Critical Government Affairs Update
March 20, 2020
The last week has been a hard one for all of us as well as for the members of the Greater San Antonio Builders Association (GSABA). The battle against this virus is an unprecedented challenge unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime.
GSABA is doing everything in our power to keep the housing industry open for business. This includes working with area jurisdictions to ensure that we are able to continue building, with jobsite safety being our utmost priority.
We are in contact with area jurisdictions and working with them to convey changes to you in their permitting and inspection operations. Please find an overview of eleven different cities procedures for filing permits, requesting inspections, etc. over the next few weeks. I have listed a contact person at each City along with their phone number and email address for your quick reference as well as a link to the City’s website.
You will find an update from SAWS (third attachment). SAWS did temporarily shut down inspections this week. They have changed their decision and SAWS Inspectors are now fully staffed and working.
Like everyone else, local jurisdictions and utilities are implementing social distancing practices and limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people. We ask that you do the same in your workplace and on your job sites. This will change many aspects of your operations, but it will allow us to continue working. We cannot emphasize enough how important this is, I heard this message from almost every City I spoke with in the last few days.
Construction Companies, Suppliers and Vendors Open Hours
I participated in a call yesterday with the Texas Association of Builders (TAB) Executive Director, Scott Norman and his Government Affairs team. Due to the recent mandates for companies and businesses to close, TAB communicated with the Governor’s staff earlier this week to share how critical it is for your homebuilding companies to remain open and for our suppliers, vendors and tradesmen to be able to continue to work.
You will find a copy of a letter from all of the State Associations involved in the construction industry to Governor Abbott attached (second attachment). GSABA, TAB and NAHB will all be fighting for our members to be able to continue to build, sell and close homes.
Wet Signatures Required on Closing Document
As you know, wet signatures are required for most new home closings. Several lenders and banks require wet signatures on the deeds. Scott Norman and his team at TAB had a call with the Banker’s Association in Austin to address this serious issue and to discuss next steps if there is a total shutdown and the impact it would have on new home closings. I will keep you apprised of their progress in hopes that lenders and banks will relax their requirements.
Third Party Inspections
Under the relevant state statutes and the IRC, nothing requires government officials/employees to personally perform code inspections and it does not prohibit third party inspectors from performing such services. On my call with Scott Norman, Ned Munoz and J.D. Hale yesterday-we discussed this. TAB, along with all of the local associations, will address third party inspections in the next Legislative Session. Please find an update from Ned Munoz, General Counsel for TAB attached (fourth attachment).
Good Night Good Night Ordinance Draft for City of San Antonio
Attached is the latest working document for construction working hours in San Antonio. The final draft should be completed by the end of April. The next meeting was scheduled for April 7th at 9:30am but it may be canceled and re-scheduled.
On behalf of your President Jeff Czar, the GSABA Government Affairs Chairs, Executive Committee and Board members-thank you for being a member of GSABA. We will send you weekly updates. Please feel free to call on Jeff or myself if we can help you in any way.
Executive Vice President
3625 Paesanos Parkway
San Antonio, Texas 78231