Home Forums Mould investigation and sampling Identifying qualified mould surveyors

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    Jeff Charlton

    The implications of inaccurate mould or biological investigations can have life changing effects to unsuspecting clients.

    Moving out of what your told is a health hazard or disposing of home contents because an unqualified person advised it is an obvious cause for concern.
    It might surprise some, but anyone can call themselves and expert o highly qualified (it is a criminal offence if your lying) but the industry is full of unqualified amateurs providing misleading advice.

    The first issue is what qualifications are stated by the surveyor and are they certificates of knowledge or simply attendance of a two-day training course?

    The following identifies typical certificates and misconceptions.

    BDMA British Damage Management Association
    This organisation provides various levels of training and certification starting at technician and rising to Senior technician with many additional bolt on courses.
    Of course, a starting point is the water damage 3-day course followed by years of training and upskills.
    Unfortunately, the BDMA were recently asked what training they provide regarding mould and bio contamination and their written answer was none. So bottom line here is BDMA qualification is worthless in mould surveys, decontamination etc.

    IICRC Institute of of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification

    This USA organisation provides first class training and have written standards for mould remediation S520 and training for mould remediation applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT).

    The training goes to great lengths to identify the need for an IEP (Indoor Environmental professional) a qualified professional to guide the technician in identifying contamination, scope of works and most importantly third-party verification. This is because the course does not cover the syllabus required and while a three-day course might be adequate for a water damage technician its takes years to qualify as a IEP>

    A major failure of the current S520 mould guidance document is its focus on normal fungal ecology.
    This is measured in Condition 1-2 & 3

    Condition 1 is normal presence of environmental moulds and not toxigenic species and most importantly the guidance is aimed at the majority of the population. Unfortunately, 20% of the population are genetically challenged* by mould and clearance to condition 1 is inappropriate not least due to the failure of identifying the most harmful of contamination hyphal fragments *ref WHO

    Generally, people are requesting a mould survey of any type have recognised possible health implications of building related illness and therefore this standard is completely inappropriate .
    Unfortunately, most seeing the certification presented by a mould surveyor wouldn’t identify the certification limitations.

    CITY & Guilds and DEW POINT
    This company offers a One- or Two-day course on mould. The training course is a City and Guilds accredited program.
    That means it complies to typical training objectives of subject, explanation, and exam.

    Of course, this isn’t a course suitable for a surveyor.

    RICS Surveyor Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
    This degree listed qualification takes several years of study to achieve and is an excellent qualification if you require a building survey.
    If you ever bought a house, you will I am sure recognise the shortfalls in most RICS surveys where caveats and exclusions litter the report, and you wonder if you should even buy the property they reported on. The reality is almost every RICS surveyor has a MOULD EXCLUSION caveat and few if any investigate mould as a risk.

    RICS surveyors exclude mould in their reports, and they have recognised even years of training on buildings it doesn’t qualify them on mould although they do report on fungal issues such as wet or dry rot. In fact, RICS surveyors invariably have an mould exclusion in their reports.

    What qualification should you look for?
    The most respected of all international bodies is the ACGIH and this indeed is acknowledged by the HSE.
    In this they state its is not just the qualification, but the suitability of the qualification coupled with experience that provides competence. Typically, they cite a PhD or indeed a degree of any sort which may be worthless in a specific role and an example may be where a person has a PhD in Material science, and they may display Doctor in their tittle. This Dr. of material science is not qualified in medicine or even mould or biological investigation.

    Questions to ask when choosing a surveyor to undertake a mould assessment.

    1. How long have you been undertaking mould investigations?
    2. What qualifications do you possess?
    2.1. How long does it take to certify in this qualification?
    3. Who is the certifying body?
    4. What testing will you undertake and why?
    5. What equipment will you use?
    6. Are you a qualified IEP (Indoor Environmental Hygienist)
    7. Have you any published papers?
    8. Can you show me a typical redacted report?
    9. Can you advise on remediation and if so, are you qualified to do this?
    9.1. What qualification do you hold in this field?
    The final question is, Where or if a contractor states they have a qualification is it true? Simply check below.

    As Dew Point is only a two day course and isn’t an accreditation few would boast it.

    Check accreditations For BDMA https://bdma.org.uk/accredited-individual-members/?namer=2974
    IICRC https://iicrc.org/iicrcgloballocator/
    If they portray they are experts when they are not, they could face two years in prison if found to be exaggerating

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