The Wood Eating Fungus “Poria” is in Southern California!

To Homeowners, Developers, Contractors, Architects, Engineers and Real Estate Professionals:

If you are involved in the purchase, sale, management, construction or development of real property, you need to know about the issues with a fungus that is capable of destroying entire homes and buildings from the ground up! Nobody wants there to be an infestation of wood-eating critters in their home, which is why most people will get woodworm problems treated quickly if they have any. Similarly, this approach should be used for anything that wreaks this much havoc, such as this awful fungi.

This fungi is called Meruliporia Incrassata (“Poria”) and it eats wood like a cancer. This is similar to termites. If you are unfortunate enough to be suffering from a termite infestation then you will be glad to know there is a Terminix featured provider here.

Poria-First

(The above photo shows rear portion of a home destroyed by Poria.)

“Poria” is a brown rot fungus, and as such, the decayed wood will look just like the decayed wood from any other brown rot fungus (the ones that rely on leaks for their required moisture such as window or roof leaks).

Poria-hands

There are distinctive characteristics that can be used to identify “Poria” in the field. The first of these is the water conducting rhizomorph. (See Above) The second is the spore producing ‘fruiting body. (See Below)

Poria-spore

What Can You Do About Poria Once it Infects Your Building?

Unfortunately, “Poria” is located in soil and once it is allowed to make the transition from the soil beneath the building to the building’s wood members, the only remedy is cut out the effected wood, install new wood and then create a barrier so the “Poria” cannot re-infect the wood in the future.

What Can You Do to Keep Poria From Infecting Your Building?

Fortunately, “Poria”’ is also very sensitive to dehydration (drying out), so the key is to avoid construction details that allow the rhizomorph to reach the structure. Compliance with the building codes with respect to proper clearances between wood and soil conditions are extremely important in preventing infestation by “Poria”. Most of these construction issues listed below are the result of the failure to follow the building code which allows “Poria” to infect buildings by allowing the following conditions to exist:

  • Soil allowed to come in contact with wood;
  • Stucco installed below soil grade:
  • Siding allowed to extend below soil grade;
  • Inadequately vented crawlspace (not properly vented, inadequate earth-wood clearance);
  • Cracks in perimeter foundation and slab on grade allowing migration of rhizomorphs to reach wood; If you notice any damage to your foundations, visit www.dalrockfoundation.com/service-areas/foundation-repair-plano to get it repaired. It’s better to get it fixed sooner rather than later!
  • Planters placed against exterior wall with soil contaminated with ”Poria”;
  • Sprinklers or other water source creating ‘ponding’ near the home (related to poor grading);
  • Failure to slope the soil away from the building causing excessive moisture and avenues for Poria infestation;
  • Failure to maintain proper clearance between landscaping and wood members of the structure.

All of these conditions allow “Poria” to enter the structure without experiencing a drying environment. Therefore the key to avoiding “Poria” damage is to avoid (or repair) the construction details that allowed entry in the first place. Although this appears to be a simple solution in principle, it can be expensive and require extraordinary retrofitting of the site conditions to implement for an existing structure.

In order for Homeowners, Developers, Contractors, Architects, Engineers and Real Estate Professionals to determine the existence of “Poria” or the construction details which can lead to “Poria” infestation, a comprehensive inspection by qualified construction and fungus specialists must be undertaken. Therefore, when there is purchase and sale of residential or commerical property or if there is any construction or remodeling of a building which will involve movement of soil, there must be an inspection by knowledgeable construction and fungus inspectors to eliminate the potential for “Poria” infestation.

James C. Earle, Partner at Ervin Cohen & Jessup, LLP is an “AV” rated trial lawyer who has litigated over 700 construction cases throughout the United States and Canada. He recently settled two “Poria” related construction cases in 2013 with excellent results for the two homeowners whose homes were infected by “Poria”. Mr. Earle retained the preeminent experts in this field to assist him with litigating these “Poria” cases.

In addition, Mr. Earle is both a California licensed General Contractor (“B”) and a Subcontractor (“C-36”) with over 40 years in the construction industry. Please contact him if you would like an evaluation of your construction related issues.

This publication is published by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. The publication is intended to present an overview of current legal trends; no article should be construed as representing advice on specific, individual legal matters, but rather as general commentary on the subject discussed. Your questions and comments are always welcome. Articles may be reprinted with permission. Copyright ©2014. All rights reserved. ECJ is a registered service mark of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. For information concerning this or other publications of the firm, or to advise us of an address change, please send your request to bfranzman@9d1.8d8.mwp.accessdomain.com9d1.8d8.mwp.accessdomain.comecj.glyphix.comecjlocal.dev or visit the firm’s website at www.ecjlaw.com.