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Building Health Sciences - Healthy buildings, healthy people, healthy business

Hotel Case Studies

This is a set of case studies surrounding mold assessments in hotels. There are three separate cases in this report.


At a sprawling, two-story older southern hotel, BHS’s scope of engagement was to perform a total building mold inventory with recommendations for action and a building moisture intrusion assessment. This was necessary after the prior operator’s default on brand compliance parameters, maintenance and facility upgrades as determined upon arrival by the property owner’s management recovery team.

We visually inspected 124 of the 154 total guest rooms for mold and were able to perform intrusive investigations in two, out-of-order, rooms identified by housekeeping staff and available records as representative of the worst condition evident.

There was potential for building-wide moisture intrusion due to the condition of the EIFS and roof assemblies but it had not deteriorated to a 100% building-wide event. Both the EIFS and roof had evidence of many repair patches; both needed complete refurbishing or replacement. Nevertheless, it was evident that moisture entry contributing to mold growth behind the vinyl wall covering on exterior walls in many rooms was of great concern. During our investigation, minimal visible mold was evident; however, strong chemical smell to mask mold and mildew odors, thermal imaging and interviews with housekeeping quickly identified the magnitude of the problem. Prior management had addressed the mold problem by alleviating visual evidence; they simply covered the stained, existing vinyl wall covering with new .


BHS’ team was dispatched to the six story hotel by the mortgage holder to perform a full building mold inventory and confirm root cause assessments by others based on the unsatisfactory condition of the hotel and loss of recurring, contractual government revenue attributable to the operator’s malfeasance. The revenue decline impacted cash flow and the operation was out of compliance with mortgage terms and brand requirements.

We visually inspected 136 of the 195 total guest rooms for mold and were able to perform an intrusive investigations in one de-commissioned room identified as representative of the worst conditions. Based on our work and rooms unavailable for occupancy, patterns for problem areas and associated building contributions were apparent.

Rooms on the 4th, 5th and 6th floors had been re-furbished by the hotel operator’s own “self-perform” forces. The work did not address any exterior issues such as the EIFS building façade or window deficiencies contributing to moisture intrusion. However, there was clear recognition of the associated vinyl wall covering’s contribution to mold growth; the renovated rooms were finish painted with no application of vinyl wall covering. Although his did not alleviate the moisture intrusion and continuing damage to limited areas of building materials, it did eliminate mold growth within the guest rooms on those floors.

Rooms on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors had not been re-furbished and were representative of the conditions throughout the hotel prior to any re-modeling efforts. The extensive mold growth behind the vinyl wall covering and the pattern of distribution confirmed building enclosure failure conditions which had persisted unaddressed for some time. Ultimately, when all the occupancy economics and remediation variables were considered, it was our recommendation to close the hotel and perform an accelerated, staged remediation retrofitting all six floors. Independently, the owner had arrived at the same conclusion.


BHS was part of a team dispatched to a four story, warm climate, southern hotel where construction had been completed approximately four years prior. The hotel was reported to have been experiencing some moisture intrusion through the building enclosure and all its components since completion. Although minimal visible mold was evident in just a few guest rooms, mold growth had been noted inside decorative pictures hung on guest room walls at the 4th floor only. The narrow focus of our investigation was to perform a mold inventory and present preliminary opinions on the extent to which future mold growth could be anticipated if no construct defects were repaired.

We walked 58 of the 88 guest rooms were able to observe intrusive investigations executed by other members of the building investigation team hired by the construction manager / owner’s agent. This included exposing the interior of wood framed perimeter walls to inspect the condition of OSB sheathing which had a stucco finish on the exterior.

The most visible mold amplification seen during our inspection of the hotel was confined to the removed pictures . It was our opinion that this was an indication of guest room temperature variations, relative humidity fluctuations and exposure dynamics when unoccupied. There was no building automation system to control PTAC settings or instructions to housekeeping for thermostat settings when rooms were vacant. On the 4th floor only, in approximately 80% of the guest rooms, pictures were damaged with mold growth beyond re-use. Roof leakage, high attic heat temperatures and no insulation created a unique 4th floor dynamic.