TREC and CSST Update

I would like to thanks out members, Derrick McMullen, Linda Alberty, Rick Henrichs, Fred Buck, Mark Eberwine and Jan Ode for attending on behalf of the 1000+ TPREIA-InterNACHI Texas inspector members in the State of Texas. :roll::roll:

TAREI was represented by Joe Gonzales and Andrea Barnard.

Speaking on the CSST issue were ;
Joe Gonzales - TAREI
Fred Buck - for himself
Mike Cothran for TPREIA-InterNACHI
Derrick McMullen - for himself
Jim Narva on behalf of the National Assoc of State FireMarshalls
Robert Torbin on behalf of Omega Flex

The Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

The Commissioners added the verbiage to the preamble bullet list of hazards…

"lack of bonding on gas line piping, including corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST)

The 7-5 report is required to be used starting September 1, 2015.

I must admit that Fred Buck, Joe Gonzole and I meshed very well, each came at the issue from different directions and with options and recommendations. There was no question that this verbiage not good for the electrians, the plumbers or inspectors but mostly not good for the buyers and sellers of real estate in the state of Texas.

Please let it be known that TPREIA expected that the Commissioners would adopt this. TPREIA spoke to assure that TREC had both sides of the story and had been informed that this was the wrong move.

Mike Cothran
Past President
Governmental Affairs

The Standards say “inspect for bonding”. That causes the question "How do you inspect a 1960 home? To code? Which code? (we all know this story)

TREC inspector committee stated the Standards already had bonding in them and that the change to the form was simply a clarification. (we all know this)

The CSST industry want DIRECT BONDING and not the older method of bonging through the equipment ground (EGC Indirect).

Most CSST homes prior to 2009 met code by bonding through the equipment ground (EGC Indirect)). They do not meet current CSST recommendations.

The Lubbock Texas Fire Marshal banned new CSST installs. He is powerless to cause older GEC bonded systems be updated to new DIRECT BONDING.

TREC was specifically informed about the difference between GEC and DIRECT. If TREC voted DIRECT ONLY they would supersede the code authority. If they voted “bonding” they accept GEC and DIRECT. They voted to inspect for bonding and that includes approval of GEC or DIRECT.

To protect the inspector a question needs to now be sent to TREC legal to assure they accept EGC Indirect bonding. That will prevent people from claiming the inspector did not do their job.

A representative from CSST industry said the language was not exactly what they wanted and they expect inspectors will refuse to inspect CSST. The representative said that will work for them because it will force secondary inspection.

My take is TREC has learned how difficult it is to introduce code into a home inspection standard. They know the problem. I have no idea if they can solve it.

IMO the CSST industry is using home inspection to defer or reduce CSST liability, be the risk of fire real or not. CSST is not a friend of home inspection.

CSST is not just about bonding. It’s about proper installation. It is proven that a CSST manufacturer pointed a big insurance company to an inspectors insurance. The insurance company subrogated the inspector and the inspectors insurance settled because it was cost effective. WHEN the next CSST fire happens you can bet insurance will also subrogate on a poor installation argument. The problem is the evidence is burnt and the inspectors insurance will not spend money to defend. Therefore, when you say not inspected you need to make sure you say “the entire CSST system including bonding”.

If I see a problem I report it with “such as but not limited to” then depart from it and recommend a qualified CSST installer inspect all aspects including verifying the requirements of the home owners insurance.

If your routinely depart from inspecting CSST verify that your doing it correctly. The argument is that you are not qualified to determine if GEC or DIRECT BONDING is appropriate and furthermore you are not qualified to say all CSST is bad. The inspector is caught in the middle of three arguments that means the inspector is not qualified to make the decision. Therefore departure is justified. I will run that by TREC an update you later.

Another item TREC ignored is that all parties agree CSST bonding will likely fail in a direct hit. They recommend “lighting prone” areas to additional have NFPA lighting suppression systems. In Texas that would mean not only bonding but a lighting suppression system. TREC had that question presented and skated on it.

  • TREC indicates EGC Indirect bonding OK
  • TREC includes all CSST and not just yellow jacket
  • CSST wants only yellow jacket targeted.
  • CSST want direct bonding only
  • All agree bonding won’t work in direct lighting hit.
  • Home owners insurance will sue a home inspector
  • TREC requires the inspector to inspect to code however which code remains blurred.
  • TREC states “this is not a safety inspection. The inspector or TREC cannot tell you its safe.” However the top of the form page it says "the inspector is required to report the following hazardous conditions (CSST).

All in all it was good learning lesson for us.It lets us develop the service to assure a level of compliance via good inspecting or departure.

That’s true John. I also sent in a Public Comment on that very topic several weeks before the last IAC & the Commission’s meetings. What you call GEC bonding I refer to as indirect bonding. While my public comment was alluded to, it was never disseminated with the other Commission Meeting materials so I’m not sure who all saw it. The OmegaFlex letter to TREC suggested the “additional bonding” as well. The inclusion of “direct” or “additional” wording would put an increased burden and potential liability on the inspector so I can see why the IAC would oppose it. But, it would better serve the consumer in my opinion.

I’ve attached the public comment I sent to TREC.

CSST Public Comment.pdf (56.9 KB)

Your term EGC is correct. Posingtrans nymsacro. Nice to see your still posting.

I read your letter Mike if it makes any difference.
John you may have hit on something by referring back to page 2 of the TREC imposed preamble.

Good catch Mike C.

Note, this report cannot and does not determine if you are old.

Advisory notice
The inspector must report gray hair. Gray hair likely means you are old.

John and Mike C., even though I’ve been retired for almost two years now, it is almost impossible to stay completely silent on some issues.

I agree about serving the consumer have concerns on how it is done.

In a past life I was employed in manufacturing engineering and received wonderful free corporate training regarding quality. I learned “quality” is conformance to the requirement. A Volkswagon and Mercedes are both quality vehicles because, although both they roll down the road, however they are built for different requirements.

In manufacturing the inspector measured to a tolerance. It was either “in tolerance or not”.

Regarding CSST, I have a problem with being the one to say “it’s good or not”. If the US Consumer Product Safety Commission would issue an order then the entire problem would be easier to manage. Alas, this is a product liability war and something I do not want to be involved with.

I have a concern about stigmatizing the seller of a home with CSST by calling it a defect. On the other hand I do not have a problem with providing useful information that explains “improvement” options.

I have always thought of home inspection as private commerce where business is free to innovate and create services for consumers. I do not believe home inspection is an extension of the government to be used to serve public information notices . . . especially if the inspector is held liable. That in my opinion is a violation of free trade.

If private commerce were to serve in this role then why don’t they require HVAC, Plumbers and Electricians to serve the same notice when they work on a home?

This is all the same old stuff rerun. The next day will come. Thanks for contributing. Looking forward to a future get together.

If anyone is interested, I was speaking to the Rockwall FD’s battalion chief on Sunday and they had just fought a house fire that occurred after a lightning strike (during Sunday’s storms) and developed several small pin holes in the CSST. Gas fed fire. They managed to put it out, but did a lot of damage in the process.

Wonder if the Rockwall Fire Marshall (or whomever) will opine on CSST with pinholes and the fire?

The May 2015 Texas Realtor magazine has this blurb for their agents/brokers:

It is on Page 8 in the “Real Quick … You Ought to Know” section.

Corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) - a flexible pipe that transmits natural gas and propane - can shock people or be a fire hazard if it’s not properly bonded and grounded. Inspectors aren’t required to identify or report the type of gas piping in a property, or if CSST is present, unless there’s a deficiency related to the bonding and grounding of the electrical system. If a buyer wants to know whether a property has CSST, or wants to make repairs, he should hire a licensed electrician.

I’m reserving my comments as to whether or not I feel this verbiage is good/bad/indifferent.

John have left a text to call me when you can.
I have recieved notice that the city fire marshals are very hesitant about speaking up on CSST or banning it in their jurisdiction. I can only imagine that it is due to political pressured.
Nolan its ok to say that TAR is throwing everyone but th manufacturers…under the bus. The makers of this product seem to be throwing a lot of clout and money at the issue.

Yes I saw that as well and feel it appears to have been written by someone who is not versed on the situation.

BTW does the new SOP verbiage, or any rule verbiage, require us to report the type of Gas piping as stated above? I have not seen the actual new verbiage but the samples previously provided did not seem to change the requirement that we are not required to report on type of piping present but only on the bonding of it.

Recd in last night, check out another csst news cast. This newscaster is really diggin into this. Listen to what the Chief has to say.

Dont think above is new but I had not seen this one.

Any word on when the new inspection report 7-5 will be published?

Julian Cofer
Cofer Real Estate Inspections, PLLC

I just received the official release of the new REI 7-5 template this afternoon from one of the TREC attorneys.

I’ve asked for clarification that the actual “in force/use” date will be September 01, 2015 with no grace period during the switch-over. This is usually the routine, but I just wanted to be sure.

I’ve attached the official PDF to this message. Changes in the pre-amble and there are footer changes on every page that you also have to be aware of.

TREC Legal advises the REI 7-5 template and the new OPI form will be published at the TREC website in a couple of weeks.

You are not required to report the type of gas pipe.

Required reporting mandated by State Licensing on a potentially defective product will always produce negative results… give me an example otherwise…

Home Inspections are based upon Opinion and Consultation.
Everyone is free to agree or disagree with me…
No one will ever dictate the opinion that I give based upon experience.