American Building Sciences, LLC

8606 Hunters Village Rd, #617 Tampa, Florida 33647

(813) 215-2860

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Forensic Cause and Origin Investigations

Water damage tells a story. Materials react to moisture in predictable, known ways. When a specific material is exposed to moisture, it becomes damaged in the same way each time. If the person examining the water-damaged materials understands this process, useful information can be derived that would otherwise not be apparent. In many cases, the pattern of material deterioration provides a map showing where the source of the moisture is located, the nature of the moisture source, and the duration of the moisture exposure. Additionally, this information can be utilized to provide a more appropriate and effective remediation protocol. This information is widely available; however, the knowledge and expertise of your professional will determine whether your project benefits from it. If you have questions about water damage and would like to benefit from our expertise, we would be proud to earn your business.

Duration of Damage Investigations

Peer-reviewed published studies provide an invaluable resource for determining the duration of water damage and mold in buildings. These studies detail the sequence of growth of various mold species under different environmental conditions, enabling professionals to accurately determine the age of mold growth. By comparing the specifics of the damage with relevant studies, experts can assess how long the mold has been present and, by extension, how long the building has been experiencing water damage. Additionally, peer-reviewed research offers insights into the degradation rates of materials exposed to water over time.

By understanding the typical timelines for material breakdown in the presence of moisture, experts can determine the onset of moisture exposure. This knowledge is critical in diagnosing the extent and duration of water damage, facilitating a targeted and effective remediation strategy. Consequently, the utilization of peer-reviewed studies aids not only in accurately dating water damage and mold growth but also in implementing the most appropriate solutions to restore building health and safety. This scientific approach lends precision and credibility to the investigation’s conclusions.

Floor Tile Damage Investigations

Thorough investigation and measurements are essential steps in determining the cause of floor tile damage in buildings. By examining the affected area, professionals can identify damage patterns that reveal specific problems such as movement due to thermal expansion and contraction, improper mortar bonding, and cracking of the concrete substrate due to installation deficiencies. Measurements of damage locations, moisture levels, and temperature can provide critical information. Additionally, assessing the condition of the grout and mortar bond, as well as the spacing and alignment of tiles, can help identify installation defects that resulted in tile damage.

Moreover, a detailed investigation can reveal external factors contributing to tile damage, such as surface contamination or environmental conditions. By combining visual inspection with the careful collection of data, experts can accurately identify the origin of the tile damage. This holistic approach enables the identification of not just the immediate cause of the tile damage but also the root causes of tile damage in buildings.

Leak Source Detection

Leak Detection involves the use of observations and instrumentation to identify leaks. The first step in identifying a leak source is to observe the materials and components in the area of concern. Careful observation can reveal signs such as water meter movement, sounds, staining, discoloration, and deterioration that were not initially apparent. After careful observation, instrumentation should be used to further narrow down the leak's location.

Moisture meters can be used for mapping the moisture in the residence to help identify the area of the leak. Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) thermal imagery helps identify temperature gradients typical of the presence of moisture, aiding in the identification of the leak source. Infrared thermometers can determine temperatures to identify condensing surfaces. A sling psychrometer is used to measure the dew point temperature and the Relative Humidity (RH) in the residence. With proper use of these and other instruments, a clearer picture of the leak area will begin to develop.

As many components do not contain water or are not under water pressure unless they are in use, testing may be necessary to confirm the leak source. This testing must be conducted appropriately to prevent failure of unrelated components. Correctly identifying the leak source depends on the knowledge and expertise of the professional evaluating the issue. This process will reliably identify the leak source, enabling repairs to be made correctly the first time. If you need help identifying a leak source, we would be honored to provide our assistance.

Mold Sampling

Mold is typically collected through air or surface samples. Air samples involve running a known quantity of air through a device. This device contains a sticky surface (spore trap) or agar media (impactor), where mold spores become embedded. These samples are then sent to a laboratory to determine the number and types of mold present. The results are compared to a control sample to determine if the indoor air quality was impaired by microbial growth at the time of sampling. There are numerous spore-trap sample manufacturers, but Air-O-Cell cartridges are the most common. Agar media samples, typically supplied by the laboratory, are cultured to determine if the collected spores will grow under the right conditions (viability). Air samples may be inaccurate if collected over an incorrect time period and are essentially useless without outdoor controls.

Surface samples can be collected via tape-lift, swab, or bulk methods. Tape-lift samples use sticky tape pressed against a surface, collecting mold spores that adhere to the tape. This tape is then applied to a glass microscope slide. Swab samples use a moistened Q-tip-like swab to collect spores from a surface. Bulk samples involve removing a small piece of material that supports microbial growth. These samples are typically sent to a laboratory for analysis, though qualified professionals can examine them in the field using a microscope. Laboratories provide the genius, count, and coverage area of observed microbial growth. Homeowners usually request air sampling for mold concerns; however, a licensed Mold Assessor should explain the limitations of this technique before proceeding.

Air samples can indicate if there is an above-normal quantity of mold impairing indoor air quality, but they cannot pinpoint the mold's location. If homeowners suspect mold, they usually have an area of concern in mind. In such cases, surface sampling may be more cost-effective. If the goal is to confirm the absence of mold-impaired air quality, air samples combined with a thorough examination of the residence may be the best approach. Unnecessary mold sampling costs money, and American Building Sciences is sensitive to how we spend your funds. If you have mold concerns and would like to discuss the best way to address them, please contact us. We would be proud to earn your business.

Mold Remediation Protocols and Post-Remediation Verifications (PRV)

In Florida, there are two licenses that pertain to mold: Mold Assessors and Mold Remediators. These two licenses work together to ensure proper mold remediation. If a homeowner suspects they have a mold problem, a licensed Mold Assessor should evaluate the concern and determine the presence of mold. Additionally, the Mold Assessor should identify the source of the mold and decide if professional remediation is necessary. If remediation is required, the Mold Assessor should prepare a Mold Remediation Protocol. This protocol provides site-specific directions for the proper remediation of the mold. A Licensed Mold Remediator from a separate company should then follow the protocol to remediate the mold.

After the Mold Remediator has completed the remediation, the Mold Assessor should return to the property to verify that the mold was properly remediated. To confirm the remediation, the Mold Assessor will use visual observations, moisture measurements, air samples, and verify that the Mold Remediation Protocol was properly followed. The Mold Assessor should prepare a report that confirms the remediation of the mold. If these steps are followed, homeowners can rest assured that their mold problem has been properly addressed. At American Building Sciences, we specialize in Mold Assessments. If you have concerns about mold in your home, please contact us so that we can assist you in resolving the issue.

Structural Roof Assessments

A detailed assessment is crucial to properly identify the cause of roof damage. This process involves observations, measurements, and thorough documentation. By visually inspecting the roof, professionals can identify signs of age-related wear, wind damage, or impact damage. Measurements help in quantifying the extent of the damage. Documentation, including photographs and detailed notes, creates a comprehensive record of the roof's condition and aids in tracking changes over time. This holistic approach ensures that the underlying causes of the roof damage are accurately identified.