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TOPIC: Chinese Drywall: The Final Solution

Chinese Drywall: The Final Solution 12 years 5 months ago #31111

Two things have happened in the past few weeks regarding Chinese Drywall.  I have been blogging about Chinese Drywall for two years, long before it hit the media or public conversation.  But two interesting things have happened recently which deserve comment.

In April 2010, in Louisiana, and what is called a "warning shot," and a "bellwether case," Federal Judge Eldon Fallon in New Orleans ordered Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., a Chinese concern, to pay seven Virginia families a total of $2.6 million to remediate defective Chinese-made drywall in their homes.  This is the first settled case of many that have hit American courts.  There are hundreds of cases already in courts to follow.  Currently residents in 37 states, Washington DC, American Samoa and Puerto Rico have filed thousands of complaints and/or have filed suit.

When was this drywall used?  Mostly during the wave of new building after the major hurricanes in the Southeastern United States between 2005 and 2007.  A majority of the cases are found in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Virginia.

And where was most of it used?  According to Engineering News dot com, “ 'Most of the problems are going to be occurring near the ports where they brought in [the defective drywall],' says Ron E. Wright, a building diagnostic expert and chief operating officer of Buric, a claims consultant with an office in Wilmington, N.C. Wright testified as an expert witness in the Taishan case."

Now, maybe it's just me, but do the affected residents and the courts really think that China, or any Chinese government-controlled company, will roll over and pay whatever it takes to remediate this problem?  I remain a skeptic!  As nice as it would be for the responsible party(ies) to take responsibility for what they have done, I think it's a pipe dream to think they will.

The second recent development are guidelines issued by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.  They call it "interim guidance," issued 2 April 2010.  In their three-page document, they recommend:

    * Removing "all possible problem drywall"
    * Replacing all electrical components and wiring
    * Replacing all gas-service piping and fire suppression systems and
    * Replacing all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms

Interestingly they did not issue guidelines on copper HVAC coils and copper plumbing lines.  Anything copper has been affected and is corroding.  The CPSC guidelines focus only on immediate life-threatening issues.  Copper products are caused to fail by the gas byproducts coming off this drywall and AC systems in particular have been affected and rapidly fail.  Perhaps this is why they call this report "interim guidance."  Further study or review will likely produce more guidelines.  They are still conducting gas emission testing and analysis.

This isn't exactly pure revelation!  It's a big DUH...  OF COURSE ALL OF THE CHINESE DRYWALL AND ANYTHING AFFECTED BY IT NEEDS TO BE REMOVED!!  The question has always been at whose expense.

Since it isn't an insurable problem and the builders are not really at fault, whose problem will it be ultimately?  Of course it's the homeowners' problem!  This may seem a harsh bottom line, because this problem is huge and very, very expensive to remediate, but really, whose problem is it ultimately?  If you are having this problem and want to sell or rent your house, what alternative is there? *

This is a big deal, and getting bigger.  This is terribly, terribly unfortunate.

My recommendation:  I THINK WE SHOULD RECALL CHINA!  AND AVOID CHINESE-MADE GOODS OF ALL STRIPES, SHAPES, COLORS AND SIZES.  THIS, HOWEVER, IS VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TO DO.  WE ARE INUNDATED.

* If the motor goes bad on your car, would you contact your insurance company?  And if you did, what would they say?  That it is a manufacturing problem and not covered by your policy.  And if the manufacturer would not, or could not, take responsibility, whose problem would it be?  If the motor goes bad on your Yugo, who you gonna call?
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Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
www.jaymarinspect.com
Northern Virginia Home Inspector
Festina Lente - Make Haste Slowly

Re: Chinese Drywall: The Final Solution 12 years 4 months ago #31922

Very good article Jay. Have you had any inspections on homes with the chinese drywall? It is strange that the commission is not recommending copper removal along with the other obvious items. I would have guessed it would be right up there w/ electrical wiring, for removal. Looks like Florida unfortunatley has the biggest piece of the pie in your chart. What a mess that must be.

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Re: Chinese Drywall: The Final Solution 12 years 4 months ago #31950

Joe - I think they will get to that copper removal recommendation.  The recommendations so far say they are interim and further study is needed.  Florida is indeed a mess, and although there are reports of the stuff in VA, I have never seen it.  Still looking!

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Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
www.jaymarinspect.com
Northern Virginia Home Inspector
Festina Lente - Make Haste Slowly

Re: Chinese Drywall: The Final Solution 12 years 4 months ago #32259

Jay,

Nice post. Living in Florida i to have been following the CPSC/HUD updates closely. The political posturing is beginning to show on the last update while acknowleging the detrimental effects to the evaporator coils of the air conditioning systems they have removed them from the remediation procees with the reasoning that it does not pose a saftey risk. They have also left the door open to remove electrical wire that is insulated from the process as well. By the time it is over the poor affected home owners will have to bare a large part of the cost of remediation themselves

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Mark Tyson
Tyson Home Inspections
Certified General Contractor cgc1516843
Home Inspector NACHI 09061301
Indoor Air Consultant IAC2-01-6966
www.TysonHomeInspections.com

Re: Chinese Drywall: The Final Solution 12 years 4 months ago #32260

For sure Mike.  Ultimately it is their thing.  And that is a big deal!

I have been on this for almost 2 years.  There are many blogs, and I think I put them on this site, about it.  It has made me locally famous - I get a lot of calls.

My understanding is that the corrosion was causing AC coils to crack and separate and the systems are damaged by it all.  Are they now determining that not to be the case?

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Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
www.jaymarinspect.com
Northern Virginia Home Inspector
Festina Lente - Make Haste Slowly

Re: Chinese Drywall: The Final Solution 12 years 4 months ago #32262

Jay,

That is the hell of it they acknowledge that the coils will fail but because it does not pose a life/safety issue it has been removed fom the remediation process. If this stands and there ever is a settlement the homeowners will have to relace on their nickle

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Mark Tyson
Tyson Home Inspections
Certified General Contractor cgc1516843
Home Inspector NACHI 09061301
Indoor Air Consultant IAC2-01-6966
www.TysonHomeInspections.com
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