Thursday, January 05, 2006

Quadrant Homes being sued for substandard construction

The following article appeared on August 25, 2005 in the Seattle Times. It discusses a lawsuit filed by 7 homeowners in Snoqualmie Ridge alleging substandard construction of the their Quadrant homes causing health problems. Apparently another story appeared in the Seattle Times on December 31, 2005 with follow-up information, including additional homeowner participation in the litigation alleging additional problems with their Quadrant-built homes. I am currently trying to obtain that article, because it is not available on-line through the Times. I'll post it when I have it.

Makes you want to run right out and buy in one of Quadrant's urban communities, doesn't it?

7 Families File Suit Over Poor Air Quality
by Ashley Bach
Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Over the first year of her life, Caroline Weaks frequently had a hacking cough, ear infections and breathing problems. But when the baby would leave her Snoqualmie Ridge home for a period of time, her sinuses would clear, said her mother, Laura.

Laura Weaks was one of several parents who stood on a sidewalk in her neighborhood last week protesting what they say is unhealthy air in several Snoqualmie Ridge homes. Her daughter, now almost 2, played in the shade nearby while the parents held signs that said the homes make "kids sick."

The Weakses are one of seven families that have individually sued Quadrant Homes, a subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser and the developer of the Snoqualmie Ridge urban village, which has attracted thousands of residents to Snoqualmie. The first lawsuit is scheduled to be heard in May 2006.

The lawsuits, most filed last fall but the latest filed last week in King County Superior Court, say Quadrant negligently built the families' homes with fiberglass insulation installed in the heating ducts, a code violation that spread glass fibers throughout the homes.

According to the lawsuits, the fibers caused several health problems among the parents and their children, including frequent nosebleeds, eye problems, sinus infections, sore throats and breathing difficulties. The families are seeking unspecified damages for medical costs, cleanup and loss of property value.

Since the fiberglass was discovered last year, Quadrant has refused to "completely decontaminate homes," the lawsuits say, or "reasonably investigate the extent of the fiberglass contamination."

Quadrant declined to comment at length on the lawsuits but denied some of the families' allegations.

In a written statement, Quadrant spokesman Bill Boucher said the fiberglass "has been an isolated problem that has affected a small number of homes."

"We have offered inspections to all homeowners," Boucher said. "When we have found misplaced insulation, we have offered to work with the homeowners to remedy the situation. Some have accepted our offer.

"Airborne fiberglass may be an irritant under certain circumstances, but does not pose a health risk."

Tim Hardin, the state indoor-air-quality program manager, has not investigated the Snoqualmie Ridge allegations, but he said fiberglass, while not likely to have toxic effects, is a "very powerful irritant" that could have caused the health problems the families say they had.

Snoqualmie officials inspected a small number of homes last year and discovered fiberglass insulation in the return-air spaces leading to the furnaces, a violation of the city building code. They sent a letter to hundreds of Snoqualmie Ridge residents with Quadrant-built homes warning them of the potential problem.

The city received "some calls" from residents after the letter, and every known code violation was fixed, City Administrator Bob Larson said.

Most of the families involved in the lawsuits want large-scale cleanups of their homes that would remove any trace of the glass fibers, including replacement of carpets and repainting of walls. They say Quadrant offered more-comprehensive cleanups to at least two homeowners, but then offered just a new furnace filter and insulation removal to subsequent families.

Quadrant officials declined to give details about what they offered homeowners.

Some of the families say they still suffer health problems, even after spending thousands of dollars cleaning up their homes.

Daniel and Jean Saimo bought their four-bedroom home five years ago for $305,000. They say they've spent about $4,200 to clean the house so far, but the maladies have not entirely gone away.

"I'm trying to get the safe home I thought I was purchasing from [Quadrant]. ... I want my house made right," Jean Saimo said.


Anonymous said...

I had a new heating and airconditioning system installed in my home and the company said I didnt need new ducts that my old ducts were fine well they werent. It blew asbesto through out my house for 1 yr. and didnt realize it. Then they replaced them and then blew fiberglass through out my home. Nothings been resolved yet. And yes I have medical problems and my 2 dogs died from it. Its a real nightmare!

Anonymous said...

QUADRANT HOMES IS OWNED BY WEYERHAUESER. Weyerhauser contributes over one million per year to tort reform and the US Chamber of Commerce who is involved in a national mold cover up. Within the state of Washington we have the WSDA (Washington Department of Agriculture) who issued a mold guidance policy for homeowners in 2003 just two months before a Weyerhauser executive secretary wanted to sell her moldy home. It states that mold and mildew do not cause structural damage and therefore do not need to be reported on home inspections. This is currently the best kept secret in Washington. Even Senator Kohl Wells who fostered the mold protection act for renters did not know of the policy 5 years after it's inception. Theresa Neuman the information officer for the WSDA did not know of the policy 5 years after its inception. Only home inspectors taking classes from Dan Soumi and Jeff Morrell (Wood Products Association lobbiest who is credited with the mold does not cause structural damage statement).Please read Is it Safe to Buy a Home in Washington -Washington Free Press Jan/Feb 07- google T McCormick is it safe to buy a home in Washington. There are many molds that rot wood including Chaetomium and Philophera. Chaetomium is referred to as a soft rot fungus and looks like anyother black mold to an inspector when growing on the suface of wood but can go onto cause soft rot and penetrates OSB causing many more times the amount of volatile organic compounds and mycotoxins per square inch as surface growers. This is a national cover up as all National Home Inspection Associations have now decided they will not be reporting visible mold either. Beware of the repurchased Quadrant homes going on the market again because inspectors may not report the mold with the blessing of the WSDA.

Wendee said...

My family and I lived at the Farm at woods creek in Monroe, what a complete joke. We had problems from the very beginning. We had the workers in our home at least once a month. Our problems were nothing compared to others. We got out.

Anonymous said...

this is still going on feb 2009

Anonymous said...

I was considering buying a Quadrant Home in Kitsap County. I thought the open floor plans and the storage would last us a life time but now I feel that our life could be a living nightmare. Getting a home is suppose to be a happy time not a death sentence. Think I should pass on these homes, manufactured homes are safer.

Debbie said...

Has anyone had any problems or experience with the homes on Skagit Highlands (Mt Vernon, WA)?

Anonymous said...

WSDA does not license home inspectors, they license structural pest inspectors. Home inspection licensing is through the department of licensing. Neither entity require home or pest inspectors to report on the absence or presence of molds, asbestos, radon, and other environmental hazards. There are many reasons for this that have nothing to do with the State of Washington colluding with Weyerhauser as implied above. It is important for those outside of this industry to understand that home and pest inspectors are not experts and have no educational background that would prepare them to adequately assess homes for mold. Further more there are no federal standards for mold, and as a result there are all sorts of unregulated mold testing and screening companies bilking consumers out of hard earned money. I am not talking about Certified Industrial Hygenists, as they are the one professional that would be better equipped to assess mold in structures, than any other. Home inspectors can not fill this void adequately. Most mold concentrations can not be seen in a visual home inspection.

Anonymous said...

When I moved here I thought WA was run by liberal douche bags that lorded over the unwashed masses and made sure they were protected from evil heartless corporations and corrupt government officials.
I guess that is not the case.
Were I came from (Crook county Illinois) several expensive inspections are done by EPA licensed / certified inspectors before the sale is approved. This includes radon, mold, termite, etc and of course structural.
I have been here for a few months and we are still looking. The real estate agents play fast and loose with the rules. Apparently a contract written to buy a house is not worth the paper it is written on. Now it looks like I will be having to hire inspectors independent of the builder, lender and real estate people. Not to mention that on the east side crap shacks are going for 350k and it does not look like anyone here is very keen on upkeep. I must say, Illinois was pretty corrupt but at least you had piece of mind when you purchased a home. Mold? I am suprised anyone here noticed.

Luigi said...

There are many reasons for this that have nothing to do with the State of Washington colluding with Weyerhauser as implied above.

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Dan said...

It is important for those outside of this industry to understand that home and pest inspectors are not experts and have no educational background that would prepare them to adequately assess homes for mold.

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Danielle said...

Has Anyone had any problems in yelm?? We have lived here for almost 4 years and my almost 4 yr old has bad allergies and resperatory problems all the time day to night and myself last year got bad pheomonia in two places I have never been that sick my husband always wakes up with bad taste cotton I dont know but seems like our air flow isnt right I want to have my home investgated. Been wondering about this for years until I finally saw the news.

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