Blog

  • 10 Jul 2015 3:35 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)
    Feeling Creepy?  

    Minnesota’s residential code has addressed termites for decades, and its preventative construction methods continue to exist in the newly adopted 2015 Residential Building Code. Our climate and building techniques make termite infestation a low risk in our state. Nevertheless, HUD / FHA recently updated its guidelines regarding disclosures and potential pest tests and treatments. Interestingly, the newly released guidelines were prepared in consultation with the National Pest Management Association, a trade organization representing the pest management industry. 
     
    For builders, the code provisions are nothing new. What is new is that FHA may be securing new disclosures or pest testing / treatment at the time of closing.

    Builders and realtors working with FHA buyers may hear more about this from the lending community unless the home is located in one of the “Termite Treatment Exception Areas”. In Minnesota the exception areas are: Becker, Beltrami, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Grant, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Roseau, Stevens, Traverse, Wadena, and Wilkin Counties. It may be required in any other county. 

    See HUD’s list at: 
    http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=SFH_POLI_TERMITE.pdf
     
    Members interested in the federal regulations regarding termite protection can find them at 24CFR §200.926e(g) and Mortgagee Letter 2001-04. They reference the code's termite requirements found in Minnesota’s adopted IRC section 318.1 “PROTECTION AGAINST SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES’.
     
    HUD’s official statement on the matter is below.
     
    “Do all areas require termite inspections and treatment?
     
    FHA no longer mandates automatic inspections for wood destroying insects or organisms in existing properties (over one year old). However, pest inspections are required if, there is evidence of active infestation, it is mandated by the state or local jurisdiction, it is customary to area, or at the lender’s discretion. 
 
     
    The appraiser must report any evidence of infestation in the “improvements section” of the appraisal report under “foundation” by marking the evidence of infestation box. The box is checked only if there is evidence of infestation which may include the appraiser noting a prior treatment. 
     
    FHA requires a clear pest inspection report on Wood Destroying Insects/Organisms only if there is evidence of active infestation, it is mandated by the state or local jurisdiction, is customary to the area, or at the lender’s discretion.  
     
    “Customary to the area” would be driven by local market practices such as incorporating provisions addressing termite or wood destroying organisms in the standard real estate sales contract in termite prone areas or where the potential of infestation exists, or local requirements such as states requiring the use of their own wood destroying insects/organism form.  
     
    Lender discretion and prudent underwriting is key to properly evaluating the risk associated with a property’s condition including its geographic location. Lenders may refer to the Termite Infestation Probability (TIP) zones and use that information as one of the tools in their determination of whether or not to require a pest inspection.  
     
    A copy of the TIP zones map is on the NPMA website at http://www.npmapestworld.org/techresources/hud.cfm  
     
    Handbook 4150.2 Appendix D
    http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/administration/hudclips/handbooks/hsgh  
     
    ML 01-04, ML 0311  
    http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/administration/hudclips/letters/mortgagee

    Star Tribune Article:  U.S. housing agency wants Minnesota builders to watch for termites
    http://m.startribune.com/business/306331041.html?section=/business
     



  • 10 Jul 2015 3:31 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)
    Feeling Leaky?
     
    Members have been asking for more direction regarding duct leakage. BAM’s newest code guide, Basic Requirements for Duct Leakage Testing, is designed to help you with this issue. The guide has been reviewed by DLI and industry professionals to ensure it addresses the code’s requirements. You can find it here at:  http://bamn.org/members/member-guide-duct-leakage-testing/ (member log-in required).
     


  • 07 Jul 2015 9:38 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Minimum wage set to increase Aug. 1, 2015

    $9 an hour for large employers, $7.25 for small employers

    Minnesota's minimum-wage rates increase Aug. 1. To help employers

     understand the requirements, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has updated its minimum-wage fact sheets; both are available at www.dli.mn.gov/MinWage.


     As of Aug. 1, 2015

    ·        Large employers must pay at least $9 an hour (annual gross volume of sales made or 

    ·        business done of $500,000 or more).

    ·        Small employers must pay at least $7.25 an hour (annual gross volume of sales made or business done of less than $500,000).

    ·        Training wage rate is $7.25 an hour (90-day training rate paid to employees who are younger than 20 years of age).

    ·        Youth wage rate is at least $7.25 an hour (paid to employees younger than 18 years of age).


  • 23 Apr 2015 10:10 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Craig Schoenberg, Schoenberg Construction, Inc.

    What is a Storm Chaser?

    Companies that follow severe weather from area to area, completing home repairs (generally roofs and siding) that are damaged by hail and wind, and may advertise themselves as insurance recovery experts or specialists in insurance restoration. 

    Why are Storm Chasers fraudulent?

    Insurance fraud:  if the homeowner signs a contract allowing a company to negotiate with homeowner’s insurance company:   

    • homeowners may be waiving their right to any decision making regarding their repairs or replacement. 
    • they lose control over the insurance settlement, and the entire check of the payment may legally need to be signed over to the storm chaser- regardless of the quality or quantity of work completed.\

    How to spot a storm chaser

    Storm chasers usually:
    • Come door to door and try to get you to sign something immediately
    • Use high pressure sales tactics
    • Offer you a “Free Roof” or “Free Siding” or offer a way around paying a deductible (this is insurance fraud!)
    • Have out-of-state license plates or drivers license (and YES! you can & should ask to see a drivers license to verify identity.)
    • Are unable to produce recent, local references (or references from before the storm date)
    • Are unable to produce local supplier references (always check references from a potential contractors’ suppliers. If suppliers aren’t paid in a timely fashion by a contractor, they can legally place a lien on your home)
    • Are unable to produce a roofing license and certificate of insurance with the same identification information. A legitimate local company should show you a builders license and a Certificate of Liability/Workers Compensation both issued in the same name. If the names don’t match, you may not be protected.

    Local Economic Impact

    Some storm chasers lease local company names so they appear to be local. Once they complete their work in the area, they leave. The local company is then responsible for the warranty work. 

    They deprive local contractors of business and decrease the number of resources you have when your roof suddenly springs a leak.  By employing a local contractor to complete your repairs, you are helping to employ local workers.

    Licensed, local builders and roofers who are part of the Builders Association are listed in the CMBA directory; check for MN licensed builders at the Department of Labor and Industry




  • 21 Apr 2015 4:41 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final rule extending the certifications of thousands of individual renovators under the Lead: Renovation Repair and Painting Program (LRRP). This is good news for more than 200,000 certified renovators who would otherwise have been shut out of the opportunity to take advantage of online-only training included in revisions proposed by the EPA to the refresher training requirement.

    Under the final rule:

    • Individual renovators who received certification on or before March 31, 2010, now have until March 31, 2016, to get re-certified.
    • Individual renovators who received certification between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011, will have one year added to their five-year certification.
    Subsequent certifications for renovators receiving the extension will be five years.



  • 20 Apr 2015 11:49 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Smartbuildingmn.comdoes some of the sifting for you and to deliver the best content related to smart building practices. 

    May is National Remodeling Month - here are the steps to succeed at remodeling the 'Older Home'. 

    Energy Efficient Remodeling in Central MN

    I can’t help myself.  I’m a lover of old houses – also known as ‘previously owned’.  I love the challenge of making the remodel work within the constraints of the space and architecture.  I also love the idea of taking something already built and re-vitalizing it.  Part of this revitalization is efficiency and maintenance.

    Why buy used?  If you are looking for a lot that is larger in size with more mature landscaping; a house that has added character; solid construction with old growth wood ~ then you may want to consider an existing house. click to read all


  • 20 Apr 2015 8:31 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    BAM Report from April 17, 2015

    The Spending Debate Begins…

    Spring break is over, Minnesota’s Legislators have 6 weeks to finish their 2015 work, and it’s all about the money. In the mix for the homestretch are the state’s biennial budget and a transportation package. With a projected $2 Billion surplus, Governor Dayton’s proposed budget funnels most of the surplus into government programs with a heavy emphasis on schools.

    The Governor is also proposing a gas tax of at least 16 cents per gallon and higher vehicle registration fees as part of his transportation package. House Leadership has a very different idea regarding the surplus and transportation packages, and it has been suggested that the state should possibility use the state’s nearly $1.8 billion budget surplus as well as redirect existing taxes on vehicle rentals and leases for road and bridge repairs.

    Fueling the end of session debate is the Governor’s newly unveiled $842 Million bonding proposal and includes $200 Million for college campus improvements and $78 Million for railroad safety. This proposal is facing a strong headwind. Major bonding bills are generally reserved for even-year sessions, a preference expressed by both House and Senate leadership earlier this year when they declined to include debt payments in their proposed 2015 budget outlines. If a bonding bill is to pass this year, regardless of the level of funding, it will require a three-fifths vote of both the House and Senate.

    About the Policy…

    Prior to the Legislature’s spring break, hundreds of policy related pieces of legislation, including proactive codes related bill pursued by BAM and BATC, were debated and left either dead or alive.

    BAM is happy to report the continued progress (and live status) of the codes bill.

    Representative Tama Theis and Senator John Pederson are authoring the industry’s 2015 codes process bill. The bill codifies a six-year code cycle (a practice that’s been informally in place since 2000), increases the implementation time before a new code becomes effective to be no less than 9 months, and requires the new code to be published on-line and accessible to the public prior to its effective date. Representative Vogel is spearheading a bill to clarify a performance path avenue for the energy code. Both bills are contained in the House Omnibus Jobs bill.

    To date, there have been 2,192 bills introduced in the House and 2,043 bills introduced in the Senate. Many of the bills have died. In addition to keeping the industry bills alive, our government affairs teams and lobbyists have been actively working on several dead or dying and alive bills, too.

    For the full report login to BAM’s members-only website www.bamn.org/legislation.

    Thank You!

    Many thanks to BAM’s government relations committee for all its advice and direction; we know volunteering on this committee is time consuming, but your input is priceless. Thank you to Jane DeAustin (CMBA), James Vagle (BATC), and Matt Limoges (RAB) for all their hard work. Accolades go to the industry’s contract lobbyists Brian Halloran, Pete Coyle, Larry Redmond, Andrea Perzichilli, and Forrest Cyr. BAM will prepare for all members a session wrap up soon after the close of the regular session. 


  • 16 Apr 2015 1:23 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Summary of BAM report emailed to CMBA members 4/10/15
    "Is it Dead or Alive?" view full report here

    Gov. Mark Dayton delivered his fifth State of the State Thursday, April 9, 2015.  He use the time before a joint convention of the Legislature to promote his end of session goals for the budget, capital investment, transportation, gas tax, and education – from pre-school to community college.

    Setting the tone for the last month and a half of session, Governor Dayton tee’d up his State of the State address with this quote:  “During the remaining six weeks of this legislative session, we will face our own moments of truth: Will we do what is easy, safe and popular or will we risk our political lives to preserve this great state for future generations?” We shall see, but what we do know is that there is a lot of work to be done, including plenty of work for the residential construction industry on some very particular pieces of legislation, outlined below.

    Attorney’s Fees, Contracts, & Law Suits

    • Attorney Fees Awarded to Homeowners

    • Common Interest Communities / Notice and Opportunity to Repair / Breach of Contract or Negligence – this bill is on hold until 2016. 

    • Duty to Defend / Indemnification 

    • Point of Sale Contamination Awareness Act 

    Codes

    • Border Cities and Mille Lacs County 

    • Fire Protection Awareness Act – this bill would have required builders to show a video to prospective homebuyers about the merits of sprinklers and disclose new homes built in Minnesota do not comply with the ICC model residential code. The industry opposes this bill and it did not get a hearing prior to deadline. 

    • Single Family Home Buyers Public Safety Protection Act – this bill would have required potential homebuyers to watch a video about sprinkler systems and sign a disclosure prior to closing. The industry opposes this bill and it did not get a hearing prior to deadline. 

    • Sprinklers – Leadership and lobbyists from BAM and BATC finally met face-to-face with the Governor to educate him on the lack of reason or necessity for the sprinkler mandate. Observers report that the Governor was not moved. Legislators continue to seek ways to eliminate the mandate and we expect to see continued debate on the issue in 2015 and beyond. 

    • Responsible Contractor – small changes have been made to the 2014 law to eliminate some of the “gotcha” loopholes in the bill that would have tripped up contractors working on publicly funded projects. BAM supports the 2015 improvements and is working with AGC to keep it moving through the process. 

    • Retainage 

    Environment

    • 50’ Buffers – Governor Dayton surprised everybody when he announced his goal for a 50’ buffer for all properties that have exposed soils and non-perennial coverage. 

    • State assumption of federal wetland permitting authority (wetlands & section 404 permitting) 

    Municipal Fees & Land Development

    • Street Utilities 

    • “Safe Routes To School” Infrastructure Zoning Mandate 

    Agency Related Provisions

    • OSHA Employee Misconduct Defense 

    • Radon Remediation Contractor License 

    • DLI $75 License Fee Reduction – the Department of Labor and Industry is proposing a $75 reduction in the residential licensing fees. This is because the Contractor Recovery Fund is currently quite flush. This idea is part of an agency housekeeping bill and is moving through the legislature. The industry supports this fee reduction. 

    • Qualified Persons Sanctions 

    Workforce Housing Initiatives 

  • 15 Apr 2015 9:02 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    In 2014, the bottom fifth of Americans (incomes up to $24,200/year) earned 4.5% of income and paid -2.2% of income taxes (because of credits like EITC). The next quintile earned 9.3% of income and paid -1% of income taxes. The middle quintile earned 14.8% and paid 5.9%, while the fourth quintile earned 20% and paid 13.4%. The top quintile earned 51.3% of all income and paid 83.9% of income taxes.

    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.


  • 27 Mar 2015 11:15 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    As a general contractor you must make sure all your subs are registered contractors if they aren't already required to have a license. According to DLI:

    An individual or business entity that performs commercial or residential building construction or improvement services must register with DLI unless they: 

    • have a current license, certificate or registration issued by DLI;

    • have a current independent contractor exemption certificate (ICEC);

    • are an employee of a business performing construction services; or

    • hold a current residential building contractor or remodeler certificate of exemption issued by DLI; or

    • are excluded from registration requirements under Minnesota Statutes 181.723, subd. 4a.

    Contractors who hire unregistered subcontractors, misclassify workers or fail to register are in violation of the law and can be charged with civil penalties.

    Verify "Contractor Registration" with DLI's License Lookup searchable database: 

    • "License class" select "Business"

    • "Select a discipline" select "Registered Contractors"

    • "Select a classification" select "CONTRACTOR REGISTRATION"

    • Click "Search" button

    • Results will show names and status of currently registered contractors

    How to register: 
    http://www.dli.mn.gov/CCLD/register.asp

    Question: http://www.dli.mn.gov/CCLD/register_other.asp

    Contact DLI: P (651) 284-5074 | E  dli.register@state.mn.us

CMBA:
1124 West Saint Germain Street, St. Cloud MN 56301
320.251.4382 info@cmbaonline.org | www.cmbaonline.org
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