Reporting Live from the Street Protests Going on Now Outside the Houston Permitting Center

Protestors Outside Houston Permitting Center, 1002 Washington Ave., Downtown Houston

“Since there are no TVs at the new fancy permitting center that show the soap operas while you wait, this will have to do,” a tipster quips. And yes! There does appear to be a bit of excitement today at the Houston Permitting Center at 1002 Washington Ave. on the west side of Downtown. The tipster tells us that the pictured protestors shown outside the building are “upset about an inspector and their garage in their backyard.” According to one of the protestors, Channel 11 is “supposed to cover it,” the tipster says.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

They’ve Got Your Number, David Crawford

26 Comment

  • Should have paid him the customary $500 and got your project done and wouldn’t have to stand out there with silly signs.

  • @ commonsense: tell it brother or sister.. That’s how things REALLY get done here in Houston: some moola off the books for the ” inspector ” to look the other way and ” pass ” your project. Considering how shoddy 99.9% of the new construction /remodeling REALLY is that could be the only way these projects are green lighted and passed. Like the apartments @ W.Dallas & Montrose Blvd. that burned to the ground last month. According to sources there were NO firebreaks and NO firewalls!!!! Stranger things have happened on projects here in ” Half-Ass Town “. And I’m a native Houstonian !!!!

  • I’ll check back tomorrow for a comment from Mr. Crawford. This could get very interesting…….

  • In defense of Mr. Crawford, he and his Tean are charged with helping to insure the Health & Safety of the public.

    I have worked with him on my projects and it is important to remember that without inspectors and the plan review process and inspections, people can be killed or seriously injured… The shoddy construction made mention of is what happens when people build without permits. Now the $6.8B in permit fees IS a different issue all together.

    Mr. Crawford is just doing his job. Lay off people. Remember that the next time a building collapses and hurts someone!

  • My Grandfather was named David Crawford, and he’s been dead since 1964, so i don’t think he was the liar in question

  • @Patrick….did your “sources” also tell you there wasn’t even any drywall up at those apartments that burnt down, so of course non of the fireproofing was in….firewalls are required by code, the construction just wasn’t that far along yet — quite the drama queen yourself sister….

  • @ Jeff Bridges. That job was past the point where firewalls should have been in place. Wasn’t the roof almost done?

  • @GlenW, firewall are essentially fire rated sheetrock like the one in garages and is installed after the structure is “dried in” i.e. after the roof.

    @Kineticd, you’re funny if you think plan review and inspectors actually add anything to safety of a structure. They don’t have time to review anything in great detail, they just look at a couple obvious points here and there and that’s all, mostly benign stuff like easements, height restrictions, and missing smoke detectors. It’s just a self sustaining bureaucracy.

  • I can only imagine how awful construction quality would be without inspectors, anddevelopers were left totally to their own devices. Shudder the thought.

  • @commonsense, yep! God forbid CoH should add anything to life safety, such as those smoke detectors or; Fire Separation Walls and setbacks, electrical overload disconnects, gates/latches at pools, sewer water not tied to fresh water supply, structural performance of loading and bearing construction, no condensate runoff going into supply water (Legionaires Disease), etc…

    You know, the “pesky” stuff like that!

  • I called the permitting department to explain to me why I need a permit to replace a sliding glass door with French doors? After all the back/forth, the answer was… because we said so.

  • @Kineticd, those codes are important and should be followed, but my point it inspectors don’t check for those, they don’t have the time, and a lot of them don’t have the knowledge. They still have to look up rules in their little book every time.
    The engineers make sure structures are safe, electricians and plumbers make sure their work is done right because they want good reputation and more jobs etc etc. The builders overall have an incentive to follow building codes because they may face future legal liabilities if they do not. So, in a nutshell, inspectors are useless.

  • @Tawnya: Property Taxes, they need to track improvements so they can raise your property taxes and pay everyone. Sad that they go after the little things like that.

  • mel / Kineticd: You assume that without the government helping us, we’d all die in building collapses. You don’t think there are other motivations to do things correctly and safely? Most of the stuff we’re required to do as multifamily operators is “no duh” stuff we’d do anyway. We just have the extra cost and delay of having to deal with the city (passed to renters).
    .
    Example: Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. We have them as we don’t really want our buildings burning down. Our insurance company requires them for our policy. If we don’t have them, they raise our rates or deny our claim or cancel our coverage. Then the bank gets involved and calls the note due or does $ vendor placed policy. Or the tenants decide they don’t want to rent because they don’t feel safe w/o those items.
    .
    So they magically get installed without some inspector coming in and telling us to. Why? Because it’s in our best interest for reasons other than having the city off our backs. I hate to sound like a total free market anarchist, but I’ll always lean towards having the government do less and rely on people doing what makes sense.

  • Do we need building codes and inspections? Yes. Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, 146 dead. Iroquois Theatre fire, 400 dead. Cocoanut Grove fire, 492. The Station nightclub fire, 100 dead. All of these facilities were subject to the same free-market as we have today, yet each one of these was unsafe (and for very different reasons).

    I want to hear the full story of why these people are protesting.

  • @Cody, hahaha. I love this board! People are going to do what makes sense??? So I guess “everybody” fattens their seat belt, “everybody” wears a bike helmet, “everybody” installs their electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems correctly… Tell me, can you be in every one of your job sites at the same time? Making sure construction is done safely and according to the drawings and specs? No! You can not.

    Inspectors check high water items; metal sheathed wire, p-traps, health dept finishes that are mild resistant,

  • mold resistant, etc… I can not tell you how many times I have seen subs not follow the drawings and substitute inferior products. I rely upon these inspectors to help prove my Clients get what they paid for. So should you.

    Not all government is “BIG” government.

  • @mel, developers! Sheesh…

  • Until we get rid of government backed loans and tax write offs, please do not invoke the free market in connection with real estate development.

  • I have a good friend who is a residential home inspector, working for himself, not for the city, and he is all the time regaling us with tales of subs cutting corners and doing generally crappy work in new builds. Builders hate him, and some selling agents groan when they see him coming, because they know his report will be 80 pages of detail with about 100 pictures. And yes, he looks at everything, crawling under p&b foundations and up in the attic with a flashlight and measuring tape. Buyers who can handle the truth love him, but some buyers (usually first-timers) freak out when they see some of the things in the report.

    According to him, there is a LOT of work being done right now that is either not up to code or just generally crappy work.

  • @GoogleMaster, thanks… Glad someone knows what I’m talking about! I just plain feel sorry people who are being taken advantage of because they don’t know about these items.

  • GoogleMaster: totally agree. Lots of workers cut corners.
    Kineticd: also agree that subs will cut corners. If you want to hire someone to make sure your job is going as planned to make sure you’re not being ripped off, go for it. I have someone that’s sort of in that position since the city (luckily) isn’t involved in a lot of what we do. Yet as an investor I still have a financial interest in having things done right.
    .
    Companies that do things right will get a reputation for such, and vice versa. Though that’s never going to stop the problem of shitty work being done. And all the government in the world isn’t going to help either.
    .
    I’m not a new contruction guy. I opperate older apartments, built in another time. My daily fights are against a city that wants these properties gone so will do what they need to do to see that these older garden apartments get sold to a builder
    .
    Let me give you a quick example: tenant calls Centerpoint. Says she smells gas. Centerpoint turns off gas to the whole building. That means no stoves. No hot water. For EVERYONE. Our guy does a pressure check to confirm there is no leaks (go figure that we wouldn’t want a gas leak as owners). Centerpoint still won’t turn gas back on till the CITY okays (dispute my plumber there with a pressure tester on the meter). The city takes the opportunity to make us bring EVERYTHING in this old building to current code before they’ll “allow” Centerpoint to turn on gas. Multiple permits (and lots of $). Took almost a MONTH to get gas back on. You can imagine how happy the tenants were. Oh, FYI, the problem was this tenants PILOT LIGHT was out.
    .
    If we were a smaller single-property owner that would have been enough to toss on the towel and say “F-it”. Next: property gets sold to a developer and everyone on swamplot says “wow, what’s happening to Montrose? Where are all the affordable places going?”
    .
    And regarding your seatbelt reply. I’m talking about in their financial sense from a market perspective. However, I’m not a big fan of helmet and seatbelt laws either since you brought it up. If the government, or a group, through donations or other means, wants to put out PSAs that say “don’t be a dumbass, wear a seat belt” I’m fine with that. But we don’t need a law about it. Allowing the police to pull you over and mess with you because you don’t have a seat belt on seems like a waste of resources to me.

  • Jeremy, I was going to invoke The Jungle, but I didn’t want to face the wrath of the “free marketers”.

  • Cody- having to occasionally bring old buildings to code and to install toilet rolls to code and install handrails to code is the cost of doing your business and if it wasn’t profitable, I suspect you wouldn’t be in it.

  • I love how people run with off-topic comments. Why exactly are these folks pictured protesting David Crawford and saying he lies?

  • I had to have one come out for a job I had on my place. I sat and waited for him for 3 hours. After 3 hours I walked outside and noticed a nice little sticker on my door. I wish i had a security camera because I know that guy just walked up and stuck the sticker and left. I was waiting inside the entire time and no sound. &Kineticd home inspectors arent the same guys working for the city. They actually have some accountability in their job.