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Home Inspection & Construction Consulting




Hurricane & Storm Contractor Protection

Don't be a victim of a storm and then a victim of a storm chasing contractor. The debacle of Hurricane IKE and the Texas wildfires saw rip-off contractors and fraudulent sales people. Many of these storm chasers as well as local contractors with an eye towards greed will disappear after taking as much of your money as possible, leaving work undone or in need of re-doing. Any work you have done after a disaster should only be inspected before and during the repair by a local area full building code certified inspector. City inspections are not complete imspections.

A 2011 Texas law will help with but NOT prevent rip-off contractors. You have to protect yourself. Smooth talking rip-off artists can leave you broke.

As a reminder there is no homebuilder or contractor licensing law in Texas and there never was one. The now defunct Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) was created to "register" homes and builders and contractors into a mandatory arbitration dispute resolution process. It was never a licensing agency and did not license builders or contractors.

2011 Texas HB 1711 Creates Significant Rules for Traveling Contractors

Homeowners, builders and remodelers should to be aware of Texas HB 1711, which went into effect September 1, 2011. The bill applies to contractors who remove, clean, sanitize, demolish, reconstruct, or other treatment of improvements to real property because of damage or destruction to that property caused by natural disasters. The bill takes effect whenever the governor formally declares a natural disaster.

Contractor Requirements:

If a natural disaster occurs in the county where your contracting business is registered or any bordering county, HB 1711 does not apply as long as you have had a physical business address in the county for at least one year preceding the date of the contract. (Warning to the Public: A P.O. Box may be sufficient.)

However, if a natural disaster occurs at least two counties away from your historical legal business address your business must adhere to the following set of regulations:

  • Disaster Remediation Service or Repair - Disaster Remediation Services include removal, sanitization, demolishment, reconstruction and any other treatments your business performs for a customer in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Downpayments, Partial Payment, Prepayments Cannot Be Accepted - HB 1711 prohibits the acceptance of full or partial, even for material costs before the contractor begins work. Your business may collect partial payments throughout the course of work, but those payments must be proportionate to the amount of work performed.
  • Contracts Must Be in Writing - In order for work to begin immediately, a signed written contract must be in place between your business and your customer. Additionally, the contract must state (in a minimum of 10-point font), the following:

    This contract is subject to Chapter 57, Business & Commerce Code. A contractor may not require a full or partial payment before the contractor begins work and may not require partial payments in an amount that exceeds an amount reasonably proportionate to the work performed, including any materials delivered.
  • DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICE. A violation of this chapter by a disaster remediation contractor is a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice as defined by Section 17.46(b), and any remedy under Subchapter E, Chapter 17, is available for a violation of this chapter.
  • WAIVER OF CHAPTER PROHIBITED. A person may not waive this chapter by contract or other means.  A purported waiver of this chapter is void.

Help Protect Yourself After a Storm

Get a photo of the contractors truck and license. Look for any identifying mark to see if it is a rental truck and who from.

Get a photo of the contractor and his drivers license.

Petition your city or county for a "get tough" contractor registration after any storm. Part of the registration fee should be for a criminal background check. The contractor should provide verifiable proof of insurance and a common surety bond. The city should issue some type of easy to get identifying badge. (Similar to a Sam's Club card. Badge supplies are cheap from e.g; Staples and many cities have their own inhouse photo ID camera for employees. If not then they can issue form approval to any of the photo ID businesses.)

Google the contractors business. Contractors from out-of-state are storm chasers. The won't be around for long.

Best of all hire a private investigator before you pay out any cash you are not willing to lose. Private investigators are not expensive and it is well worth the cost if you do not know who you are dealing with. They can also perform a criminal background check.

Anyone can and have printed fake business cards. Confirm the business in the state or county the contractor is from. Also require a common and affordable surety bond. {Call your local insurance or bond agent. } If the contractor has bad credit or past events or has no history of even being a contractor then obtaining a surety bond might be difficult, if possible.

Who Are We?

I'm your neighbor. I'm from here. To maintain my ceriifications and credentials I've been fingerprinted and have gone through criminal background checks (DPS, FBI/NCIC, TREC). I am full building code certified in which most home inspectors are not as that is not a requirement to get a inspection business license. I carry real ID cards from TPREIA and the ICC - Code Council.

Your builder or contractor is not licensed in Texas, there
is no criminal background check, no required education
and anyone can be one. They can fold up and operate
under a different company as many times as they want.
Some might change names every 5 years. Some do it
from neighborhood to neighborhood. Some may operate
under multiple names and shell companies.

Jim has been inspecting in the Houston & Galveston coastal areas for over 20 years and has built fhomes or over 21 years. Our philosophy for each client is simple; Jim will treat you like family and will inspect the property as if he were going to buy it. He will be there for you before, during and after the inspection for questions.
There are huge differences between home inspectors. Like all professions or trades, the majority are rather mediocre. A percentage are spectacularly bad. An even smaller percentage are very, very good. You want one of the very best. Call Jim today. Jim is usually the first source for other inspectors and builders when they have questions and they need answers. Jim inspects the personal homes of inspectors and builders.

live here too. Many of our services are free after a hurricane event to the elderly, handicapped and other within my area. Some limitations may apply.


If you are a contractor do not call me about Texas HB 1711. If you need an opinion or interpretation call an attorney.


IRC Combination Code Certified Residential Construction Consultant
& Inspector

Infrared    Thermography


Know Your Storm
Repair Contractor

Know who you are dealing with in a disaster. Many homeowners are ripped off after natural disasters.

Try to verify if the contractor is actually a contractor. Always ask for a copy of insurance and then call to verify that policy. The policy will also have the contractors official address.

Get a copy of the contractors drivers license. Take a photo of his truck and license plate. (Use your smartphone)

Spend the $2 dollars for a Reverse Phone Number search on the internet to find out who owns the phone number given to you.

Do not alter any contract without approval from the company's owner. In a disaster contractors hire outside sales persons on a commission basis. More than one of these part-time sales people have negotiated and collected payment for work not approved by the contractor and you never see them again. For any changes call the main office of the contractor to verify.

In every case call the contractors main office to verify who you are dealing with.

Call your local city and ask if there are any complaints against that contractor.

If need be have more than one contract. Get one for immediate emergency repair and cover up from weather. Get another for the rest of the repairs. That way you are not pressured into making a bad decision while you are emotionally distressed. (Just a thought)

It's next to impossible to sue your contractor. Texas is not a consumer friendly state with strong consumer laws. In fact, the laws mainly protect the contractor. You could lose a lot of money upfront or have liens filed against your home.

Call and get help~! Ask someone before you do it.

In a disaster call me.
Call Jim.

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One of the justifications for the Feb. 2009 upgraded inspection standards of practice according to the Texas Real Estate Commission is for standards that "more accurately reflect current technology, codes, and practices that form the basis of many of the standards."

Wow, if your inspector is not code certified then what is he or she looking for? If your inspector knows nothing about coastal construction (Galveston, Brazoria, Chambers, part of Harris, etc.) requirements then you simply hired the wrong person?


See if any inspector is code certified (aka: qualified for new homes or under construction inspections) for free
click here

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Did they really add the  insulation?

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