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Photograph of an almost-correctly protected mold investigator at work in a moldy basement.Conflicts of Interest in Building Inspection, Roof Inspection, Mold Testing or Inspection etc.
How to Hire a Professional to Inspect or Test a Building

  • CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - CONTENTS: how & why to avoid conflicts of interest when hiring a mold or IAQ professional
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to hire an expert to inspect or test a building for mold or other indoor contaminants while at the same time assuring that there are no conflicts of interest tha threaten the actual or potential quality of the work performed or the cost of the job.
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How to avoid unethical conflicts of interest when hiring a consultant:

This article describes how to assure that the scope of work specified in a mold or other indoor environmental cleanup has not been tainted by the conflict of interest of a business or financial relationship between the initial consultant and the company who will perform the actual cleanup and building repairs.

While we use mold testing and inspection as an example of conflicts of interest to avoid, the same principles apply to hiring a professional for any building inspection such as for roof hail damage, fire damage, insurance settlement inspections, or other tests.



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Avoid Conflicts of Interest When Hiring Mold Inspectors or Remediation Contractors

Mold spray in process (C) D Friedman & AnabecHow to avoid conflicts of interest during a mold remediation project: the person who evaluates your property to tell you what (possibly costly) cleanup work is needed certainly should not be the same person who is going to perform that work.

Is this person related to your mold inspector? The mold "remediator" shown at left is spraying a biocide on wall-to-wall carpeting in a mold-contaminated building - a procedure whose validity may be rather questionable. But worse, if the remediator is related to the person you paid to define the scope of work, there is an innate conflict of interest involved.

In the photograph at page top the author, modeling attractive blue Tyek, ™was examining a very moldy basement. He will find the extent of cleanup needed, perform appropriate testing in this and other building areas, and will assist the homeowner in evaluating the results of the cleaning effort.

Such "suiting up" in protective gear is not required in buildings where there is not a suspected or obvious mold hazard, and we warn that over-dressing can inappropriately scare building occupants. In any case, regardless of how we dress, in our opinion and that of many other professional and industry experts:

It is unethical and a conflict of interest for the investigator who is going to specify what mold remediation cleanup work is needed in a building to also offer to perform the cleanup work itself.

How to Avoid a Risky Conflict of Interest When Hiring a Consultant

Using a borescope to check a wall cavity for visible moldMake certain that the environmental consultant, mold test consultant, mold inspector, or similar expert:

Reader Question: How do I find an "independent" mold consultant?

How does one find an independent mold consultant? - Mary Robinson

I just had my pest control company look in my attic for mice. When they came downstairs they told me there is 'wood fungus' on the attic beams. They offered to spray it to kill it for almost $800. From what I've read, this doesn't sound like a good idea. Would you suggest hiring an investigator? - D. Falk

Reply: your mold expert should investigate and write the remediation plan but should not perform the cleanup work

Mary: If your emphasis is on "independent" you need to interview the consultant and make sure that s/he only inspects, diagnoses, tests, and writes the remediation and repair plan - that is, s/he does not perform the actual cleaning or repair work, and s/he has absolutely no financial nor business relationship with the company that does perform that work.

If your emphasis is on how to find a mold or indoor air person, my goodness, we're drowning in them - by using the EXPERTS DIRECTORY link at page top you will see lists of directories of inspectors various expertises; on line web search, yellow pages, inside of matchbook covers.

But unfortunately some such "experts" just collect samples and send them to a lab - not a very helpful process if a diagnostic inspection and interview and consulting are not included in the fee. And other "mold experts" are more interested in performing the clean-up job too - an innate conflict of interest that exposes everyone, you, the consultant, the cleanup crew, to an actual or potential charge that the advice you received was not un-biased.

D. Falk: Your PCO may be well intended and certainly they have found it profitable to jump on the mold bandwagon, but their approach is incompetent. Spraying as a "cure" for mold is inadequate. Proper procedure is more work - if there is a problem mold reservoir the mold is physically cleaned (removed) and its cause has to be corrected.

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Continue reading at DEFINITION of IAQ PROBLEM or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see HAIL DAMAGED SHINGLES for an example of possible roof & insurance settlement inspection conflicts of interest

Or see MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERT, HIRE ?

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CONFLICTS OF INTEREST at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to MOLD CONTAMINATION & REMEDIATION

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