Virginia Supply Co. Says it Imported Chinese Drywall

A construction materials supplier in Norfolk, Virginia has admitted importing potentially defective Chinese drywall. According to Pilotonine.com, Venture Supply Inc. imported 2,000 pallets of China-made drywall between March 2006 and December 2008.

As we’ve been reporting for several months, complaints about tainted Chinese drywall first turned up in Florida. The health department in that state has received more than 150 reports about drywall that emits a putrid, “rotten eggs” odor. The fumes from the drywall have also been linked to corroding metals in many of the homes, and people living with the material have reported sinus and respiratory problems. Many Florida homeowners have had to leave their homes because the Chinese drywall has made them unlivable, and some builders in the state are scrambling to gut homes and replace the drywall.

While Florida has been “ground zero” for the drywall debacle, the problem has cropped up in other states. As we reported last month, one Virginia developer – The Dragas Companies – said it determined that the imported drywall installed in two of its developments “appears to emit elevated levels of sulfur compounds that may corrode air conditioning coils, and may damage other mechanical and electrical systems over time.” The Dragas Companies is inspecting nearly every home it built in The Hampshires at Greenbrier in Chesapeake and in Cromwell Park in Virginia Beach. Dragas is also paying to fix homes with imported drywall and helping residents relocate for a few months while the work is being done.

In a statement, the developer said the drywall was imported by a U.S. supplier in 2006 and installed by a local subcontractor without its knowledge. According to Pilotonline.com, Dragas has said Venture supplied drywall for some of its homes.

According to Pilotonline.com, Venture Supply imported enough Chinese drywall for 240 homes, but cannot say for sure how many homes were actually built with the drywall. Almost all of Venture’s sales were to builders and developers, the company said.

Venture said that residents whose homes were built before March 2006 do not have the drywall. The company advised residents to look for Venture’s name stamped on the back of the wallboard, which could sometimes be seen in the attic, Pilotonline.com said.

In addition to Dragas, at least one other Virginia developer is dealing with problems caused by Chinese drywall, Pilotonline.com said. One person living in the Norfolk condominium complex Harbor Walk, a 240-unit community built in 2006 by Wermers Development, has confirmed the presence of Chinese drywall. Harbor Walk was sold to Florida-based Henin Group, which is in discussions with Venture to determine whether defective drywall was used, Pilotonline.com said.

According to Pilotonline.com, Venture Supply imported the drywall from Shandong Taihe Dong-xin Co. Ltd., a firm owned by the Chinese government. It is one of several manufacturers that have been associated with Florida’s drywall problems. Another company, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd., also imported much of the defective drywall. Knauf is actually the subject of a criminal probe being conducted by the Florida Attorney General’s office.

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