ATLANTA - Even with today's construction techniques, most buildings undergo natural wear and eventually need renovation. However, another hazard exists that can cause a building to lose value even before construction is complete. Dubbed "the new asbestos," mold is an increasing problem in many new construction buildings, ruining the indoor air quality and costing thousands of dollars to remediate, according to Greenguard Environmental Institute (GEI). GEI, a nonprofit organization that establishes indoor air standards for indoor products, environments, and buildings, advises builders and contractors to take 10 precautions to avoid mold contamination of their properties.

"All it takes is a little rain and mold can grow all over an exposed structure," said Carl Smith, CEO/executive director of GEI. "Safer building may cost a little more time and money in the short term, but can save many more headaches in the future."

These precautions, which comprise the GEI Mold Protection Programâ„¢, include:

1. Site Assessment
The site must undergo both a soil/hydrology review and assessment and a landscape architecture review and assessment. You should hire a registered civil engineer for the first job and a registered landscape architect for the second. One must particularly make sure water does not settle near the building's proposed foundation.

2. Building Envelope Review
An independent third party should assess the strength of the building's roof, wall assembly, and foundation.

A load analysis, equipment selection review, control systems check, layout, and materials section review are all necessary.

4. Plumbing
Moisture and condensation must be managed and taken into account in conjunction with any design issues. The size, design, and use of the building must be matched appropriately to its plumbing system. A qualified third party should review these specifications.

5. Materials
Any potentially moisture-sensitive materials should be identified during the initial design and then shipped, packaged, stored, and installed appropriately so as to shield them from elements.

6. Final Design/Construction Documents Approval
The final design, which includes moisture and mold prevention measures must be approved by the building owner/developer's representative.

7. Construction Verification
The construction site and ongoing building must be inspected by a qualified third party at least once every three months. These inspections include all materials deemed moisture sensitive, ensuring they are not installed prior to the building being sealed or, at least, temporarily covered.

8. Operations and Maintenance Training Plans
Building and maintenance personnel should be trained in preventing, spotting, and reporting moisture incidents.

9. Acceptance
An authorized third party should formally inspect the property to ensure it meets overall requirements. This onsite inspection includes all appliances, pipes, drains, and other areas where condensation occurs. The certification can then be obtained.

10. Ongoing Inspections
The property should be inspected at least four times during the first year of occupancy and on an ongoing basis in the following years.

For more information on the Greenguard Mold Protection Program, go to

Publication date: 09/18/2006