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  Text Version    RSS    Unsubscribe    Archive    Media Kit September 23, 2016

       CALENDAR   |  TAB WEBSITE September 2016 Issue      

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In this issue:



Ray Tonjes and David Weekley will be inducted into the 2016 Texas Housing Hall of Honor on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. These two outstanding honorees will be added to the wall of honor during the black-tie Excellence in Leadership Dinner at the Driskill Hotel in Austin.

Tonjes has made huge transformations in the building industry over the past few decades. He was instrumental in bringing sustainable construction to the forefront and advocated for green building long before it became mainstream. His legacy is largely noticeable with the rapid development of sustainable communities not just in Texas, but coast to coast.

Weekley has been an innovator in the home building industry for the past 40 years. David Weekley Homes has been named National Builder of the Year twice and appeared on the Top 100 of Fortune magazine's best companies to work for. Their culture is "do the right thing" at all costs for their customers! He has donated over $100 million dollars to charities over the past 20 years.

Thank you to the following Texas Housing Hall of Honor and Excellence in Leadership Dinner Sponsors (as of 9/19/16)

Contact the TAB office for sponsorship opportunities.

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The Texas Association of Builders will host its 2016 Fall Committee and Board Meetings in Austin at the Driskill Hotel on November 17-18. The two days will focus on important state and national housing industry topics as well as host a HOMEPAC silent auction.

The silent auction will be held during is wrapped around the prestigious Excellence in Leadership Dinner. At the dinner, the 2017 officers will be installed, the 2016 "Of The Year" award winners will be announced and two legendary members, Ray Tonjes and David Weekley, will be inducted into the 2016 Texas Housing Hall of Honor. The celebration dinner is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18.

To register for committee meetings, click
here and to make your hotel reservations, click here. To see a detailed schedule of events, click here.

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The Texas Association of Builders has updated the 2015–2017 contracts package. Additions include:
  • New Architect/Design Professional Addendum to protect the builder when the owner hires an architect or design professional.
  • New landscaping warranty exclusions in all construction/remodeling contracts, and content damage provisions in all remodeling contracts.
  • The addition of a new "plan design release fee" to the existing Design-Build Agreement.
If you have already purchased the contracts, you can go online to download the new additions. If you still need to purchase the contracts, you may do so here. The $399.99 subscription includes any updates that may occur during the two year cycle.

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Your membership in TAB provides you with access to programs and services that are not available to the general public. Here's a summary of these member only programs. For more information, visit
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On August 26, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Dallas Division), concluded that that Inclusive Communities Project (“ICP”) has failed to prove a prima facie (on its face; face value) case of discrimination by failing to show that a challenged practice caused a discriminatory effect. The court dismissed ICP's disparate impact claim and entered in favor of the defendant, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs ("TDHCA").

This case has been incredibly important to TAB's affordable housing developers, which make up a large part of the Multifamily Council. This is important to the affordable housing aspect of the building industry because it affects tax credit developers' considerations when identifying development locations that will utilize tax credits and other public funding.

The case was initiated in March 2008, when ICP filed a disparate impact claim against TDHCA alleging that TDHCA was disproportionately awarding most of the tax credit developments in racially segregated neighborhoods. The lawsuit was brought so that TDHCA would change its rules and policies and therefore distribute these awards of credits in more suburban areas, referred to as high-opportunity areas.

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By: Phil Crone, Dallas Builder Association Executive Officer; and Ned Muñoz, TAB General Counsel
Beginning with all new homes permitted September 1, the statewide move to the 2015 energy code ushers in some significant changes for single-family and low-rise (three stories and lower) multifamily construction. The catalyst for these changes is HB 1736, a Texas Association of Builders (TAB) priority bill, passed by the legislature last session. The bill made Texas one of the first states to adopt the energy chapter (Chapter 11) of the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC), though many jurisdictions across the nation had the much maligned 2012 energy code in effect while Texas remained on the 2009 version. Fortunately, HB 1736 includes some key changes that provide the industry and municipalities flexibility in implementation and allow for more cost effective implementation of the code.

TAB, in partnership with local home builders associations, has held extensive training around the state since the bill was passed. The training focused on implementation of the bill itself as well as key changes in the 2015 code. This article will address some of the common questions that arose.

Why was a bill necessary for the 2015 energy code when the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) was able to adopt the 2009 energy code statewide by rule?

Chapter 388 of the Texas Health and Safety Code authorizes SECO to conduct a rulemaking process to adopt future versions of the energy code. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as "the stimulus bill," made Texas eligible for nearly $219 million if the 2009 energy code was adopted and 90 percent compliance was demonstrated by 2017. As such, there was a significant incentive for the state to update the code at that time. However, SECO can only specify the version of the code to be adopted; it cannot amend the code itself.

The introduction of the 2012 energy code, and later the 2015 code, saw increasing pressure on SECO to adopt these more stringent codes, making it a matter of when, not if, another upgrade would occur. Also, the 2015 energy code introduced a new compliance path called the Energy Rating Index (ERI). For all intents and purposes, the ERI allows builders to comply with the energy code by hitting a specific Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index while maintaining certain envelope requirements. The ERI/HERS rating gives builders broad flexibility to get to a certain performance figure (think of requiring cars to get 30 miles per gallon as opposed to requiring all of them to be hybrids). Unfortunately, the code, without amendments, requires builders to achieve an ERI/HERS number in the low 50s. Fewer than 10 percent of Texas homes achieve such a low number, meaning that the vast majority of builders would need to look for other ways to comply.

HB 1736, however, moves the ERI/HERS target from the low 50s to a 65 in Climate Zones 2 and 3 and a 69 in Climate Zone 4 (Panhandle Region). The number ratchets down 2 points in 2019 and 4 more points in 2022 as part of a compromise reached with stakeholders.

The bill leaves SECO with discretion to adopt future codes in the rulemaking process, but changes their review from a three- to a six-year adoption cycle. Also, future versions of the code do not need to be more stringent than the one that came before in order to be adopted. This is important because the rapid increase in code stringency has brought about the need to find more flexible approaches to reach the desired energy efficiency outcome.

I live in a non-attainment area or affected county, can my local jurisdiction amend the code?

Yes, but the amendments may not result in less stringent requirements than the unamended code. Non-attainment areas and affected counties are defined in Chapter 386.001 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and are determined to have inadequate or deteriorating air quality under either the Federal Clean Air Act or as determined by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.

The jurisdiction may request stringency determination from the Texas A&M Energy Systems Laboratory (ESL). The Dallas Builders Association and other stakeholders are working with ESL on performance and prescriptive path amendments that would increase flexibility on the code's mandatory air leakage requirements. Many home builders cannot reach the three air changes per hour (ACH) standard mandated by the prescriptive and performance paths for climate zones 3 and 4 without expense or trade scrutiny that far outweighs the energy savings gained. The Dallas BA was successful in finding a prescriptive tradeoff that allows up to 4ACH for most homes in the DFW area. A performance tradeoff allowing 4ACH for single-family and less than 5ACH for multifamily is under review as of mid-September. The statute also allows a municipality in a non-attainment area of an affected county to amend the ERI path without seeking stringency analysis.

I do not live in a non-attainment area or in an affected county. Can my jurisdiction continue with the 2009 code that it has previously enforced?

Yes, but the jurisdiction should take some kind of formal action to amend the 2015 energy code in order to continue with the code that was in place prior to September 1, 2016. The statute makes it clear that the energy efficiency chapter of the IRC is adopted statewide on September 1. However, local amendments in these areas can be less stringent than the unamended 2015 code. As such, a jurisdiction can take action to amend the 2015 energy code, as prescribed by state law, back to the framework that was in place prior to September 1.

What if my jurisdiction does nothing?

All homes permitted on or after September 1 fall under the energy efficiency chapter of the 2015 IRC or the ERI as modified by the legislature. Again, HB 1736 ushers in statewide change and it is incumbent upon the builder to meet state regulations in the absence of local amendments or revisions.

I am an ENERGY STAR Builder. Can I use the program as a method of compliance?

Yes, the statute clearly states that, like the ERI path, the ENERGY STAR program shall be considered in compliance with the energy code. Regardless of the jurisdiction’s amendments, they must accept ENERGY STAR as an energy code compliance path provided that the builder meets the guidelines of that program with the help of a RESNET certified home energy rater. Some builders may find this to be an attractive compliance path at least until the program undergoes its own updates in the coming months.

Members with questions or concerns about these changes are urged to contact TAB or their local association for more information. Our state is fortunate to have a vast array of technical experts who can work with jurisdictions and residential building professionals to ensure these changes are implemented in a manner that achieves the desired energy efficiency gains without compromising housing affordability.
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NAHB is working on a special building project. Only for this project, you will need to trade your hammer and hard hat for a cooking apron and measuring cups. That's because we are whipping up a collection of cookbooks known as "Building an Appetite."

This exciting project is inspired by Doug Wistner, son of First Vice Chairman Granger MacDonald and his wife Kathy. Doug was passionate about cooking for family, friends and the girls he dated. Doug unexpectedly lost his life in January 2015 after a long battle with depression, but his memory remains.

"Building an Appetite" was Doug's idea for another culinary venture many years ago. These cookbooks will include recipes submitted by NAHB members and their families, as well as staff.

The first cookbook will be available to purchase onsite at the 2017 IBS in January. All proceeds will support a scholarship in government affairs in Doug's name.

Share your favorite recipes today at For more information, please contact Lauren Wallace, executive office program manager, at or (202) 266-8598.

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Create an excellent advantage for your company! Get your company name in front of thousands of home builders across the state of Texas. Check out the sponsorship opportunities for upcoming Texas Association of Builders events and programs and get well deserved recognition and marketing benefits all while supporting an incredible industry.

Upcoming Events
Nov. 17–18 — Fall Committee and Board Meetings
Nov. 18 —Texas Housing Hall of Honor and Excellence in Leadership Dinner and HOMEPAC Auction
Jan. 10, 2017 — Texas Reception @ International Builders' Show® (IBS)

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