• 17 Mar 2014 9:39 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)
    Posted by CMBA for the Builders Association of Minnesota

    On March 12, over 170 builders association members from across the state converged in Saint Paul to use our collective industry voice at our state’s Capitol. We are stronger together, and it’s one of the reasons the Builders Association of Minnesota exists.

    Every local association was represented and together we met with nearly 75% of the Legislature. That is no small feat. It means we broadcast, in person, the message that the home building industry is important to Minnesota’s economy and we will be heard. Our priority issues for the day included:

    Statewide building code enforcement– The Legislature must pass legislation to level the playing field for the safety of consumers and the economic health of the residential construction industry.

    Subcontractor registration– The pilot program has created a heavy burden on licensed contractors. Let the pilot project expire June 30, 2014, and do not let it become a permanent mandate.

    Builder-pay attorney fees (SF 2146/HF 2612)– The language is one-sided and would award attorneys fees only to the homeowner if they are the prevailing party. It does not provide the same for a builder should they prevail. The Legislature must oppose this bill.

    B2B taxes– Repeal regressive, hidden, business-to-business sales and use taxes on services.

    Fire sprinkler mandate– With the code process nearing completion, the Legislature must prohibit the home sprinkler mandate.

    Thank you to those that were able to attend, and thank you to our event sponsors: Xcel Energy, The Builders Group, Brushmasters, Larkin Hoffman, and the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead. We will keep you posted on the progress of the 2014 legislative session. Session wraps May 19, which isn’t much time, but things have been moving fast as a result of the time crunch. Look for a call for grassroots efforts.

    BAM Board of Directors Meeting

    Prior to the big event, the BAM Board of Directors held their first meeting of 2014. President Chad Kompelien reported BAM closed 2013 in the black and led the board in discussion about industry issues. The board talked about appraisals and labor shortage and possible solutions. Each local association reported on what’s happening in their area; cool new things and any challenges for 2014. It was a successful meeting and we look forward to the next meeting August 20th in Saint Cloud.
  • 13 Feb 2014 11:02 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    ASK GOVERNOR MARK DAYTON to Protect Minnesota Families and reject the expensive home sprinkler mandate that will make a dream home even harder to afford.
    Call Gov. Dayton at 651-201-3400 or go to
  • 30 Jan 2014 12:52 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    The State Emergency Operations Center has established a public hotline for Minnesotans with propane issues or questions. The Hotline will operate Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Minnesota residents with questions about the current propane situation or who are in danger of running out of heating fuel can call 651-297-1304 in the metro area or 1-800-657-3504 in greater Minnesota.

    The hotline is staffed with experts from the Minnesota Department of Commerce who can provide information about Energy Assistance Programs, connect callers with resources in their home county, and provide other information.

    The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) continues to be partially activated so that the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management division (HSEM) can coordinate efforts of state agencies. HSEM is in contact with state, local and voluntary partners to coordinate any potential resource requests. There have been no such requests at this time.

    Governor Dayton declared a State of Peacetime Emergency in Minnesota on Monday in response to the persistent cold weather and the increased risk that households may run out of heating fuel, a situation that would pose an immediate threat to public safety.


    What Consumers and Minnesota Residents Can Do

    People who use propane to heat their homes can take several steps at this time.

     *   Conserve energy as much as possible. Turn down thermostats and be aware of your propane use.

     *   Check in on your family members, neighbors and friends.  Call 9-1-1 only in a crisis

     *   State Hotline and Department of Commerce online resources

     *   1-800-657-3504 in greater Minnesota

     *   651-297-1304 in the metro area

     *   Department of Commerce Energy Assistance section


    Use Alternative Heat Sources Safely

    People often turn to alternative heat sources to stay warm when the temperature plummets. The State Fire Marshal (SFM) reminds residents to use caution when using alternative heating sources.

    Types of alternative heating sources often seen include:

     *   Portable electric heaters

     *   Liquid-fueled heaters: kerosene, waste oil

     *   Gas-burning heaters: propane is most common

     *   Solid-fuel heating: wood-burning, pellet-burning

    Any heating appliance with an open flame needs to be vented to the outside because the combustion process of burning fuel uses oxygen and also gives off carbon monoxide undefined a deadly combination inside of a home.

    Low-Income Assistance

    Consumers who need financial assistance to pay heating bills may find help through the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program LIHEAP

    Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced LIHEAP Crisis payments would increase from $500 to $1,000 for applicants heating their homes with propane and heating oil. The crisis payments could be available as early as next week.

    Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area; Minnesota has 32 local service providers. A list of local service providers and information on applying for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program is available online or by calling 1-800-657-3710.


    Other Tips For Alternative Heat Sources:

     *   Keep anything flammable -- including pets and people -- at least three feet away from heating equipment.

     *   Make sure portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off.

     *   Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

     *   Space heaters need constant watching. Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.

     *   Make sure all cords on electric heaters are in good shape and checked periodically for any frays or breaks in the insulation surrounding the wires.


                                    Office of Governor Mark Dayton •

  • 13 Dec 2013 8:46 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)
    Re posted from the Builders Association of Minnesota.

    The hearing today was a huge success!

    BAM's testimony on the issue of mandatory sprinkler systems in new homes was very well-prepared and delivered perfectly by our expert witnesses. Our arguments were clear and succinct, and our evidence substantive. We were so succinct, in fact, that the hearing adjourned permanently. There will not be a second day of hearings. (So don't show up at DLI's office tomorrow!)

    Find out what happened today by visiting BAM's Twitterfeed @BAMN1974 - we were live tweeting during the hearing (look for the photos!), and BAM's blog MN Builder - we were also live blogging!

    Link to the Details and Next Steps
  • 08 Nov 2013 1:23 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)
    by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. GraphsandLaughs, LLC

    While Q4 GDP growth will probably be about 2.4%, slightly above the average rate of growth since the end of the Great Recession, it would be very surprising if the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) were to begin reducing its monthly purchases of $45 billion in Treasuries and $40 billion in mortgage backed securities anytime soon.  

    While there are many reasons why, the most potent is that the mere suggestion last June that tapering might commence as early as mid-September rattled markets enough to raise interest rates on 30-year home mortgages by close to one-and-a-half percent in a matter of weeks, and in the process stopped forward progress in the housing market dead in its tracks.  The housing market is crucial to the recovery because with auto sales and manufacturing activity having all but returned to pre-recession levels, construction activity in general and its biggest component, new single family residential activity, is the last large cyclical sector not fully participating in the economic recovery.  To have a self-sustaining recovery it is essential for all cyclical sectors to be at or near full capacity or rapidly moving in that direction.         

    In addition to a flat housing market, the labor market is showing signs of slowing down.  During the first quarter of 2013 job creation averaged 207,000/month, while it was 182,000/month in the second quarter but just 143,000/month in the third quarter.  Worse, while the unemployment rate has been steadily falling since the end of the Great Recession, it has been primarily thanks to the steady decline in the labor force participation (LFPR) rate from 65.5% at the end of the recession to just 63.2% today, the first time ever that the LFPR has declined after the end of a recession.   

    The above notwithstanding, the economy is really recovering. Household deleveraging is almost over, manufacturing and transportation activity have recovered to pre-recession levels, banks are once again healthy, corporate and household balance sheets have recovered and employment is almost back to where it was before the recession began.  Given how far the economy has come, I think the Fed would prefer to essentially “buy” some downside economic insurance by continuing their current level of Treasury and MBS purchases.                       

    Something that would change my prediction will be the success or failure of the congressional budget negotiations that were part of the deal to end the two week government closure.  Lawmakers have a deadline of December 13th to produce a budget blueprint that will drive government spending for FY2014.  The deadline is just days before the Fed’s last meeting of the year.  A congressional deal would give the Fed some clarity on the fiscal front, and undoubtedly hasten the date of the first taper.  On the other hand, negotiations that end in stalemate would increase fiscal uncertainty and reduce government spending by leaving sequestration in place, thereby reducing GDP growth.  

    In short, the economy is currently growing, but slowly.  As a result, the labor force participation rate continues to decline, employment growth is weak, and due to poor Fed communication about interest rates, the all-important housing market has stopped growing.  For all these reasons, the Fed may give lip service to the idea of commencing tapering following its mid-December meeting, but any tapering is more likely to start after its end of January meeting, and most likely following the Fed’s mid-March meeting, the first in 2014 to be followed by a press conference.  And remember, short term rates will remain at their current rock bottom levels for another 18 months. 

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and see you in January!

    Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at  His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at


  • 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!
  • 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 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

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