Chinese Drywall Timeline Questioned

A Florida home built in 2002 has raised concerns that at least one home builder was using Chinese drywall earlier than first thought.

General consensus says that builders began using Chinese drywall in the construction of new homes sometime around 2004. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) Chinese drywall website, consumers making complaints about Chinese drywall largely report that their homes were built in 2006 to 2007. Experts have said that the housing boom, coupled with the massive rebuilding efforts that followed devastating hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, were the catalyst for a drywall shortage that prompted home builders to turn to Chinese-made wallboard.

According the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, people living in a home located in WCI Communities’ Waterlefe Golf & River Club have reported corrosion and other problems typically seen in those with defective Chinese drywall. While WCI has maintained it began using Chinese drywall in 2004, this home was built in 2002, the Herald-Tribune said. Earlier this year, the owners of the Manatee County home scheduled an inspection with WCI to ascertain whether or not the building contained Chinese-made drywall. However WCI canceled the inspection, claiming it had no reason to believe the tainted material had been used in homes built prior to 2004.

An independent inspector hired by the homeowners told the Herald-Tribune his own research has revealed that WCI was the only Florida home builder that purchased Chinese drywall directly, and in bulk, for use in its homes. The inspection he conducted of the home uncovered corroded copper air conditioning coils and pipes. Its copper ground wires had turned black, and the refrigerator components were also corroded, as were silver faucets, mirrors and other metals in the home, Herald-Tribune said. Samples of drywall taken from the home have no visible manufacturers’ marks, the inspector said.

WCI Communities has acknowledged that 200 of its homes have been the subject of Chinese drywall complaints. The builder, which recently emerged from bankruptcy, has established a Chinese Drywall Trust, which WCI will fund with $900,000. That money will help to offset the cost of litigation against insurers and other companies involved in the Chinese drywall disaster.

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