The term mold test report is a colloquial term for a construction appraisal that was produced in or on a building or component due to mold growth. It is therefore a normal expert opinion based on structural damage and / or construction defects.
The owner and founder of the Holzmann-Bauberatung® expert office, Gerhard Holzmann, has been working and investigating fungal damage for over 30 years, 20 of them as an expert for damage to buildings. This wealth of experience makes it easier to assess damage and causes, which usually leads to comprehensible and actual results.
There are different ways to take samples. We have severely restricted the use of so-called spore collectors from the indoor air, since their results are highly questionable and the costs occurring for the client are to be classified as disproportionate. However, should you insist, we surely be happy to do it for you (see a little further below).
The growth of mold and the presence of mold spores is omnipresent in nature and also not a modern phenomenon, so there is no need to worry at first. Mold growth can only become problematic if this occurs in closed living spaces of people and / or animals and / or if the growth is doing damage to the building or building materials. An increased concentration of spores can trigger various types of health problems. Due to their growth, some types of fungi directly damage the building structure, which can also endanger stability.
Molds need nutrients and moisture to grow. Since nutrients are generally available in more or less readily available forms in buildings, moisture is of crucial importance. The moisture limit, below which there is no growth of mold on materials, is around 70% relative humidity on the surface. As the moisture content increases, so the occurrence of mold growth will. At 80% relative humidity on the surface, the growth conditions for almost all indoor mold types are reached.
There are many reasons for the growth of mold in living space, building materials and components, so here are just a few examples:
- thermal bridges
- faulty thermal insulation (on internal insulation or facade insulation)
- low heat storage or thermal insulation of the building materials
- increased heat transfer resistance
- inadequate heating
- damaged or leaky window seals
- incorrectly installed vapor barriers
- increased moisture production in the interior
- inadequate or improper ventilation
- inadequate heating and / or incorrect arrangement of the radiators and suchlike
- poor moisture buffering of the building materials
- water damage from outside or inside
- new moisture / building moisture
- high humidity due to many plants, animals or similar
- incorrect use or overcrowding of the premises
- convection of warm, humid air into cold or only slightly heated rooms
- problematic arrangement of furnishings
- moisture in the building construction due to general construction defects
- moisture in the building structure due to general building damage
- badly arranged furniture
- high nutrient supply (wrong building materials and / or careless cleaning)
- improperly repaired water damage (pipe breaks, storm damage, etc.)
- building moisture not completely dry
A common problem related to mold is in the area of tenancy law. In this case, a neutral building expert must determine the circumstances that caused mold growth.
- The owner / landlord must remedy and renovate construction-related causes; the tenant can negotiate and / or dispute a rent reduction if necessary.
- User-related causes are to be remedied by the tenant and, if necessary, compensation is to be paid to the owner / landlord.
Only after the cause has been determined can the necessary steps to remedy the defect be planned and addressed. Mold damage, the growth of which can be visually recorded is less than 0.5 m², can usually be removed by the tenant or tenant and landlord according to the building expert’s instructions. If the visible growth is larger, it is generally advisable to commission a specialist company with the remediation and, under certain circumstances, also to commission a laboratory-based determination of fungi by taking a sample. However, this is decided by the testing neutral construction expert, who, if necessary, calls in additional specialists.
Indoor mold growth is a health risk, the elimination of which, for example, the purchaser of a newly built condominium can request from the manufacturing seller (entrepreneur), without this being offset by the disproportionate cost or effort. If the entrepreneur who is subject to supplementary performance appeals in the process to the disproportionate nature of the expertly justified and determined remedial costs, this can express a serious and definitive refusal to perform, so that a deadline according to § 637 para.1 BGB is no longer required for the advance payment. A previous alleged overcharging of the purchaser in the scope of the claimed remedial measures does not matter then. The purchaser is entitled to reimbursement of the expert’s expenses in addition to the service. The Oberlandesgericht Naumburg also decided this in a judgment issued in 2019. The Federal Court of Justice reacted similarly to this in 2006 and many other district, regional and higher regional courts over the years.
The Holzmann-Bauberatung® expert office offers laboratory-related mold analysis, engineering studies to diagnose the cause and, on request, plans individually adapted renovation proposals, including in the preservation of historical monuments. If necessary, other specialists are available to assist the clients of the Holzmann-Bauberatung® expert office. In addition to this, we also have contacts to experienced, accredited specialist lawyers that we are happy to provide to our clients if necessary.
Mold reports can be adapted to your needs. For example, the following services can be performed:
- on-site damage assessment
- taking material samples
- taking contact samples (nutrient sample or adhesive tape samples)
- measurement of the building moisture as well as the associated air humidity
- thermography of building vulnerabilities
- thermal detection of surfaces
- laboratory analyzes by independent laboratory partners
- report on the microbiological evaluations
- explanations of the circumstances found
- presentation of results according to customary expert opinion
- substantiated listing of costs for damage / defect elimination via a common calculation program or the individual requesting of current offers
- redevelopment concepts also taking into account any peculiarities of monument conservation
In this context, the taking of air samples, continuous monitoring of the climatic conditions with data loggers and much more can also be offered.
These services are usually created as a team in the expert office, with which architects and engineers work together to achieve the best possible results.
The costs for expert activities in the case of mold damage and their often necessary written preparation (“mold opinion”) are fundamentally dependent on the necessary examination times, the types of examination (e.g. measuring instruments) and the type of expert opinion requested, which are offered as follows:
- brief reports or expert opinions with a brief explanation of the causes of the mold infestation as the basis for out-of-court agreements with the tenants or landlords or for personal use.
- detailed building survey incl. laboratory evaluations for court reports, insurance reports, arbitration reports, evidence preservation procedures or similar.
Please note that from a professional and legal point of view, all of the writings of the aforementioned type are to be referred to as expert opinions and are therefore neutral, independent and to the best of our knowledge and belief, produced by the Holzmann-Bauberatung® expert office. For this reason, no dubious all-inclusive prices for services are offered, the scope of which is still completely unknown at the time the order is placed.
If the expert acts as a mediating construction expert, minutes of the conversation and / or results of the negotiations are also recorded. In all activities of the construction expert, it must be taken into account that the Holzmann-Bauberatung® expert office generally assumes a neutral position. The impartiality is confirmed in writing in every report.
You can find a lot more information about mold fungi in the living area under the tab “Fachinfo” and here under the heading “mold, algae and indoor air”. The employees of the Holzmann-Bauberatung® expert office will be happy to assist you as construction experts. Just call our office directly (Tel .: 0821 – 60 85 65 40).
By the way, the employees of the Holzmann-Bauberatung® expert office are permanently employed specialists. You will not be taken care by subcontractors or unskilled helpers. In the office itself, you will be looked after by trained professionals. The experts have practical and theoretical experience and have all completed at least one degree in architecture or civil engineering.