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Radon Test at Latta Pavillion by a Charlotte Home Inspector

May 7th, 2009 · No Comments

Recently high levels of Radon had been found in Latta Pavillion in Dilworth. They have since installed a Radon Mitigation system. Please see the excerpt from the Charlotte Business Journal below. For more information about Radon please go to Home Inspection Carolina’s website. Watch the video to see the results of the Radon test performed the first week in May 2009. In the written statement, the association says it’s working with Grubb and Rodgers Builders to find a solution. So far, the focus is on installing fans that would funnel the gas out of the building. The cost: $5,000 per unit, or $1.3 million.

Grubb pledges that tenants won’t bear any of the expense, but it’s not clear who will.

Grubb believes a faulty ventilation system designed by FMK is the cause of the radon problems.

Not so fast, says Allan McGuire, managing principal at the architectural firm. He says his company designed Latta Pavilion to meet the Charlotte-Mecklenburg building codes, and it was constructed accordingly. “Nothing is unique about the Latta Pavilion system that would allow it to contain radon over other systems we have done.”

Fong says he’s unaware of any similar problem in a building in Charlotte. He’s seen a few cases of high readings in buildings in Gastonia and Cherryville where soil conditions are more conducive to creating radon emissions.

McGuire says Grubb is ultimately responsible for delivering a safe building.

Rodgers Builders executives did not return calls.

“It’s a weird, perfect storm of strange occurrences that are causing this,” says Sandy Kindbom, who heads the uptown office of Allen Tate Realtors. Tate is the primary sales representative for Latta Pavilion and 1315 East Blvd., which was converted to condos from apartments in 2005.

Caught up in that storm are condo owners such as Brian Cowman, who moved into his $370,000 Latta Pavilion unit a couple of months ago, before the radon issue came to light.

Cowman says he’s not concerned about the short-term health impact. He is worried about the potential damage to the value of his unit. “If you have place one and place two and there is an issue at one, you are going to choose place two.”

There are currently 22 units in Latta Pavilion and the adjacent 1315 East Blvd. building listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service, with prices ranging from $194,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $610,000 for a two-bedroom penthouse.

While residents do have a justifiable concern about resale values, North Carolina is a “buyer beware” state, says Thomas Miller, general counsel for the N.C. Real Estate Commission in Raleigh.

The state’s real estate license law imposes upon real estate agents the duty to disclose material facts about the properties they list. But those rules do not apply to the seller.

Still selling
In spite of the elevated levels of radon, people are still buying units at Latta Pavilion.

Allen Tate’s Dilworth office has sold three units in Latta Pavilion since the radon was found. “We have not worked with any potential buyers who elected not to purchase in this community, based on this knowledge,” says Jane Richey, the office branch manager.

Kindbom says Tate has been discussing the radon issue since it was discovered at Latta Pavilion. She says radon tests are not routine in Charlotte, but adds it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

“It’s a fixable problem that’s not terribly expensive,” Kindbom says. “My hope is that once this is corrected it will be a nonfactor.”

Grubb says his company has moved quickly to try to resolve the issue. “We’re not trying to hide our head in the sand.”

He’d like to move forward with a mitigation plan that includes the fan installation in each unit over the next couple of months. “We’ll have to work through whether this is a design issue, construction materials or an engineering issue. That part won’t be fun.”

GETTING A READ ON RADON
What is it? Colorless and odorless radioactive gas formed in rock and soil.
How does it get in your home or business? Leaks into basement or crawl space from exposed soil, rock. Also is present in building materials such as natural stone or rock.
How dangerous is radon? The EPA says radon causes 100 times more deaths than carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the second-leading cause of lung cancer.
How to check? EPA-certified radon test kits are available for $20 from hardware, discount stores.
How do you cut levels? Seal cracks, openings to prevent from entering via soil; ventilation to carry gas out of a building.
http://www.charlottenchomeinspector.comCharlotte Home Inspector Does a Radon Test at Latta Pavillion

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