In most cases, unfortunately not.
Even if they claim to be qualified, mold treatment is an incredibly important and potentially dangerous job that requires years of specialist training in order to be performed correctly.
As a highly specific trade, mold remediation requires someone who is aware of the specific procedures that need to be followed.
A set of industry-standard guidelines exist, which most general contractors are completely unaware of.
In order to successfully treat the issue, you need to be thoroughly educated on the way mold spores appear and spread, and the most effective ways to eradicate them without causing further problems or making anybody unwell.
The only time your general contractor is licensed to perform mold remediation is if their website directly markets this as the case, or it is stated on their business card.
No proof of their qualifications? Do NOT let them attempt to treat that mold.
When a contractor states they are trained in remediation, you should ask to see their accreditation - if it is not provided by a key industry group, like for instance the IICRC, they are not likely to be qualified or even insured to perform this treatment.
Likewise, it’s highly unlikely that in the event they don’t have any of the above, a general contractor will have the correct professional equipment to perform mold remediation.
And no, we’re not talking about a bleach based spray.
Not only will performing the remediation without the proper equipment be an entirely useless waste of time and money, but it could also cause further damage and spread the contamination across your home, meaning you have to spend more to fix it.
Even if a contractor claims to be insured, you should ask whether it is a General Liability Policy or specifically covering the specialized insurance required to perform mold remediation.
Can’t prove that that’s the case? Do not hire them to do the job.
At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Even if you’re scared of saying no to your contractor, think about how much you’ll care about that when they cause thousands of dollars in damage or make you sick by spreading mold.
Given that, if left untreated, mold can be deadly for the inhabitants of an enclosed space, it’s not something to mess around with or take a risk on.
Think about your family, visitors to the home, any pets you have… do you want to make them sick?
Do contractors have to report mold?
Only to whoever hired them! As general contractors, they are not obliged to report anything regarding mold in your home to anybody except you, as it is you who has to contact an environmental health professional for instance, in order to fix the problem.
If you’re asking this question because there is untreated mold in your house but you still want some work done, it’s best to get that treated first.
Most contractors won’t work in a house that has mold present, for the sake of their own career.
This is because, in recent years, there has been a trend in clients reporting their contractors as responsible for the appearance of mold in their home, in order to pay for the damage by claiming against their insurance.
It is usually the case that if a general contractor spots some mold in your home, or you make them aware of it, they will advise you to hire someone who is specialized in remediation to take care of the issue before they start work.
That being said, if you haven’t told them about the mold and they discover it before you can let them know, they may be inclined to call a professional on your behalf, especially if they believe that they, or you, are in danger of inhaling deadly spores.
When you’ve hired a contractor to do work on your house, but you’re worried they’re going to report you to some kind of mold authority, don’t freak out.
It’s not like there’s mold police just waiting to come and arrest you for environmental crimes.
However, they do have a duty of care to point out anything that they spot to you, as the homeowner. If they don’t make a point of letting you know straight away when it is seen (unless they physically cannot see it) then you probably don’t want them working on your house.
A good contractor knows just how damaging mold can be, and will immediately stop working on the property (or should!) in order to have some remediation performed first.
If they don’t, then you’re working with a shifty person with something to hide.
Perhaps they’re not fully qualified, or maybe they aren’t very good at their job, but I certainly would not entrust my family home to a contractor who sees mold and doesn’t immediately do something about it.