St. Mary's Law Journal


Construction is the largest industry in the United States, and some regard the industry as the engine of the nation’s economy. Only the unavailability of unskilled labor can slow the growth of the construction industry in Texas. As such, Texas has welcomed the construction boom and has enacted statutes to accommodate further industry growth. Texas’ first legislative response came in the form of the Residential Construction Liability Act (RCLA). The RCLA alleviated liability for builders incurred under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). In 2003, the Texas Legislature continued to legislate in favor of builders by passing the Texas Residential Construction Commission Act (TRCCA). The TRCCA provides limited warranty on all new homes and requires homeowners to engage in mandatory dispute resolution before initiating any legal action. This Comment will dissect the TRCCA’s dispute resolution process. One goal of the TRCCA was to simplify the dispute resolution process and to implement uniform state performance standards for residential construction. The TRCCA requires the use of an alternative dispute resolution process before taking legal action. The process is multi-step and appears to encourage delay and haggling by both parties. This is due in part by allowing for a second offer submission. At this time, the TRCCA follows the RCLA by disproportionately advancing the interests of builders. In terms of warranty provisions, the consumer good comes with a warranty, as does a new home. Under the limited, express warranty proposed by the TRCCA, the home is now just as warranted as a consumer good. The root problem underlying construction defect disputes does not originate within the actions of the consumer but within the shoddy construction work performed by the contractor. Aside from the tangible burdens presented by the TRCCA process, the Act fails to define what constitutes a reasonable settlement offer. With a clear, yet workable definition, fewer conflicts will necessitate the dispute resolution process.


St. Mary's University School of Law