HVAC contractors get involved daily with equipment and conditions that can come into play regarding the presence (or absence) of mold. And yet, most contractors do not offer mold remediation work themselves, preferring to refer to a specialist or simply let the customer pursue solutions elsewhere.
This avoidance may be due to a lack of personal experience, or a reluctance to invest in another area that requires additional training and staffing and equipment, or perhaps all of the above.
That said, someone is doing that referral work. The few HVAC contractors who do provide mold remediation (and they are out there) likely capture a large share of the remediation work that arises with existing HVAC customers, and then some.
The upfront costs are real, of course, but diversification is not a new strategy in contracting and elsewhere for protecting the business against downturns or slow markets in one sector.
Whether the objective is expanding into mold remediation as a new revenue stream or sharpening up on some basics for when a service tech comes across what might be mold during a call, education ahead of time can help. Multiple associations serve this professional space, and many sell online or in-person training in one form or another.
The three associations below offer such training in addition to memberships with their own benefits. The products vary, from presenter backgrounds to topics emphasized to course availability. These summaries may provide a useful first glance, but interested contractors should investigate further, whether with one of these groups or another not listed.
In a time where extreme weather events seem to happen with increasing frequency in addition to the moisture-related usual suspects, mold remediation may be a “growing” business.
Contractors can choose from a half-dozen mold remediation courses at IAQA University (www.iaqa.org). The courses cost $75 for nonmembers and $45 for IAQA members. Corporate membership, which covers all employees, is currently priced at $375 per year, with multi-year discounts available. An individual membership costs $195 per year, with similar longer-term discounts available.
The IAQA subject matter includes:
- Intro to mold remediation.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Engineering controls.
- Contaminant removal.
- Antimicrobial use.
- Remediation plans and verification.
To review the outline for a sample course, the PPE course goal is to understand the role the equipment can play in reducing exposure to mold during remediation activities.
Students will learn about and identify differences between types of respirators and other personal protective gear. The class will also examine the U.S. regulations that govern the use of PPE.
And finally, upon course completion, the student objective will be to have the knowledge to select an appropriate level of PPE and to become familiar with some key work practices related to the use of PPE on mold remediation jobs.
The certified industrial hygienist behind 50 of IAQA’s courses is Ian Cull, owner of Indoor Sciences in Chicago.
IAQA offers online courses, webinars series, and on-site courses in other IAQ-related subjects.
Categories include radon, CO, asbestos, and a few others.
A survey of on-site courses indicates a few two-day sessions for each course through 2019, taking place in cities such as Orlando, Florida; Chicago; Irvine, California; and Richmond, Virginia.
The National Association of Mold Professionals promotes its “Mold Inspection & Remediation Certification” course as the only certification course being taught by MDs, Ph.D.’s, and JDs with extensive backgrounds in the mold industry.
And indeed, the names and bios of an array of presenters with those degrees are available on NAMP’s website, which can be found at www.moldpro.org.
The three-day course comprises 24 hours of content, presented by IMS Laboratory LLC.
As for the content itself, the topic list includes:
- Mold and its health effects.
- Hands-on instruction with sampling equipment.
- Sampling strategies and protocols.
- Special situations including testing for hidden mold.
- Report generation and interpretation.
- Proper techniques for mold removal and remediation.
- Sources for mold inspection and remediation equipment and supplies.
NAMP reports that the course is approved for several organizations, with an emphasis on the home inspector industry.
As for membership in the association itself, members are required to complete a minimum of recurring training. The yearly individual rate is $295, while the company rate is $495.
The National Association of Mold Remediators & Inspectors does not conduct training or education itself, according to its website at www.namri.org. However, it does list a NAMRI-accredited training opportunity offered by the Professional Mold Inspection Institute (PMII, www.homeinspectioninstitute.com/remediation.php).
PMII’s “Certified Mold Remediator” course is a 40-hour online course composed of 13 lessons, with a cost of $299. Its objective is to teach how to contain and clean mold-affected areas, as well as how to find the source of the problem and repair it.
- Making a preliminary determination, calculating costs, and contracting labor.
- Determining the project scope and developing a five-step project plan.
- How to perform project documentation to track environmental conditions before and after the remediation.
- Containment, control, and removal protocols, along with contaminant prevention.
- Creating negative air pressure differentials using HEPA-filtered ventilation equipment.
- Removing contaminated porous and semi-porous materials and cleaning nonporous materials.
- Structural remediation and contamination prevention methods.
The course includes a mold remediation report creator and also discusses a code of ethics and relevant national standards, according to the website.
In addition to the certification, graduates receive other benefits, including telephone support for their work as well as a one-year NAMRI membership.
Publication date: 4/22/2019