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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Sept. 13, 2011

Texas wildfires: up to $250 million in insured losses
The Associated Press via    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An industry group says insured losses from a week of Texas wildfires could reach $250 million. The Insurance Council of Texas on Monday offered the estimate for more than 180 wildfires reported statewide since Labor Day weekend. The nonprofit organization says insured losses from fires in Bastrop County could reach $150 million. A wildfires disaster recovery center, where residents can seek government assistance, opens Tuesday in Bastrop and replaces a mobile facility. More

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Disaster remediation: Important statutory requirements
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With the devastating wild fires across the state, it is important that builders and remodelers be aware of HB 1711, which became effective Sept. 1 of this year. The bill applies to contractors who remove, clean, sanitize, demolish, reconstruct, or otherwise treat improvements to real property as a result of damage or destruction to that property caused by a natural disaster. Specifically, it requires that a "disaster remediation" contract must be in writing and prohibits a "disaster remediation contractor" from requiring payment prior to beginning work or charging a partial payment in any amount disproportionate to the work that has been performed. More

Comptroller Susan Combs says some fire recovery services are tax-exempt
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs says Texans whose homes or businesses have been damaged or destroyed by the devastating wildfires in Texas are not required to pay sales tax on certain fire recovery-related expenses. Combs also announced that business owners may postpone paying state taxes, if necessary, while they clean up fire damage. Upon request, a business may be granted extensions of up to 90 days to file state tax returns. More

Candidates hit hard at Perry
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gov. Rick Perry's chief competitors for the Republican presidential nomination all took aim at the Texas governor during Monday's debate in an effort to knock him off the top of the heap. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney fired the first shot over Social Security, saying Perry was scaring seniors by likening the retirement program to a Ponzi scheme. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann pilloried his 2007 mandate that Texas girls be vaccinated for a sexually transmitted disease. And asked if Perry deserved credit for Texas' job creation record, Congressman Ron Paul, a fellow Texan, answered, "Not quite." More

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'Crony capitalism' draws attention in GOP race
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In its brief but controversial life, the Texas Residential Construction Commission won far more detractors than admirers. Former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn called it "a builder protection agency" that created additional roadblocks for homeowners living with shoddy construction. To state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, the agency served only "to shield home builders from being responsible" for defective work. The Texas Sunset Commission concluded the agency did "more harm than good." The TRCC, however, had at least one friend who mattered: Houston home builder Bob Perry, who has given Gov. Rick Perry more than $2.5 million during his tenure in office. More

Settlement said to be near for Fannie and Freddie
The New York Times Dealbook    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Regulators are nearing a settlement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over whether the mortgage finance giants adequately disclosed their exposure to risky subprime loans, bringing to a close a three-year investigation. The proposed agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, under the terms being discussed, would include no monetary penalty or admission of fraud, according to several people briefed on the case. But a settlement would represent the most significant acknowledgement yet by the mortgage companies that they played a central role in the housing boom and bust. More

2 'green' houses going up at UT-Tyler
The Associated Press via Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At first glance, the two houses going up at The University of Texas at Tyler campus appear just like any other. They have brick exterior, glass windows, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. But appearances can be deceiving. The two structures near the west entrance of the campus are research houses paid for with grant funds from the Governor's Emerging Technology Fund and built for the Texas Allergy, Indoor Environment and Energy Institute based at UT-Tyler. More

The firm of Mike Brown Architect AIA, located in Austin has been serving the central Texas area since 1985. Specializing in energy efficient custom home, remodel and small commercial design since it's conception. Offering the latest in 3D architectural planning and design.

Come see us at our booth number #630 at the Sun Belt Builders show this coming October here in Austin.

Habitat for Humanity's impact on green home market
Triple Pundit    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Habitat for Humanity is one of the world's leading builders; in 2010, they built and sold over 38,000 homes. Build 100 ranked them the sixth largest builder in the U.S. Habitat's primary charter is "safe, affordable, decent housing for the poor." Yet the celebrated non-profit is also an increasingly important player in the green building market. More

DFW is nation's 4th most-populous metro area
Dallas Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There are a lot of people in the the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area. According to an analysis by On Numbers, there are an estimated 6,554,919 this year in the DFW area, and that's good enough to make it the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States. The DFW area had 6,371,773 people in 2010, according to On Numbers's look at census data. More

Policies lagged as fire risk in backcountry grew
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In 1984, when a wildfire blackened 900 acres of Bastrop County's Tahitian Village, residents counted themselves lucky. The subdivision was early in its development and so sparsely populated that only six homes were lost. Noting the buildup of flammable grasses and shrubs and the narrow roads and steep terrain that made maneuvering difficult for firefighting equipment, officials declared the event a wake-up call to wildfire awareness. More

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The Sunbelt Builders Show™ approaches
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No other event in the Southwest offers the level of world-class speakers and the exposure to new products and services you'll get at the Sunbelt Builders Show™ in Austin Oct. 20-22, 2011.

Registration includes admittance to the exhibits all THREE days. For a complete list of events, including the Texas Association of Builders' fall board meetings which will be held in conjunction with the Show, visit

State Farm changing deductible method, boosting rates
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on
FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
State Farm is proposing changes to home insurance deductibles that consumer advocates warn would reduce the amount consumers could collect on claims. As part of a notice to Texas insurance regulators that it plans to increase homeowner rates an average 9.6 percent in October, the state's largest insurer said it plans to move all current customers to a minimum 1 percent deductible starting in December. More

US hits builders with pay probe
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Labor Department is investigating pay practices at many of the top companies in home building, hitting them with a broad demand for records that has led to complaints of regulatory overreach. Recipients of the letters include PulteGroup Inc.,Lennar Corp., D.R. Horton Inc. and KB Home, according to people familiar with the matter. A Labor Department spokeswoman confirmed the investigation but declined to discuss details. More
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