NACHI recently requested changes to the International Residential Code and International Building Code that would require termite resistant structural members for new construction in areas where the Formosan subterranean termite has been identified (the areas of highest termite pressure in the country). This requirement would parallel the progressive termite control measures already in effect in Hawaii, but slow to be adopted in the lower 48.
According to research conducted at Louisiana State University, “The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki is the most destructive, difficult to control and economically important species of termite in the southern United States.” Source: http://wwwspringerlink.com/content/3crjb0xxrxqyy22b/
Home inspections and WDO reports are not designed to provide a homeowner with complete assurance that there are no termites. In fact, the Florida Dept. of Ag states:
A “clear” report means that there was no evidence of wood destroying organisms infestation or damage visible and accessible to the inspector at the time of the inspection. It does NOT mean, however, that the buyer can be absolutely assured that there are no wood destroying organisms infesting the structure or that there is no damage from termites or other wood destroying organisms.
Note*** it is very possible for termite or other WDO damage or infestations to be behind walls or in some other inaccessible location even in structures that receive “clear” reports.
- Also, according to the Florida Department of Community Affairs, about 50% of homeowners let their termite contracts lapse.
To effectively mitigate costly termite damage and protect home inspectors from claims regarding termites in inaccessible areas , termite resistant materials should be mandated for areas of high termite pressure, especially where the Formosan subterranean termite is known to exist.