October 29, 2015

Like a Thief in the Night...

...or day. The time doesn't really matter. What does matter is that you were robbed. You were robbed of possessions, cash and pride.

Imagine the hours or days before. Life was great. You had a decent to great income, home, tangible valuables and the serenity of having limited worries. Theft could never happen to you. You even thought about home protection but you looked at the cost, weighed it against never having any problems before and decided you did not have to pay for peace of mind.

And then.......

Oh how you wish you invested in a home security system. "Why," you are thinking,"did I have to be so cheap when protecting what's dear to me. If only I had the famous Slomin's Shield of protection demonstrating that I invested in home protection.!"

Our careers are a valuable possession and anytime we face a threat to our careers we look to self protect. Guess what? Thieves are coming for your careers and if they take your careers they will ultimately change your way of life, quite possibly taking more of your possessions, your home, your income and how you provide for yourself and loved ones. Our home building industry, whether it's new construction or remodeling, is heavily legislated and regulated. Those career thieves I mentioned? Well, left to fend for itself, building would fall prey to the countless environmental groups, anti-growthers and "the Not in My Backyard" NIMBY's of the world, all career thieves. All who live comfortably in a home, you guessed it, constructed by a BUILDER and utilizing products and services of ASSOCIATES.

Quite frankly, my message to you today delves into matters that some would rather not talk about; political fundraising and it's importance to our efforts in Washington, DC. A BUILD-PAC investment is a lot like home security protection. You hope you never need it but you know you will be very happy you invested in it when you need it to work for you. BUILD-PAC: think protection of your most valued possessions. BUILD-PAC's shield is for all of us in the home building industry but it only works if you invest in it.

It's our industry, it's you career and future. Don't let career thieves rob you. Fight for it or lose it. The choice is absolutely yours. 

The Slomin's Shiled; protector of your home. The BUILD-PAC shield; without it you may have no home to protect!

For your career protection, click here

 submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

October 22, 2015

NAHB at the Three Quarter Mark

The past few issues of Association Maximization has focused on the volunteer work at the national level of our association. We will continue with more highlighted works throughout the rest of 2015 to demonstrate the importance of all three levels of membership. I wanted to pause at this point since we are at the 3/4 mark of 2015 and bring in someone who could speak to the members and leaders of our association. 

Today's guest blogger is my dear friend Jerry Howard, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Jerry has over 25 years of association experience and a lifetime in the housing industry. Jerry began his association career at the National Association of Realtors, where he served as a Legislative Analyst for tax issues. Prior to joining NAHB, Jerry served as the Chief Lobbyist for the National Council of State Housing Agencies where he was instrumental in the development of the low-income housing tax credit as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Jerry came to NAHB as tax counsel in 1988 and served in a variety of roles, including Chief Lobbyist. Jerry was promoted to Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer in February 2001. Before embarking on his association career, Jerry practiced real estate law in his home state of South Carolina. His exposure to the housing industry has literally encompassed a lifetime; Jerry grew up working in a variety of roles for his father, a developer. Jerry earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina. He, his wife Christina and their children Eirann, Meaghan and Sean live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.

 NAHB at the Three Quarter Mark of 2015
Jerry Howard, NAHB CEO
NAHB has been busy this year fighting for housing on major policy issues, providing excellent educational programming, and creating outstanding networking opportunities for members. The proof of our success is in the numbers. Through the first eight months of 2015, just a handful of NAHB's many advocacy efforts saved association members a total of almost $720 million nationwide.

Stronger Market, Improving Membership

Even as NAHB is working hard on behalf of members, our economists are giving us good news about the state of the housing market. Chief Economist David Crowe and his staff are projecting roughly 1.1 million housing starts this year, almost 1.3 million in 2016 and roughly 1.5 million starts in 2017. 

After several very tough years, membership numbers have stabilized and there are signs that soon we may be enjoying real growth. This last spring we had one of our most successful membership drives in years, with locals bringing in more than 3,600 new members. We’ll be wrapping up the fall drive at the end of October, and we have almost 70 percent of local associations participating. That is a 6 percent increase over the HBA participation rate last fall.

Design and Construction Week

NAHB is also deep into planning for the 2016 International Builders’ Show. For the third year in a row, NAHB is partnering with the National Kitchen and Bath Association and their Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) to produce Design and Construction Week.  

Along with IBS and KBIS, this year’s Design and Construction Week will include two more industry tradeshows. The International Window Coverings Expo will join us once again in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The International Surface Event, which combines all types of flooring and tile, will co-date with us and will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. 

For three days in January, Design and Construction Week will be the center of the home building universe. And with acres of product exhibits, cutting-edge education, and countless networking events, NAHB’s Builders’ Show provides unparalleled opportunities for anyone working in the housing industry.

There is simply no better place to take the pulse of the housing market and learn everything you need to know to set your business on a course for success. I encourage any NAHB member who has not already registered to go to www.buildersshow.com.

Fighting for the Housing Industry

NAHB has been on the forefront of fighting the “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers ever since the proposal was first introduced. We have taken action on the legal, legislative and regulatory fronts to put a stop to this ill-advised rule. 

NAHB is fighting several burdensome labor issues, includingthe Department of Labor’s (DOL) draft regulation on overtime, the DOL’s emphasis on classification of independent contractors, and the National Labor Relations Board’s decision in Browning Ferris Industries, which expands the “joint employer” definition.

In a victory for single-family home builders, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) announced Oct. 2 its decision to delay enforcement of the new Confined Spaces in Construction Standard until Jan. 8, 2016.

The Army Corps of Engineers made significant changes to its new flood plain standards based on comments provided by NAHB. The Corps will not apply the floodplain requirements to Clean Water Act wetland permits. Similarly, FEMA will not apply the requirements to the National Flood Insurance Program, and HUD has indicated that the standard will not apply to FHA insurance of single-family mortgages.

NAHB is very involved in the ongoing effort to keep codes sensible and cost-effective. Earlier this month, NAHB 1st Vice Chairman Ed Brady spoke to the International Code Council during their meetings in Long Beach, California about the importance of cost-effective building code changes. 

This has always been the theme of NAHB’s advocacy: Code change proposals that attempt to make homes safer and more energy efficient need to be balanced with what families can actually afford – so we have buyers for these homes. And while proposals that would have limited a lot of flexibility in our construction practices were soundly defeated when code officials voted in Long Beach, advocates who have their own profits in mind are likely to try to influence the final outcome when these proposals are opened to online voting later this month. Be on the lookout for the NAHB Voting Guide and be ready to share it with the building code officials in your city so they support only those code change proposals that are necessary and will result in building sustainable homes that are also safe and affordable.

Learn More about how NAHB Can Serve You

These are just a few highlights of the many ways NAHB is working for members. I could go on about NAHB’s educational offerings, leadership from NAHB councils, designation programs that help members set themselves apart, and Member Advantage programs that save members millions of dollars each year. But the easiest way to learn about all these services, and much more, is to visit www.valueofnahb.org.


October 15, 2015

NAHB’s Advocacy Initiatives

Today's article comes from Carl Harris, home builder from the state of Kansas. Carl chair's the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Federal Government Affairs committee, the "nuts & bolts" of our national association's number #1 priority, advocacy. For our builders back home, at the local level, this committee is a prime example of your national membership dues being the investment it truly is...

Update on NAHB’s Advocacy Initiatives
by Carl Harris, NAHB Federal Government Affairs Chairman

Carl Harris
At any given time, NAHB’s advocacy team, including staff from government affairs, legal affairs, housing finance, regulatory affairs and communications, is working on scores of issues that can have a significant impact on members. Below is a status update on several critical issues that we discussed last month at the NAHB Fall Board meeting.

Court Ruling Suspends New EPA Water Rule
NAHB has been on the forefront of fighting the “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers ever since the proposal was first introduced. We have taken action on the legal, legislative and regulatory fronts to put a stop to this ill-advised rule. 
The rule went into effect on August 28, but we are pleased to report that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit enacted a nationwide stay on Oct. 9.
NAHB opposes this rule because it makes millions of additional acres subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. The rule raises housing costs and adds unnecessary regulatory burdens to small businesses. Even the Corps of Engineers — which is charged with administering and enforcing the rule — raised objections with EPA over the rule, which EPA ultimately ignored. 

NAHB Fights Wide Range of Labor Regulations
NAHB is fighting several proposed workforce regulations, including the Department of Labor’s (DOL) draft regulation on overtime for “white collar” employees. Starting next year, this proposal would raise the “exempt” salary level for executive or administrative staff from $23,660 to $50,440. Under the regulation, more than 110,000 construction supervisors may be eligible for overtime pay. 
NAHB CEO Jerry Howard has spoken up against the rule publicly, and NAHB submitted comments explaining how the regulation could harm small businesses. 
DOL has also been focused on the classification of independent contractors. The agency requested $10 million in FY 2016 for worker misclassification enforcement and detection efforts. The funding was rejected, but DOL continues to pursue this issue. The agency has put forth a guidance document on worker classification, which may trigger litigation. 
To help members navigate this topic, NAHB created a state-by-state guide that examines the laws determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee.
Another issue is the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision in Browning Ferris Industries, which expands the definition of “joint employer” and erodes long-established protections afforded to neutral employers, such as builders. Legislation supported by NAHB was introduced in the House that would protect the traditional joint employer definition.

OSHA Delays Enforcement of Confined Spaces Rule
In a victory for single-family home builders, the OccupationalHealth and Safety Administration (OSHA) announced Oct. 2 its decision to delay enforcement of the new Confined Spaces in Construction Standard until Jan. 8, 2016.

Though the ruling became effective Aug. 3, OSHA has agreed to refrain from issuing citations to any employer that is making good-faith efforts to comply with the standard. This temporary enforcement policy applies to construction of single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses in federal jurisdictions.OSHA-approved state plan enforcement dates may vary; for more information visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp.

NAHB Actions Limit Impact of Federal Flood Risk Management Standard
NAHB scored an important victory for home builders when it convinced the Army Corps of Engineers to back off on sweeping new flood plain standards that could have had a dramatic impact on home building and development.

In January, President Obama issued an Executive Order to expand federal floodplain management requirements far beyond the 100-year floodplain. 

NAHB members voiced serious concerns about the potential impact on federal permits and programs that builders and developers use. As a result of our efforts, the Army Corps will not be applying the floodplain requirements to Clean Water Act wetland permits. Similarly, FEMA will not apply the requirements to the National Flood Insurance Program, and HUD has indicated that the standard will not apply to FHA insurance of single-family mortgages. 

Building Codes Require Ongoing Vigilance
NAHB is very involved in the ongoing effort to keep codes sensible and cost-effective. At present, the International Code Council is in the process of reviewing thousands of proposed changes to the 2018 version of the codes.

Earlier this year, after careful review by our committee members and codes staff, NAHB took positions on 262 proposals. Of those, 129 did not receive public comment, and NAHB won on 82 percent of those proposals.

The ICC held public comment hearings in Long Beach, California, in early October. The NAHB delegation to the hearings included NAHB First Vice Chairman Ed Brady, Codes Committee Chairman George Schluter, Codes Committee Vice Chairman Phil Hoffman, and the NAHB staff codes team.