Selecting a qualified Mold Inspector should be very similar to selecting a general contractor, plumber, electrical contractor, or for that matter someone in the medical field that will diagnose and treat you for an illness. Word of mouth or receiving a referral from someone that has used these people¡¦s services is one of the best ways in making the correct selection. But even a good referral needs to be questioned and checked and here is why. The vast majority of the public ASSUMES that the inspection and or remediation industries are regulated by the State Government much like having a contractor¡¦s license. This is NOT the fact in most states and is not the fact in California. In most cases the person that is coming out to your home or business to do an inspection and or testing obtained his or her Certification off an internet based business that requires no more than 30 minutes of time answering 20 or less questions a 9 year old could answer correctly and then of course sending them money. A few days later that same person receives a very credible looking certification (suitable for framing) makes copies and shows his or her customer that they are truly certified. (See “Is your mold inspector truly certified”) by ABC News. Here is the question and the reality check you have to give yourself. Would you use the services of a Doctor, Dentist, Attorney, Etc; that obtained a license off the internet with no prior working experience? No, I did not think so, so why do that with an Indoor Environmentalist? A good, trained and experienced mold inspector may cost a bit more than a beginner, but then again would you want to be an internet based brain surgeons first patient?
Please Read This next Section!!
One of the BIGGEST misleading industry advertisements can come from lager Environmental companies with many employees that claim on their web site or even when you call the office to be Certified Industrial Hygienists or a person that has a certification from the American Council for Accredited Certifications. From what I can tell, so far, this is true for at least one person, BUT in most cases the person that shows up at your home is no more than what I call a ¡§robot¡¨. Most do not hold a true certification and in most cases cannot or are not allowed to do many of types of sampling that you may need to give you the correct information. Just as important in many cases, the samples they collect are not the appropriate samples to be collected to give you the information you truly need. There experience is limited in actual inspections, and when you get your report in the mail it is signed by that almighty figurehead that sits behind the desk signing off on inspections he did not do, cannot verify, and has not spent any time in your home or office performing the inspection. So the question in my mind is, how can you sign something you personally have no CLUE on what was actually done?? Do you feel a bit taken advantage of? When you call a company to come out to evaluate your home or business, ASK the question and ASK for proof that the person coming out to YOUR home is an inspector that is certified by the American Council for Accredited Certifications or a Certified Industrial Hygienist. Have the person or company email ahead of time a copy of the certification. Make sure the certification is issued by the American Council for Accredited Certifications.
The next big discrepancy I see with some companies is when you ask what the cost of the inspection, they quote you a price that includes a mandatory number of samples that they will be collecting. BIG RED FLAG, how is it that a company or person that has never seen your home, has not done an inspection on your home, has no idea of what the problems truly are if ANY, can tell you how many samples they have to collect before doing the inspection? Must be magic or a scam? Common sense suggests that first a good through inspection should be done, and then based on the inspection findings a hypothesis is formulated that sets the sampling protocol. Or does that make too much sense as well? Some of these same companies sending out what I call Robots can be the same companies that analyze the samples that they collected making huge profits from the samples because they own the laboratory, and they have got you locked into a set number of samples up front so they know how much money they are going to make before they leave the office. This type of business model has the potential of being a huge legal issue in some cases should the investigation and samples be brought up in litigation.
I believe as do most, that a degree of separation should be placed between the person doing the inspection, the company or laboratory doing the analysis, and a company or person performing the mold abatement. Take a moment and think about this. Would you want a mold abatement company also doing the initial inspection? and then the abatement? Does conflict of interest come to mind? The mold abatement company is highly motivated to find mold (or not find it and claim it is present) to get a job or make the job LARGER. Your certified mold inspector protects you from this happening. Go to the front page of this web site and review the News video done by ABC’s the “Lookout” Big scams are going on all over the country. And watch the video on the front page named “Is your mold inspector truly certified” .Last watch the video on the front page Irvine News on JLC Inspections and you can watch my Mold Detection Dog work!! Now that you have been educated a bit, here are a few items to be aware of, questions to ask, and certification descriptions.
Oh and by the way EXPECT that all other companies and people that do not hold an American Council for Accredited Certifications certificate, will try and convince you that what I have stated is not true and correct, and that their internet certification or the two or three day seminar certifications are just as good. Good thing GOD gave us common sense. As a last note, the Federal government on June 9, 2011 sent out a directive to all Federal buildings and facilities that specifies the use of all contractors, investigators, and mold abatement contractors and they must hold an ACAC certification. It is called the Unified Facilities Guide Specifications (USGS 02 85 00.00 20 Mold Remediation). If you Google usgs 02 85 00.00 20 you can read the directive.
The last big unethical unknown: Payoffs
Again with some larger companies, it is not unusual for one company to pay another company for referrals without you (the client) knowing anything about it. Hypothetical situation, could be any trade: A plumber comes to your home to fix a broken water line or hole in a copper line that has caused water damage. He lets you know that he thinks you may have a mold problem in the walls and refers you to a mold inspection company. In many cases that plumber or the owner of the plumbing company may be getting a referral fee that may consist of money, baseball tickets, concert tickets Etc. and you are not the wiser. Why should you care? Simple, the company paying the fee most likely in some way adds that cost to your bill and you get charged more. The other issue is you may not be getting referred to the best or most competent mold inspection company, just one that may be so bad they have to pay for business. It is a win win for both of the contractors but not so much for the client. SUGGESTION! Ask the contractor if the person or company he is referring is getting any type of kick back for the referral, then see if he is willing to sign something that states that is not the case.
Questions to ask: Lots of scams going on in this business
Are you a certified mold inspector?
What is the level of your certification?
Are you certified by the American Council for Accredited Certifications? This is the most important question to ask. The Mold inspection field is not regulated by the Government. The vast majority of the organizations certifying mold inspectors would never be able to pass the high qualifications required by the American Council for Accredited Certifications. Unfortunately, most certifications are offered by “Certification Mills”, organizations that do little more than present courses on line, collect fees and administer simple tests. These certifications provide little value to certificants, their clients or the public because they don’t require field experience, and they can’t provide the customer with assurance of the certificant’s abilities and expertise. These types of “Certification Mills” are not based upon verifiable field documentation, and they can’t protect the certificant or their client from legal challenges.
How many years of experience have you had performing mold inspections? The higher the level of certification, the longer they have most likely been doing inspections. Don’t become part of an inspector’s learning curve; hire the best you can find.
Do you supply a written report when you are done at the same quoted price? Do you interpret the test results from the lab? It may seem like a foolish question to ask but it is more important than you could ever believe. Think about it for a moment. You have just spent several hundred dollars in having an investigation and testing done, and when you receive your report, it is nothing more than a bunch of generic mold descriptions, words you don’t understand, and a laboratory report that makes no sense to you. Only experienced mold inspectors such as a Council-Certified Microbial Consultant (CMC) can give you a detailed report on the findings. Most inspectors have not gained the experience to interpret what they have found. If they can not interpret the results, how can they advise you on your next steps? That mistake could cost you thousands of dollars.
If mold is found, do you also supply a written Scope of Work that a mold abatement company can follow and does the Scope of Work cost extra???
This also may sound like a foolish question but most either cannot, do not or charge you extra for the scope of work.
What other qualifications do you have that help you perform this type of inspection?
Do you have Mold coverage Insurance? Yes you say, show me! This is the next most important question to ask. If the inspector is not insured, he or she is most likely not very experienced. A good insurance policy indicates the level of experience the inspector has. Insurance policies on inspectors with less that 5 years experience are not covering the basic needs of the consumer. Remember! Insist on seeing the insurance policy. You have the right to call the insurance company to check on the items covered and the limits of the policy.
I need Post Remedial Testing done, are you qualified to do this? Many inspectors in the field do Post Remedial Testing and are not qualified or certified to do so. CRMI’s, and Most CMI’s are not qualified nor are they insured to do this type of work. If the inspector is not qualified, the insurance company will not insure them; insurance is how you tell if they are qualified. American Indoor Air Quality Council levels of Certifications.
- Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) – 8 Years Field Experience
- Council-certified Microbial Consultant (CMC) – 8 Years Field Experience
- Council-certified Moisture Control Consultant (CMCC) – 8 Years Field Experience
- Council-certified Environmental Thermography Consultant (CETC) – 8 Years Field Experience
- Council-certified Microbial Investigator (CMI) – 2 Years Field Experience
- Council-certified Residential Mold Inspector (CRMI) – Less than 2 Years Field Experience
What is a Microbial Consultant?
The Council-certified Microbial Consultant (CMC) is accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB) a nationally recognized accreditation body for certifications. The CESB is the same organization that certifies Industrial Hygienists and many other scientific and engineering organizations.
The Microbial Consultant is a specialist – a professional who concentrates on diagnosis and treatment in a single area of expertise: microbial contamination. Though mold is only one of many potential causes of IAQ problems, it presents unique challenges to building owners, Real Estate Agents and facilities managers, and is therefore a crucial area of concern. The Microbial Consultant relies on detailed scientific knowledge of microbial agents to identify and account for microbial contamination and to recommend appropriate remediation strategies. His field experience in the design and execution of sampling regimens and his ability to interpret their results responsibly allow him to conduct meaningful microbial investigations and to verify the results of remediation projects. As a certificant in an accredited program, the CMC commands much more respect in the industry and even more importantly, more clout in legal disputes.
Information about American Council for Accredited Certifications.
The American Council for Accredited Certifications is the most respected and only true third party certification body in the IAQ industry.
The American Council for Accredited Certifications is the nation’s oldest certification body comprised of indoor air quality professionals.
The American Council for Accredited Certifications is the only independent certification body for indoor air quality professionals.
The American Council for Accredited Certifications has the premier certification for indoor environmental consultants – accredited by the CESB.
The American Council for Accredited Certifications are board-awarded by an independent board of peers.
The American Council for Accredited Certifications hold the first microbial consulting certifications.
The American Council for Accredited Certifications IAQ certification accredited by a third-party accreditation organization that follows ASTM’s certification standards.
Why choose an inspector Certified by American Council for Accredited Certifications?
The Mold inspection field is not regulated by the Government. The vast majority of the organizations certifying mold inspectors would never be able to pass the high qualifications required by the American Council for Accredited Certifications. Unfortunately, most certifications are offered by “Certification Mills”, organizations that do little more than present courses on line, collect fees and administer simple tests. These certifications provide little value to certificants, their clients or the public because they don’t require field experience, and they can’t provide the customer with assurance of the certificant’s abilities and expertise. These types of “Certification Mills” are not based upon verifiable field documentation, and they can’t protect the certificant or their client from legal challenges.
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