Why Mould Testing Matters: Protecting Your Health and Property

Mould growth in buildings is a surprisingly common problem. Appearance-wise, it’s quite unsightly, often characterised by discoloured patches on walls, ceilings, or other surfaces.

But it doesn’t end there. There are also respiratory problems and allergies to ponder upon, along with significant property devaluation. That’s why when you see telltale signs like prolonged condensation on windows or visible colonisation or discolouration, or experience that musty odour, mould testing would be in order.

What Is Mould Testing?

Mould testing involves collecting air or swab samples from suspected areas. These samples then undergo analysis in a lab to identify the type and concentration of mould spores present.

These are some of the measures after the tests:

  • Containment: Isolate the area to stop spore spread.
  • Source control: Fix leaks, improve ventilation or address other moisture issues.
  • Mould removal: Clean with fungicides or remove infected materials.
  • Restoration and verification: Clean, repair and test to ensure complete removal.

After carrying out this process, you’ll be able to determine the extent of the problem and the most effective step to take for remediation.

What Causes Mould in Buildings?

Some of the common ways mould ends up in buildings include:

Moisture Problems

Mould thrives in damp environments. Leaky roofs, plumbing issues, condensation, poor ventilation… they all contribute to excess moisture, allowing mould to grow.

Water Damage

Flooding, overflows and even slow leaks can create the perfect environment for mould growth.

Building Materials

Mould can grow on a variety of materials, including drywall, wood, carpet and insulation.

Occupants of these affected buildings may then breathe in this polluted air, touch the mould knowingly or unknowingly, or maybe even ingest it in food. For instance, employees might be exposed to mould spores in their workspaces, or shoppers in stores with mould problems could breathe in mould spores while browsing merchandise or waiting in line.

The result? Serious health concerns. The consequences of such exposure can range from mild irritation like itchy eyes or runny nose to more serious health problems like respiratory infections and asthma attacks.

Importance of Mould Testing

Now, how would mould testing help stop these intruders in their tracks?

Uncover Hidden Threats

Mould can lurk behind office walls, grow in damp storage areas or hide in ventilation systems. This outbreak could disrupt your business and put your staff and customers at risk. But not only that. The cost of heating a building will skyrocket, plus it’ll shorten the lifespan of the building materials.  

Mould testing identifies hidden mould growth before it triggers health problems or even building closures.

Identify Health Risks

Different mould types have varying effects. For example, Aspergillus fumigatus, common in indoor and outdoor environments, can trigger serious respiratory illnesses. For perspective, respiratory diseases are among the leading causes of death in New Zealand, claiming over 3,000 lives every year. (1) (2)

Symptoms can include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

On the other hand, Cladosporium, known for its black or green colour, thrives in damp areas. It’s a common cause of allergic reactions and can worsen asthma symptoms.

Mould testing pinpoints the specific type of mould present, allowing you to develop a targeted remediation plan. This saves time and money, as well as ensures a more effective solution. 

Protect Vulnerable Individuals

The average worker in New Zealand will spend 40 hours a week in the office. Some might go as high as 45 or 50 hours. As a business or organisation, you owe a duty of care to ensure a safe and healthy environment for these employees and customers. (3)

One way to show that, indeed, you have your people’s affairs at heart is through mould testing as soon as you see the signs. This results in a happier and healthier working space for your staff and a more welcoming space for your customers.

Prevent Future Problems

Left unchecked in your building, mould can quickly spread, leading to expensive repairs and potential downtime. Some of the issues it may lead to include:

Hidden Damage

Mould can lurk behind walls and ceilings, silently eating away at building materials. By the time visible signs appear, the damage may be extensive, requiring costly repairs.

HVAC System Issues

Mould spores can easily spread through ventilation systems, contaminating the entire building and potentially causing respiratory problems for occupants. Remediation may involve cleaning and disinfecting ductwork, which can be a disruptive and expensive process.

Possible Revenue Loss

Mould growth in commercial properties can have a significant financial impact in several ways. For instance, news of a mould problem in a mall or retail establishment can deter customers from visiting, leading to lower foot traffic and decreased sales for stores within the property.

On the other hand, mould remediation in office buildings can be costly and disruptive. You may need to temporarily relocate employees to another space. This can involve leasing temporary office space, incurring additional costs, and disrupting established workflows.

Essentially, mould testing allows for preventative maintenance – identifying mould growth early on before it requires extensive remediation work. This proactive approach saves you significant chunks of cash compared to dealing with a full-blown infestation later.

Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, getting mould testing done is smart business. It’s about protecting the health of your employees and customers. If you’ve got that nagging suspicion that mould might be an issue, don’t hesitate to give the team at PPCS a shout.

We know exactly how important it is to have a healthy, mould-free workspace. That’s why, along with our top-notch mould testing services, we also offer professional mould remediation. Call us today and let us handle your mould problem once and for all.

1. “Key Statistics”, Source: https://www.asthmafoundation.org.nz/research/key-statistics
2. “New Zealand: Health data overview for New Zealand”, Source: https://data.who.int/countries/554
3. “8-hour workday remains commonplace in New Zealand”, Source: 8-hour workday remains commonplace in New Zealand | Stats NZ