly. And removing it requires care, not only to ensure the safety of those contending with the mold but to prevent it from becoming airborne or contaminating other spaces.
Any work space should be carefully contained, affected materials should be properly sealed and removed, and specialized filtration and cleaning processes should be used to eliminate spores and purify the air.
When in doubt, ask questions. Your health and safety is worth the time it takes to qualify the company you intend to hire, to understand the process and to obtain a reasonable assurance that the results will meet your expectations.
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