Mould Remediation of 650,000 Books in 13 Weeks

Mould Remediation of 650,000 Books in 13 Weeks  

AllAces were commissioned to clean 650,000 mould effected books in 13 weeks from a library storage facility – automation saw a book cleaned every 3 seconds! 

How it Started 

As with every exciting tale, this story starts with a simple email. It begins when a project manager reaches out to AllAces Cleaning and Restoration because a university in Sydney finds a mould issue within their library! Located in the heart of the campus, this magnificent building is an eye-catcher to anyone who passes by. Beneath all the fancy walls and designs there was still, however, the task of the mould that lurked beneath…  

Picture this, an underground 7 story deep, 6 aisle automated library retrieval system with over 650,000 mouldy books needing to be specially cleaned and treated. This is because the humidification control in the building management system failed leading to prolonged periods of high humidity breeding mould throughout the facility.  

Library Storage Facility – 7 stories deep Automated Library Retrieval System

The challenge was compounded by the time constraints – it all had to be completed during the summer break – 13 weeks! In addition to this, the books had to be placed in their exact locations within their original bins after they had been tested and treated so an accurate sorting system needed to be put into place, with literally hundreds of thousands of sections in this library for these books.  

But one might ask, how dangerous is mould? If left untreated mould could begin consuming the pages within these works of literature to the point where it would be impossible to restore the books to their original state. In addition to this, the health risks mould plays when exposed to individuals over extended periods of time has been shown to have negative implications. So, when the AllAces Cleaning and Restoration services team heard of this opportunity, they did not hesitate in providing their honest and professional opinion. They provided a detailed proposal to execute the job – with automated processes, production rates, and management of risks for a restoration and cleaning project of this size and nature. After much discussion and communication about this intricate process, the offer was accepted and AllAces won the bid to undertake this grand challenge! 


The Project 

Creating a fully functioning cleaning production facility specific for the unique aspects of this project took several weeks of planning and prototyping at an offsite facility before having access to site.  

From the usage of humidification testing equipment to a conveyor belt for drying full batches of books, a complete and thorough plan was put into place to make sure all steps were carefully considered and applied. 

Once on site, the conveyor systems, negative air containment zones, air scrubbing and drying systems were installed and commissioned with only a week available to get to full production rates. 

Under full production the average speed of this system was incredible! One book was being cleaned every 3 seconds… that was over 10,000 books per day. Quite the engineering feat coupled with the dedication of the skilled team from AllAces. As a result of this, the cleaning and restoration project could be completed efficiently and reliably up to the required quality standards.  

Fully functioning work area setup
Work Area Conveyor Belt for Sorting and Cleaning Books

The cleaning processes were in accordance with IICRC S520 and quality was managed by the team with spot ATP and white cloth random testing, as well as third party surveillance and laboratory sampling and analysis. The error rate for the project was less than 0.01%. 

Drying line and sorting table
ATP Verification Testing

The Risks 

Managing fatigue and repetitive strain injury was a critical factor for the project. Production ran 10 hours a day, 6 days a week and involved an extremely fast paced production line. Staff rotations, automation and working aids were all employed to manage these risks.  

Another key risk came in the form of accurately and efficiently organising a system that could handle this level of restoration and cleaning. There were many priceless works of literature within the collection. As mould presented dangerous risks to the pages of those works of literature, it was essential that AllAces carefully took handling and processing into consideration with this project.  

The management of sorting all the books after they had been cleaned back to their original locations was also a key risk. The library had thousands of bins with over 650,000 books within its collection. Each piece of publication had its designated place within the library, and so it was essential to create a system where the newly mould tested, and treated works of literature could be organised and placed exactly where they were picked from. 


To date, the size and complexity of this project represents one of the most challenging  restoration projects AllAces has completed. As stated by the Managing Director of the company, James Wright, “This project has been a huge achievement, with very few jobs like this completed in such a tight timeline anywhere in the world– a tremendous credit to the AllAces team.”  

All Aces are the Masters of Disasters, and there is no challenge they do not shy away from. Connect yourself to our professional and reliable services and our team will take care of any issues you may have. With over 30 years of industry experience, you can always trust that AllAces’ quality of work and customer service will always satisfy and exceed expectations. 

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