Blog

  • 03 Jun 2016 12:46 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Bonnie Moeller, CMBA 

    NAHB Grand Award for Retention Percentage for its membership efforts in 2015. CMBA retained a higher percentage of members than any other association in Group 3 which have 350-699 members.

    “This award is a direct result of the great work of the CMBA Spike members” stated Bonnie Moeller, CMBA Executive Director. “ The Spikes work hard to retain members and they meet on a monthly basis to keep the retention rate high.  They are the backbone of this association and the reason why we received  this award.”     

    You can see the full lists of winners at nahb.org/annualawards.

    In recognition of this achievement, each winning association is awarded a personalized plaque, as well as acknowledgment by NAHB for their accomplishments.


  • 01 Jun 2016 11:05 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    posted on behalf of NAHB.org

    Regulatory Horror Story Illustrates Need to Block Funding for Waters of the U.S. Rule

    A developer's nearly three-decade regulatory nightmare of attempts to obtain a Clean Water Act permit shows why Congress must take action to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) final "Waters of the U.S." rule from being implemented.

    During a hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, lawmakers heard how The ESG Companies based in Virginia Beach, Va. has been denied a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit to develop its property for close to 30 years, even though the company has repeatedly gone through proper channels and put forth state-approved plans that would result in no net loss of wetlands.

    Testifying on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) before the Senate panel, Valerie Wilkinson, vice president and chief financial officer of The ESG Companies, told lawmakers how land that was acquired by her firm in the 1980s for a multi-use community to address local housing demand still lays undeveloped.

    "For almost three decades, we've been held hostage by the EPA and Corps, who have continually altered the Clean Water Act 404 permit requirements," said Wilkinson. "Throughout every step of the process, the rules have changed and new requirements have been added. This is perplexing as the relevant sections of the Act have not changed since 1972."

    After obtaining required zoning approvals from the city of Chesapeake in 1989, the Corps asserted that the property contained jurisdictional wetlands and that a wetland delineation was required. The delineation took years to complete because Corps officials disagreed on the criteria for determining wetlands.

    Over the ensuing years, The ESG Companies hired specialists with extensive expertise in environmental geology and wetlands hydrology to develop a new wetland delineation for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality wetland permit. As part of this process, the firm revised its development plan to further avoid and minimize impacts so that for every acre impacted, two acres of wetlands would be restored and another acre placed in preservation, resulting in no net loss of wetlands acreage.

    Though the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality applauded the firm for exceeding typical protective measures and issued a 15-year permit, the Corps concluded that the state-approved wetland delineation, which was the basis for the approved state permit, was not accurate, even though state and federal requirements are the same.

    The firm subsequently further reduced the scope of its development plan so that it decreased wetlands impacts by more than 80 percent. However, the Corps failed to budge.

    As a result, the Corps has prevented the company from developing any of its 428 acres for 27 years, and it has been forced to spend millions of dollars fighting for this permit.

    With the EPA and Corps finalizing a rule that further expands their authority under the Clean Water Act and would put millions of additional acres of land under federal jurisdiction, NAHB Chairman Ed Brady said that this "awful regulatory horror story" could be just a prelude of more to come.

    "The waters of the U.S. rule will lead to increased litigation and delays," said Brady. "Small businesses will not survive under these rules as most do not have the time or resources to fight. Though the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has currently intervened and prevented this rule from being implemented, Congress must do its part to block funding for this rule."

  • 11 May 2016 9:29 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by NAHB.org Housing Economics

    On average, regulations imposed by all levels of government account for 24.3 percent of the sales price of a new single-family home, according to a new study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

    Regulatory costs graphBreaking down the total regulatory costs further, the study revealed that three-fifths of this--14.6 percent of the final house price--is due to a higher price for a finished lot resulting from regulations imposed during the lot's development. The other two-fifths--9.7 percent of the house price--is the result of costs incurred by the builder after purchasing the finished lot.

    "This study demonstrates the type of over-regulation our industry is facing," said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. "Not only is it inhibiting builders' ability to produce competitively priced homes in a still recovering housing market, but this regulatory burden trickles down to the consumer level and prices many would-be buyers out of the market." 

    While NAHB's previous regulatory estimates in a 2011 study were fairly similar, the price of new homes increased substantially in the interim. When applying these percentages to Census data on new home prices, the data show an estimate that regulatory costs in an average home built for sale went from $65,224 to $84,671--a 29.8 percent increase during the roughly five-year span between NAHB's 2011 and 2016 estimates. Meanwhile, disposable income per capita in the U.S. increased 14.4 percent during that same time period, meaning that the average cost of regulation embodied in a new home is rising more than twice as fast as the average American's ability to pay for it.

    Builders and developers can expect to feel the impact of additional regulations in the near future, and the rate of increase in regulatory costs embodied in the price of a new home will likely be accelerated. A substantial number of regulations have been implemented recently, or are in the process of being implemented or actively considered by key policymakers. 

    The full study can be found at: www.nahb.org/costofregulation


  • 09 May 2016 2:10 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Every home is beautiful in its own way. With today’s busy schedules, it becomes easy to set aside seemingly small home tasks for another day, but those days add up, and soon you may notice your home is in need of a good cleaning. Now is the perfect time to do a little Spring cleaning and get your home back in tip-top shape! Follow these few suggestions and your home will be back to its beautiful self in no time:

    clutter

    Declutter

    Do your closets seem to be bursting at the seams? Or maybe even your garage? Chances are, you could get rid of or donate a majority of the items cluttering up your storage spaces. By decluttering spaces such as closets and garages, you will have more available space and organizational opportunities.


    Clean, Clean, Clean

    When is the last time you gave your refrigerator a good clean? How about your oven? Have you looked behind the couch lately? Many people are guilty of putting off cleaning appliances and hard-to-reach areas for longer than they should. This is also the perfect time to check that all of your appliances are working properly.


    Let the Sun In

    It is finally warm again in Minnesota - open up the shades and let the sun in! Natural lighting will give your home a cheery atmosphere. Even if we experience some less-that-toasty Spring days (it’s Minnesota, after all) the added sunshine will naturally heat your home, so go ahead and turn off your heat! Don’t forget to give them a good cleaning to wash off all that winter grime!

    painting tools

    Fresh Paint Job

    Picking a new paint color for your home will really help bring it back to life. By choosing a different paint color, you will create a whole new feel in any room. Now is the best time to paint because you are able to open windows, allowing the paint to dry faster and air to circulate.


    Bring in Those May Flowers

    Fresh flowers throughout the home not only create a beautiful aroma but also bring a pop of color into your home. Can’t wait for you own blossoms to open? Visit a flower shop or grocery store to find the perfect bouquet for your home!


    These are just a few simple ideas you can do to make your house seem more inviting and more like a home. If you’re looking to tackle a bigger project this season, visit our website to find a CMBA member, research building,maintenance, and energy tips, and much more.


  • 02 May 2016 3:09 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Statement from NAHB Chairman Ed Brady on DOL's Overtime Threshold Plan

    WASHINGTON, April 29 - Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill., issued the following statement regarding a report that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing to lower its new overtime threshold from $50,440 to $47,000.

    "The Department of Labor is considering a plan to reduce the cap on its proposed overtime salary threshold rate hike from $50,440 to $47,000 that is a token effort at best. This drastic hike would still wreak havoc on the residential housing sector, the nation's small businesses and the economy. This minimal reduction would still amount to a 99 percent increase from the current overtime salary limit of $23,660. This proposal is clearly not serious and is unacceptable to America's small businesses.

    "The unintended consequences of this aggressive regulatory overreach would hurt job and economic growth, as well as many of the workers the plan is trying to help. There is no reasonable approach or road map on how this would be phased in without resulting in severe economic repercussions. If the $47,000 overtime threshold were to become law, it would hurt millions of small business owners, including home building firms, by forcing them to scale back on pay and benefits, as well as cutting workers' hours to avoid overtime requirements. Indeed, it would be particularly harmful to the housing community, as the vast majority of home building firms have fewer than 10 employees.

    "The Department of Labor must scrap this unworkable proposal and go back to the drawing board. We stand ready to work with DOL to craft a practical plan that would gradually ramp up the current overtime threshold so that it does not result in real hardship for small businesses. The rule should also take into account regional variations in wages and cost of living when determining its formula. Such a measured response would help small business, workers and the economy."

  • 20 Apr 2016 12:56 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON - The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) urged Congress to take action to keep the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) new silica standards from taking effect.

    Testifying before the House Education and Workforce Committee's Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill., said that "our members are deeply committed to taking meaningful action to provide a safe work and construction environment, including reducing exposure to silica. However, we believe the new rule will not only fail to achieve these aims, but it will also do great harm to businesses, consumers and the economy."

    Brady, who also appeared before the House panel as a representative of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, a group of 25 trade associations representing members from all facets of the construction industry, called the final regulation:

    • Technologically impracticable. In order to meet the new standards, the rule would require construction firms to develop and install engineering and work practice controls to mitigate or remove silica dust that are beyond current technology.
    • Economically infeasible. OSHA's Preliminary Economic Analysis failed to recognize the distinction between new construction and remodeling, or the relationship between a general contractor and its subcontractors. The agency's out-of-date economic data drastically underestimates the economic costs to the construction industry, which could run $4.9 billion per year, an amount nearly eight times larger than OSHA's estimates.
    • The cost of this most significant health and safety rule ever issued for the construction sector will be passed to the consumer in the form of higher prices. As the cost of housing increases and the access to credit remains tight, home buyers and renters will have fewer safe, decent and affordable housing options.
    • Unworkable in terms of requiring medical surveillance of construction industry workers. The rule offers no guidance to determine if employees may reasonably be expected to be exposed to silica dust. In the absence of such guidance, the employer's only option is to perform health screening at a cost of $377.77 per employee as estimated by OSHA. Virtually all of the nation's 3.2 million construction workers will cut and drill and grind during the course of their work without knowing the silica content of the material they are working on. If each construction employee required only one health screening per year at a cost of $377.77, the total tally would be roughly $1.2 billion.
    • The wrong solution to make the workplace safer. Though the intent of the rule is to protect workers from toxic dust particles, the final provisions display a fundamental misunderstanding of the real world of construction. This one-size-fits-all rule places restrictions on certain construction site work practices, which contradict existing safety procedures.

    "We strongly urge OSHA to re-examine and reassess how its final rule will negatively harm the construction industry, job growth, consumers and the economy while doing little to improve the health and safety of industry workers," said Brady. "Given that it is unlikely the agency will change course, Congress must take the lead and act swiftly to craft legislation that will keep this fundamentally flawed rule from taking effect."

    #####

    ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for this year.


  • 20 Apr 2016 10:39 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by NAHB Economics

    WASHINGTON, April 18 -- Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged in April at a level of 58 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

    "Builder confidence has held firm at 58 for three consecutive months, showing that the single-family housing sector continues to recover at a slow but consistent pace," said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill.  "As we enter the spring home buying season, we should see the market move forward."

    "Builders remain cautiously optimistic about construction growth in 2016," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "Solid job creation and low mortgage interest rates will sustain continued gains in the single-family housing market in the months ahead." 

    Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

    The HMI components measuring sales expectations in the next six months rose one point to 62, and the index gauging buyer traffic also increased a single point to 44. Meanwhile, the component charting current sales conditions fell two points to 63.

    Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, all four regions registered slight declines. The Northeast and West each fell two points to 44 and 67, respectively. Meanwhile, the Midwest and South each posted respective one-point losses to 57 and 58. 

    Editor's Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.



  • 19 Apr 2016 3:05 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.,

    Despite all the news to the contrary, the US econmy is in pretty good shape, better than the financial pundits think.  Sure, the stock market has taken a battering of late, exploration and production activity in the oil patch has been declining, and exports are performing poorly, but the rest of the economy is fine.  The service sector continues to grow nicely and construction activity continues to increase.  Let’s take a closer look at the facts.

    The recent tumble in equity prices has nothing to do with a slowing economy and is not the precursor of a recession.  Rather, the declines are the result of three quite independent factors.  First, as the Fed raises interest rates, the value of financial assets must decline.  Remember, the Fed initially lowered rates to boost asset prices and stimulate spending.  As this process slowly unwinds, the value of equities must decline.  Second, corporate profits have been flat for several quarters, and third, even at today’s somewhat lower equity values, P/E ratios remain high by historic standards. 

    As for exports, the US is much less dependent on them than most nations.  Exports of goods to China total less than one percent of GDP, while exports of goods to Europe are about 1.5% of GDP.  While exports of services such as movies, music and intellectual property add to these totals, they do not vary much with economic conditions.  As a result, while a 10% decline in exports certainly hurts manufacturers and their employees and reduces GDP by about 0.2%, it is far from catastrophic in an economy growing by a healthy 2.5%.

    Regarding falling oil and gas prices, the benefits to the economy are just beginning.  Until now, the price declines have resulted in large cutbacks in exploration and production (E&P) activity, as well as related manufacturing, construction and oil services activity that supports oil and gas E&P.  The key here is that cheaper energy prices have boosted household incomes by about $130 billion or $1,000/household.  While to date most of this money has been socked away, I expect that to change and to see increased consumer spending this year and next as households perceive the recent price declines as somewhat permanent.

    Most importantly, the rest of the economy is already doing well.  Unemployment is at 4.9% and will decline further as the year progresses, and at 4.9%, unemployment is already at one of the lowest levels in decades.  Moreover, home sales and prices are up, as is loan demand.  In addition, tight labor markets are finally leading to sizable increases in hourly earnings, which will boost household spending further, and inflation, which has been completely dormant for several years, appears to be rising.  This is a particularly welcome development given that Japan and Europe continue to fight deflation.  

    Lastly, services, which account for roughly 84% of GDP, and construction activity, which accounts for about 6% of GDP, both of which are almost entirely domestically focused, are in fine shape and growing nicely.  During the past 12 months, construction activity increased by 10.4% and services grew by 3%.  In short, the parts of the economy that are inwardly-centered are doing well, and the negative impacts of softer growth from abroad are not nearly strong enough to derail our economy. As for the upcoming election, let’s fervently hope that the threats to dramatically raise taxes or increase the deficit do not come to pass.                  

    Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net.  His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com.

  • 07 Apr 2016 3:27 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    NFIB and NAHB among several groups calling Obama administration's new reporting rule unconstitutional

    WASHINGTON - The Department of Labor's new union persuader rule violates business owners' First Amendment rights, making it nearly impossible to consult with legal counsel when facing union organizing, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). 

    "Once again, the administration is rigging the game in favor of workplace unionization," said NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned. "The DOL is putting small employers at a profound disadvantage.

    "Unions pay people whose full-time job is to organize workers," she continued. "Small employers have businesses to run. They don't have in-house lawyers or compliance officers to guide them through the process or navigate the complicated rules governing union organizing."

    Ed Brady, chairman of NAHB and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill., said that the rule is fundamentally unfair because it requires employers to report to the DOL whether and when they consult with a lawyer to discuss union organizing. The unions, on the other hand, aren't encumbered by any such requirement.

    "DOL's final persuader rule is another example of regulatory overreach that will impose far-reaching reporting requirements on employers and their consultants and result in significant monetary and legal implications for home building firms," said Brady."This lawsuit is necessary to maintain long standing policy on what union-related communications between employers and attorneys remain confidential."

    NFIB and NAHB joined the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Association of Builders and the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce late yesterday in filing a lawsuit against the DOL in the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division. The business groups maintain that the rule violates the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and right of association. Also, according to the plaintiffs, the rule violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).

    Previously, owners were only required to report when outside counsel directly communicated with employees.  Under the new rule business owners will have to report any communication with legal counsel even if the matter ends there. The persuader rule will take effect on July 1, 2016. 

    For more information about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com.


  • 28 Mar 2016 2:35 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    EPA Makes Changes to Lead-Safe Re-certification Process

    NAHBNow Posted February 11, 2016

    Remodelers who are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work on homes that may contain lead paint under the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule now have the option to complete refresher training online, according to an EPA announcement.

    However, EPA re-certifications obtained via an online refresher course will be valid for only three years – versus five years for hands-on training courses – and can only be exercised every other re-certification cycle.

    Additionally, certified renovators who were grandfathered in under a HUD or EPA lead-based paint training course before the RRP rule was adopted must attend a refresher course with a hands-on component. The rule also made several streamlining and clarifying changes to RRP provisions that apply to training providers.

    EPA’s changes only apply to Minnesota and other states where EPA administers the program. The 14 states that administer their own programs will have to take legislative or regulatory action to adopt the online refresher course option.

    The White House Office of Management and Budget released the final rule to EPA on Jan. 21.

    For online or in-person refresher training, remodelers should contact their local home builders association, or they can find a course on EPA’s website

    EPA Information below

    When is renovator refresher training required?

    EPA extended the training expiration date for many certified renovators. To determine when a renovator's training has expired take a look at the table below. Expiration dates are based on when the previous course was taken. Please note that certifications begin to expire on March 31, 2016; renovators in that group must take refresher training by that date in order to have valid certification.

    Note: The extensions do not apply to firm certifications

    Renovator Training Expiration Information

    Date course completed followed by Expiration 

    On or before March 31, 2010  Exp. March 31, 2016

    From April 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011  Exp. 6 years from the date of course completion

    On or after April 1, 2011 - No extension provided.  

    • Initial courses and refresher courses with hands-on.  The expiration is 5 years from the date of course completion.
    • Refresher courses without hands-on (done entirely online).  The expiration is 3 years from the date of course completion.

    Firm application, update, certificate replacement

    All firm applications (certification and recertification), payments, updates and certificate replacement requests are done online.  Acceptable methods for payments online include credit card, debit card, or electronic check.

    Use EPA's "Look for the Logo" campaign to promote your business!

    As you know, EPA's RRP requires firms working in older homes and child care facilities to be certified, train their employees, and follow lead-safe work practices. To ensure that your potential customers hire a Lead-Safe Certified firm, help spread the word by using EPA's outreach materials to remind everyone to "Look for the Logo"! For more information or to download the materials for free, click here.

    Help us encourage your potential customers to "Look for the Logo". Feel free to place the widget on your webpage and highlight the print ad in an upcoming customer newsletter or email.

    Firm certification/re-certification

    Firms that disturb painted surfaces in homes and child care facilities built before 1978 are subject to EPA's renovation regulation and likely require firm certification. These firm certifications expire every five years.  Firms must apply for recertification to extend their certification an additional 5 years. Firms are encouraged to apply early, at least 90 days before their expiration, to ensure their application is processed before they expire. You won’t be penalized for applying early, just be sure to select “re-certification” and your new 5-year certification won’t begin until your current certification expires. Click here for information about applying for re-certification. FYI, check your certificate for your firm's expiration date (see example firm certificate below, the expiration date is circled in red), you can also check your expiration date using our online firm search tool. If necessary, you can order a copy of your certificate online.

     example firm certificate

    Once submitted to EPA your application will be processed in 2 to 3 weeks.  Once finished you will receive an email from flpp.notify@epa.gov that includes your approval letter, certificate, and customized logo. Please check your email settings to ensure you'll receive this message. You can also check the status of your application and download a copy of your certificate once issued by going to EPA's E-Enterprise website.  Use your CDX user name and password for access.  Your application information appears under the "progress tracker" section.

    Amending your application

    A firm must amend their certification within 90 days of the date a change occurs to information included in their most recent application. If the firm fails to amend their certification within that period, the firm may not perform renovations or dust sampling until their certification is amended

     Authorized states

    To date, EPA has authorized 14 states to run their own renovation programs. Renovators and firms that only work within an authorized state(s) must be certified by each authorized state in which they do work, and would not be required to be certified by EPA.  The authorized states are ALDEGAIAKSMA, MS, NC, OK, OR, RI, UT, WA and WI.

    If an individual renovator is certified by an authorized state they are also qualified to work in EPA administered states, with no additional training. EPA certified renovators wishing to work in an authorized state should contact the state to determine if additional training/certification is necessary. Regardless of whether a firm is certified by an authorized state, if they do work in an EPA administered state they must be certified by EPA. Click here to see the FQ’s related to this topic.

    Frequent question database (FQ database)

    EPA maintains a list online of Frequent Questions regarding the Agency's Lead Program. It is regularly updated to ensure that you have access to the very latest information. When questions come up we recommend you first review the Frequent Questions, then if you cannot find the answer you're looking for call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

    Here's an example from the FQ database.  Can the required records and documentation be stored electronically rather than as paper copies? The answer is “yes, the records can be stored electronically”. Take a look at FQ 23002-32220 for more details!

CMBA:
1124 West Saint Germain Street, St. Cloud MN 56301
320.251.4382 info@cmbaonline.org | www.cmbaonline.org
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software