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Knowing The Professional Mold Remediation Standards

The authority on professional mold remediation standards in the inspection, cleaning and restoration industry is the IICRC. As a standard setting and certifying body backed by ANSI, the IICRC released a Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation in 2008, also known as the BSR-IICRC S520.

As consumer awareness of mold contamination in homes and buildings has increased dramatically in recent years, the IICRC teamed up with a group of industry and health experts, industrial hygienists, microbiologists and other public and governmental entities to create a comprehensive guide for professionals dealing with fungus infestations, as well as regulating bodies, insurance companies and consumers. In addition to drawing from the decades of cumulative experience of field experts, previously existing literature was also reviewed in developing these all-inclusive professional mold remediation standards for the IICRC S520. This includes, for example, publications by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the New York City Department of Health.

The guide is not binding to technicians, certified or otherwise, nor are technicians in the industry required to adhere to the protocol and procedures described therein. The IICRC S520 is strictly intended to serve as reference material to be consulted and implemented on a voluntary, as-needed basis. The IICRC and S520 authors caution that every fungus-related scenario is unique, and some situations may necessitate departure from established professional mold remediation standards.

The 56-page publication discusses topics that include:

•    The principles of mold remediation
•    Necessary equipment, tools and materials
•    Remediator qualifications
•    Safety and health
•    Structural, HVAC and contents rectification
•    And the role of indoor environmental professionals (IEPs), among others

The IICRC S520 is divided into two parts. The first part, the procedural Standard, provides an overview of the most vital methodologies and procedures. The second part, called the Reference Guide, delivers detailed descriptions of those same methodologies and procedures. Together, the two parts create an in-depth and thorough field companion for technicians. IICRC officials note that the guide to professional mold remediation standards is not designed to be a teaching tool and should not replace proper training and education through certification programs.

Notably, the IICRC and S520 authors made the conscious decision to forego the commonly applied principle of evaluating the amount of visible fungus growth inside a home or facility to choose which corrective response is the most appropriate. Instead, the IICRC established three conditions to determine the scope of fungus presence and possible solutions.

These three conditions not only take visible fungi into consideration, but also the normal fungal ecology of any given building, the possible contamination through settled spores and/or the presence of actual growth (regardless of whether it is hidden, dormant or visually discernible).

The IICRC S520 (2008) has currently reached its 5-year review marker and is at this time undergoing revisions. A draft of the new edition can be accessed through the IICRC website. Informal peer reviews are welcome and comments will be accepted until Aug. 19. Updated professional mold remediation standards are scheduled to be published later this year.

The current edition, like the updated version to be released soon, is also available for purchase on the IICRC’s website.

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