A Virginia developer has been replacing Chinese drywall used to build 70 homes in the Hampshire of Greenbrier subdivision of Chesapeake, as well as others located in the Cromwell section of Virginia Beach. According to report on WAVY.com, The Dragas Companies of Norfolk has already finished repairs on some homes, and residents have been allowed to return.
Consumers in 24 states have filed a total of 1,174 Chinese drywall complaints with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Gases emitted from the drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances. These gases also produce a sulfurous odor that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode.
Virginia has had the third highest number of complaints filed with the CPSC. The Dragas Companies has acknowledged some of the homes it built have been the subject of drywall complaints. The builder has been paying to fix homes with imported drywall and helping residents relocate for a few months while the work is being done. According to the WAVY.com report, 16 families in the Greenbrier division have returned to their remediated homes. According to another report on WVEC.com, one such homeowner said Dragas stripped his home down to studs and the concrete floors. Repairs also included replacement of all of the light switches, receptacles, lighting fixtures, air conditioning ducting, ceiling insulation and carpeting.
While Dragasâ€™ efforts seem laudable, it is important to note that some consumer advocates have been warning homeowners not to rush into Chinese drywall remediation agreements with builders. In July, Spiderman S. Mulholland, senior forensic investigator and national consultant with US Building Consultants and US Building Laboratories Inc., issued a press release cautioning homeowners that remediation protocols have yet to be established, and if not done correctly or adequately, remediation of homes with Chinese drywall could lead to even more problems.
Muhollandâ€™s press release followed another warning issued by Parker Waichman LLP, the Bonita Springs law firm that filed the first Chinese drywall lawsuit in federal court. The firm said it had been hearing from Chinese drywall victims who had been harassed by builders into signing unfair, one-sided remediation agreements. Often, such agreements required homeowners to surrender all of their legal rights, and provide for an inadequate remediation of homes.