27 May 2009

Chinese Drywall -- How Can You Know?

If you are going to have any home "tested" for Chinese Drywall, please use EXTREME caution. We do not allow our Licensed Home Inspectors to "test" for Chinese Drywall. There are simply too many variables and way too much information (some correct and most incorrect) circulating about Chinese Drywall.

Testing can be complicated. The time the drywall was shipped to the home, installation of the drywall product, humidity or moisture in the air currently and the type of repairs needed, can each affect the test results.

An initial, intensive screening (performed by a microbiologist or other qualified personnel) should be undertaken in each room of the house. This screening should include air sampling both inside and outside of the home, including inaccessible areas like inside wall cavities and the attic. It should incoporate visual inspections of corrosion that may confirm a serious condition. It should also include a health profile in order to identify physical reactions by occupants to contaminants inside the house.

Upon completion of the screening, the client should receive a verbal explanation of the results and a copy of the screening report (this document will be critical should any legal claim progress). The client would know at that point whether the home contains contaminants from Chinese Drywall and the extent of the problem, should it exist. If there is a problem, the client should contact an attorney. Based on the level of contamination, the client may consider vacating the property.

If you don't have an attorney, we can recommend one of several local attorneys handling Chinese Drywall litigation. We will recommend that the attorney contact us so that we can discuss the estimated cost to remediate the property versus the cost of the full Chinese Drywall test. This additional testing is required to prove the claim in court. Understand that in order to comply with laboratory requirements in a full test, a 12" x 12" sample of drywall must be taken from each spot at which the compounds were registered. Each sample would be at a prepaid cost to the homeowner of between $1,200 and $1,800 per sample, plus labor. Because the sample size is 12" square, substantial disruption to the house will occur as a result of the testing. We are concerned that gases, previously inside the walls, now have a means of escaping into the home, entering breathing space and potentially complicating health issues.

We are prepared to support our finding in both Federal and State court. Both the President of our company and our Microbiologist are classifed as "expert witnesses" in either court.

Our concern is first and foremost, the client's safety. Please make sure qualified people are performing appropriate tests to determine if a hazard exists. Call us at 504-486-8500 for more information.


Mit Miller

Office Manager

Gurtler Brothers Consultants

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