Law 101 Series

Builder’s Risk Insurance Basics

Broadly speaking, builder’s risk insurance protects against unplanned risks to work under construction and to certain items on the construction site.

Builder’s risk provides first-party coverage, which means that the insured itself can make a claim directly against the policy.texas construction builders risk insurance

For additional reading, the Houston Chronicle has published an overview of builder’s risk insurance here.

Insurance is a specialized practice area, and the precise language of the insurance policy is very important to understanding rights and responsibilities. For this reason, it’s wise to visit with your insurance agent or attorney about your particular situation.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

What is an Owner’s “Program” on a Construction Project?

A program is part of the communication process between the construction project owner and the company(ies) responsible for evaluating, designing, and building the project.texas construction law owner's program

In its most basic elements, an owner’s program contains the owner’s overall goals and limitations for the project, This may include items such as price/budget constraints, scheduling, space requirements, special equipment, safety issues, and more.

The program often serves as the foundation for further discussion about the feasibility of the project in light of the program’s substance. For example, in those instances in which the owner retains an architect for the project, that architect almost invariably provides feedback on the program as part of the schematic design phase, the first of several phases of the architect’s design process.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

How Long Does Adverse Possession Take in Texas?

Adverse possession always seems to be a popular topic. The idea that you may able to take something that you knowtexas adverse possession real estate isn’t yours and legally make it your own (without compensation) may be enticing. That same idea, however, may be off-putting if it’s your property that is taken by someone else.

How long does adverse possession take? As usual, the answer is not so simple.

The Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code lists several different statutes of limitation for bringing suit to recover real property purported to having been taken — or purporting to be in the process of being taken — by another.

There are three-year, five-year, ten-year, fifteen-year, and twenty-five year statutes of limitations.

Which limitations period applies depends on whether the person claiming to take the property (the “Claimant”) holds it under title or color of title, whether the Claimant pays taxes on the property, whether the Claimant claims the property under a registered and non-forged instrument, how the property is being held, the size of the property at issue, whether the property is enclosed, whether the person whose property is being taken is, has been, or was operating under a legal disability (minor, unsound mind, or in the U.S. armed forces during a time of war), and other circumstances.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Who Should Get the Initial Permits Required to Start Construction?

The owner of the project — the person desiring the construction — is generally required to obtain the preliminary construction permits necessary to begin the work.

However, the owner may reallocate this responsibility by virtue of her contract with the contractor or her contract with the architect/engineer.

In addition to construction permits, there may be other restrictions, laws, or regulations that influence an owner’s ability to build on any particular site.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

 

Damaged Fence Liens in Three Sentences

texas damaged fence lien lawA person who owns real estate enclosed by a fence may in some circumstances obtain a judgment for a lien against the motor vehicle of a person who damages the fence with the vehicle.

The purpose of the lien is to help (a) secure the fence repair costs, (b) recapture any animals that escaped as a direct result of the damage to the fence, and (c) have the vehicle towed from the property and stored.

The amount of the lien, the property to which it attaches, and the methods for perfecting and removing the lien are all dictated by statute.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Flooding Caused by the Diversion of Surface Water

texas overflow surface water runoffHave you diverted water onto your neighbor’s property? Has water been directed or channeled onto your property?

Under section 11.086 of the Texas Water Code, a person may not divert or impound the natural flow of surface waters, or permit a diversion or impounding by him/her to continue, in a manner that damages the property of another by the overflow of the water diverted or impounded.

By its own terms, this statute only prohibits certain changes to the natural flow of surface water. “The term surface water, as used in section 11.086, is not defined in the Water Code, but has been interpreted by Texas courts to mean water ‘which is diffused over the ground from falling rains or melting snows, and [it] continues to be such until it reaches some bed or channel in which water is accustomed to flow.’ ” Tex. Woman’s Univ. v. The Methodist Hospital, 221 S.W.3d 267, 277 (Tex.App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, no pet.) (emphasis added). Diffuse surface water is distinct from flood waters and from waters entering or following a defined course or channel. Id. at 278.

Waters entering or following a defined course or channel are not considered diffuse surface water. This includes water in a ditch, a pond, a pipe, or a river. Id.

“Thus, a landowner might divert the entire Brazos River across his neighbor’s property without subjecting himself to liability under Section 11.086 of the Water Code.” Dietrich v. Goodman, 123 S.W.3d 413, 419 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, no pet.).

Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily absolve this person from liability under other Texas law.

The Water Code is not the only legal authority governing flooding situations.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

No Statutory Warranties for Most Texas Residential Construction

Warranties may benefit parties by providing the maker goodwill and the recipient some independent assurance that the promisor will stand behind the good or service it provided.

texas new home construction warranties

Except for contracts for new Texas homes signed June 1, 2005 – August 31, 2009, there are no state statutory warranties or state statutory  performance standards that always apply to the construction of new homes in Texas. This is due to the sunset of the Texas Residential Construction Commission Act on September 1, 2009.

Therefore, any warranties that exist on new home construction arise, if at all, from the (1) contract and dealings between the homeowner and the home builder; and (2) common law.

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.