Home Inspectors and Mold

Received a phone call today from:
Richard “Rick” Morrison, Executive Director
Division of Professions
Mold-Related Services Licensing Program
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783

July 7, 2011
· Home Inspectors cannot advertise mold sampling without a Mold Assessor license. (chain of custody identifies type of sample)
· If Home Inspectors observe mold during their home inspection they can state that mold was observed in their report.
· Licensed home inspectors CANNOT collect mold samples without a mold assessor license.
· Mr. Morrison suggests that any home inspector collecting mold samples without a Mold Assessor license should be reported to the DBPR.

Any questions call Mr. Morrison.

Thats not what Nick says!

I say continue to do them and like Nick publically stated on this message board he is “bored and rich” and to “bring it on”.

Here is the exact post

Post #15

So no worries members Nick has your back. Remember we are not talking about getting sued, we are talking about the DBPR taking your license, to me that is worse!

Nick, any input on this or do you still go with the 10 sq foot rule and taking air quality samples?


Looking at something and saying its’ mold without testing it could be risky. You should either sample it or don’t get into it.

No different from stating that you see termite damage and recommending a termite inspection.

This does NOT surprise me!

Any of us that have been performing Insurance Inspections for Citizens, have noted that our agents often hear many different answers to the same question. It only depends upon who at Citizens they ask…Why should the DBPR be any different.

It would be nice to have some clarification on this…Maybe the Governor could call a special session. LOL

I agree, Steve … but, until you test for it (“sample it”, if you will) and get a report from the lab, how do you really know what you have observed is actually “mold”? You certainly cannot publish in a home inspection report that a particular substance is “mold” without having it verified by a lab, but how do you know that your sample actually contains mold until such time that it has been tested?

Is it not an unenforcable law that would require you to have a “mold license” to do the sampling when it is not until you get the lab results that you can actually (and officially) know what your sample contains? I didn’t really sample “mold” until someone officially tells me that it is mold, right? Up to that point, all I know with any verifiable degree of certainty is that it is an organic substance that is consistent with mold.

Aren’t these people trying to say that a home inspector needs to have a “mold license” in order to take tests and samples to see whether or not what he is observing is actually mold? If so, that is not consistent with how the law reads.

If I took a sample of something from your house and sent it in to a lab for testing and it turned out to be moss, did I violate the law because I do not have a mold license? If I thought it was moss and it turned out to be mold, a fact not known to me until I got the results back from the lab, did I violate the law?

I think this law would fail under any court test.

Yes. Ignorance is not a viable defense

With this mentality you can do ANYTHING. Hey I didn’t know it was mold until I tested for it. Yes, your honor I filled out a MOLD chain of custody form, yes your Honor I sent it to a MOLD LAB for MOLD ANALYSIS, yes your honor I got a report back from a MOLD lab. But I had NO IDEA it was mold…

I mean if you think its moss then you should have sent it to an Bryologist…

How did you know it was an organic substance without sampling and having it tested??

A message board post describing a phone conversation is hearsay.

I would like Mr. Morrision to read Jim Bushart’s post and explain what the intent of the legislators was when they wrote “ten square feet” into the law. If Doug’s account of Mr. Morrison’s opinion is accurate (that being that licensed mold assessors are the only ones who can test for mold, period), then what changes at 10 square feet?

I’ve been dealing with government agencies for years and there is a reason I post actual PICs of the approval letters in the right column of www.nachi.org/education.htm I’ll need to see Mr. Morrison’s opinion in writing before I am willing to concede that the legislators in Florida wrote “ten square feet” in the law just to fill up space… and that if there is more mold than that or less mold than that, you need a mold assessor’s license.

It is not at Mr. Morrison’s discretion to modify legislative intent.

I trust my observation skills to determine whether or not something is organic (naturally occurring) or inorganic (not arising from natural growth). Beyond that, I need a lab. Vermiculite is organic … but not all of it contains asbestos. It gets a little tricky trying to “name that hazard” without third party verification.

I agree and it also is not Nick Gromicko’s discretion to determine his OPINION. I have known Doug Wall a long time and one thing the guy isn’t a fabricator of the truth.

Where is your letter Nick? Giving us the “intent”. You want it in writing that it is NOT allowed, I want it in writing that it IS allowed. NOT intent, not interpretation, the actual way the law IS…

Why are things that come out of your mouth Nick more prudent and correct than those who actually work in the industry? Actually talk to the the people who are sitting at the DBPR. Why not screw the hearsay and call the guy yourself? Go straight to the horses mouth! The phone number is right there.

Once again, Nick and James told me I could, I don’t think will cut it. But thats just me.

Because I have no interest in what he has to say in a telephone call, but unwilling to put in writing. I already have the law.

I seriously doubt that some bureaucrat is willing to declare, in writing, that the very specific “10 square feet” line drawn by the legislators of his government and enacted into law by his boss (the Governor) means absolutely nothing.

If that day ever comes… email me at fastreply@nachi.org If I haven’t already died of old age, I’ll look into it. LOL

DBPR expects to have a written statement in a couple weeks. That was the reason so many people received phone calls from the executive director Rick Morrison.

The lawyers have it now,so we should have a written statement soon.
Who wants to be first? :mrgreen:

Unlicensed activity:
1st offense / [FONT=Arial]A misdemeanor of the second degree[/FONT]
2nd offense / [FONT=Arial]A misdemeanor of the first degree[/FONT]
3rd or more / [FONT=Arial]A felony of the third degree[/FONT]

The 10 sqft rule doesnt even make sense. Every home that there is any mold has 10sqft. What happens when doing a home inspection and you take the access panel off the air handler to inspect the coils? What do you normally see in 90% of them? If the unit measures 20" x 30" and has 4 sides now what?



Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation (by synthesis or by other means) of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives. These compounds may contain any number of other elements, including hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, the halogens as well as phosphorus, silicon and sulfur.[1]](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_chemistry#cite_note-0)[2]](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_chemistry#cite_note-1)[3]](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_chemistry#cite_note-2)
Organic compounds are structurally diverse. The range of application of organic compounds is enormous. They either form the basis of, or are important constituents of, many products including plastics, drugs, petrochemicals, food, explosives, and paints. They form the basis of almost all earthly life processes (with very few exceptions).

Vermiculite would not be considered organic.

These are my onions on the current issue on whether Home Inspectors that also include mold testing. I have included information on those areas which may be of help or more confusing to some. This opinion is not directed at anyone. Hopefully a full discussion on the issue will be helpful.

The 10 s.f. amount may be from the EPA Table 2: Guidelines for Remediating Building Materials with Mold Growth Caused by Clean Water. The EPA list three types:** SMALL - Total Surface Area Affected Less Than 10 square feet (ft2),** **SMALL - Total Surface Area Affected Less Than 10 square feet (ft2), and LARGE - Total Surface Area Affected Greater Than 100 (ft2) or Potential for Increased Occupant or Remediator Exposure During Remediation Estimated to be Significant. **The purpose is to provide basic information to first assess the extent of the damage and then to determine whether the remediation should be managed by the homeowner or outside professionals. The homeowner can then use the guidelines to help design a remediation plan or to assess a plan submitted by outside professionals.

Standards or Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants. There is no health or exposure-based standards that you can use to evaluate a mold sampling result. The Florida Department of Health does not recommend mold testing or sampling to see if you have a mold problem, or to see what kind of mold might be growing. Investigate a mold problem; don’t test.
The CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Reliable sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established.
The sampling being completed by you may be worthless and most importantly you can be liable for mistaken results. Is it worth it? :shock:

A quick review on Florida Law for Mold Assessor and Home Inspector:
Florida Statutes PART XVI
(3) “Mold assessment” means a process performed by a mold assessor that includes the physical sampling and detailed evaluation of data obtained from a building history and inspection to formulate an initial hypothesis about the origin, identity, location, and extent of amplification of mold growth of greater than 10 square feet.
(4**) “Mold assessor” means any person who performs or directly supervises a mold assessment.**
468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.—
(1) A person may not:
(a) Effective July 1, 2011, perform or offer to perform any mold assessment unless the mold assessor has documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection under s. 468.8414(2).
468.8311 Definitions
(4) “Home inspection services” means a limited visual examination of the following readily accessible installed systems and components of a home: the structure, electrical system, HVAC system, roof covering, plumbing system, interior components, exterior components, and site conditions that affect the structure, for the purposes of providing a written professional opinion of the condition of the home.
Review of our Standards and Practices of Home Inspector
1. Definitions and Scope 1.1. A Home Inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of a residential dwelling, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify observed material defects within specific components of said dwelling. Components may include any combination of mechanical, structural, electrical, plumbing, or other essential systems or portions of the home, as identified and agreed to by the Client and Inspector, prior to the inspection process.
3.1. Limitations:
I. An inspection is not technically exhaustive.
3.2. Exclusions:
I. The inspectors are not required to determine:
J. the presence of mold, mildew, fungus or toxic drywall.
K. the presence of air-borne hazards.
N. the air quality.
III. The inspectors are not required to:
L. offer or perform any trade or professional service other than home inspection
4.39. Technically Exhaustive: A comprehensive and detailed examination beyond the scope of a real estate home inspection which would involve or include, but would not be limited to: dismantling, specialized knowledge or training, special equipment, measurements, calculations, testing, research, analysis or other means.
In review of the information it seems that our inspections are not to be technically exhaustive. If testing and analysis are performed in homes for mold then it seems that this would be outside the scope of a Home Inspector. Wouldn’t it much easier or less liable to recommend that further investigation may be needed.
Mold samples should not be taken. But if you must, the collection of any type of mold sample is considered to be part of a mold assessment and **[FONT=Verdana]**not ****within the scope of a home inspection. This should be an additional service offered by home inspectors that have a mold assessor license. [/FONT]
As a mold assessor I rarely test for mold unless it involves an insurance claim and they insist. Finding the source of the problem and the recommended remediation is all that is usually needed.
Some did not want to get licensed for Home inspectors as some believe they do not need to be licensed to do mold assessing. Why all the discontent, just go get a license. If your testing you must be educated enough to get licensed. Issue solved.
Many people have unrealistic expectations of what mold testing can do and they can be taken advantage of by those who perform testing poorly or for inappropriate reasons. If we are true professionals in our trade should we be taken advantage of our clients of a quick fifty bucks?

Jim McAlhany
[FONT=Consolas]HI1169, CGC1506951, CCC1329670, MRSA278, MRSR737

Fifty bucks?