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Old 08-05-2009, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,361 posts, read 34,782,634 times
Reputation: 8424

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I only learned about the Texas Residential Construction Commission a year or two ago while building a small addition on my house. I was surprised to see that Texas created this commission since the state generally doesn't like to regulate businesses much. I was even more surprised to learn that it was being "sunset" this year and as of Sept. 1 the provisions of the act will no longer be enforced.

Curious as to what happened and to the lack of fanfare surrounding its demise, I have been researching it a bit to understand it better. It appears the TRCC was created in 2003 and everyone had high expectations for it.

Builders want standards commission - Austin Business Journal:

Quote:
The Texas Association of Builders says in a news release that it will work with legislators on a commission to resolve, in part, the "mold hysteria" in the state.

Members of the Austin-based builders association and lawmakers are crafting legislation for the 2003 Texas Legislative Session to create the Texas residential Construction Commission.

The commission is intended to speed up dispute resolution and strengthen building industry standards and accountability, including the growing problem with mold, according to the association news release.

"Our goal is to create a mechanism wherein both the consumer and the builder are treated fairly to resolve differences through a fair dispute resolution process rather than being tied up for years in costly litigation," according to Tyler builder Bob Garret, association president.
Yet in 2008, only 5 years after its creation the sunset commission was recommending abolishing it. Against the recommendations of the Texas Association of Builders.

Advocates for Texas Residential Construction Commission say agency needed, especially after Ike - Austin Business Journal:

Quote:
Against the backdrop of Hurricane Ike’s recent devastating blow to the Texas Gulf Coast, supporters of the Texas Residential Construction Commission asked the state’s Sunset Advisory Commission this week not to abolish the agency, which they say protects homeowners — including the thousands struggling to rebuild after Ike — from bad builders.

Representatives of the Texas Association of Builders met on Tuesday with Sunset commissioners who are weighing the fate of the regulating agency.

In August, the commission, which regularly reviews state agencies, released a stinging report saying the TRCC is ineffective and does not have the public’s trust when it comes to protecting against unscrupulous or unqualified builders. The report recommended that TRCC, which was formed as a regulating body for the industry in 2003, be abolished.

But builders and other advocates say the TRCC should be overhauled to better realize its mission.
So what happened? I have not been able to develop a clear understanding of why it was abolished. I suspect the TRCC must have developed some powerful enemies. Who's influence overcame the legislatures desire to protect homeowners.

Quote:
Figures show that nearly 500 builders have been denied registration or shut down by the TRCC in its five-year history because of bad business practices.
EDIT: Researching further I'm finding that there was a lot of concern even in 2003 that this TRCC with 6 builders on its board would protect and represent the interests of builders more then it would consumers.

Jan. 2006 http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20060...sconstruct.htm

Quote:
The vast majority of complaints to a state agency created to give Texan home owners redress for new home defects may as well be fed into a paper shredder, according to findings in a study by the Lone Star State's comptroller.
Jan. 2007 http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?se...cal&id=5065663

Quote:
getting more protection from the state legislature.

Lawmakers are proposing changes to the agency that oversees home builders in Texas. In the past, the Texas Residential Construction Commission has been criticized for siding with builders and not helping home buyers - but that may change.

"We do expect there to be changes this year, the agency has been in place since 2003 and it has had time to work out it's kinks," said Adam Aschmann of the Greater Houston Builders Association.
Aschmann says builder groups oppose laws that would eliminate mandatory arbitration in contracts but recognizes the TRCC will likely be more consumer friendly after this legislative session.
"We do expect some consumer protections to be put in place and the agency to have more teeth," he said.
Sept. 2007 State beefs up regulations for remodelers, builders


March 2009 Critics: Texas Agency Favors Builders Over Buyers
Quote:
Imagine hundreds of executives from BP, Shell and Exxon Mobil rallying on the steps of the Capitol in Washington to save the Environmental Protection Agency.

That may be hard to picture, but recently in Texas, 1,000 homebuilders rallied at the state Capitol in an effort to save the agency that theoretically regulates them. Texas homebuilders are big fans of the job the Texas Residential Construction Commission has done since its inception five years ago. But after a backlash from homebuyers, who say the process is stacked in the builders' favor, state lawmakers are now considering whether to abolish it.

Out of 181 legislators, there are only six who don't take money from the Texas Association of Builders. So when the homebuilders come to Austin to lobby, the most powerful politicians in the state pay their respects.
OK I think I understand it now. Legislators prompted by home builders created an commission that did more to protect homebuilders from lawsuits then it did to protect homeowners. They failed to give the commission adequate teeth to enforce its regulations, even when it wanted to. So now instead of fixing it they are letting it sunset.

Last edited by CptnRn; 08-05-2009 at 12:38 PM..
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:17 PM
 
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 33,526,574 times
Reputation: 5787
Because it was utterly useless. This commission was akin to hiring foxes to watch the chicken house. It was literally only builders that were on the commission that a homeowner had to go before if they had a beef against a builder. The builder could literally rape the person building the house and the commission is going to side w/ their own. And they did. Hardly anything ever got settled in the homeowners favor at all that went before the commission. It was a joke from the very inception and needed to be done away with and maybe (HA) someday a REAL commission will get appointed that will actually make the builders accountable for their misdeeds.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Austin
6,411 posts, read 14,708,388 times
Reputation: 7664
The TRCC was created to help the consumer, but all it did was help the builder and got completely out of control.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:41 PM
 
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 33,526,574 times
Reputation: 5787
Quote:
Originally Posted by FalconheadWest View Post
The TRCC was created to help the consumer, but all it did was help the builder and got completely out of control.
It was intended to help the consumer. Because the builders put too many greenbacks into the pockets of the dearly elected officials down in Austin they squirmed their way into talking them into making sure that only their croonies and builders sat on the commission. There was such a rise in homeowners/buyers w/ severe complaints the state had to do something. Yet, what they did was worthless and even more aggraviting to those that got duped by a shoddy builder.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,361 posts, read 34,782,634 times
Reputation: 8424
What a disappointment. Now the consumer is back to where we started in 2003, the only protections are local building codes and a private lawsuit.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:52 PM
 
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 33,526,574 times
Reputation: 5787
Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
What a disappointment. Now the consumer is back to where we started in 2003, the only protections are local building codes and a private lawsuit.
Sure beats thinking you have recourse and someone on your side only to find out the commission is made up of builders that are not going to throw the ax at their business buddy.

You can forget lawsuits as well. Just about every single contract w/ a new homebuilder has arbitration stipulations.
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:04 PM
 
19,310 posts, read 39,399,945 times
Reputation: 8791
actually I think builders are more afraid of the "private lawsuit" which could mean class-action than they are the commission
if it means that mandatory arbitration is written out of contracts vs suing--it would be better too
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,361 posts, read 34,782,634 times
Reputation: 8424
Here is some new information I just found about TRCC's shutting down.

HomeOwners for Better Building - TRCC a lingering disease Not dead Yet
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:00 PM
 
19,310 posts, read 39,399,945 times
Reputation: 8791
some of the comments in that article are just too much

Ned Muñoz, vice president of regulatory affairs and general counsel for the Texas Association of Builders

does the phrase "conflict of interests" come to mind

said a bill passed this session will allow counties to enforce building codes and to conduct home inspections in unincorporated areas — something that will help regulation in the absence of TRCC. “I think that bill is an important thing to have passed in light of the TRCC's demise,” he said. “It benefits homeowners. It protects home builders to make sure someone who doesn't build to code won't undercut the industry.”

yes--above all--protect builders so someone does not undercut their price and force them to do substandard building to compete...
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:29 PM
 
48,526 posts, read 73,044,736 times
Reputation: 17793
Basically;your always better to sue because many times the commisions limits your rights to sue.Its a good idea that bascially comes down to politics But were you really can be effective is at your local level with codes and inspection. You have much greater influence with your local politicains than someone in Austin. Its like the old car lemon law;its allowed you to return the car once you had brought it to the dealer three times without a solution. But they got to politicians (auto makers) and that was a democratic administration. They all play these fund raising games really.In 1981 I brought back a forsd truck and the dealer didn't know what to do at first then fopund out I could.Many people that live poutside cities are really in trouble on home codes many times. They love it when they do things but when dealing with contractors and builders it is bad.
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