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ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration
Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) Abolished
Are Builders Playing Political Games
Sunday, 24 May 2009

Dallad Morning News: Residential Construction Commission: Circling the drain? Homeowners groups sent out victory press releases this evening, saying lawmakers had decided to abolish the oft-criticized Texas Residential Construction Commission. Not. So. Fast. True, the agency may be circling the drain. Though the House passed legislation to drastically reform the state's homebuilding agency, the bill won't make it up for a vote in the Senate. That means the agency - which was up for review this year - will be phased out unless lawmakers give it a two-year extension.

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Residential Construction Commission likely to be abolished
Saturday, 23 May 2009

Houston Chronicle - Home panel faces uphill fight
“The (legislative) members have pretty well spoken, and it’s probably in the public’s best interest to do a systematic wind-down of the agency,” Hegar said...Friday was a deadline for the bill to have been voted on by a Senate committee in order for it to be scheduled for Senate floor debate. Senate Business & Commerce Chairman Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, said he didn’t schedule the bill for a hearing because builders and consumer advocates could not agree on what to do to improve the agency. “It’s been a war zone the last two years,” said Fraser.

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Wave Good-By to the TRCC
Saturday, 23 May 2009

Express-News: Panel that took heat from homeowners likely won’t survive
The Texas Residential Construction Commission, highly criticized by the homeowners it was meant to protect, appears headed toward its demise because Senate lawmakers don't have the votes to keep the agency alive... “I'll wave it good-by with a big smile,” said Janet Ahmad of San Antonio, president of Homeowners for Better Building...The Sunset Commission staff report last year said the agency is “fundamentally flawed” and does more harm than good for consumers. The report said that only 12 percent of cases where the state had sent in inspectors to review alleged defects have resulted in a “satisfactory offer or repair or compensation over the life of the program.”

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Houston Chronicle: Confirms TRCC Will Die
Friday, 22 May 2009

Residential Construction Commission to die
The Senate sponsor of a House bill to re-create the Texas Residential Construction Commission said he will let the bill die, meaning that the much-criticized agency will be "sunsetted." "The (legislative) members have pretty well spoken, and it's probably in the best interest to do a systematic wind-down of the agency," said Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy. The Sunset Advisory Commission staff last year recommended the agency be abolished, saying it did more harm than good for consumers. ..Senate Business & Commerce Chairman Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, said he never scheduled the bill for a hearing because builders and consumer advocates could not reach a compromise. "It's been a war zone the last two years," said Fraser.

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Quorum Report: TRCC phased out under the state’s Sunset
Friday, 22 May 2009

HEGAR SAYS HE'S INCLINED TO LET TRCC BE PHASED OUT
The agency's sunset bill is dead and is now unlikely to be included in the catch-all bill.Sen. Glenn Hegar told reporters that he’s inclined to allow the Texas Residential Construction Commission to be phased out under the state’s Sunset process because lawmakers were unable to reach a compromise on how to keep the agency functioning.Hegar, a Katy Republican, is carrying the catch-all Sunset bill that’s pending in the Senate to cover those agencies whose Sunset bills die during the waning stages of the session. The TRCC Sunset bill did not get a hearing in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.“It is my inclination at this point in time, and the members have pretty well spoken, that we do a systematic wind down of the agency under the provisions of the Sunset Act,” Hegar said during a brief chat at the Senate press table during a break in the floor action.Hegar said he’s still talking with Rep. Ruth McClendon Jones (D-San Antonio), who’s the House sponsor of the catch-all bill, but his mind is just about made up not include TRCC in the measure.If the measure is not included, it would appear that the only way to save the agency would in conference committee, he said. But that would require the panel to go outside the bounds. By John Moritz

 
Quorum Report on TRCC: Rep. Hegar no compromise seen
Friday, 22 May 2009

TRCC PROSPECTS LOOK BLEAK IN THE SENATE
Texas Residential Construction Commission may not survive the session. The Senate Business and Commerce Committee will not vote out the Sunset bill dealing with the Texas Residential Construction Commission, meaning the agency will go out of business unless it can be saved by appending it to other still-moving legislation.  “I was not able to reach a compromise with all parties,” said B&C Chairman Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay). “We simply ran out of time. My committee is not scheduled to meet again, so whether that agency can be saved is out of my control.” The agency tasked with promoting the construction of quality homes and looking after the interests of new homebuyers has been slammed by its critics as being little more than a tool for the industry. Sen. Glenn Hegar, the Katy Republican who is carrying the catch-all bill that extends the life of agencies that slip through their Sunset process, said he’s not yet made a decision about whether to save TRCC.  “Ruth (McClendon Jones) and I are talking about how we want to proceed,” Hegar said, referring to the House sponsor of the catch-all bill. “We don’t have an answer just yet, but we’re working on it.” The commission is made up of nine members who are appointed by the governor and serve staggered six-year terms. Four of them must be registered builders, three must be members of the public, one must be an engineer in the residential construction field and one must be either an architect or inspector in the residential construction field. By John Moritz

 
Quorum Report: TRCC PROSPECTS LOOK BLEAK IN THE SENATE
Friday, 22 May 2009

 Texas Residential Construction Commission may not survive the session
The Senate Business and Commerce Committee will not vote out the Sunset bill dealing with the Texas Residential Construction Commission, meaning the agency will go out of business unless it can be saved by appending it to other still-moving legislation. “I was not able to reach a compromise with all parties,” said B&C Chairman Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay). “We simply ran out of time. My committee is not scheduled to meet again, so whether that agency can be saved is out of my control.” The agency tasked with promoting the construction of quality homes and looking after the interests of new homebuyers has been slammed by its critics as being little more than a tool for the industry. The rest of the story, Quorum Report subscribers only.

 
TEXAS: Ritter Amendment Protects Builders from Warranty Responsibility
Monday, 18 May 2009

Star-Telegram: Woman wonders if bill absolves builders of warranty responsibility
Under normal circumstances, Janet Ahmad, president of HomeOwners for Better Building, says she would be celebrating a House bill now before the Senate that would require Texas home builders to get licensed by the state. But when she read a late amendment offered by state Rep. Allan Ritter, D-Nederland, to House Bill 2295, she called the Star-Telegram to sound the alarm... "I think it absolves the builder of all warranties."

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TRCC Amendment Bad for Homeowner
Monday, 18 May 2009

Warranties...who is responsible for the warranty on your home?
Readers, please carefully read the wording in this amendment to a law that will affect your rights as a homeowner. In this case, 'exciting' is not a good thing."A builder shall assign to the homeowner, without recourse, the manufacturer's warranty for all manufactured products that are covered by a manufacturer's warranty." ..."Any rights that inure to the homeowner provided under a manufacturer's warranty are the obligation of the manufacturer. The builder does not assume any of the obligations of the manufacturer resulting from a manufacturer's warranty, but shall coordinate with the manufacturer, suppliers, or agents to achieve compliance with the performance standard."... As far as I can tell, there are no 'rights' given to the homeowner by this amendment. All this amendment does is give the shoddy builder, who buys and utilizes underperforming and defective manufactured products, another dilatory tactic. All it does is make the homeowner have to labor to have their home repaired in a timely fashion.

Read more...
 
Expert and Columnist Mark Eberwine: Texas Foundation Failures Explained
Thursday, 14 May 2009

Express-News: Foundation Failures...Why so many in Texas?
How is it that for over a century contractors have built skyscrapers and massive structures that span acres, and millions of homes that have withstood decades of rain and drought, yet Texas Homebuilders have such a dismal record when it comes to constructing foundations that properly support the walls, ceilings, and other superstructure components? Simply put, why are there so many houses in Texas with foundations that have failed or are otherwise in need of foundation repairs/stabilization? The favorite excuse that shoddy builders use when explaining away yet another failed foundation is 'Texas soils'. Somehow we are expected to believe that the soils in Texas occur nowhere else in the world. While quality homebuilders are busy building homes with solid, properly engineered foundations that will last for 100 or more years, shoddy builders are busy petitioning the Texas legislature to continue to allow them to build substandard houses.

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Will TRCC Protect Homeowners
Sunday, 10 May 2009

House OKs Homebuilder Restrictions
It would require licensing of homebuilders, requiring regular continued education and would strengthen the inspection process..."This bill is a good patch job, but there is still a long way to go to ensure that homeowners are fully protected from shoddy homebuilders," said Alex Winslow, executive director of the watchdog group Texas Watch. Winslow praised the bill for giving homeowners a choice whether to enter the TRCC's inspection process or go to mediation; requiring new builders to face bonding and exams; and for making the dispute resolution process expedited and free for homeowners.

Read more...
 
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