Case Study: Pyrite in “Chinese Drywall”

Chinese drywall

According to the Wikipedia page on the topic, Chinese Drywall refers to “…an environmental health issue involving defective drywall manufactured in China and imported to the United States starting in 2001”. Drywall is also known as plasterboard and is comprised predominantly of gypsum plaster.

problems and potential cause

According to the Construction Lawyers Blog:

“Most of the homes that have Chinese drywall were built between 2001 and 2008”

“Testing of Chinese drywall has found unusually high instances of pyrite.”

“There is speculation that the pyrite oxidation results in sulfur compounds being released by the drywall during periods of high heat and humidity.”

“Reports show that homeowners typically complain of corroding copper in their homes, and a rotten egg odor emanating from copper surfaces that, in turn, turn black and exhibit a powdery ash type substance. 

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HomeBond’s Repudiation of Purchasers’ Claims

Homebond’s repudiation of purchasers’ claims – was it lawful?

Joseph Tyrrell (FCII, FCILA, FUEDI-ELAE), an insurance claims expert from Dublin, has published an extensive report on HomeBond’s repudiation of purchasers’ claims under the Major Defects Warranty in the HomeBond Agreement for Damage by Pyritic Heave.

report executive summary

In the report summary, Joseph Tyrrell writes:

“Following a wide-ranging investigation, I am satisfied that HomeBond’s rejection of hundreds of its warranty-holders’ claims was invalid, for reasons which I have examined in detail in the main body of this report…”

“It is astonishing, to my mind, that no one in authority appears to have looked closely at the reasons given for wrongfully turning down so many Purchasers’ claims, but it seems that this is what happened and that HomeBond has thus far got away with its shameful behaviour.

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Sinkholes: Buried alive – Documentary featuring gypsum dissolution

Sinkholes documentary

Tonight, at 20:00 GMT on Channel 5 (UK), the documentary “Sinkholes: Buried Alive” will feature the hazards associated with the dissolution of ground materials, including gypsum. The documentary summary is below:

“Sinkholes can occur gradually when the surface subsides into bowl shaped depressions or suddenly when the ground gives way. These geological hazards have swallowed highways, apartment buildings, horses, camels, even golfers, with monster-size holes cracking the earth from Siberia to Louisiana. Filled with compelling eyewitness video of dramatic collapses, and following scientists as they explore the underlying forces behind these natural disasters, this documentary travels the globe to investigate what it’s like to have your world vanish beneath your feet.”

The documentary will focus mainly on limestone sinkholes in Florida and a major salt-mining induced sinkhole at Bayou Corne, Louisiana.… Read the rest

BS 5930:2015: new guidance on sulfur-species

BS 5930:2015

On 31 July 2015, BS 5930:2015 “Code of practice for ground investigations” was published, replacing the former standard, BS 5930:1999+A2:2010 (Code of practice for site investigations). The BSI website states that:

“BS 5930:2015 deals with the investigation of sites in order to assess their suitability for construction and to identify the characteristics of a site that affect the design and construction of the project.  It also considers related issues including the environment and the security of adjacent land and property.”

“This is a full revision of the standard and introduces some principal changes…” [including] “…Compliance with BS EN 1997-1 and BS EN 1997-2 and related test standards…” [and] “…New information on geophysical surveying and ground testing and updated guidance on desk studies, field reconnaissance, ground investigations on contaminated ground and ground affected by voids.”

Guidance on sulfur-species

BS 5930:2015 provides considerable additional guidance on the presence and assessment of sulfur-species in geological materials compared to the 1999 version.… Read the rest