AWCI on the Job

February 2009

Drywall from China: Should We Worry?
During the housing boom in the mid-2000s, materials were so in demand during peak construction that some builders bought wallboard shipped to the United States from China. Now, some homeowners suspect that the "rotten egg” smell in the house and corrosion on all things metal, including air-conditioner coils, is to be blamed on what is being called "Chinese drywall.”

Now, media such as The Wall Street Journal and local Florida newspapers are covering this "news,” and at this writing, it was beginning to sound like another media frenzy—without the facts firmly established.

The conclusion reached by an environmental inspector quoted in a Dec. 21, 2008, article from Florida’s news-press.com: "At least some drywall imported from China during the homebuilding boom years of 2004 and 2005 was made with waste materials from scrubbers on coal-fired power plants. Those materials leak into the air as gases and combine with the moisture on an air conditioning coil to create sulfuric acid, which appears to be dissolving solder joints and copper tubing—creating leaks, blackening the coils and even causing the system to fail.”

The problem seems to be primarily in Florida, particularly South Florida. Why? Because the wallboard shipments came into the Gulf of Mexico, and the states in that area are most likely to be affected.

The good news for AWCI members, most of whom are commercial subcontractors, is that it is believed that the Chinese drywall never reached the commercial U.S. market. Those in the homebuilding market may have come across the product, but it is unlikely. Sources tell AWCI that less than one-half of 1 percent of the tainted drywall was used in the U.S. market.

"AWCI member contractors should not buy into unsubstantiated concerns,” said AWCI Executive Vice President/CEO Steve Etkin. "U.S. manufacturers continue to supply the majority of board to the United States, and the U.S. product is not at issue.”

Excellence in Construction Safety Nomination Form Available Online
Do you feel your company deserves national recognition for managing an effective safety program in 2008? AWCI is encouraging members to apply for the 2009 Excellence in Construction Safety Award. Participating in a safety awards program is an excellent way to demonstrate to your customers and peers alike your commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for your workers. Winners will be announced in March during the Awards Brunch at AWCI’s annual convention in Nashville, Tenn.

The award will be given in various categories based on annual man-hours. Award winners are chosen on the basis of injury and health frequency rate data, your company’s insurance experience modifier, safety statement and safety-program information.

Participation in this year’s survey is easy. The online application is located at http://awcisurvey.esafetyline.net. Simply create a User Name and Password and access the application. You can visit the site and update your application until the Feb. 13 deadline. Instructions, definitions and contact information are available to assist you in the process. You may also contact Keith Williams (800. 745.4818) with any questions you may have.

Convention Deadlines Are Quickly Approaching; Act Now to Save
Feb. 16 is the early-bird registration deadline for AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo 09, and Feb. 20 is the cut-off date for room reservations at the available hotels.

Register for the convention and industry’s largest trade show by Feb. 16 and pay only $650 for a full registration. After Feb. 16 the rate rises $150, to $800 per full registration.

Then be sure to make your room reservation at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel [(615) 255. 8400 or (800) 327.6618], which is connected to the Nashville Convention Center where the INTEX Expo will be located. AWCI attendees will receive special rates of $179 for single or double occupancy per night in a standard guest room during the convention.

If you wait too long to make your reservation and find that the Renaissance has sold out, the other official convention hotel is the Hilton Nashville Downtown [(615) 620.1000 or (800) 445.8667]. This is an all-suites property located across the street and about one and a half blocks away from the Nashville Convention Center. The Hilton offers the same rate and cut-off date as the Renaissance.

Go to www.awci.org and click on "Convention and INTEX Expo” to find all the information you need about the convention, expo and registration. The official INTEX Expo Web site is at www.intexconstructionexpo.com.

AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo 09 will be March 24–28 in Nashville, Tenn.

EIFS Education Is on Sale until Feb. 28
For the first time in several years, AWCI’s EIFS—Doing It Right® self-study program is on sale.

A 20 percent discount will apply to all orders placed by Feb. 28, 2009. That means the normally $450 education package can be yours for only $360 (plus shipping and handling).

When ordering online (https://secure.awci.org/eifs-workbook_order.shtml), follow the instructions on the enclosed flyer to receive your discount. When ordering by phone (703.538.1612), mention code 202809 to receive the discount.

Based on industry-accepted best practices and standards, the self-study package contains a DVD and a companion workbook available in English or Spanish. The package will help prepare the EIFS applicator to become an AWCI Certified EIFS Mechanic. It also is an economical way to help your company meet the 40 percent requirement needed to become an EIFSmart Contractor.

If you have any questions about the program or about ordering at a discount, contact AWCI’s Sue Dolan at (703) 538.1612.