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  1. #1
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    Default New smoke detector law - Texas

    I have been getting notices from the realtor groups about a new law that goes into effect Sept. 1st. Of course this is slanted towards disclosure for the realtors and has little meat of the actual bill. Has anyone got the skinny on what this means to inspectors and the average home owner?

    Here is an excerpt from one of the notices:

    The legislation also imposes smoke-detector requirements on certain dwellings. The change in law requires all owners of one- and two-family dwellings constructed in Texas to have working smoke detectors installed in accordance with the requirements of the building code in effect in the area in which the dwelling is located.
    Notice! this is second hand information and should not be relied on to reflect reality since it came from a bunch of realtors

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    Jim Luttrall
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    Dallas, Texas

  2. #2
    Ron Dawes's Avatar
    Ron Dawes Guest

    Default Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    Here is the text of the bill:

    80(R) SB 338 - House Committee Report version - Bill Text

    And here is the status page:

    http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillL...80R&Bill=SB338

    If I read this correctly, it does not look like it made it thru the House and was not signed into law. But I certainly could be wrong as the site is a bit confusing. My opinion does not match this link which states that it IS a law:
    Austin Real Estate Blog - Austin TX Real Estate Blog Archive Another Boneheaded new law from our Texas Legislature

    In short it said all houses have to have smoke detectors. If they are an existing home then they will have to be installed at the time of any work that requires a permit and they will have to be installed before the house can be sold. There is also now a space on the disclosure form to note their presence.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Dawes View Post
    If they are an existing home then they will have to be installed at the time of any work that requires a permit

    and

    they will have to be installed before the house can be sold.
    Ron,

    Curious, is that an "and" or an "or" in there in the wording? It does make a difference (and that difference also changes based on other wording, which could make the "and" equivalent to an "or").

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    SB338 was amended to HB 2118 and was signed by Governor Goodhair. As is typical, it is not what TAR would present it as.

    For a complete reading of the Bill and its amendments go to:
    http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLoo...0R&Bill=HB2118

    It was initiated after the death of a State Senator in a home fire started by a candle. It got tacked on to a Bill originally intended to separate and distinguish commercial from residential technicians.

    The responsibility for what constitutes compliance has been left up to SURPRIZE the Insurance commissioner. He doesn't have to come up with the requirements until December 2007.

    As passed, it will affect both new home construction and sale of existing homes. But, as I said, the requirements will not be defined until the Ins. Commissioner says.

    Last edited by Thom Walker; 08-28-2007 at 06:27 PM. Reason: spelling.....so what's new?
    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    Thom, thanks for the insight into this bill, you are a better man than I if you actually understand what is going on with this.
    Politicians!

    You would think they would try to understand what the rules are and play within the existing rules instead of reinventing the wheel just to pass some "feel good" legislation that won't change a blessed thing!

    The could have just said "everyone really should have smoke detectors" and accomplished as much good without near as much trouble.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    Jim,

    Personally I don't see to many homes nowadays that don't have smoke alarms already.

    Doesn't mean they are always working, but most homes do have them. We just have to remind these folks that they should remain operable. Some forget what the real purpose of them are.

    As far as the laws, I was always told that laws are no more than an attempt to protect stupid people.

    Most people with common sense would already have them (smoke alarms) in there homes. I did use the word "most".

    Rick


  7. #7
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    Default Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    To make you feel even better about our valiant protectors in Austin; did you realize the Governor signed into law
    899 new House Bills
    589 new Senate bills
    Another 22 became law without his signature.

    So, we Texans have another 1410 laws on the books. Thank God they can only meet every other year.

    I'm hijacking this thread, so I'll stop.

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    those states that have adopted the 2006 IRC have the requirement in the code to add smoke detectors (with exeptions) any time a permit is pulled.


  9. #9
    Ted H. GarlickIII's Avatar
    Ted H. GarlickIII Guest

    Thumbs up Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    Yes! I would like to "clarify" the smoke detector law everyone is confused about.Here goes
    Under Madla's Law ANY HOME BUILT BEFORE SEPTEMBER 1,1981 MUST have smoke detectors installed to TODAY'S (2008) statndards. Madla's law closes the "grandfather" clause in the law. For homes that were built AFTER SEPTEMBER 1, 1981 Madla's Law DOES NOT AFFECT that home as Texas mandated smoke detectors in ALL "new" homes built on and after September 1, 1981.I hope this information helps everyone.
    Plus! also be aware that the 2009 International Building Codes for Residential Home Construction now MANDATE automatic fire safety suppression systems (sprinkler systems) in ALL "NEW" HOMES i.e single and "multi-family", manufactured homes as well. The "projected" date this will take effect is on January 1, 2010. Texas is in the "process" of adopting the new 2009 I.B.C. codes as state law.
    I can not begin to tell you how many lives will be saved and "property" as well by automatic fire safety suppression systems (sprinkler systems)as such that 15 states in the United States already have mandated them in there home construction since the mid 1990's.I can not wait to see this happen here in Texas, as I personnally have been affected by a home fire and the "good" thing about it was that I had re-installed a missing smoke detector in the basement of the home a month before the oil furnace had caught fire and I tested the smoke detectors to see if one went off all of them in the "circut" went off as well and they (the smoke detectors) did what they are designed to do and that is to save my family's lives.Screw the house! Someone life is more important than a home.I can even tell you what "brand" and model and when the smoke detector(s) were made. They were FireEx's and made in February of 1991.


  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted H. GarlickIII View Post
    Yes! I would like to "clarify" the smoke detector law everyone is confused about.Here goes
    Under Madla's Law ANY HOME BUILT BEFORE SEPTEMBER 1,1981 MUST have smoke detectors installed to TODAY'S (2008) statndards. Madla's law closes the "grandfather" clause in the law. For homes that were built AFTER SEPTEMBER 1, 1981 Madla's Law DOES NOT AFFECT that home as Texas mandated smoke detectors in ALL "new" homes built on and after September 1, 1981.
    To clarify, I suspect that it does not, as stated above, "closes the "grandfather" clause", I say this because normal standards for installing smoke detectors back in 1981 ... 19*81* ... *that was 28 years ago* ... and the standard locations required for smoke detectors TODAY are completely different.

    Thus, it does not do away with grandfathering in older homes, it just limits that age of the grandfathering to 1981.

    You know that a 1981 ... even 1991 ... house is not going to have the number of smoke detectors, nor at the locations required for today.

    Not quite sure where their heads were on that one. They should have just made it to require smoke detectors for all homes be installed to today's standards, without dating "today's" standards to 2008, but to "today's current" standards, which change with each code adoption without having to go back and change the statute law.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: New smoke detector law - Texas

    I write up every home I inspect and have for years that smoke detectors must be installed in all bedrooms and outside those sleeping areas and I have for many years.

    Only once has anyone questioned or complained about it and it was a realtor. I also tell them that they need to be wired together so they will all go off at the same time. The cost is next to nothing. The cost with out them is devistating. I know some of you may not agree with this but I could really care less what TREC or any city inspector, seller or buyer has to say about it.

    As I said to not tell them outright they are need then they more than likely will either not install them or put it off for some time. Again, only one person has complained or questioned me about it.

    I lived in three homes growing up that burnt. One was a faulty floor heater. One was a faulty gas fired forced hot air unit. One was a spark from a fireplace that blew out through a half in space between the screens.

    To many people have died or been badly injured or lost a child or parent from fires.

    I personally believe there should be no inspector out there that does not step beyond any limits set upon them as to writing smoke detectors up. TREC, local municipalities, builder, seller, buyer, who cares, write it up for someones childs sake.

    Oh honey, grandmas house burnt down and she did not have any smoke detectors in her home to wake her from sleeping. She passed away this morning.

    Sorry. I won't ever be part of not giving folks serious warning about smoke detectors regardless if some one wants to spank me for writing that "They are required" no matter what age the home is or where I am inspecting.


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