As court action grinds on in the thousands of cases of defective Chinese drywall in houses near the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, there’s finally starting to be some action in the real world: people have started fixing the homes afflicted with the defective material. The court-ordered pilot remediation program of 300 homes involved in litigation in the New Orleans Federal District court will be carried out by a large commercial contracting firm, Moss & Associates Moss’ portfolio includes state prisons, high-rise condos, and the Florida Marlins baseball stadium. That’s an impressive track record; but to some, the big firm seems like an odd fit for a succession of small one-house residential gut-rehabs on scattered sites. And individual homeowners who may be trying to fix their homes with their own cash, outside of the court-managed program, are more likely to turn to the more traditional residential remodeling market. But how does a homeowner find a contractor? It’s a puzzle, says Tampa Bay builder and remodeler Eric Stockland of Charter Bay Homes . There’s a lot of information out there, Stockland observes — but much of it is wrong. “Not to name any names,” says Stockland, “but there are some sources out there who have made themselves seem very official, who are just frauds. And to a regular homeowner, who’s not real savvy, you really have to know what you’re looking at to realize that you’re being sold a bill of goods.” Stockland has been working in the Tampa Bay area for about 16 years — first as the owner of his own remodeling company, then as a project manager for U.S. Home and as a V.P. for Lennar, and then finally as Chief Operating Officer for luxury homebuilders Nohl Crest Homes. But the collapse of the Florida market took Nohl Crest down, and Stockland ended up a remodeler again. These days, about half his small company’s revenue comes from Chinese drywall remediation. As Stockland observes, a good drywall remediation contractor benefits from experience as a remodeler and as a production builder. The demolition and removal part of the job is a classic remodeling task; but once the house is gutted to the studs, you’re basically just setting the clock back and completing a homebuilding job from the dry-in stage on. Now, Stockland is assembling an impressive set of YouTube videos explaining how Chinese drywall remediation works. On the one hand, it’s marketing for his company; but Stockland says he also hopes his videos will prove useful for homeowners outside the Tampa Bay area. “Ideally,” he explains, “we’d like to become a knowledge resource for anyone with Chinese drywall. We don’t know how many videos we’ll have in the end, because I’ve got tons of raw footage. But we want to have 20 or 25 videos that will walk a homeowner through the entire process, so that no matter where they live, they can watch and understand how it should be done — and it can help them select a Chinese drywall contractor who’s the real deal, who can actually take care of them, and at the end of the process they will get a house that they can live in again.” Already, Charter Bay’s video set is a valuable information resource — not just for customers, but as a good introduction for any other contractor who may want to tackle Chinese drywall remediation work. One of the most useful segments is a two-part pair of videos where Stockland steps through two sets of specifications for Chinese drywall remediation: Judge Eldon Fallon’s court order in the New Orleans litigation, and the remediation protocol put out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Item by item, Stockland compares Fallon’s order with the CPSC’s recommendations, and then he weighs in with his own company’s recommendation (based on the assumption that the homeowner, and not a court defendant, will have to bear the cost of repairs). So for example, where Fallon assumes that cabinets and countertops will have to be completely replaced (on the drywall manufacturer’s dime), Stockland recommends carefully removing, storing, and re-installing the cabinets (which could save tens of thousands of dollars for the homeowners). But when it comes to wiring, Stockland agrees with Fallon — it all comes out. And Stockland delves into the fine points of what to keep and what to junk. For instance, indoor air conditioner coils are typically ruined. But what about the outdoor coils, which haven’t been exposed to sulfuric gases? Those units should be inspected for damage, but even more important, Stockland notes, is the possible effect of EPA-mandated changes in refrigerants sold in the U.S. market. Explains Stockland: “The homes that we’re typically seeing have the old refrigerant. And when we go to replace the inside unit, the air handler, we also have to replace the outside unit so that the refrigerant types match.” Stockland’s advice on how to safely remove and store granite countertops, without breaking them, is well worth the time spent to watch that clip. But even better is his detailed walk-through of methods for labeling, photographing, and documenting every sheet of drywall removed — required in Judge Fallon’s order as preservation of evidence for anyone who hopes to be reimbursed for the cost of remediation out of a Federal court damage award. Stockland’s laid-back manner on the videos partially disguises his natural character as a compulsive organizer. But there’s no missing the telltale signs of a hyper-organized contractor in the methods he shares: numbering each sheet of drywall in place, photographing the “made in China” label on the back, annotating the blueprints with the location of each piece, and even stitching the photos together into a 360-degree panorama of each room. This isn’t bull-and-jam demolition — it’s systematic, carefully documented dis-assembly. The perfectionism of a high-end builder and remodeler leaves Eric Stockland himself a little dissatisfied with his video product. “As I look at my videos,” he confesses, “there are parts of them that I really can’t stand. I wish I had done it better, and I wish I had better lighting and this and that. But then I tell myself, it’s okay, the information is there. It doesn’t look as professional as I want it to look sometimes, but that’s all right. The homeowner can use it for the purpose that it was intended for. And the idea is not to be fear-mongering. It’s just to say, ‘Okay -- you got a problem. Here is what the bona fide experts say needs to be done, and here is how we actually go about doing it.’ I fully expect that the majority of the people who look at that won’t be my actual customers, but I think there’s some value in sharing the information.”