In recent years, indoor mold and moisture intrusion problems have replaced asbestos as the number one environmental risk for new construction. According to the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI), the 10 worst states for mold contamination in commercial and residential property are Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, California, South Dakota, Tennessee and Kansas. These rankings were established by comparing losses on insurance claims with premiums paid.
Regardless of the climate, too much moisture in a building creates favorable conditions for indoor mold growth. At issue are modern day building design and building practices that create tight buildings, which may be good for energy conservation, but they also may not allow excess moisture to drain away or evaporate. Further, poor workmanship and low quality or improperly installed building materials can increase the risk.
The consequences of indoor mold growth can be costly in terms adverse impacts on building occupant health, damage to building materials, and construction defect and personal injury litigation, not to mention bad publicity. While all buildings are at risk, much of the mold-related litigation in recent years seems to be focused on multifamily (including senior) housing, hospitality and residential buildings. As a result, mold has put a chokehold on insurers interested in writing policies that cover this risk. Because most insurance policies exclude or significantly limit coverage, the financial risk associated with mold and moisture problems rests squarely on the shoulders of the developer, design and construction team, building owner and facility manager.
Not all of the news is bad, however. Buildings that are designed, constructed and operated in a manner that prevents indoor mold growth can now become certified. Through the GREENGUARD Mold Protection ProgramTM, AQS offers preventative measures to assist developers, owners, lenders, and insurers achieve this building certification. A key advantage of the program is the close working relationship between AQS’ building scientists and the building owner’s design, construction, and facility management team. This high level of collaboration and the invaluable guidance identifies potential moisture problems early on, which reduces the cost of changes in design and construction; consolidates moisture management into a single process, which improves design and construction efficiency; complements the emerging “green” building trend and supports developers’ positioning themselves as progressive providers of high quality construction; and facilitates competitive, affordable rates for mold insurance.