Bringing in moisture during repairs or renovations could cause damage, Scott “Spiderman” Mulholland warns.
A big concern with new or existing construction, preventing incidental water intrusion is a bid issue. Investigator Spiderman Mulholland warns that sometimes the damage can be there from the very beginning. Mulholland also warns that water damage can kill the value of an investment property. Mulholland is CEO of US Building Consultants, Building Envelope Science Institute.
As an expert in water intrusion and forensic investigations, Scott Mulholland has been in the business for over 35 years and has participated in over 4,000 building investigations. He wrote the book “Jump!: Now You Will Have No Excuse” on his life and success in the industry.
After so many investigations, what has Spiderman Mulholland found? The problem isn’t always an outside threat.
Spiderman Mulholland notes: “It has been said that 80% of all construction litigation is associated with water intrusion issues, and we excel in this key area along with other associated issues that occur from latent construction defects.”
“Even new buildings experience water damage if the project was not managed properly or low-quality materials were used,” Spiderman Mulholland explained.
And, it’s not as simple as you might think to avoid damaging moisture levels in building materials. The moisture content will depend on the type of building materials. Any time they are exposed to the outside elements, Mulholland recommends taking visual examination and even moisture measurements prior to and before sensitive building materials are installed.
Materials, like drywall, can fall apart and lose their material integrity if they get even slightly wet. Moisture levels need to stay lower than 8-10%. Insulation is a material that can also retain moisture and support mold growth. To check insulation, it’s important to get readings from multiple angles, Mulholland says. The moisture pockets are easy to miss until the visible signs of water damage become noticeable as the moisture breaches the nearby drywall.
Typically, drywall or wet wood can create a nightmare for mold when there is no air conditioning installed yet in new construction. This is especially true in hot humid climates that can increase microbial growth in wet building material.
As a building scientist, Mulholland has unique expertise in the inspection, diagnosis, and development of scopes of repair designed to solve complex building envelope and ecological issues. He has made a career dedicated to solving water intrusion and environmental impacts to building envelope systems and components. Mulholland’s work as an engineer, state and national board certified mold expert, and certified general contractor includes tearing apart and putting back together over 250 buildings per year for almost two decades.
“Starting with the end in mind and choosing the appropriate building envelope systems is a key part of reducing expensive mistakes that come back to bite you down the road, especially as it relates to water intrusion and mold,” Mulholland says.