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02-14-2008, 06:19 PM #1
Many Texans view the TRCC (Texas Residential Construction Commission) as being controlled by the home builders and hold the TRCC in little regard. The following Austin American-Statesman article today makes me wonder about that though:
(Austin, Tx) — At its February 13, 2008, meeting, the Texas Residential Construction Commission revoked the registration of Austin-area builder Primera Homes Ltd. According to an agreement with the commission, the company’s owner, Michael Kelly, is prohibited from working in the residential construction industry in Texas for 20 years.
The commission took action against Primera Homes for committing multiple violations, including misappropriating trust funds in numerous instances and using false advertisements. Primera Homes was responsible for several Austin-area subdivisions, most notably the troubled Maravilla community.
The commission took administrative action against a total of 14 builders. Five builders were in the Central Texas area, six in the Dallas area and three in the Rio Grande Valley. Detailed information is available at www.texasrcc.org.
Commission Executive Director Duane Waddill said the commission’s action is consistent with its commitment to enforcement.
Waddill said, “All these companies failed in some way to fulfill their obligations under the law. As a result, the commission took administrative action. Primera Homes failed most egregiously. It should come as no surprise that Primera Homes and its owner paid the most substantial price — Mr. Kelly and Primera Homes are effectively barred from working in the Texas homebuilding industry for two decades.
02-14-2008, 06:55 PM #2
That IS surprising. I was at some of the original meetings "selling" this to the builders in my small town. It was presented as the idea that we (the builders) could come up with our own plan or wait until the legislature came up with one we liked even less. Of course I was small time, small potatoes without any clout, but the original bill was by any definition "builder friendly" and stacked against the consumer. I hope the recent legislative changes have evened things out a bit. Looks like maybe they are getting some of the worst, we'll see about the future.
02-14-2008, 07:04 PM #3
After reading the list of penalties, all but one were simply administrative penalties for registering late, etc.
I think at this point, I would say either all of the problem builders miraculously went away or the Austin Builder was more for show than real proof that the TRCC is doing a good job.
02-14-2008, 08:26 PM #4
RE: TRCC - I was asked to sign up to do HIs for the TRCC many years ago and I quickly turned that gig down.
I've also heard (via e-mail from someone today) that the TRCC is supporting having the 'rural area inspection program' done by ICC-certified inspectors and not TREC-licensed inspectors ... unless they also happen to have their ICC-certs.
If that "is" solid it may be wise to work on the ICC-certs if you are in that market in Texas.
02-15-2008, 03:56 AM #5
No matter what you you may hear, read, or otherwise intuit from the misinformed media, TRCC is 100% builder-friendly. If they did sanction a builder or two, here or there, it was only because those builders had somehow fallen from grace (stopped kissing ass) with the Commission and needed to be used as sacrificial lambs for the media show.
I have been dealing with these assholes since the very beginning, up close and personal. You could not possibly meet a more unctuous, self-serving pack of liars without convening with Bush's cabinet. They are all builders, builders' attorneys, and suppliers for builders. Check out their bios. Follow the money.
It is common knowledge among Metroplex builders that TRCC's performance standards are totally unenforceable. I have them tell that to my clients on a regular basis when faced with violations noted in my reports. Only the few quasi-ethical (or those extremely desperate to unload their houses) builders even attempt to address issues in light of these standards. The rest fall back on their ability to reign in their municipal inspectors through political pressure, favors, and pecuniary recompense, thereby skirting not only TRCC regs, but the IRC and NEC codes as well.
Additionally, I run into builders in unicorporated areas on an alarmingly regular basis that are not registered with TRCC and so their projects are also not registered. Complaints sent to TRCC about these situations either fall on deaf ears or fall directly into the round file. I have also encountered major custom builders in Preston Hollow and Southlake (over-priced yuppie havens in Dallas) that do not even bother to register their projects.
It worries me that professional inspectors in Texas would even toy with the idea that TRCC is somehow legitimate. Wake up folks! This is Texas politics!! What the *&%# were you thinking???
02-15-2008, 05:01 AM #6
02-15-2008, 05:43 AM #7
Great photo of a g-r-e-a-t- man . . .
Fortunately, he's soon out on his ear.
02-15-2008, 06:07 AM #8
02-15-2008, 04:53 PM #9
I've worked with a client in McKinney who started after their builder after being in their new home 4-months. Lots of problems: binding doors, windows, brick veneer cracks, walls leaning, slab cracking and on and on and on.
They landed smack-dab in the middle of the TRCC and I told them they would likely go "no-where".
Last I knew was they had signed on with an attorney.
Not for anything ... Since it's formation I've not heard one good thing about the TRCC. It is bought, paid for and operated by the builders ... "for" the builders.
Aaron is spot on with his comments about the TRCC as my minimal experience with them has been similar.
02-16-2008, 04:25 AM #10
The list of my clients who have had frustrating and costly run-ins with the TRCC is long. Not a single one of them has received even an iota relief from their builder through the infamous and feckless SIRP (State-Sponsored Inspection and Dispute Resolution Process).
For those of you who are interested the process works like this. TRCC will not even listen to a complaint until after a house has received a certificate of occupancy and is in fact occupied. Now in my world, if an agency actually wanted to insure code compliance and level of quality of workmanship, the time to get involved would be during the construction process; not after it is over. Am I off track here?
So, happy unsuspecting homeowner moves all of his cheap Chinese junk into his new home only to find that the upstairs toilets are serving double duty as fountains for downstairs residents' amusement, the windows and doors also double as exercise machines, his children have made up games around determining which faucets are hot or cold throughout the house, all of the plumbing on the north wall freezes when it gets below 30°, the attic stairs fall down when his 120 lb. wife goes up them with a string of x-mas lights, the dishwasher air gap also cleans the granite counters whenever the machine is run, the AFCI breakers trip when anything is plugged into a bedroom receptacle, the A/C duct system is so poorly balanced that walking through the house is like going on vacation to different climates, et al. You've got the picture, right?
He's called the builder and his drooling henchmen contractors in several times to no avail. Every time they come to look at or fix anything, which is not all that often, the break, damage or totally destroy something else, which of course gets added to the ever burgeoning number of things gone wrong. He's just about to drive down to the local pawn shop and purchase 9mm of relief when he remembers he's got a warranty and the TRCC on his side. God bless Texas!
So he goes on their site, downloads the reams of paperwork, and files a claim, and pays his fee (tax). Weeks, maybe months, later they contact him to say that one of their inspectors is riding to the rescue. Happy homeowner's major concerns at this point are plumbing issues. The inspector sent out is there for the plumbing issues noted in the complaint. As a plumbing inspector he immediately sees a number of other plumbing-related items that require repair. But, TRCC will not allow, and actually specifically proscribes him from mentioning those things either verbally or in writing. He can only myopically approach the subject that is written in the complaint.
Let's say then that homeowner boy gets lucky and the inspector agrees that his complaints have merit. He reports to TRCC. TRCC then tells the builder that these things are wrong and he should fix them. The builder disagrees. That's the end of the process. TRCC has no power (and usually no desire) to force compliance.
Where does this leave happy homeowner? Well, now he has the right to pony up even more money to his attorney and sue the bastards. So, why couldn't he have just done so in the first place? Simple. TRCC is in place to create multiple burning hoops for the homeowner to jump through on his way to court. The hope is that he will become discouraged and dissuaded along the way. It almost always happens that way.
So, any of you who actually believes in the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, Osama bin Laden, and that the military is about to shoot a rocket at a failed satellite just because it has fuel on board, will also believe that the Texas Residential Construction Commission is a consumer protection agency.
02-16-2008, 07:11 AM #11