If You Have to Support Building Safety!
Remove Mold For more information about building safety codes
INVESTIGATE AND EVALUATE MOISTURE AND and local requirements, contact your local building
MOLD PROBLEMS department below:
• Assess the size of the moldy area (square feet).
People Helping People Build a Safer World™
• Consider the possibility of hidden mold.
• Clean up small mold problems and ﬁx moisture
problems before they become large problems.
• Select a remediation manager for medium- or
large-sized mold problems. Tips on Prevention and Control
• Investigate areas associated with occupant
• Identify sources or causes of water or moisture
• Note the type of water-damaged materials
• Check inside air ducts and the air-handling unit. REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE TO MOLD
• Throughout the process, consult qualiﬁed During any mold cleanup process, mold spores will
professionals if necessary or desired. be released into the air. For protection during the
COMMUNICATE WITH BUILDING OCCUPANTS AT
ALL STAGES OF THE PROCESS, AS APPROPRIATE • Use a HEPA ﬁlter respirator to reduce the number
of mold spores you breathe in.
• Designate a contact person for questions
and comments about medium- or large-scale • Wear protective clothing that can be discarded.
remediation as needed. • Wear rubber gloves.
DEVELOP A REMEDIATION PLAN
• Work for a short while and then take breaks in the
• Adapt or modify remediation guidelines to ﬁt your • Work with windows open and keep them open
situation; use professional judgment.
• Select cleanup methods for moldy items. • Turn off heat and air conditioning to prevent
• Select personal protection equipment to protect spores from being spread to other areas of the
• Select containment equipment to protect building • If there is an air return vent in the room, cover it
• Select experienced remediation personnel. • Place a fan in a window to blow air out of the
• Address the moisture problem at its source. affected room. Developed and provided by
Implement a repair and/or maintenance plan. • Double-bag all cleanup materials before removal
• Dry out wet, non-moldy materials within 48 hours from contaminated area.
to prevent mold growth. If you use outside contractors or professionals,
• Clean and dry moldy materials. make sure they have experience cleaning up mold,
• Discard moldy porous items that cannot be check their references, and have them follow the 1-888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233) | www.buildingsafetyweek.org
cleaned. recommendations presented in this brochure.
1-888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233) | www.iccsafe.org
Mold: Tips on It takes a concerted and concentrated effort to
maintain a mold-resistant building. Builders and
contractors must carefully construct buildings in
accordance with approved plans and follow good
construction practices in assembling the building
components. Building owners and tenants must be
observant and take immediate steps to maintain
existing buildings and their systems to prevent
moisture from accumulating.
Mold is caused when microscopic, airborne spores GENERAL TIPS FOR PREVENTING MOLD
Here are some common-sense precautions that
land on moist surfaces and spread rapidly. Molds
builders, homeowners, and/or building owners can
can have useful purposes. Life-saving penicillin follow to avoid mold and ensure health and safety
when building or maintaining a structure.
is derived from mold. Many foods, such as blue
• Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building
cheese, require mold as part of their manufacturing
process. And as owners of compost piles know,
envelope as soon as possible.
• Watch for condensation and wet spots.
What the Codes Say Removing Mold
mold plays an important role in the cycle of nature, • Fix sources of moisture problems as soon as The International Codes® are the minimum Guidelines for Remediation
possible. requirements necessary to ensure safety. According Mold can generally be removed from nonporous
helping to break down organic materials. • Prevent moisture caused by condensation by to these codes, builders and owners must ﬁght the (hard) surfaces by wiping or scrubbing with water
increasing surface temperature or reducing the problem of mold in a three-fold approach. or with a combination of water and detergent. The
MOLD PREVENTION moisture level in the air (humidity). use of a biocide, such as chlorine bleach, is not
1. There must be proper ventilation of all interior
The mold that a growing number of builders and • Insulate or increase air circulation to increase habitable and occupiable areas along with recommended as a routine practice during mold
homeowners are encountering poses signiﬁcant surface temperature. speciﬁc concealed spaces. cleanup. Remember, biocides are toxic to humans
problems. Unchecked mold growth on interior as well as to mold, and you should read and follow
wood, wallboard, paper, and carpet has been
• Increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), • See Section 1203 of the International Building
or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid) Code®, Section R303 of the International label precautions. Never mix chlorine bleach
blamed for serious illnesses. It can be exceedingly solution with cleaning solutions or detergents that
to reduce the moisture level in the air, and repair Residential Code® for One- and Two-Family
difﬁcult to eradicate and has even rendered some contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be
ventilation leaks. Dwellings , and Chapter 4 of the International
buildings uninhabitable. produced.
• Keep heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning Mechanical Code®.
This mold has the same root causes as food mold. drip pans clean, ﬂowing properly, and 2. The exterior envelope of all buildings must be When a mold problem is discovered, it is important
Tiny spores––less than 4 microns in size––land unobstructed. provided with vapor retarders, water-resistive to protect the health of everyone involved– –
on damp spots when excessive moisture or water barriers, and the necessary ﬂashing. tenants, contractors, and work crews. These
accumulates indoors. These spores then begin
• Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as
dryers, to the outside where possible. • See Chapter 14 of the International Building Code guidelines will help, even if you have little or no
digesting whatever they are growing on in order to experience with mold remediation.
• Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60 percent and Section R703 of the International Residential
survive and spread.
relative humidity (RH), ideally 30 to 50 percent, if Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. Refer to these guidelines when evaluating an
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection possible. 3. The maintenance of existing buildings and in-house remediation plan or a remediation plan
Agency, there is no practical way to eliminate all structures is of the utmost importance. This submitted by an outside contractor. Contractors
mold and mold spores in the indoor environment.
• Adhere to a regular schedule of building/HVAC
inspections and maintenance. includes not only the exterior of the structure but and other professionals who respond to mold and
But mold can be controlled by controlling moisture. also its plumbing and mechanical systems. moisture situations in commercial buildings and
• Provide drainage outside foundation walls, and schools will also ﬁnd these guidelines essential.
slope the ground away from the foundation to • See Sections 304, 403, and 504 of the
speed drying after rainfalls. International Property Maintenance Code®.