A tally of builder and homeowner inquiries shows that both groups have become keenly interested in learning about mold.

By Matthew Power

Each month, the NAHB Research Center in Washington fields and records housing-related calls from builders, homeowners, and others from all over the country. In the process, it often discovers that builders and homeowners have the same issues on their minds.

In the last two months, the topic of interest by a wide margin of builders (38 percent) has been preventing and identifying mold--confirming what Builder has heard from Realtors, builders, and consultants in recent months. This may be a warning that mold could be the biggest litigation boondoggle facing builders since lead paint.

The NAHB's numbers, although anecdotal, demonstrate that builders have good reason to be scared. Questions about mold dominate the field of queries by homeowners (27.9 percent). They have heard about mold. They know it's a bad thing. And, right or wrong, they clearly connect builders with the problem. For more information, contact the NAHB Research Center's hotline at 800-638-8556 ext. 6232.

Top-Ranked Subjects of Recent Hotline Calls


Mold/Mildew or Moisture Protection ;38.0%

Codes and Standards ;13.9%

Research Center Resources ;13.9%

Business Management ;13.0%


Mold/Mildew or Moisture Protection ;27.9%

Business Management ;16.2%

Codes and Standards ;16.2%

Durability ;11.8%

Others *

Mold/Mildew or Moisture Protection ;21.6%

Research Center Resources ;21.6%

Business Management ;18.6%

Codes and Standards ;11.3%

*Note: Architects, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, and dealers likely make up much of "the others" group. They, too, have taken an interest in mold. [Source: NAHB]

Information please: Although most homeowner inquiries mirror those of builders, some homeowners note that they don't have enough information about structural durability--a knowledge gap that builders could help to close. The statistics were culled from September's call reports.