Mould is a type of fungus that is present everywhere. Whether indoors or outdoors, mould spores can easily grow when favourable conditions exist – even in construction sites. In fact, mould only needs food, water and heat to bloom into an unwanted problem. Interestingly, sunlight is not required!
Unlike other organisms, mould can’t produce its own food, so it relies on other forms of organic matter such as cellulose-rich materials to obtain its energy. Areas that are damp or where water build-up regularly occurs are conducive to mould growth. If the air is humid, the higher the chances for mould to grow and spread rapidly.
In the ecosystem, mould plays a vital role in sustaining plant and animal life. However, within buildings, the presence of mould is undesirable.
Whether you’re a construction manager or property owner, a mould infestation is a nightmare to deal with. Mould can disrupt construction deadlines and increase the total cost of the project. When it comes to building a new house, facility or workspace, the risk of mould growth is potentially high if precautions are not taken before or during construction.
Main Causes of Mould During Construction
Many factors may lead to mould growth during construction. It’s important to take the following into consideration if you want to prevent mould from turning your building project into a fungus-infested nightmare:
Water and Moisture
During construction the typical chain of events includes having your foundations laid, and framing installed before you have any type of covering installed on the property such as the roof.
Having wet materials from passing weather when a property is not water tight can
create the perfect breeding ground for mould, it’s important to keep surfaces and materials such as timber framing, partition walls and tongue and groove board as dry as possible.
Poor site drainage may cause excess water to collect in the basement and ground floor levels. Water intrusion in the form of leaks, condensation and water drawn from other areas due to capillary action may also result in unnecessary water build-up. If not addressed or controlled, stagnant water can quickly become a paradise for mould to thrive.
Areas, where building materials are stored, must also be frequently inspected for the presence of mould. Materials such as wooden beams, tiles, paint and wallpaper are susceptible to mould growth and must be stored in areas which are dry, and with temperatures kept at optimal levels to prevent humidity. Try avoid materials being left in open garage spaces as these can often have water pool on the flooring from wind driven rain.
New Material Shipment
Inspecting newly shipped materials is important, even when construction is in a dry climate and location. This is to make sure that shipments are handled properly during transport and no moisture is present when the materials are delivered on-site.
Where Mould is Usually Found in Construction
Mould is constantly floating around in the atmosphere, being blown from one location to another. They often travel by air currents or attach themselves onto hair, shoes or clothing.
In construction sites, mould can grow in areas that are damp, dark and with high humidity. Mould may first appear in construction materials such as wooden studs, plaster board, ceiling panels, carpeting, wallpaper and insulation. Such materials must be stored properly, if possible, under covers and above ground to protect them from rainwater, humidity or storm runoff.
The wetting of materials is a normal part of the construction process. Houses or buildings get wet as the structure goes up, so it is essential to allow for a suitable amount of drying time before closing in or covering up building components.
Why Mould Spells Bad News for New Builds
Mould problems in a newly built property can have a huge impact on both project cost and timeline. Replacing the materials affected by mould growth, plus remediating areas where mould colonies are present can introduce delays to project timelines..
And even worse, if you are hired for a construction project, mould infiltration leading to structural damage or health issues of occupants may also mean liability potential.
However, not all mould removal businesses are equal. Choosing one with years of knowledge and expertise, the right tools and equipment and an understanding of construction can see the problem dealt with swiftly and with as little disruption to deadlines and budgets as possible.
How to Prevent Mould During Construction
Mould prevention during construction may be challenging, but it is possible. Here are some tips which can help keep your new builds mould-free:
Control indoor moistur
Moisture is one of the main culprits known to encourage mould spores to spread and grow – so keeping materials which are vulnerable to moisture dry is key. Make sure you install moisture barriers and use sump pumps to prevent groundwater from seeping into below ground spaces. Properly insulate walls and ceilings to keep cold air out and install vapour barriers to prevent condensation. Also keep the roofs, walls, windows and foundation weatherproof
Ensure proper ventilation and humidity
Humidity and lack of air circulation also boost mould growth. Monitor humidity levels when you install interior walls to reduce the risk of future mould infestation.
Store building materials properly
When receiving materials, always unload them in a dry place. Keep materials off the ground and in an enclosed storage space. If you’re storing materials in an open area, keep them under the roof or cover them with moisture-resistant and vapour-permeable material like a tarp.
Dry-in the buildin
To prevent water intrusion, seal the building by installing a water-tight roof and seals around windows and other openings before moving on to the installation of ceilings and plasterboard linings
Consult the professionals
Before, during and after construction, consult with mould prevention experts to get recommendations on mould and water intrusion prevention strategies.
How to Get Rid of Mould on Construction Sites
Mould removal methods typically depend on the size of the affected area and type of mould present. In small areas, if mould grows on non-porous building materials like plastic, glass or vinyl, it can be removed by damp wiping with a mixture of water and detergent solution.
However, if mould is caused by water damage and appears on porous building materials (plasterboard, MDF or framing), such may be difficult to remove and are better discarded.
Larger areas which require mould remediation may have to be handled by a professional mould removal company to ensure that mould is completely and properly removed.
When to Call in the Experts
Mould can slow down construction projects and cause you to go way over budget. If left unattended, mould infestations may spread throughout the site..
If mould is affecting your construction project, let our expert specialists at Mould Cleaning Australia handle it for you. Our team of mould removal and remediation experts are ready to tackle all types of mould problems. We will conduct a property inspection free of charge, provide a summary of our recommendations including the cost of our services – and then make sure that the mould is thoroughly and permanently removed from your property.
Mould in construction can be a hassle. But it doesn’t need to be. Arrange your free inspection today and stay on track with your construction budget and deadlines.