Mould and Moisture in Buildings

Recent widespread heavy rainfall across the east coast of Australia has caused significant water ingress to homes and workplaces resulting from flooding, roof leaks, elevated humidity and rising damp. Significant water ingress within buildings can cause mould growth, which may only become evident weeks or sometimes months after the initial moisture event. Mould has the potential to cause health impacts to building occupants and left unchecked can cause structural damage to buildings.

Moulds are a type of fungus, categorised as being a non-green plant-like organism. Fungi can grow without sunlight and will grow provided there is a viable spore, a nutrient source, moisture and the right temperature.

Moulds are ubiquitous in both indoor and outdoor environments. Mould may grow indoors in wet or moist areas lacking adequate ventilation, including walls/ wallpaper, ceilings, bathroom tiles, carpets, insulation material and wood. If moisture accumulates in a building mould growth will often occur.

Once mould has a foothold in a particular location, it will grow rapidly across surrounding surfaces in damp conditions. Mould typically needs to be physically removed from a surface, even when moisture has been controlled. When dry, mould will typically enter into its sporation phase and may release large quantities of spores into the air.

The signs of potential mould growth within a building may include damp/musty odours, discoloured or deformed building materials (particularly plasterboard and chipboard/MDF), peeling or bubbling paint and spotted clothing/furniture.

The basic steps to minimise mould growth is maintaining proper ventilation (i.e. fresh air), reducing the humidity and controlling moisture/ dampness (e.g. repair all water leaks and ensure affected materials are dried/disposed of).

Human exposure to microbes may occur by inhalation, physical contact or ingestion. Factors that determine health effects include the nature of the microbes, route of exposure and the susceptibility of the person exposed.

For further information refer to:

NSW Health (https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/mould.aspx) or SafeWork NSW (https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/hazards-a-z/mould)

RiskTech have proven experience in providing advice on moisture and mould. This includes visual inspections, moisture testing and surface and air sampling for presence and type of mould. RiskTech will provide recommendations for mould remediation and rectification works.

For more information regarding dampness and mould contact one of our experienced consultants on 02 8745 2000.