SPEER & TDLR Present Free Training and Workshop
If you are a home shopper, you should fight the urge to turn the page. This is one article you will be glad you read. If you’re a building professional that didn’t attend this training—you gave up what could’ve been a “FREE” competitive advantage. Find out why.
A special training workshop for builders, the On-Site Field Training & Workshop for New Home Construction, took place on February 18, 2020. It included 3 hours of classroom instruction and continued after lunch on two jobsites: one with a home in the framing stage and one in the completed stage. The major subject of the training was on residential heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC), with an emphasis on understanding the Manual J. The on-site training covered almost all of the components of a home—including an illustration of blower-door and duct leakage testing, both of which are required by the state.
Why is the Manual J important to someone looking for a home? Well, quite simply, the Manual J, which is generally prepared by the HVAC contractor, is the single most important factor in ensuring that your home’s A/C unit is properly sized to the size of the home, among other things. In short, a correctly prepared Manual J will make sure that, as a homeowner, you will save money on utilities, maintenance, and, more importantly, that your home will be comfortable. A home with an oversized A/C unit, the most common problem, will cycle on, cool the home too quickly, and shut off before it has time to remove all of the humidity in the house, thus creating a clammy interior caused by high humidity. Worse, as time passes, your utility bills will be higher, moisture problems will most likely occur, and your unit is sure to need replacement sooner.
It’s important to understand that builders do not prepare the Manual J. Licensed HVAC contractors do. But builders should be able to understand the Manual J which, when you see the technical industry jargon on the Manual J, you can appreciate why training would be required in order to understand it. The builders and other professionals who attended this workshop should be commended for taking time off to learn how to ensure that their A/C units are properly sized and compliant with what is required by code.
The workshop was presented by two knowledgeable and experienced speakers. First, Jason Vandever, Energy Code Program Manager from South-Central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER), a non-profit regional energy efficiency organization whose goal is to facilitate and accelerate adoption of advanced building systems and energy efficient products and services by providing training and other resources to the building industry professionals. Jason’s previous experience as Chief Code Inspector for a municipality in Texas was invaluable in interpreting code requirements. The hands-on training and instruction that he provided on site during the afternoon component of the workshop included a whole-house tour that was mind expanding. The mixed audience of local code officials, builders, and contractors made for great discussions and learning opportunities. Those who attended walked away with knowledge that will make a tremendously positive impact on the homes they build—a win-win for them and their homebuyers.
Secondly, Bill Weatherly, Program Chief from the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Department of Licensing and Regulation, shared his 40+ years of experience in the HVAC industry—information that went way beyond what a builder or HVAC contractor would find in a textbook. He had an eye-catching TDLR badge, but he assured us that his “investigative hat” was off for the workshop. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is responsible for the regulation of every occupation that requires a license in Texas to protect consumers from shoddy or unsafe work performed by untrained contractors.
Now, pay attention to this. Why would a workshop with a TDLR representative be important to a builder and their homebuyer? One main reason is that like many laws, people aren’t aware of them until they are caught breaking them. Sometimes, they may know the law but choose not to follow it. While builders are not required to have a license, many of their trade contractors are. TDLR is charged with making sure that those performing critical work—especially work that may put people at risk from injury or death such as from a fire due to faulty electrical work—are properly licensed.
Of critical note: it is illegal for a trade contractor to advertise if he/she does not have a required license. Their license number must appear on their advertising. If it’s not—buyer beware. Workers without a required license mean they probably aren’t bonded or have workers compensation. If they get injured on your property, they could legally sue you for medical expenses, etc. Protect yourself. Ask to see proof of their license. And then follow up to make sure the license does not belong to another person. Go to www.tdlr.texas.gov and search their name or license number. You can also file a complaint or find out more about TDLR’s enforcement plan on its website.
Look at the photos here of some of the builders, contractors, and code officials who attended the On-Site Field Training & Workshop for New Home Construction and congratulate them for investing their time to help improve the quality of their work for you.
The workshop was sponsored by Magic Valley Electric Cooperative, AEP Texas, Texas Gas Service, BUILT TO SAVE™, Rio Grande Valley Builders Association, State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), and South-Central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER).
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