TREC SOP - Polybutylene pipe

I don’t see where TREC inspectors are required to identify and report polybutylene pipe in the plumbing section of our reports. I see where we are required to report deficiencies in supply pipe.

So if you have polybutylene distribution pipe in a house 31 years old that’s not impacted by chlorine because it’s on a private well, are we REQUIRED to report it as deficient if their are no visible deficiencies?

Interested in your opinions.

It would appear not.

But hey, they fined a guy for not inspecting a roof that was installed after he performed his inspection, so who knows for sure?

I hadn’t heard that one before. When did that happen?

I would certainly report it. TREC maybe just hasn’t dealt with this yet. This is the verbage I use.

The primary water supply lines in the home are “Polybutylene Plastic” (PB). This type of plumbing has experienced a higher than normal rate of leaks or plumbing line failures (often at fittings – both plastic and metal), and some Polybutylene Piping has experienced premature system failures. There have been several “Class Action Lawsuits” involving the product. Although there are NO requirements that Polybutylene Piping be removed from a house with it, SOME people prefer to remove it. Polybutylene has been REMOVED from the National Building Codes list of acceptable plumbing supply line material for NEW houses. For more information on this material, see, or do a GOOGLE search for Polybutylene Piping. We also STRONGLY recommend that you do your own research on this type of plumbing system and rely on the evaluation and advice of a licensed plumbing specialist prior to the close of escrow that was CONTACTED by you and NOT a seller or real estate agent.

This was also stated on the site which, for what it’s worth, is set up by a plumbing company.

Myth: My home inspector said the poly “looked” fine:
It may “look” fine, but that doesn’t mean much because most of the problems with poly systems are not visible. Basically, a home inspector can look for water leaking RIGHT NOW, he can look for evidence of repairs, and he can look for certain installation no-no’s (only where pipes are exposed) such as kinks in the piping. That helps a little, but many things contribute to a poly leak, most all of which an inspector cannot see. What matters most is the useful life of the poly in a home, and an inspector cannot predict this for any poly system.

I inquired with TREC a few months ago about this and was told we did not need to report it or that there have been recalls on the pipe. However I do point it out if it is viable and refer them to the poly web sight. Only negative thing I have lost the Email. Give trec an email on the subject and see what they say and post the answer for all of us.

Good idea Gary, I just sent them an email. Thanks.

It appears that TREC Investigator Scott Davis botched an investigation that resulted in an unjust sanction against a TREC inspector. The inspector had to go to an administrative judge to get a fair verdict. TREC later rescinded the disciplinary action. I don’t recall hearing that the investigator was fined or publicly reprimanded for performing his job in a negligent manner.\11\329-11-9073-rec-pfd1.pdf

The truth will set you free! It seems what we really need a “Recovery fund” for is to reimburse inspectors for their expense in defending themselves from such scams and incompetence. Thanks for the info Chuck.

No response from TREC to my email asking about this. So much for their two day turn around. Sent them a follow up today but…

If they were inspectors they would have to fine themselves for failure to meet the turnaround time standard.

Isn’t it funny how the regulators rarely come close to meeting the same standards that they enforce upon those whom they regulate? Such is government…

Can you please provide clarification for any requirement per TREC rules for TREC Inspectors to report the presence of polybutylene pipe or any associated recalls or class action suits on a home that we are inspecting? I do not see where TREC inspectors are required to identify and report on the presence of polybutylene pipe per the plumbing section of the TREC SOP and I also do not see any requirement to report on recalls or class action suits of any type contained within the SOP. Looking for some clarification, please advise.


Mr. Onofrey,

You are correct that the SOP’s do not require you to report the presence of polybutylene pipe (unless they are deficient) or to report on related recalls or class action suits.


Leah Alexander
Staff Attorney

I guess the same applies to Kitec?