Is your house falling down? Did the builder cut a few corners because he did not have to worry about a building department? As of September 1,2008, this should not be the case in Texas. The Texas state legislature has assigned the task to the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) of ensuring that all building projects from builders and remodelers working on projects costing over $10,000 will have to be registered, and that such projects will always be inspected.
The real change is the idea that all homes will need to be inspected. The phrasing in the code requires that all homes in unincorporated areas or municipalities which do not conduct inspections to now be inspected. The builder or remodeler will have to hire a county inspector to perform the appropriate inspections. For a new home, this will necessitate three inspections: a foundation inspection before the concrete is poured; a framing/mechanical inspection to be done before the interior wall coverings are placed; and a final home inspection when the structure is complete.
In the last paragraph, I introduced the term county inspector, which may be nice to define for you. Although some counties do have a building code, they do not have inspectors. The state provides a simple definition: a fee inspector, but I thought you may wish to know a little more than that. A fee inspector is either a licensed engineer, a registered architect, or a professional real estate inspector. To be considered a county inspector, this professional will have to be registered with the TRCC. (The registration process will be starting at the end of June or early July online at their site.)
What does this mean for the homeowner? If you built your own home and you live in it for one year, this new code effects you lightly. You will need to report to the buyer that the home has not been certified as being built to code. Ms. Rivera from the TRCC reported to me that this is on the Seller’s Disclosure Form, but it should be revealed in the sales contract.
In the end, this is a step towards ensuring that buyers will be purchasing well built homes. There is still some work to do towards that goal. You could do your part by commenting on the draft rules that the TRCC is considering. There will be a meeting next week of the commission to discuss possible changes to the proposed rules. I have not checked yet, but I was told that we can view them online. This effects all of us who live in a home, so if you wish your voice to be heard, now is the time before the rules are set.