Chinese Drywall

Rise in False Chinese Drywall Claims in Jacksonville Causing Consumer Concerns and Killing Real Estate Deals. How can you protect your customer AND your deal?
Chinese Drywall Discovered by Wally Conway

Chinese Drywall Discovered by Wally Conway

When the Chinese Drywall pandemic was near fever pitch in 2009 a special panel of experts gathered together in Tampa at the request of Florida Senator Bill Nelson. Among the 300 experts assembled were scientists from the EPA, the Center for Disease Control, The University of Florida and the Florida Department of Health.  There were engineers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Johns Hopkins University and several drywall manufactures.

Interestingly, of the 300 people in attendance, nearly ½ of them were lawyers. Lawyers representing government agencies, product manufactures, builders and you might have guested, product liability and personal injury attorneys.

And there were two home inspectors present.  I was one of those home inspectors.

While the esteemed group had every imaginable concern for the issue of Chinese Drywall, no one discussed how to manage this issue in the context of a real estate sale! That became my primary concern.

It was at that moment that I committed to writing for submission to FREC a CEU program for real estate agents explaining how to discover, document, disclose and manage the liability related to the issue of Chinese Drywall in a real estate transaction.

The research in developing the Chinese Drywall CEU program for FREC was fascinating. The import-export data base known as PIERS documents what’s being shipped in very container at every port in America.  PIERS data revealed that 3,630,000 sheets of Chinese Drywall came into Florida ports.

Most concerning was that 12,244 sheets of Chinese Drywall entered via the port of Jacksonville!

Chinese Drywall blackens AC coils

Chinese Drywall blackens AC coils

That supply alone is enough to build 128 homes, but does not account for Chinese Drywall that may have come to Jacksonville homes via other ports in Florida, estimated to be enough to build 36,000 homes!

The FREC approval for the program was taking much longer than any of the previous (6) courses that I had submitted. Then came the letter.  It was the intent of DBPR to disapprove the course, but I was entitled to plead my case at a formal hearing before the entire Florida Real Estate Commission.

After making my case for why it was important to protect consumers across Florida from the financial destruction that comes from unknowingly purchasing a home with Chinese Drywall and the case for protecting real estate agents from the liability of unknowingly selling a home with Chinese Drywall, the Commission voted against approval of the course!

Having presented my case, answered their questions and listened to the objections, the primary concern seemed to be that the issue was so contentious and libelous, that it was too risky to share the information with agents who might lack the understanding to manage it. Their opinion, not mine.

Chinese Drywall under insulation

Chinese Drywall under insulation

The Chinese Drywall program is alive and all, albeit without FREC approval or CEU credit. It’s been presented dozens of times to hundreds of agents including at the Southeastern Regional Relocation Council.

Between me and the Certified Master Inspectors at HomePro Inspections we have screened, evaluated or tested several hundred homes and apartments for Chinese Drywall within 100 miles of Jacksonville. One of those investigations led to the discovery of a warehouse full of Chinese Drywall!

This past month alone I’ve personally consulted on (3) transactions where inspectors from other companies have documented symptoms of Chinese Drywall in the inspection report and recommended further testing or investigation by an expert. In each case HomePro was able to remove the suspicion and stigma of Chinese Drywall.

"Made in China" Drywall label

“Made in China” Drywall label

There is Chinese Drywall in Jacksonville, your buyers are concerned about it and your sellers deserve to be protected from the stigma of a false finding of Chinese Drywall. Your simplest protection is education.  Call me to have the Chinese Drywall program presented at your Real Estate Company or office.