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  Text Version    RSS    Unsubscribe    Archive    Media Kit July 24, 2015

       CALENDAR   |  TAB WEBSITE July 2015 Issue      

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In this issue:


Available only to builder/remodeler members of the Texas Association of Builders, TAB’s updated 201-2016 contracts package will be available Sept. 1, 2015. Unlike other contracts packages, TAB's package reflects the most recent mandates coming out of the 2015 Texas Legislative Session and case law updates, in addition to a new design-build contract and architect addendum. As always, the package will also be updated to include needed clarifications, various improvements and greater ease of use.

The TAB Contracts subscription is your blueprint for typical construction and remodeling transactions in the State of Texas. The package of contracts and related addenda is a fantastic value and can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees. The subscription includes any needed updates that may occur during the two year cycle.

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Confined spaces, such as manholes, tanks, or sewers, are work areas that are not designed for continuous occupancy and may be difficult to exit in the event of an emergency. On May 4, 2015, OSHA issued a final rule to increase protection for construction workers in confined spaces.

What is a confined space? As defined by OSHA, a confined space has:
  • Limited means of entry and/or exit
  • Is large enough for a worker to enter it
  • Is not intended for regular/continuous occupancy
What are examples of locations where confined spaces may occur during home construction? Examples of locations in home building confined spaces may include, but are not limited to: manholes, sewer systems, stormwater drains, water mains, crawl spaces, attics, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) ducts, and pits.

What is a permit required confined space? A permit required confined space is a space that may 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. Only workers assigned and trained to work in a permit required confined space may do so. A permit specifying safety measures and names of those permitted in the space must be written before any work can take place. Employers are also required to develop a written confined space program if workers will enter permit required confined spaces.

How does the new final rule differ from the rules that previously applied to construction work performed in confined spaces? The rule requires employers to determine what kinds of confined spaces their workers are in, what hazards could be there, how those hazards should be made safe, what training workers should receive, and how to rescue those workers if anything goes wrong.

If I am a general contractor and hire a subcontractor to do work in a confined space. Do I have any responsibilities? Yes, home builders, or controlling contractors as OSHA labels them, must discuss permit required confined spaces on the site and their hazards with subcontractors/employers whose employees will enter permit required spaces.

The rule makes the controlling contractor the primary point of contact for information about permit spaces at the work site. The controlling contractor passes information it has about permit confined spaces at the work site on to the employers whose employees will enter the spaces (entry employers). Likewise, entry employers must give the controlling contractor information about their entry program and hazards they encounter in the space, and the controlling contractor passes that information on to other entry employers. The controlling contractor is also responsible for making sure employers outside a space know not to create hazards in the space, and that entry employers working in a space at the same time do not create hazards for one another's workers.

When does the new rule go into effect? Aug. 3, 2015

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The 2015 HOMEPAC FUNdango is an event you don't want to miss! The family-friendly FUNdango includes entertainment, music, food, beverages and FUN for all ages. This outdoor event also hosts the 2nd Annual Statewide Washers Championship on the grounds of the Gaylord Texan® Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. Winning teams from the local HBA washers tournaments will compete for the coveted championship belt buckle. In addition, two-person teams may also buy in to play.

To purchase FUNdango tickets and to buy into the washers tournament visit

Ticket proceeds benefit HOMEPAC, Texas Association of Builders political action committee. Corporate donations are not accepted.

Thanks to our FUNdango & Washers Tournament Sponsors (as of 6/1/15)

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The Comptroller is sending a letter to contractors who perform lump-sum contracts (where labor and materials aren't separately stated). These contractors must pay sales tax when they buy, lease, or rent taxable items, and must pay use tax when buying, leasing, or renting taxable items from an out-of-state seller unless the contractor has a receipt that shows Texas use tax was paid. The letter offers a waiver of penalty and interest, in exchange for paying any tax due within 60 days of the date of the letter. For more information, contact the Comptroller's BART group at 1-800-688-6829.
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The Texas Association of Builders will host its Summer Board of Directors Meeting in conjunction with the 15th Annual Sunbelt Builders Show™ on July 31 at the Gaylord Texan® Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.

During this meeting, the Texas Housing Hall of Honor Board of Governors will announce the 2015 honoree(s) for the November induction. In addition, the Excellence Under 45 Award winners will be acknowledged along with the winners of the first race of the RPM Cup Series Membership Challenge. Drivers with the highest RPMs statewide will be announced and prizes will be awarded.

Thank you to the following Board Meeting Sponsors (as of 6/1/15)

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that new mortgage lending rules scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1 will be delayed until Oct. 3.

On Oct. 3, the CFPB will institute new rules regarding disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act that will affect all home builders, particularly those with a real estate lending arm.

Under the new procedures as a result of the Dodd Frank Act, four documents will be merged into two. The Good Faith Estimate and Truth in Lending disclosures will be eliminated and combined into a new single Loan Estimate form, or "LE."

In addition, the final Truth in Lending Disclosure and HUD-1 Settlement Statement are being replaced by the Closing Disclosure, or "CD."

What Do These Changes Mean?

Under the new rule, the biggest change is that the Closing Disclosure must be provided to the consumer a full three days prior to the closing, and if there are changes during that 72-hour period, the closing could be delayed.

Currently, the HUD-1 Settlement Statement can be presented to the buyer on the day of closing and any changes to the statement can take place during the loan closing.

In addition, the Loan Estimate must be delivered to the prospective buyer no later than three business days after receiving the application.

Changes Aimed at Helping Consumers

These new rules are intended to streamline the loan application process and make it easier for consumers to understand by clearly spelling out the most relevant details all on one page — the interest rate of the mortgage loan, the amount of the monthly payments and a listing of all the closing costs. For consumers applying for adjustable rate mortgages, the documents will explain how their interest rate and future monthly payments could change based on certain factors.

During the rulemaking process, NAHB was actively involved by submitting comment letters, both individually and with coalition partners, urging the CFPB to ensure that any changes that would make it easier for consumers to understand and comply with the settlement process would not place any undue burdens on builders, lenders and other housing professionals.

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The Sunbelt Builders Show™ has a limited amount of 2015 Star Awards tickets still available. The Young Professionals event sold out in record time. Each event will be held inside the prestigious Gaylord Texan® Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine Texas.

TAB is proud to honor the Star Awards and Excellence Under 45 winners on Thursday, July 30. The cocktail reception and presentations of awards start at 5:30 p.m. The winners represent the best in the housing industry. They have helped significantly to grow the profession and their companies, wowed their clients with creative plans, and influenced the future generations of home building professionals. Tickets are $50.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Thanks to our Star Awards Sponsors (as of 6/1/15)

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On May 27, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized the long-awaited rule to define "waters of the United States" and the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act. This rule takes effect in August. It is important to the home building industry because it changes what areas can be regulated by the federal government under the act. Despite the agencies’ claims that this rule is narrower in scope than existing regulations, the final rule contains changes that could significantly expand federal jurisdiction, triggering additional expensive and time-consuming permitting and regulatory requirements.

NAHB policy calls on the agencies:
1. To adopt regulations, guidance and policies asserting that "navigability" is the guiding factor to determine the geographic reach of the Clean Water Act, consistent with congressional intent.
2. To adopt regulations, guidance and policies asserting federal authority only over activities that "discharge" or "add" materials to jurisdictional waters.
3. In revising their regulations on the extent of Clean Water Act jurisdiction, to provide a set of clear and common-sense criteria that can be understood by those regulated and can be uniformly applied by the Corps and EPA field officers in all districts.
Why It Matters
Despite some improvements to the original proposal, the final rule contains overly broad language that could place millions of additional acres of private land under federal jurisdiction. The rule is so extreme that the federal government will actually regulate certain roadside ditches, isolated ponds and channels that may only flow after a heavy rainfall. This means, for example, that a builder in Arizona would have to get a permit for an activity in a dry desert wash that could be 30 miles from the nearest river. Such intrusive federal encroachment is bad governance and will inevitably lead to bureaucratic delays, increased project costs and mitigation fees, and ultimately, decreased housing affordability.

This federal overreach goes well beyond congressional intent and the limits of jurisdiction set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court. The bottom line is that, contrary to this rule, EPA and the Corps must recognize there are limits to the reach of the Clean Water Act. Without these limits, home builders and developers must obtain costly federal permits even when their activities impact the most marginal features commonly found on private property

NAHB Actions
NAHB has been involved in trying to shape this rule since it was first proposed in April 2014. NAHB submitted extensive comments, urging the agencies to withdraw the rule and suggesting that Congress is better equipped to determine which areas should be affected by federal statute. NAHB also sought significant changes to make the proposal more understandable and workable in the field.

NAHB continues to successfully engage legislators on this rule. With bipartisan support, the House approved H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would require EPA and the Corps to withdraw their rule and develop a new plan to safeguard America’s waterways in consultation with state and local governments and other affected stakeholders, including small businesses. NAHB is also urging the Senate to pass companion legislation, S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act.

Now that the rule is finalized, NAHB is considering all of its options, including legal action. The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled twice that there are limits to the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

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