by Natalie Finn | Thu., Jan. 2, 2014 5:14 PM
Consider their timbers shivered.
The Make It Right Foundation, the nonprofit founded by Brad Pitt to aid in the environentally friendly rebuilding of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina, is considering legal action against the supplier of some of the wood used on 30 of the homes that have gone up, according to the Big Easy edition of The Advocate.
Spokeswoman Taylor Royles told the paper that some of the glass-infused wood used to build outdoor steps and decks has already begun to rot despite a 40-year guarantee of its durability.
"Make It Right is ambitious and tries new things all the time in order to make our homes better," Pitt said in a statement released by Make It Right. "Where we find innovative products that didn't perform, we move quickly to correct these things for our homeowners."
TimberSIL, considered green due to is lack of the usual chemicals found in mainstream building materials, offers, per corporate promotional materials, "an effective barrier in lumber to rot, decay and common wood problems without using toxic ingredients."
"In trying to be sustainable and green, we didn't want to use decking lumber that had chemicals in it," Make It Right spokeswoman Taylor Royce told The Advocate, saying that they vetted the product before putting it into use.
But they've since seen, Royce said, that the wood "was unable to withstand moisture, which obviously is a big problem in New Orleans." She said that over the next six months they will be replacing all of the TimberSIL wood, even on the homes that showed no sign of rot, at a cost of about $150,000.
"We are evaluating our rights under the law and under the product warranty," she said. "We hope to have a candid discussion with the company and have asked them to put their insurance carrier on notice. We prefer to resolve this short of litigation, but we are prepared to pursue all legal remedies if necessary."
TimberSIL's executive vice-president told the paper that the company would "begin the process of gathering the necessary information to evaluate the concerns and achieve a satisfactory outcome."
Pitt, who has said that he fell in love with New Orleans when he came to shoot Interview With the Vampire in 1994, was inspired to do more after working with Global Green and various Bill Clintoninitiatives and then seeing first-hand how little was being done to help the city's poorer residents in the wake of Katrina.
"If the Army Corps would just have spent a little bit more time, put in a little more focus and a little bit more money and done it right the first time, New Orleans would be a far safer place," he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2010.
"And it wouldn't have cost the billions of dollars to fix what was wrong. And I find that inexcusable. So our Make It Right homes are built right. And that's where the title came from: Make It Right. Just make it right for everybody. Make things fair to the people of New Orleans. Make it right."
He and Angelina Jolie have a home in the French Quarter.
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