Attorney Trey Wilson - RL Wilson Law

31 August 2008


As of September 1, 2008, the Texas Residential Construction Commission Act (Subtitle F; Chapter 446) requires that residential construction completed by builders and remodelers in unincorporated areas or in areas not subject to municipal inspections (commonly called "in the county") must have a minimum of three inspections conducted by a fee inspector. The builder/remodeler is responsible for hiring a fee inspector. The three required minimum inspections are a foundation inspection, a framing, mechanical and delivery systems inspection and a final inspection.

What if a builder starts work before September 1, 2008? Are some of the inspections required?The new county inspection requirements apply to new construction or remodeling projects that begin on or after September 1, 2008. If construction starts on a home before September 1, 2008, the builder/remodeler is exempt from completing the inspections.

Who can be a fee inspector?
A fee inspector can be an actively licensed professional engineer, a licensed architect, a professional inspector licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission or a Texas Residential Construction Commission certified third-party inspector.

What is the process for a fee inspector to document the three required inspections? What form is needed?Fee inspectors must fill out the required Contracted Inspections information in order to submit an inspection on the commission’s online County Inspection Certification System. The Contracted Inspections information is the only information that an inspector needs to submit for an inspection. To submit a report, an inspector first must secure a builder-assigned project number; an inspector can submit reports only for projects that pass inspection. Once the information has been submitted, an emailed receipt confirmation will be sent to the builder/remodeler informing them that an inspection has been completed. Fee inspectors should not submit documentation supporting the inspection findings to the commission.

What are the code requirements for these required inspections?
The statewide residential building codes are the 2000 International Residential Code (IRC) and the 1999 National Electrical Code (NEC). These, however, may be amended in local jurisdictions if they have updated the code provisions. The code that applies to an unincorporated area is the same code adopted by the county seat. If the county seat has not adopted an updated version of the code, then the 2000 IRC applies.

Will the Texas Residential Construction Commission audit inspectors?
While the commission does not audit fee inspectors, builders and remodelers must keep inspection records. The commission randomly conducts audits on builders and remodelers once a year to verify inspection documentation ensuring that inspections were performed according to applicable codes and commission rules. However, if audit results show that a fee inspector repeatedly did not comply with the commission rules or apply the applicable code to construction projects inspected, the TRCC may withdraw the fee inspector’s registration.

What are the penalties if a builder does not obtain these inspections?
The commission can take disciplinary action against a builder or remodeler who fails to comply with the inspection requirements. It is the builder and remodeler’s responsibility to secure the three required inspections for qualified residential construction projects in unincorporated areas or areas not subject to municipal inspections.

Trey Wilson --Named By Scene in SA Magazine As One of San Antonio's Best Real Estate Litigation Attorneys -- September 2008 -- As voted on by peers