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Thread: HOA ques: Hardiplank fulfills masonry requirement?

  1. #1
         
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    HOA ques: Hardiplank fulfills masonry requirement?

    Not sure if I am in the correct sub-forum, but here goes: In HOAs that have masonry requirements (say 75% of home must be "masonry"), and if masonry itself isn't defined as specifically excluding Hardiplank, can Hardiplank or a like product be considered masonry?

    I ask because it is a cementatious fiber board, so it contains cement (masonry), but it looks like wood. And while it lasts longer than wood, especially in humid climates, it doesn't have the longevity of masonry, nor the look, which is the whole purpose of the deed restriction in the first place.

    I never thought it would be an issue, but we have a homeowner who insists it fulfills the masonry requirement simply because it contains cement and before we (HOA) start down the unpleasant enforcement path, I would like to get input from others who might have had a like experience.

    Regards, Chris

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I ran into this last year, and our Plan Commission determined it was NOT masonry. However, it is still better than many other accepted applications, and they gave that some credit in reducing the masonry requirements.

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    We ended up specifically listing hardiplank as not complying with the masonry requirement. Look closely at your restriction purposes section and see if it is in the "spirit of the ordinance". You might have a purpose like "promoting use of high quality building materials" or something to that effect. It's a dirty way to avoid hardiplank and might not stand up to challenge. I have never understood why people get pissy with reasonable HOAs. Why piss off your future neighbors?

    How built out is your neighborhood? If it is mostly built out and all of the houses use stone, brick, and stucco, you can argue that the requirement has always been interpreted in that manner and that the HOA is being consistent. Has this issue ever come up before, even with other HOAs? You might ask them for advice.

    I've seen some cities that have started to have very specific definitions for masonry. With it being an HOA, you might look elsewhere in the restrictions since many times they have some statement about "inkeeping with the architectural character of the neighborhood, region, environment, rural feel, etc."

    IMHO, hardiplank is not masonry. Of course that and 75 cents will buy you one crappy cup of coffee!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #4
         
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    Our homes were primarily built in the 30's and 40's, and are mostly brick and stone. The spirit of the restriction was to only allow brick, stone, and concrete (perhaps stucco?), and the original developers of course couldn't have guessed what would be available these days.

    We are trying to be really reasonable, but at some point we have to enforce the restrictions or face the wrath of other homeowner's (or developers building on infill lots) who want special exemptions as well.

    Ironically, I made sure that hardiplank is specifically mentioned in our new, as-yet-unapproved, deed restrictions. And the homeowners in question have these restrictions and know how we interpret but have convinced themselves they are in the right and won't talk to us about it anymore.

    I'm afraid we are going to have to speak to our attorney, but really don't cherish this.


  5. #5
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Ah, the joys of public enforcement of private development restrictions. :-S
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
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    Try contacting the deed enforcement hotline at the City of Houston. They may be able to help you with the interpretation and they also might have seen this question before. It's handled through the legal department, and you can call or email them.
    Or call the Neighborhood Services division of the Planning Department - they see a lot of deed restriction issues.

    I'm unclear on whether or not I can put someone's name and number here as a person to call for information, without them knowing about it. So, just check out the main website at
    www.cityofhouston.gov
    and go to either Planning (for neighborhood services) or legal (for enforcement).
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  7. #7
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    I am in the architectural profession and can say that no one would classify hardipanel or hardiplank as masonry!

    To corroborate this, if you check the James Hardie website and find the specifications, you can see they direct spec writers to include their specifications in Section 07 (07460, specifically) which corresponds to "Thermal and Moisture Protection". If you check Sweets (the construction industry's main product selection guide) you will find Hardiplank in 07460/HAR. These sections numbers refer to CSI (Construction Specificiers Institute) Masterspec, the authoritative categorization of construction products. There are 17 Divisions total; Division 04 is Masonry, Division 05 is Metals, Division 06 is Woods & Plastics, Division 07 is Thermal/Moisture Protection, etc. I think this makes a good case that the building industry doesn't view Hardie products as masonry. This would be obvious to most folks who work with the stuff but sometimes it helps to have a definitve reference when someone is trying to contest "What does 'is' mean?"!

    Link for Hardipanel/Hardiplank specs:
    http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner.../archspecs.php
    Print out the above and highlight the specification number 07460. Then print out Masterspec's categories - maybe use this link: "http://www.csinet.org/s_csi/docs/9400/9361.pdf" (go to page 7) - print page 7
    and highlight that Division 04 is Masonry and Division 07 is Thermal/Moisture Protection.

    In essence, by placing the product in Division 7 they are saying it is nothing more than a rainscreen, an applied cladding. While brick is also mainly a rainscreen, it is also a lot of other things and can take bearing weight on it.

    Hope this helps!

    Rob

  8. #8
         
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    Rob, those links will hopefully prove helpful, and I think the letter that we provide to the owners will have a few attachments, one being those examples.

    The exact text of the deed restrictions is:

    All buildings erected in xxxxxxxx, with the exception of garage and other outbuildings necessary to be used in connection with the residence, shall be constructed mainly of brick, concrete, stone or stucco exterior.

    I spoke with the City's legal department and materials are not something they will enforce, it is up to us. I have a call into our counsel.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Brick is oven fired clay.

    Hardiplank is cementeous material.

    The two are not the same material.

    I would not support substitution of Hardiplank for masonry.

    I like both masonry and Hardiplank in their places.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chris_houtx
    ...... I have a call into our counsel.
    ....or you could insist that your HOA has joined the global boycott of James Hardies products in response to their unfair treatment of victims of asbestos. Link here.

  11. #11
    Member
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    Hardipland vs. Masonry?

    Chris, did you ever come to resolution on this issue. We are facing the same situation in our neighborhood.

    Quote Originally posted by chris_houtx
    Our homes were primarily built in the 30's and 40's, and are mostly brick and stone. The spirit of the restriction was to only allow brick, stone, and concrete (perhaps stucco?), and the original developers of course couldn't have guessed what would be available these days.

    We are trying to be really reasonable, but at some point we have to enforce the restrictions or face the wrath of other homeowner's (or developers building on infill lots) who want special exemptions as well.

    Ironically, I made sure that hardiplank is specifically mentioned in our new, as-yet-unapproved, deed restrictions. And the homeowners in question have these restrictions and know how we interpret but have convinced themselves they are in the right and won't talk to us about it anymore.

    I'm afraid we are going to have to speak to our attorney, but really don't cherish this.


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