The Texas Association of Builders (TAB) is a voluntary trade organization representing all segments of the residential building industry. Through training, education and active participation in the legislative and regulatory process, our organization works in conjunction with local home builders associations throughout Texas to make membership an essential element of a successful building industry company.
We are not a regulatory agency. TAB is governed by a Board of Directors elected by members, and the board directs the policies and operations of the association in accordance with its bylaws. The policies and bylaws of TAB do not include any formal or informal process to settle disputes or complaints against industry members. However, those experiencing difficulties with home construction projects are welcome to share their experience with TAB in order to help guide future training and educational efforts. Contact TAB at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the launch by the Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas of www.RebuildTexas (http://www.rebuildtexas.today/). Today, a real-time information resource for local officials in the communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The website will provide the most current and reliable information on state and federal resources available for the rebuilding of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools and government buildings.
Looking to help homeowners devastated by Hurricane Harvey, click Samaritans Purse for volunteer opportunities surrounding the impacted areas. Samaritan’s Purse mobilizes staff and equipment and enlists thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters in the United States. They are looking for an army of volunteers—as many as 1,000 a day.
Here are a few important guidelines to help you select a competent contractor:
GET MULTIPLE ESTIMATES
1. Rule of thumb, get a minimum of 3 estimates
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS of Your Contractor
1. How long have you been in the building business?
2. What type of insurance do you carry?
3. What’s the best was to communicate with you?
Question to Ask Yourself:
1. Do I see myself working and communicating with this contractor?
2. What is my gut telling me?
CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
Your local Better Business Bureau will know about
1. Ask about complains filed against the contractor
2. Check BBB rating with standing within the community
ASK FOR REFERENCES (and then follow-up!)
1. Get a minimum of 3 references from past customers
2. Call each reference
3. Contact or visit your town code inspector. Some Texas cities require that builders are registered and bonded. Check with your city’s building permits department in this regard. These officials will also know how many projects they’ve inspected. They will also know how many projects they’ve inspected for the contractor and, possibly, the subs they’ve used for projects.
HAVE A CONTRACT
The contract should include these 4 things:
1. A description of how change orders are processed
3. Payment Schedule
DO NOT pay for the entire job up front or pay in cash. In fact, state law prohibits contractors in disaster areas from taking up front money unless they have held a physical business address in the county or adjacent county for at least one year. This law, found in Chapter 58 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, provides other valuable protections for those rebuilding in disaster areas.
4. Completion date
THE BIG 3
The contract should include these 3 things:
1. Get References
2. Have a Contract
3. Do Not Pay upfront
Disaster Assistance Portal
The goal of the Disaster Assistance Improvement Program is to improve access to disaster information and make applying for disaster assistance easier. This is not just the beginning of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) grant process, but it is also the gatekeeper for assistance from the federal government. For business owners, that assistance will include SBA disaster loans which will be available. Individuals and businesses must register to secure resources. This is an important step of the recovery process that is not well understood.
FEMA, under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), acts as the managing partner. The site allows you to find disaster assistance that meets individual needs, learn more about the 70 forms of assistance from 17 federal agencies, apply and determine status for disaster assistance and reduce applications required, identify a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center, locate a hotel or temporary place to live, find food and nutrition programs, apply for change of address, and learn more about SBA loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses.
♦ FEMA Texas Hurricane Harvey (DR-4332)
♦ FEMA Assistance
♦ FEMA – Removing Mold From Your Home
♦ FEMA – Find a Place to Stay
♦ FEMA – Housing Resources
♦ Federal Emergency Management Agency | (800) 621-FEMA
♦ IRS Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricane Harvey
♦ U.S. Department of Labor
The following information may be helpful to anyone who suffered a loss as a result of natural disasters.
While the State of Texas does not require contractors to be licensed, builders should check with the applicable city, county and/or Homeowner Association regarding any local regulations regarding contractor oversight. Additionally, contractors should note that many trades are regulated by the State of Texas and/or local authorities. These include the following (note that this is not an exhaustive list):
♦ Engineers — Texas Board of Professional Engineers — https://engineers.texas.gov/
♦ Architects — Texas Board of Architectural Examiners — http://www.tbae.state.tx.us/
♦ Electricians — Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation — https://www.license.state.tx.us/
♦ HVAC Professionals — Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation — https://www.license.state.tx.us/
♦ Plumbers — Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners — http://www.tsbpe.state.tx.us/
Furthermore, Texas law prohibits certain contractors in disaster areas from taking up-front money unless they have held a physical business address in the county or adjacent county for at least one year. This law, found in Chapter 58 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, provides other valuable protections for those rebuilding in disaster areas.
Regarding building codes, municipalities administer strict oversight over new construction and remodels, and every county in Texas has the authority to mandate that all homes be built to code and pass independent third-party code inspections. In order for construction to be eligible for coverage through the Texas Windstorm Association, construction must be certified to conform with the state windstorm building code requirements: https://www.twia.org/windstorm-certification-requirements/.
Anyone interested in buying a new home wants to find a quality house built by a professional. While professionalism may mean different things to different people, generally there are guiding principles by which home building professionals conduct business. Look for these qualities in any home builder you choose to build your dream home.
♦ Building professionals believe that homes should be well designed, well constructed and well located in attractive communities with accessible educational, recreational, religious and shopping facilities.
♦ They feel a strong responsibility to their customers and their community.
♦ Honesty is their guiding business policy, and they believe in dealing fairly with their customers, employees, subcontractors and suppliers.
♦ They try to build high standards of health, safety and sanitation into every home.
An important indicator of professionalism is whether or not the builder or contractor belongs to a home builder association or other professional organization. Becoming a dues paying member of a building industry association typically means that a builder is an established member of the community. Builder associations encourage their members to research and develop new materials, building techniques and equipment, and improve methods of home financing so that home buyers receive the greatest possible value for their money.
Home builder associations and their members care about their industry and building a quality product that will serve the homeowner and community for years to come. The quality of a new home will in large measure be determined by the skill of the building professional that constructs it. You should evaluate your builder as carefully as you would select the options and features of your new home. When you buy a new home, you are purchasing more than just a structure-you are buying a package of services, and the quality of those services will have an important effect on your enjoyment of the house.
You will communicate frequently with your builder during and after the construction process, so choose a builder with whom you will feel comfortable working and you feel best understands your needs.
One of the best ways to find out about the professionalism of a builder is to ask previous customers. Visit some of the builder’s previous communities and ask homeowners about their experiences. By doing your homework, you will be able to shop for a home with a sense of confidence and the knowledge that will help you to make the correct decision for your family.
For many people, buying a new home will be the single largest purchase you’ll ever make. Make sure that you protect that investment by buying your dream home from a qualified professional builder.
Where can you go for energy efficiency rebates and incentives? How can you save money and waste less? The state’s official site TexasPowerfulSmart.org has useful information about energy-smart ideas and incentives.
Homes, like all structures built for human occupancy, are assembled on site, by hand, from the ground upward in the elements of nature by scores of construction professionals. As such, situations develop and questions arise involving the construction methods, practices, materials and techniques used to complete the project. Each construction issue and circumstance is different and often involves a myriad of building codes, municipal ordinances, Texas laws and federal regulations.
When questions or situations arise, it is important to discuss those promptly and directly with the home builder. The home builder’s insight and expertise about the project can lead to quick resolution, provided that clear communication is established. Contact with the home builder should be done as soon as the issue becomes known especially issues involving the home’s plumbing system, electrical system, roofing and structural components. It is important to all involved in the construction process that homeowners with construction questions or experiencing what they perceive to be construction defects contact the home builder in writing and by telephone to fully describe the issue.
Homeowners that have unresolved questions or concerns about their home’s construction can pursue other avenues to have their concerns addressed. Click here for suggested avenues for homeowners to take.
If you live in a home built before 1978 and you're contemplating any work that will disturb more than six square feet of painted surfaces inside the home or 20 square feet on the exterior of the home - for example, replacing a window, installing cabinets, or adding on to your home - the contractor you hire is required by law to be trained and certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
♦ Renovate Right brochure http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovaterightbrochure.pdf
Keep your family safe from the dangers of lead exposure by hiring an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator. Call your local home builders' association for a list of certified remodelers or use the tool at www.leadfreekids.org to find one near you.
Post-Disaster Renovations and Lead-Based Paint (EPA)
Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rules & Updates (EPA)
The Office of Public Utility Counsel (OPUC) represents residential and small business consumer interests involving any utility regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC).
The National Association of Home Builders estimates that three jobs are created for each new single-family home that is built, with about half being in the construction industry and the rest in other industries that are needed to outfit and sell a home such as furniture, appliances, textiles, loan officers and lawyers. A total of $90,000 in government revenue is generated — $67,000 in federal taxes and $23,000 in state and local taxes. Find out more about the economic benefits of new home construction.
A newly-constructed home or condominium offers outstanding benefits to the homeowner as well as to the community. The energy-efficient features that are often included in new homes such as tankless water heaters, ENERGY STAR appliances and HVAC systems make the home more comfortable and can save the home owners significant money over the long term.
Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) is a flexible, stainless steel pipe used to supply natural gas and propane in residential, commercial and industrial structures. Coated with a yellow, or in some cases, a black exterior plastic coating, CSST is usually routed beneath, through and alongside floor joists in your basement, inside interior wall cavities and on top of ceiling joists in attic spaces. Link to a CSST Safety website from the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and watch the Texas State Fire Officials Public Service Announcement.