Unique vital signs can help determine the health of a building as it relates to a mold and moisture problem, similar to measuring the health of a human body by taking vitals. This analogy is applicable to many different building types and construction phases. This kind of analysis can help locate the hidden risks of a mold and moisture problem and can also be beneficial when planning a renovation by bringing awareness to potential moisture-related problems, allowing owners to course-correct, budget, and plan accordingly.

 

In our decades of building forensics experience at Liberty Building Forensics Group (LBFG), we have seen repeated occurrences of moisture and mold damage in buildings that had previously displayed warning signs. If these vital signs had been addressed early on, catastrophic problems could have been avoided.

 

Instead, many building owners and operators rely solely on a property condition assessment (PCA) to determine if they have a problem. This prescribed methodology is intended to provide a level playing field for what every PCA will provide, and also to limit the exposure and liability risk for those performing it. However, our firm has found that these PCAs, which follow American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) requirements, are not set up to locate hidden issues and in fact often overlook potential problems. Continue Reading Monitor These 9 Vital Signs to Avoid Widespread Mold & Moisture Problems in Your Building

Sign up for our free webinar on May 3, 2018“Q: Is There Really a Skills and Experience Gap Causing Failures in Today’s Construction Marketplace? A: No. Learn how recent hotel mold and moisture failures tell us what the real issues are.”

The emergence of modular construction as an option for new construction is becoming mainstream. While the reasons why have been reported on extensively, what has not been reported is that the modular construction industry has been plagued by mold and moisture problems, especially on projects located in warm and humid climates like the Southeast U.S. Both wood-frame and steel-frame modular construction units have experienced condensation problems in crawl spaces, within marriage walls, and within ceiling-to-floor cavities that have not only resulted in deterioration of the wood and corrosion of metal floor pans, but have also led to damaged wallboard and mold issues.

The greatest risk of modular construction failure has been seen in facilities that are domicidal or multi-family in nature, such as hotels, student housing, senior living, and soldier housing. The living units of these types of facilities have inherent similarities: they require both an individual cooling/heating unit, bathroom exhaust, and some sort of central HVAC make-up air system. In addition, these kinds of buildings contain many more modular “boxes,” increasing the number of marriage wall interior cavities and ceiling-to-floor cavities that might not be required in other types of modular construction.

Continue Reading Preventing Modular Hotel Mold and Moisture Problems in the Warm and Humid Southeast

Moisture damage around the bathroom exhaust fan from reverse air flow through the exterior wall cap

 

But why?! Hasn’t there been enough lessons learned through moisture/mold construction litigation in the hospitality, multi-family apartment high rise, student and military housing sectors that show that dumping the make-up air to the corridor is a risky proposition? Apparently not?! This concept of make-up air delivery to a corridor has been and continues to be a living unit moisture and mold risk because the make-air cannot reach each occupied room on each floor for purposes of ventilation, pressurization and make-up air for exhaust. Many times, it is intended that this makeup air will reach each occupied rooms across each room’s door undercut. But it can’t because resistance to airflow, the amount of required makeup airflow to each room, the size of the door undercut, and the internal and external pressures on the rooms and corridor. In addition, test and balance can’t accurately measure it.

Continue Reading Hot, humid climate makeup air conundrum: The moisture and mold risks that developers, designers and installers continue to take