C hartered in 1941, the Greater Houston Builders Association is a trade organization whose members are involved in the development, homebuilding, and remodeling industry in 11 counties. The association interacts with the government, community and general public to enhance the business climate for its members, and to provide quality obtainable housing to the community it serves. The association is also active in community outreach and charitable events.
GHBA is the largest home builders association (HBA) in Texas, and the third largest in the nation. GHBA's mission is “To provide advocacy, education, professional development, and valuable services to its members and the homebuilding industry.” Learn more
Construction Industry Voices Concerns With Silica Rule
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued its final rule that aims to protect workers from exposure to silica dust. The new rule would reduce the allowed exposure to silica from 250 micrograms per cubic meter to 50 micrograms over an eight-hour period. New standards take effect on June 23 of this year, and construction companies must comply within one year.
OSHA's new rule also mandates that companies must record instances of worker exposure to silica and provide medical exams every three years for workers exposed to the substance for long enough periods to necessitate the use of a protective respirator for 30 days or more a year.
The Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), a consortium of 25 trade associations, has voiced concerns with the final rule. CISC estimates the new rule could cost the industry billions of dollars more than the government estimated, and predicted it will lead to the loss of more than 33,000 full-time jobs among contractors, equipment suppliers, and building products manufacturers.
"NAHB has long advocated the importance of the rule being both technologically and economically feasible," said Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). "While we're still reviewing the final rule, we're concerned that it may not adequately address these issues and take into consideration real-world application." Read more
OSHA Confined Spaces Regulation Now in Effect
A temporary stay of enforcement by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) on the Confined Spaces in Construction Standard ended Tuesday, March 15. The rule became effective August 3, 2015. The confined space standard applies to workers who enter spaces that are not designed for continuous occupancy and are difficult to exit in the event of an emergency. The rule primarily applies to attics and crawl spaces, as they are "not intended for regular/continuous occupancy." Once a space has the potential to have "a hazardous atmosphere, engulfment hazard, or other serious hazard, such as exposed wiring, that can interfere with a worker's ability to leave the space without assistance," it becomes a permit-required space.
In general, the rule requires employers to:
- Evaluate the jobsite to identify confined spaces.
- Develop a written program and permitting system for permit-required confined spaces.
- Control physical hazards and conduct monitoring for atmospheric hazards in confined spaces that are permit required.
- Provide training for confined space entrants, attendants, supervisors and emergency duties.
- Builders who hire trade contractors (i.e., subcontractors) to do work in a confined space may have additional responsibilities under the new standard.
Home builders in federal OSHA jurisdictions should continue to make strides toward compliance. This NAHB overview about the confined spaces rule and these additional resources offer some guidance. OSHA has also created a resource page and list of FAQs.
New Developments in the TARGET Lawsuit
The EPA's "Waters of the U.S." rule dramatically expands jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and the ramifications of the rule are enormous for business—especially for the home building, land development, construction and transportation infrastructure sectors. The rule subjects the Texas Coastal Prairie Wetlands to subjective case-by-case analyses and regulators are directed to consider them as a system. If the Texas specific part of the rule is permitted to stand, the economic vitality of our region will be severely damaged and land owners will have to forego the use of their property.
Last November, the GHBA, along with other development stakeholders (TARGET), filed a Petition for Review with the Sixth Circuit. While other lawsuits seek to take down the entire rule, our legal strategy is designed to remove the weakest, most capricious, and scientifically vulnerable portion of the rule—the Texas Coastal Prairie Wetlands provision.
On February 22, 2016, the Sixth Circuit panel decided to hear consolidated suits over EPA's water rule. The entire process could take months, possibly stretching into more than a year.
In light of this recent decision, the stakeholder members of TARGET, including the GHBA, are consulting with counsel on next steps in proceeding with the lawsuit. GHBA has already financially committed and will continue to support these lawsuits, but we need individual members to commit as well. Read more
GHBA's 2016 Forecast Luncheon Offers Optimistic Outlook
On Tuesday, January 12, before a sold-out crowd of nearly 1,000, three well-known economists presented their thoughts on 2016 and the home building industry. The panel, moderated by GHBA Secretary Ron Martin with M|I Homes, consisted of Scott Davis, Regional Director-Houston, with Metrostudy|A Hanley Wood Company; Kevin Gillen, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Meyers Research, LLC; and David Jarvis, Senior Vice President|Consulting with John Burns Real Estate Consulting.
The price of oil, jobs, interest rates and other topics were discussed, but the bottom line seemed to be, "Stay lean, keep some cash, but keep on building!" Following are their presentations.
Effective Date of 2012 IRC Extended to February, 1 2016
Late last year, the GHBA was successful in working with the City of Houston to extend the effective date of the 2012 IRC to February 1, 2016. Please see the City of Houston's most recent notice here.
During our meetings, GHBA members were also informed that there are two unenforced codes that will be enforced as of February 1, 2016. These requirements have always been in the code, but were not enforced. They are:
- Any projection less than 3’ from the property line (ie: eaves or soffits), will have to have one-hour fire resistance material put on the face and underside and will be subject to inspection at the time of the firewall installation. In order to comply, consider the following option – eliminating the eaves (zero overhang) to remain greater than 3’ from the property line. Also, consult with your roofing and energy specialists about increasing your attic air flow to meet requirements for lower ventilators.
- The City of Houston amendments to the IRC calls for a 32” clear path of egress to a public right of way. As a result, if you are building 3’ from the property line, be mindful about installing fences, overflows, gas meters, cleanouts, etc. which could cut into the 36” and get below 32”. Also, if using siding or stucco, be aware that they too decrease the space. At this time, there are no exceptions for projections into the clear 32” width of passage between the ground and 6’8” high.
Questions? Email Bradley Pepper or call (281) 664-1430.Download Code Changes Above Review All 2012 IRC Amendments
Member Benefits & Quick Links
Houston Builder Magazine
The official publication of the GHBA, Houston Builder magazine provides up-to-date information on industry trends, products and news. Covers association-related educational opportunities, special events and meetings as well as political updates in relation to the building industry.
For advertising information, email Brittany Feldmann or call 832.215.7232.
Standardized Contracts for Builders & Remodelers
Custom builders & remodelers can save thousands in legal fees by using standardized contracts offered by the association. The 2015 - 2017 Texas Residential Construction Contracts Package is a valuable member benefit, free with your membership to the Custom Builders Council and/or the Remodelers Council.
Not a member yet? Join today!
Discounts on Products & Services You Already Use
Hot Button Issues
GHBA. Our members are busy... building a better Houston!