Sysco Environmental Ltd was requested to carry out a mould survey at a chemical plant in Dewsbury. The objective of this investigation was to assess the air contamination by fungal spores, identify any areas of existing fungal growth and water ingress and provide tailored recommendations.
The building in which the mould survey was carried out has a breezeblock wall structure with a pitched tilted roof. The property has a concrete yard to the front and a small paved area to the rear with paving around the sides. The ground floor of the building consists of a main maintenance workshop, office, canteen, and storeroom. On the mezzanine floor is another office and a small storage area.
Visually, the building seemed to be in good condition with absence of any damage to the panelling or metal beams. There is no serious evidence of faults in the external walls, and the rainwater goods are all in good condition.
During the mould survey, our consultant gathered samples of airborne moulds onto spore traps using a high flow sampling pump which were collected over a 10-minute period. In the main maintenance department, there was no sign of condensation or mould contamination on exposed surfaces, nor any evidence indicating any damp or water intrusion.
The bottom office has a wooden ceiling and concrete breezeblock walls, elevated moisture was found on the external walls close to the door and windows as well as mould contamination on the external walls and the ceiling. When viewed in the thermographic inspection, it is found that this particular room has significant temperate differences indicating water intrusion.
The storage room had concrete flooring, breezeblock walls, and a plasterboard ceiling. There was evidence of significant water leaking into the room on the external wall which seemed to be coming down the main concrete supports leading to the roof. Mould was found to be present in these areas as well as evidence of elevated moisture in the construction materials.
The canteen consists of concrete flooring, brick walls and a plaster ceiling. Evidence of elevated moisture was found in the wall towards the back-left corner and some of the materials were lifting from the wall due to mould and dampness. The moisture levels in this particular area of the room were elevated and there was clear evidence of mould contamination.
The top office was made up of wooden flooring, breezeblock walls and a false ceiling. Elevated moisture was found in the plasterboard leading to the external walls and evidence of mould contamination on the back wall of the room. In the thermographic inspection the room, it is clear that the area suffers from cold bridging or water intrusion.
Once the mould survey was completed, it was clear that the property was affected by water leaks causing mould in the areas surveyed and the assessment of hydrothermal conditions show a significant difference in the temperature and humidity between the rooms- indicating abnormal conditions. The air quality survey shows that the internal air was affected by numerous fungal spores associated with black mould.
The recommended actions to take towards this level of contamination would be to investigate further into the guttering where it joins to the concrete structure and repair if necessary, seal the gap under the bottom office door so no water is able to enter the office, and repairs should be carried out towards the damaged walls in both offices.
Finally, the level of contamination in the building is highly likely to cause illness such as fatigue, irritable respiration, coughing, and itchy eyes. When taking out repairs and removing the mould it is highly advised to wear disposable PPE such as overalls, gloves, and a respiratory protective equipment.