Hidden contamination arises because of pre-existing issues or historic damage that remained unidentified prior to taking occupancy. Contamination caused by electrical, façade and plumbing failures in inaccessible places, and from changes to the day to day running of the building such as during lockdown results in delays in rectification.
Building failures can also lead to headaches, respiratory difficulties, or more serious health effects such as immune disease.
Whilst historic design, poor building and air conditioning maintenance lead to microbial contamination, these are often only uncovered when assessing a building for an insurance claim. There is often a strict limit on insurance settlement or compensation value for pre-existing loss, and most often reinstatement costs become the burden of the owner, or the insurer pays for damage which should not have been part of the claim.
Building inspection and bespoke laboratory analysis are required to separate the causation of the loss. Identifying the likely risk to the health of the occupants AND building integrity is vital in such assessments and LITMAS methods provide both.
The COVID-19-response has had an unprecedented impact on building occupancy and operation. Special inspection and testing methods are now needed for indoor environments where COVID-19 remains invisible but is a concern.
Showing that cleaning, remediation and rectification of hidden issues requires following a strict documentation and testing process, such as that set out by the Indoor Air Quality Association Australia and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. Our work supports those remediation procedures.