FAQ About the Log and Timber Homes Council Code of Ethics
Q. What is the Log and Timber Homes Council?
The Log and Timber Homes Council (LHC) is part of the Building Systems Councils (BSC) of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The BSC is an association of manufacturers, vendors and builders who create log, timber, modular and panelized single- and multifamily homes and commercial structures. As a trade association, the NAHB, BSC, and LHC are fully funded by member dues. These associations receive no government funds and have no legislative, regulatory or legal authority. Log home manufacturers join the LHC to work together and improve the industry by sharing information, technology, promotional efforts and research into the long lasting performance of log and timber homes.
Q. What is the LHC’s Code of Ethics?
LHC members have adopted a written statement of conduct that provides a forum whereby consumers, builders and other LHC members can air grievances. Upon joining the LHC, members voluntarily agree to produce well-designed, model-code complying structures. LHC members believe that financial obligations and commitments regarding business activities with their customers would be in writing, with copies distributed to all parties concerned. Member companies assume the responsibility to keep informed on laws, regulations, legislation, building codes and other essential information that affect the log and timber industry. LHC members abide by the free enterprise system, where members compete on a level playing field for their clients’ business.
LHC members agree that they will not attempt to injure, with malicious intent, either directly or indirectly, the professional reputation of other members, nor to indiscriminately criticize another member’s work in public, or take unfair advantage over fellow members. Each LHC member agrees to conduct his business in a manner that avoids controversy, but that if controversy arises, to resolve the dispute through non-litigation mechanism wherever possible.
Q. How do I know that LHC members are reputable?
While the Council cannot furnish guarantees, the LHC, through the LHC Ethics Committee, does screen manufacturers who apply to the Council. If there is reason to believe that the manufacturer cannot live up to the expectations of the LHC, the manufacturer’s application may be rejected. Additionally, every application to the Building Systems Councils must be accompanied by three references from people in the building industry.
Q. What types of complaints can be brought before the LHC Ethics Committee?
Complains about the quality, design, or promised service on product produced by the log and timber home manufacturer should be directed to the LHC Ethics Committee. Other complains that may be addressed are:
• Misleading or false advertising
• Non-response to problems with log and timber home product, construction instructions, or supplied materials (under contract)
• Code violations in materials supplied
• Disputes about materials, services, or other details contained in written contracts, provided the parties have not retained legal counsel or entered into litigation.
Q. What complaints cannot be addressed by the LHC Ethics Committee?
The following are examples of complaints that cannot be addressed by the LHC Ethics Committee:
• Complaints about the way your home is constructed (unless you have contracted with the log and timber home manufacturer for construction of the home). Generally, the home buyer contracts with a builder to construct a home. It is the home buyer’s responsibility to check the credentials, licenses held (if required by your jurisdiction), and experience with building log and timber homes (even if the manufacturer has furnished a list of builders who have successfully completed log and timber homes). It is also your responsibility to make sure you understand any contract you sign with a builder, dealer, or sub-contractor.
• Issues involving the return of deposits made to a log and timber home company for orders contracted in good faith.
• Structural failures resulting from neglect or improper construction, or foundation work.
• Improper handling of materials by the homeowner or builder/contractor.
• Failure of a builder/contractor or homeowner to follow the manufacturer construction manual, suggested maintenance schedule, or local building codes.
Q. How do I institute a complaint?
If the manufacturer is a member of the LHC (a list of members is available through the LHC office or through the website www.loghomes.org) a written complaint should be made to the LHC Ethics Committee, c/o BSC Executive Director:
The Building Systems Councils
National Association of Home Builders
1201 15th St., NW
Washington, DC 20005
The BSC Executive Director will then acknowledge the complaint and notify the member company of your complaint.
If the company does not respond to the complaint, or if you are not satisfied with the response, you may request an “Advisory Opinion” from the LHC Ethics Committee. Your request should be accompanied by as much information as possible about your complaint so that the LHC Ethics Committee has a complete picture of the situation. Such documentation should contain: a copy of the contract for materials and/or services, copies of correspondence relating to the problem, and dates and notes of phone calls with company representatives.
During the process of mediating the controversy, the LHC Ethics Committee may ask you to participate in a conference call or meeting with the Committee and the log and timber home manufacturer.
While all decisions of the Log and Timber Homes Council Ethics Committee are final, their decision may be appealed to the Board of Trustees of the Building Systems Councils of NAHB.
Q. What happens to those that violate the ethics code?
After hearing both sides of the issue, the LHC Ethics Committee will suggest ways to resolve the issue and prevent future conflicts. The LHC members may also receive a warning with specific recommendations on bringing the company into line with accepted industry practices. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Ethics Committee will advise all parties to pursue legal solutions. If, however, a member of the Council fails to live up to the expectations of the LHC, the LHC Ethics committee has the right to revoke or suspend the membership of a member company. Any decision of the LHC Ethics Committee may be appealed to the Building Systems Councils Board of Trustees.
Q. Can a complaint be registered against a company that is not a member of the LHC?
While the LHC has no way of mediating disputes with non-members, a file is kept on all non-member complaints. The LHC Ethics Committee reviews this file when considering a log and timber home manufacturer for membership.
For an alphabetical list of all Log and Timber Homes Council members