How To Hire A Mold Inspector

how to hire a mold inspector
John R. Riera, CIE, CMRS, CMC, CAC, LRCIA

What Are The Different Kinds of Mold Inspectors?

The State of California does not offer or require any type of license for mold professionals that do not do repairs/remediation. 

The most respected national credentialing organization for mold inspectors is the American council for Accredited Certification. Look for these credentials: 

Professional Certifications:

    • CIE – Indoor Environmental Investigation & Consulting
    • CIEC – Indoor Environmental Investigation & Consulting
    • CIES – Indoor Environmental Remediation
    • CMI – Microbial Investigation & Consulting
    • CMR – Microbial Remediation
    • CMRS – Microbial Remediation Supervisor

There are other certifications depending on what your situation requires.

Know if There's Mold Before you Buy

Mold hides behind walls. You can’t rely on smell alone. You can do these things:

  • Ask the Sellers for a Consumer Disclosure Report. LexisNexis offers property owners information collected by insurance companies that includes water damage (mold) claims. The property owner may call 888-497-0011 or complete the Online Request Form. This information is available only to the Property Owner and insurance companies.
  • Get a licensed termite inspection. If that report shows wood rot or dry rot, that’s a red flag. Be sure the termite report shows a repair estimate. A second opinion is never wrong when purchasing property.
  • When you walk through the property look for any signs of water damage or discoloration. Carefully look under all sinks, hot water heaters (be sure there is a pan below the how water heater unless it is a tankless model), showers and toilets. Look around the outside of the building for any signs of water damage. Be sure the landscaping slopes away from the building. Look at the gutters and roofs for any signs of damage. Take a round ball with you and roll it on the floors – if it moves take a serious look at the foundation.
  • If you see discoloration or any signs of water damage, get a professional mold inspection. Remember, the cheap turns out expensive – a mold inspector has no financial gain to find mold – a mold remediation company does have financial gain to find mold. 

How a Mold Inspector Can Help environmental Litigators

Litigators understand the laws and procedures. Professional mold inspectors understand mold, what causes mold, where the mold came from, and how the problem should be corrected. A mold professional inspector can also provide clearance or validation documents after mold cleanup for both structure and contents. We cannot give an estimate on how much a mold remediation will cost, but our report clearly outlines what is needed for a successful remediation. Our reports are frequently used by clients to obtain an apples-to-apples quote for  mold remediation work. If the site was built before 1981 it may contain asbestos. We a licensed asbestos inspectors. If the site was built before 1979 it may contain lead paint.

When To Retain a Mold Inspector

Plaintiff attorneys that work on a contingency: get a professional report before you accept the case. Our reports will show you how potentially strong your case can be.

Plaintiff attorneys that work against Client Retainers: before your file your complaint get a professional report so you understand the mold pitfalls in your client’s case.

Defense attorneys will be well served to hire a professional mold inspector the day production of documents are received.

Best Way to Retain an Expert Mold inspector

Sign their agreement and fund it.  Their agreement should outline all charges. You should place a cap on reimbursable expenses; specifically you should know before being charged any amounts over x amount.

Don’t play the “percipient witness” game with an expert. You will very seldom get what you want. And this move makes everyone upset – it delays your case, it costs additional hours to deal with it (expect resistance). It’s hard to settle a case with angry people.

Expected Costs from your Expert

Testing

Every situation is different. Ask for a quote on any retesting that is recommended. You should also know why this testing is recommended and what your expected benefits will be.

The national ANSI Standard for Mold Investigation and Remediation is followed. This a known as the IICRC S 520.

Mold grows so if it’s been a while between filing your case, discovery and settlement conference, a reinspection may benefit in a higher settlement. You don’t want to settle for $50,000 when there is $250,000 worth of damage that has developed over time.

Reports

Reports should include all lab work including a chain of custody for all samples, photos of the site and a clear overview of the situation/problem including causes. There should be a narrative that explains the lab results and corrective action. 

The environmental laboratory used should be accredited and certified by nationally recognized organizations.

The most important thing is a clearly worded, understandable narrative of the problem and solution.  The reports should be clearly worded without misspellings, etc. Most importantly, the report should follow environmental science. 

Testimony

Clear sentences should be used that show confidence and understand of the subject. The Expert should have a clear idea of what questions will come up and be prepared to accurately and completely respond.

Preparation is critical and should be thorough and complete.

Your Expert must be on time, regardless of traffic, etc., etc.  If your Expert is late, you are facing a possible mediator becoming unhappy or having to shorten your mediation time because of other commitments.