Blog

  • 01 Nov 2013 11:27 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    The Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) published the draft building code in the Minnesota State Register. The draft code can be found here and the statement of need and reasonableness (SONAR) here. Included in DLI's draft code are mandatory fire sprinklers in new single-family homes 4,500 square feet or larger.

    What can you do?
    Please sign the petition and pass it along. We want to be sure we are heard! nosprinklermandatemn.com
  • 31 Oct 2013 10:02 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)
    CMBA President, Gary Bechtold - in response to Draft Minnesota Building Code; following publication by the Department of Labor and Industry in the Minnesota State Register

    The Builders Association of Minnesota (BAM) and Central Minnesota Builders Association (CMBA) along with other business groups strongly oppose the costly and unnecessary home indoor sprinkler mandate included in the draft Minnesota Building Code released October 28th by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). The mandate would require indoor sprinklers to be placed in all new single-family homes that are 4,500 square feet and larger, including basements, covered porches and other unfinished space.

    The proposed home indoor sprinkler mandate is a costly and unnecessary government regulation that would negatively impact consumers and the housing industry. In both 2011 and 2012 a bipartisan majority of legislators passed and sent bills to Governor Dayton to remove the mandate from the code. Both bills were vetoed. In a Minnesota State Survey 86% of Minnesotans said indoor sprinklers should remain a homeowner’s choice. Additionally, DLI’s Residential Code Advisory Committee voted twice to remove the sprinkler mandate from the state building code. The committee’s decision was not incorporated in the draft code.  

    “This is unnecessary government overreach, plain and simple,” said BAM President Chad Kompelien. “Minnesota’s homes are among the safest in the country, and the public, the Legislature, and industry experts have all spoken loud and clear. They don’t want this mandate. New homes built under today’s code are exceptionally safe, and homeowners should not be burdened by a redundant, costly and unnecessary mandate.”

    BAM estimates an indoor sprinkler system mandate would increase the cost of a new four-bedroom, three-bathroom home by at least $9,000. For homes on a private well, as many are across the state, the added cost can be as high as $13,000 or more when factoring in the cost of wells and water pumps. The estimate does not include ongoing costs, maintenance issues, or the cost if the system should malfunction.

    “A costly and unnecessary government mandate like this will hurt homebuyers and the economic recovery. Not only is this mandate unneeded; it’s expensive, said CMBA President, Gary Bechtold. “Forcing homeowners to spend thousands of needless dollars on a home that is already safe is not good public policy.”  

    What can you do?
    We've created an online petition
    nosprinklermandatemn.com for the home building industry. Please take a look and sign the petition and pass it along to your industry peers. We want to be sure we are heard!


  • 23 Oct 2013 8:27 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Gary Bechtold, President, Central Minnesota Builders Association


    Your home’s electrical system helps provide your family with heat and A/C to be comfortable, appliances to make everyday tasks easier, entertainment to enjoy together, and light to extend your quality time well into the dark hours. It’s important to know how your home’s electrical system works, and what could be the cause if something goes wrong.  

    Below is expert advice about the electrical system in your home (excerpt from the National Association of Home Builders’ MyHome Press “Home Maintenance Made Easy,” a handbook for home owners.)

    Circuit Breakers and Fuses

    These devices protect the electrical wiring and equipment in your home from overloading. They are the safety valves of your home’s electrical system. Breakers trip from overloads caused by plugging too many appliances into the circuit, or from a worn cord or defective appliance, starting an electric motor, or operating an appliance with a voltage requirement higher than what the circuit was designed to handle.

    If a circuit trips repeatedly, unplug everything connected to it and reset it. If it stays on, one of the items you unplugged is defective and needs repair or replacement. If the circuit trips when nothing is connected to it, call an electrician as soon as possible.

    Every house should have a master circuit breaker. It generally is located near the smaller circuit breakers. Tripping the master breaker cuts off electricity to the whole house. Circuit breakers may be reset by first switching the breaker to full off and then back to full on.

    Ordinarily, small appliances that require personal attendance while operating may be plugged into any outlet. However, operating many small appliances or one large one on a single circuit can overload it. If this happens frequently, contact a licensed electrician to discuss whether your home needs additional wiring.

    Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters

    The receptacles in your kitchen, bathrooms and outdoors should be equipped with GCIs. These safety devices are commonly installed where small appliances (such as hair dryers) are used near sources of water, which can “ground” a person and electrocute him or her if the appliance malfunctions or is dropped into water. GFCIs cut the flow of electricity to the appliance within a fraction of a second if they detect a change in the flow of current to (and from) the appliance.

    One GFCI breaker may control up to four outlets. If a breaker trips during normal use, an appliance may be at fault. You will need to investigate the problem.

    Test your GFCI receptacles monthly by pressing the “test” button. This will trip the circuit. To return service, press “reset.”

    Home Smart is a website that offers home maintenance tips along with energy efficiency suggestions.

  • 23 Oct 2013 8:24 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)
    By Gary Bechtold President, Central Minnesota Builders Association

    For many American families, homeownership brings a sense of stability, accomplishment and peace of mind. Owning a home also means being responsible for its upkeep, in order to make sure it is a safe, comfortable sanctuary for your family to enjoy. As the winter months approach, the first measure of protection for a home against rain and snow in many parts of the country is the roof.

    These tips from GAF, a New Jersey-based roofing manufacturer, offers advice to home owners for how to get your roof ready for the cold winter.

    1.      Start off by checking the roof framing structure to make sure it is not compromised.  Visually scan the roof for any sagging or uneven areas. If you do see an area that looks uneven, this may mean damage to the roof deck below the shingles.

    2.      Inspect the gutter systems to make sure they are not clogged with branches, leaves, or other debris. This is important to ensure that rain water and snow have a way off of the roof. If the water or snow is left standing on the roof, there is an increased likelihood of leaking or ice damming.

    3.      Make sure that gutters are fastened properly and are tight and secure so that they don’t cause overflow and build-up or fall off the fascia board. Leaking water can end up causing damage not just to your roof, but to your interior walls, as well.

    4.      Check the valleys of the roof to ensure that they are also free and clear of debris that can add weight to the roof and also act as a barrier to rain and snow. Leaks frequently occur in the valleys so make sure they are well protected by a proper roofing system.

    5.      One of the most common causes for roofing leaks is due to problems with flashing. Flashing is the aluminum or metal material that is used in roof to wall transitions over joints to prevent water from seeping in and causing damage. Metal flashing should also be used around roof vents, pipes, skylights, and chimneys. Remember that flashings can be loosened or torn by high winds and heavy rains, so inspect the areas annually.

    6.      Lastly, you should walk around to carefully inspect the shingles on the roof – look for curling edges, missing granules, and certainly for missing shingles or damage from birds, rodents, or squirrels.

    By inspecting your roof at least twice a yearundefinedbefore the winter months begin and after they are overundefinedyou’ll be able to spot and correct any potential problems before they could get severe and cause you to have to replace the entire roof before its expected lifespan. Visit the CMBA Member Directory to find a local professional for your home maintenance project.

     

  • 21 Oct 2013 8:28 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Excerpt from MN State Representative at NAHB Kathe Ostrom

    We were successful in passing a by-law amendment that makes NAHB recognize an associate as president of a local association as long as there is a majority of builder members on the exec committee and on the board of directors. It was passed unanimously!!!  No dissent was heard. As someone said, we are eating the elephant one bite at a time.

    Next big topic was the ICC meetings and vote on the 2015 code. Yes, they are two revisions ahead of Minnesota. Lots of kudos go to NAHB staff and two NAHB members, Don Pratt and Sonny Richardson who sit through 10 days of 12-14 hour meetings to fight for us. Approximately 80-120 voting members were in attendance at these meetings, and we – code officials and builders – were out-manned by the large corporations that are determined to push product before sane building science.  With that said, they tell me we were successful on 85% of the hundreds of proposals the association supported or opposed for the 2015 IRC with the exception of the IEC (International Energy Code). That is where the manufacturers reigned. The code officials voted with us 99% of the time.

    Click to read Rep. Kathe's full report

  • 02 Oct 2013 9:53 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By President Kevin Maleska,  Maleska Custom  Builders Inc.

    Central Minnesota Builders Association

    It’s an unfortunate result of the recession undefined many families haven’t been able to keep up with their mortgage payments and have lost their homes to foreclosure. And foreclosed homes often sell for less than market rates, making them seem like a bargain to buyers who are used to the inflated prices of a few years ago.

    But comparing a new home to a foreclosure on price alone is a mistake. You can’t put a dollar value on your peace of mind, safety, financial reserves and time undefined all of which could be in jeopardy if you buy a foreclosed home.

    Legal Issues: Before buying a foreclosed home you will have to do thorough research undefined or hire a title company or lawyer undefined to make sure there aren’t any additional financial or legal liabilities attached to the home. There may be liens on the property for unpaid taxes, home owners’ association dues, or the home may have been put up as collateral on other loans that weren’t paid. You could become liable for thousands of dollars of debt you weren’t aware were attached to the foreclosed home.

    Ownership of a Foreclosed Home: Anything that breaks or any problems that arise are your responsibility. This could cost you lots of time and money that you may not have budgeted for.

    Ownership of a New Home: Maintenance won’t be an issue for a while with the brand new appliances and systems. And if something does go wrong in the first year, there is often a new home warranty that guarantees repair or replacement.

    Care:   In some cases former owners who knew they were going to lose the home,vandals or thieves have damaged the home, removed appliances or torn apart walls to remove copper pipes that are valuable as scrap metal. A foreclosed home could have been sitting vacant for months or years, and if it wasn’t properly secured, there could be significant damage from water, mold, weather or pest infestations. It could cost you thousands of dollars and a lot of time to bring a home that was allowed to deteriorate back to a livable condition.

    Your Preferences: You don’t have to spend time or money changing someone else’s design preferences with a new home. No tearing down wood paneling, repainting walls, or replacing outdated flooring. Your prefences are included as the home is built, and they are there waiting for you the day you unpack your boxes.

    Finally undefined and most importantly undefined don’t forget safety.

    Codes and Standards: New homes have been constructed under a strict set of  codes and standards, and have to be thoroughly inspected before the certificate of occupancy is issued and you are allowed to close the sale and move in. With a foreclosure, you don’t know how many renovations or repairs have been made over the years, or who made them. There could be faulty wiring, weakened structures, or other conditions that could be dangerous and costly to bring up to safe and modern standards.

    When you are looking for a place to keep your family safe and to build a lifetime of memories, it may be well worth paying a higher upfront cost to get convenience, modern features and peace of mind undefined and avoid the potential pitfalls of a foreclosure that could turn your dreams of homeownership into a nightmare.

    To find new home builders in central Minnesota, contact the CMBA Member Directory.

  • 23 Apr 2013 9:09 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Kevin Maleska, Maleska Custom Builders, Inc.  President Central Minnesota Builders Association

    With the ongoing challenging economy, many families are choosing to remodel their homes to fit their changing needs, rather than selling their home and buying another one. Your home is likely your largest investment, and even simple remodels can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, so you want to make sure you find a contractor you can trust.

    As the home building and remodeling industry celebrates National Remodeling Month in May, here are some important considerations to ensure you make the right decisions when you find, evaluate and hire a remodeler.

    The best place to start is the CMBA Directory of Professional Remodelers using our member directory.  A professional remodeler will uphold the highest professional and ethical standards in the industry.

    You should also ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others who have had remodeling work done. Or, ask local independent trade contractors, building materials suppliers, architects, engineers, home inspectors, lenders and insurance professionals for recommendations.

    Once you have a list of potential home remodelers for your project, do research to verify that they are appropriately licensed in Minnesota using the Department of Labor license look-up tool; licensed since, location and enforcement action are identified for each licensed builder and remodeler.

    When you begin meeting with remodelers, you want to find out information such as:

    • How long they have been in business in your community? Can they provide references from customers and suppliers they work with?
    • Do they carry insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries? Ask for a copy of the insurance certificates.
    • What is their working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in the area, and what sort of issues could arise?
    • Do they arrange for the building permit? (The person who obtains the permit is the contractor of record and therefore liable for the work)
    • Do they provide a written estimate before beginning the work, and a detailed contract that spells out the work that will and will not be performed, protects both of you, provides a fair payment schedule contract and complies with local, state, and federal laws?
    • Do they offer a warranty? What is covered under the warranty and for how long?

    Here is a detailed checklists for finding, evaluating and working with a remodeler.

  • 05 Apr 2013 9:38 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    The Commerce Department alerts homeowners, “Radiant barriers are not an effective means to reduce heating or cooling loads in Minnesota homes.”

    Radiant barriers consist of a reflective film, usually aluminum, installed over the top of attic insulation in existing homes. They are sold as an energy-saving product, with claims of significant reductions in both heating and cooling costs. However, their potential benefit is primarily in reducing air-conditioning cooling loads in warm or hot climates – particularly in southern states. It is unlikely that most Minnesota consumers would realize any measurable energy savings from radiant barriers in attics.Think twice before installing radiant barriers in attics. The Department’s Division of Energy Resources (DER) has received reports of salespeople pitching radiant barrier products in flyers and at free dinners throughout Minnesota.

    “Many Minnesota consumers have been duped into installing radiant barriers based on false promises of substantial energy savings,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “We strongly urge all consumers to be cautious, ask questions, and explore other reputable means to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient. The price to install a radiant barrier can be as much as $2,000 or more. But if the average household saves only $20 per year, it would take 100 years to pay back your investment.”

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Minnesota Department of Commerce agree that, in Minnesota, implementing air sealing and adding conventional attic insulation is a cheaper and more effective means for saving energy than installing a radiant barrier. In fact, as attic insulation levels increase, the potential benefits from a radiant barrier decrease.

    For more information on insulation and other energy-efficient measures to improve your home, contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce at 800-657-3710 or 651-296-5175 or visit www.energy.mn.gov. The website offers free downloadable home energy guides, including the “Home Envelope” guide that includes information on air sealing, insulation, and home energy audits.

  • 03 Apr 2013 9:39 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    There is a new problem in the workplace, and it has nothing to do with downsizing, global competition, pointy-haired bosses, stress or greed. Instead, it is the problem of distinct generations undefined the Veterans, the Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y undefined working together and often colliding as their paths cross. Individuals with different values, different ideas, different ways of getting things done and different ways of communicating in the workplace have always existed. So, why is this becoming a problem now?

    This is the first time in American history that we have had four different generations working side-by-side in the workplace.

    Research indicates that people communicate based on their generational backgrounds. Each generation has distinct attitudes, behaviors, expectations, habits and motivational buttons. Learning how to communicate with the different generations can eliminate many major confrontations and misunderstandings in the workplace and the world of business.

    Understanding these characteristics about individuals makes it easier to look at workplace characteristics and how they manifest themselves in business (see Workplace Characteristics).

    For example, annual review compensation may be for the company to explore reward plans geared to the different generations, or change to monetary rewards and recognition given at the time when it is earned.

    Knowing the preferred communication method of  a team made up of several different generations might solve problems before they arise. The Veterans on the team may prefer handwritten notes and direct, specific requests for work to be done. The Boomers do not like to work independently, and they expect to have meetings any time, any place undefined and it is fine if they are called day or night. Xers do not want to hear about the project outside of work, and don’t dare call them at home. And the Yers don’t want any meetings at all, they only communicate via voice mail and e-mail. At the beginning of any team formation, an effective leader should consider spending time learning how team members wish to communicate.

    Being aware of differences can help individuals tailor their message for maximum effect, regardless of the task, or the relationship undefined family, friends, workplace peers. Good business is based on understanding others. The majority of us think the correct way, and the only way, is our way. In business, as well as in personal life, that is just not true.

    References for this article include:
    

    Karp, Hank; Fuller, Connie; Sirias, Danilo. Bridging the Boomer Xer Gap: Creating Authentic Teams for High Performance at Work. Palo Alto, Calif.: Davies-Black Publishing, 2002.

    Kersten, Denise. “Today’s Generations Face New Communications Gap,” USA Today, November 15, 2002.

    Lancaster, Lynne C.; Stillman, David. When Generations Collide: Who They Are, Why They Clash, How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work. HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002.

    Sago, Brad. “Uncommon Threads: Mending the Generation Gap at Work,” Executive Update, July 2000.

    Walston, Sandra Ford. Distinguishing Communication Approaches Across Generations, 1999 (online publication), http://www.walstoncourage.com/pages/articles/generation.htm.

    Zemke, Ron; Raines, Claire; Filipczak, Bob. Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in Your Workplace. New York, N.Y.: American Management Association, 2000.

  • 23 Mar 2013 9:47 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has produced estimates on remodeling undertaken by home owners in every county in the country. Estimates are produced by the Economics and Housing Policy Group from a statistical model based on the variables shown in the table below and the American Housing Survey (AHS, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau) applied to county-level data from the American Community Survey (U.S. Census Bureau) collected over the period 2006-2010.

    The remodeling numbers are thus estimates of average (or typical) annual spending  over that 5-year period and will not reflect changes that have taken place within a county very recently. Remodeling is also likely to vary year-to-year, especially in counties with relatively few home owners, in a way not  perfectly captured by 5-year  averages. All estimates are subject to statistical margins of error, which will also tend to be larger in counties with fewer home owners. Estimates based on the AHS capture spending on some items not included in the Census Bureau’s national estimate of improvements in owner-occupied housing.

    Search this link  to find remodeling expenditures by county.





    County:

    Benton Stearns Sherburne

    State:

    MN MN MN

    # Owner-Occupied Homes:

    10,583 41,118 24,929

    Married Couple Share:

    66.60% 67.50% 71.60%

    Average Value of Homes:

    199,757 210,989 252,007

    Share Built Before 1980:

    49.20% 51.20% 27.50%

    Remodeling County Total ($Million):

    21 86 55

    Typical-Year Remodeling Per Home:

    2,006 2,087 2,210
CMBA:
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