Construction Consultant Agrees: Chinese Drywall DefectiveJan 27, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Complaints from homeowners over defective Chinese Drywall continue and now a class-action suit has been filed in Sarasota County in Florida, the Bradenton Herald has reported, noting that complaints registered with the Florida Health Department have grown from 30 to 54 and include homes from all over the state.
Hundreds of homeowners have been plagued by odious smells and ongoing wiring, pipe, and air conditioning problems due to defective Chinese Drywall. Worse, consumers are complaining about health problems that seem to lift when they are away from the toxic Chinese Drywall. Health concerns include an array of respiratory problems, nosebleeds, irritated eyes, and headaches. Of very serious concern, is the possibility that the Chinese Drywall is emitting excessive amounts of hydrogen sulfide fumes, which can cause extreme irritation, unconsciousness, and even death.
Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd. of China is a manufacturer implicated in this fiasco. Knauf maintains that its defective Chinese Drywall is safe and homeowner damage must be from some other source. But, now, the Bradenton Herald has reported that Michael Foreman, a construction consultant for Sarasota’s Foreman & Associates, Inc., said the Knauf plasterboard is defective. Foreman also said that a sample he reviewed was found to contain a marking for an outdated standard: “ASTM C36.” The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is an international standards organization that develops standards for products and materials, said the Bradenton Herald, which explained that the C36 standard was replaced over four years ago with “ASTM C1396.” The Bradenton Herald also noted a piece of very interesting information: The C36 drywall was produced in March 2006, two years after that standard was changed.
It seems the problem started because of a shortage of U.S.-made drywall. Builders began using imports from China that likely were kept at sea for months pending approval to enter the U.S. Some believe the continuous humidity is, in part, responsible for the fumes. One official with a large building supply company recently told a Florida newspaper that more than 10-million square feet of the Chinese drywall was imported to southwest Florida during Florida’s construction boom of 2004-2005.
Meanwhile, Foreman told the Bradenton Herald that not all Chinese Drywall is problematic, “There are several manufacturers of the Chinese drywall. Not all are bad.” Foreman also found that some American drywall may pose problems because some parts were manufactured in China. Also, the Bradenton Herald reported that the Gypsum Association confirmed that China imported about 300 million square feet of gypsum board into the U.S. from 2006-2007; during that period, nearly 68 billion square feet was used in this country and about 65 billion square feet produced domestically. Foreman that while not all imported drywall from this period was made by Knauf, a significant amount was. “In my opinion, there are few, if any builders, that won’t be affected by this,” Foreman told the Bradenton Herald.
Problems with the defective Chinese Drywall have been reported in homes developed by Lennar Homes and Taylor Morrison. The class-action lawsuit has been filed against one of the builders, Taylor Morrison, for monetary damages for “severe structural damage to the homes, electrical wiring, plumbing, metal components, and personal property,” reported the Bradenton Herald.