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Chinese Drywall Repair Guidelines Raise Questions

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Chinese drywall homeowners whose homes have already been repaired are wondering what
Chinese drywall remediation guidelines recently released by the federal government last week mean for them.

Last Friday, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Housing and Human Development (HUD) issued a statement advising homeowners to not only remove the defective wallboard, but to also replace electrical components and wiring, gas service piping, fire suppression sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Taking the recommended steps, the statement said, should help eliminate both the source of the problem drywall and corrosion-damaged components that might cause a safety problem in the home, the agencies said.

It took the agencies over a year to issue these guidelines. In that time, some anxious homeowners allowed their builders or developers to repair their homes. In many cases, those repairs were limited to replacing the defective Chinese drywall.

Early in the Chinese drywall crisis, many builders resisted doing more than removing and replacing drywall. For instance, last year Lennar Homes was citing a study conducted by its own environmental consultant that concluded there was no need to remove all of the wiring because insulated wires left behind the walls were not vulnerable to the corrosive gases. As a result, many Lennar-repaired homes in Florida had most of their original electrical wiring left in place.

According to a report on HeraldTribune.com, one Sarasota, Florida construction consultant said the wiring in these homes – now sealed beneath newly installed drywall – must come out.

It’s not known how many homes might need further repairs to comply with the new federal remediation guidance.

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