Commentary for Texas and Practices now available

I like the TREC section numbers listed out by the line item of the SoP.

I’ve been adding these TREC section numbers in reports for over a year by the line item as a reference. This will make it faster and easier to include the TREC section number. I think I will be using the commentary more than the SoP.

I would like to see the Section/sub-section headings in bold font to make it faster to find in the SoP. I’ve done that in my copy of the SoP so I can find
the sections quicker.

P.S. - No one has to add the TREC section number in a report. I choose to do so with other references. I could care less what others do/don’t do. Everyone has a different bark.

As I mentioned directly to the author of the commentary long before its publication, it consists of nothing more than a band-aid applied to the festering wound of an SOP which has been foisted on Texas inspectors. Put another way, it is a feeble attempt to explain the inexplicable. Or as the Bard once said:

“It is a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.”

Well, OK, that may be unfair. It does signify one thing: the new Commentary will give the TREC enforcement personnel a bigger hammer to drive the new Penalty Matrix nails into the pocketbooks of licensees. But then, that was the intent all along . . .

To be accurate, the TREC SOP Commentary is still in the proposal stage and what has been published is an incomplete Draft for review and comment. It will be finished over the next couple of months and then considered for adoption. The method of adoption is critical, i.e. adopted by Rule as a standalone document or integrated into the SOP, adopted as an ‘education module’, etc. Each method has ramifications as to how it will be used and whether it becomes an enforceable document or not. Texas HI’s can read more about that and other topics of interest at .

So then, I made my comments about the draft. What’s your point?

None whatsoever.

The proposed Commentary will be impossible to use as an educational document. Just reading it makes a person stupid.

The Standard states:
“The inspector is not required to determine code compliance”

The TREC form states
“The inspection report may address issues that are code-based or may refer to a particular code; however, this is NOT a code compliance inspection and does NOT verify compliance with manufacturer’s installation instructions”

TREC form OP1 states
“While the TREC Standards of Practice do not require inspectors to perform a code compliance inspection”

The Commentary states:
“Information on the specifications for stairways can be found in the IRC.”

Aaron is right in his assessment. The Commentary is a comedy.

Remember when the current SoP was adopted?
Go back and read this -

Chp 535, General Provisions, Subchapter R. Real Estate Inspectors 535.227-535.233

“(TREC) has determined that for each year of the first five years the sections as proposed are in effect the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the new rules will be increased clairty for inspectors and consumers alike, as well as standards that more accurately reflect current technology, codes, and practices that form the basis of many of the standards”.

The SoP initially started with standards based on CABO. So what? The SoP deals with building structures so it has to naturally rely on codification (which is a standard).

GFCI’s, AFCI’s, baluster spacing, safety glass, no bath exhaust fan in required areas, egress, smoke alarms, etc., etc. are all based on current codification.

The Commentary will be developed. It appears that it could become a good educational tool as it appears to be an attempt to explain the content and intent of the SoP. However, there are so many variables in parts, components and systems that the Commentary can never be an absolute as structures and property condition are not homogeneous and certainly not absolute.

Even the ICC recognizes that the IRC cannot be an absolute and surrenders itself to R301.1.3. One would hope the “Commentary” would have the same foresight.

Architects, engineers, city inspectors, etc. do not have Commentaries and are left to professional opinion-making. Yes, the “Commentary” could become a good educational tool but can never be a design manual for inspecting non-homogeneous conditions IMO.

The Commentary Draft is only a start of a document that can be developed with input. I assume it can always be updated, revised or changed.

One question I guess is how (or if) the Commentary or SoP relates to the “Residential Construction Performance Guideline” of the National Assn. of Builders. If builders attempt to be held accountable to one guideline and inspectors (in Texas) inspect to another then there will always be conflict.

I have no problem with a prescriptive SoP and supporting Commentary providing contradictions are eliminated; sections are balanced in prescriptive detail; any clarification revealed by the Commentary is adopted into SoP rule and lastly the client or public can choose to allow departure in order to purchase a concise and affordable product. I do not want two ruling documents that force the consumer to pay for what they might not want.

The current system seems headed that way. Good luck to them.

The SOP and its soon-to-be lame-*** commentary have never addressed what’s important in new construction (or existing homes); and I’m referring to the model codes themselves, not the NAHB’s one-legged attempt to produce a performance standard. Until the SOP is based solely upon the most current versions of the model codes there will be no real protection for home buyers. The current Texas SOP is laughable at best. The commentary will only add more useless verbiage to the joke.

One can always provide a higher level of inspection service to the buyer. Nothing in the general provisions limits what the inspector may offer or provide. You don’t have to agree with a minimum standard. (example) A blocked weep hole is very significant and you don’t need inner wall damage before you report a blocked weep hole as being a deficiency.

The TREC SoP is based on codification and nothing in the general provisions accepts “grand-fathering” or limits what the inspector can inspect. Broke is broke and wrong is wrong regardless of age or condition. I have a problem of it’s not deficient until it hits you in the head or causes damage. Problem is there is not one home out there that meets the code and there never will be because there is a political lack of enforcement and a problem of affordability. A large problem is that one can’t define what a SoP minimum standard is (so how do you write a Commentary?). There are too many variables. At the end of the day it looks like in some cases the Commentary may raise the bar for some that inspect below the standard (didn’t know, lack of experience, not trained, etc.) and simply irritate some others. I think a larger percentage don’t care and will just accept what is thrown at them.

I don’t think any sub-committee has looked at the NAHB residential construction performance guidelines as it relates to the TREC SoP. Whether TREC or NAHB, both are an attempt to provide something to the public. At least take time to look at the other standards and performance guidelines before attempting to write one that could be in conflict with the other.

The man from near Houston assumes that the parties in question can read.

Er, Galveston anyway.

I don’t think it is a matter of being able read but rather a ooooops based on many alternative comments.

There are not many inspectors that came from the actual construction or home building industry. Code certification in either home inspection or building homes appears to be lax to fairly non-existent. At times I believe inspectors and builders are all on equal ground and have no clue of what we are doing. (That ought to start a riot of comment) I think the bar was lowered recently for time of experience and what type for getting a license. I have a hard time crediting house painting as construction (home building) experience.

Again, a Commentary won’t be complete, accurate or absolute but it will help
explain the SoP. I hope it will raise the bar as you and I know there is no effective training program (on how to inspect and what to look for). From house painting to structural and mechanical inspections is a huge step for anyone. That takes guts. But, “if teacher hasn’t taught or helped, student hasn’t learned.”

The Rules also allow a lesser service to provided with client consent. I often do not look at the foundation if the client has an engineer doing elevations or if they are tearing out the entire kitchen. You can do more. . . . or less. Up to the client. That is the way business should be.

In reply to, the TREC inspector committee stated a missing weep hole is not a defect if there is no evidence of damage.

Actually they will say is is not based on code. But it is . . . .sorta. Its the “sorta” that causes the problems.

TREC form OP1 accepts grandfathering . . . officially.

I predict mayhem all the time. It’s what the client really wants. I suspect you and Aaron do also. It does not cultivate Realtor referrals however. Its very difficult to require inspectors to predict potentials.

Affordability. BINGO. You nailed it. If public safety was a concern we would lower highway speed limits to 45 mpg.

Inspect foundation, roof electrical, plumbing roof etc works for me.

You are right again

Right again

That sounds fair.

Sorry Jim, I disagree. You can not explain the inexplicable simply by writing and attaching yet another layer of nonsense to it.

It cannot possibly raise anything except doubt regarding the intellect of the authors.:slight_smile:

If one doesn’t know the purpose of a inner wall cavity and weep hole then one may appear to have such an opinion. The statewide building code says different. A weep hole is not just for drainage of a inner wall cavity. It also serves as ventilation and pressure-balancing of the inner wall cavity. High moisture (inner wall after a rain) migrates to low moisture (interior of home). Higher air pressure flows to lower air pressure. (Ventilating the air space in a masonry wall cavity is just as important as ventilating an attic cavity)

I would agree a non-functional weep hole and inner wall cavity may not be a deficiency if we were in… the desert. Alas, I’m in a area of 40-60 inches of rainfall a year. Builders scramble down here after a saturating rain or storm yanking brick out along a foundation to clean out the mortar slop as the water infiltrates to the interior. The baseboards swell off the wall, the carpet gets wet, one or two mold spots show up and the drama starts. Luckily the builder is around to fix it and not me.

No weep hole, no deficiency? You certainly won’t get that opinion from me.

The Commentary is in conflict with itself on the weep hole opinion as on page 5 it says (correctly) - <quote> Commentary – To prevent this section from being misunderstood, materials on a dwelling must be inspected for the function they perform. For example, a single wythe brick veneer wall is not a structural component of a dwelling unit. However, the failure to properly install, flash and drain a single wythe brick veneer wall can allow water penetration into the wall system. The presence of water in the wall system can cause the brick to effloresce, crack, craze, spall and disintegrate. It can cause metal components such as lintels and brick ties to corrode and fail. Water penetration may also cause insulating materials to lose their effectiveness, can allow interior wall coverings and wall framing materials to deteriorate and can provide the moisture necessary to allow the growth of microbial organisms. While the brick veneer may not be a structural component, defects in the brick and in its installation can have great and grave repercussions on the performance and longevity of the dwelling.<quote>

Wow, no weep hole, no deficiency? Now, the person that wrote that obviously has more construction knowledge and correctness than “the other guy”. The Commentary note is the intent of why weep holes are required under the minimum building code and Brick Manufacturers Association (

OPI warns consumers about the lack of current (gfci, afci, safety glass, etc.) installations. TREC OP1 is not grandfathering anything. It’s clearly in the SoP to write missing (gfci, afci, safety glass, etc.) as a deficiency.

Inspect to what standard though. That’s why we have a SoP and soon to be Commentary.

Does anyone have a Commentary that is better than the existing Draft that was just released? It’s a start. Not a complete document. The Draft is asking for comments, updates, corrections, additions, etc. Some of it appears embarrassing but that should work itself out as it is being revised.

The person who reviewed the SoP question for TREC staff and wrote the Commentary is the same person. You are correct . . . the Commentary is in conflict with itself. Please send your educational comments to the Chairman of the Inspector Committee.

Actually, leaks caused by mortar build up are not resolved with weep holes.

OP1 states: “These conditions may not have violated building codes or common practices at the time of the construction of the home, or they may have been “grandfathered” because they were present prior to the adoption of codes prohibiting such conditions.”

Grandfathering is a legal process granted to the authority having jurisdiction. People with common sense realize the country cannot make pre-existing housing meet every code cycle.

OP1 gives the real estate agent just enough leash to say “Oh that is grandfathered”. As much as I hate to hear that, they are often much more accurate in their representations than the TREC Standards.

As are the Standards. You are correct.

A wall with weep holes holds water better than that argument. The TREC General Counsel has stated since 2006 that any intent or clearly specified requirement MUST be in the Standards. The Commentary is a waste of time; including the comments on this forum.

Glad you have them to rely on.

Yes, a blank sheet of paper and invisible ink.


I hear you loud and clear. You need rules to tell you and others what to do. Join the army. :stuck_out_tongue:

Nothing that happens will affect my business or improve bad inspectors. You want a 200 page Commentary . . . go for it.

Actually leaks caused by mortar build up in the inner wall are fixed by cleaning out the mortar so the weep holes are functional in every single case I have seen. (Yes, maybe one skipped past me).

The OP1 still isn’t grandfathered anything. The example items used in the OP1 are required to be reported as deficient if they are not present. I’m not sure what the spin is here. Don’t worry about a sales agent. I’d worry about complying with the requirements of the SoP as non-compliance does not appear to have a happy ending. Agents can read the OP1 just like the public can. There’s some bad apples in sales as there are in inspectors. If a agent talks down a deficiency that deficiency becomes their liability IMO.

Well, that’s one opinion but I would have no idea of what the current GC or Commission opinion is as I don’t have the connections all you other guys have to information. I can probably guess 1 or 2 others don’t see a Commentary a waste of time but I don’t think that’s what started this thread. Maybe there could be a survey asking if a Commentary is a waste of time? I don’t think a Commentary could effectively become part of the standards based on the previous comment/opinions but more apt better to educate and offer a guideline on what the intent of the standards are for how detailed a Commentary is anticipated. Certainly a Commentary on each line item may certainly be ridiculous to one but helpful to another. I will remain open to a Commentary because even after 20 + years I still review the SoP indepth 2x a year and correct or make some revision periodically. I certainly don’t want to add to the SoP. I almost need a nap 1/2 way through report writing already.

As of yet I haven’t been convinced to not support a Commentary and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter anyway. I don’t get to vote. I don’t even know who came up with the idea of a Commentary or the reason but as of yet I don’t see the down side.

If the standards are so bad then what has any previous or current inspector committee contributed to make it better? I certainly won’t cast any stones as I haven’t contributed.


James, “at the end of the day it doesn’t matter anyway” is correct. Take care. Hope summer is busy for all.