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
OSHA Reaches Confined Spaces Litigation Settlement
On May 24, 2016, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a statement regarding the settlement to the agency's Confined Spaces in Construction final rule. This settlement comes a year after issuing the rule and the subsequent opposition from the NAHB. The rule, as published, was ambiguous in its definition of a "confined space" and would have been especially onerous on the residential homebuilding industry. As part of the settlement, OSHA has published a detailed Q & A to explain how the rule applies to spaces such as attics, basements and crawl spaces in residential homes. This will clarify the scope of the standard, as well as how the standard will apply to attics, crawl spaces, basements, and other potential confined space or permit-required confined space exposures that may occur during the course of residential construction work. By and large, areas in a residential home will not typically trigger the confined spaces requirements.
Read the Q & A
Know the Law: Paths to 2015 Energy Code Compliance
House Bill 1736 will take effect on September 1, 2016. This legislation makes the energy provisions of the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) the minimum standard for energy efficiency all across Texas. It also ensures that the state cannot adopt another energy code for six years and amends one of the compliance tools to make it more attainable for those who choose that path of compliance.
While HB 1736 was a significant victory for the GHBA and the Texas Association of Builders (TAB) during the 2015 Legislative Session, it will change how you build and remodel. Air leakage, duct blaster tests, air barriers, whole-house ventilation, HERS, ERI, SEER, SHGC, U-Factors, R-Values, compliance methods, mandatory provisions, stickers, lighting, insulated headers, ladder tees, and more are mentioned in this new code. Are you ready for it?
To ease the transition into the state energy mandates, attend TAB 2016 Energy Code Training offered by the GHBA. The class includes: REGISTER NOW
- Compliance Standards Overview and Who It Affects
- Paths to 2015 Energy Code Compliance
- Takeaway and Q & A
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
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
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.
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