Weekly Update: July 20, 2017

Was WOTUS Going to Stall Your Projects?

HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson is meeting with a Washington Post reporter this weekend and early next week in regards to the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) – which was government overreach at the highest level and we worked really hard to squash it.  Supposedly the piece is going to be a pro-Trump article pointing towards his follow through on campaign promises.

So that’s the background and now here’s the ask – we are looking for individuals to talk to about WOTUS, specifically for those who applaud the revoking by Trump of this regulation that they saw as government overreach.  If you had a plan to build on your land and it was going to stall you out, that would be ideal – or if you are a particularly talkative landowner who hated the rule, that would be very helpful.  Obviously the Ag industry was even more of a target, but this reporter would like to concentrate on the land development side.  If you can help out, email Jay Iverson.

EPA, Corps Propose Changes to WOTUS Rule

With WOTUS already mentioned, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers recently proposed to replace the 2015 definition of the term “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) with the text that existed since 1986. The agencies said the action is the first in a two-step process. In Step 2, the government will propose a new definition for WOTUS.

Take Advantage of Great Deals when IBS Registration Opens August 1

Mark Tuesday, August 1, on your calendar – that is the day you can register for the 2018 International Builders’ Show. Get ready, because the best deals on IBS registration only happen in August.  The Iowa hotel block is not what we requested – but if you want to take advantage of it anyway, it’s the Springhill Suites by Marriott at $169.00.

Softwood Lumber Prices Were a Problem, Now Supply

Home builders across the country were getting hammered by skyrocketing lumber prices earlier this year. And now, more of them are reporting issues with lumber supply, too.  A new post on Eye on Housingcites recent NAHB survey results which found that more than 1 in 5 single-family builders are experiencing a shortage of framing lumber.  While access to lots and labor remain much higher priorities for the majority of builders, the availability of lumber is quickly rising on many of their priority lists.

For now, the majority of builders continue to have access to sufficient lumber supplies, albeit at prices much higher than a year ago. However, lumber prices recently began leveling off and dropping in most markets.

New NAHB Study: Home Buying Boosts Overall Economy

A new consumer spending analysis from NAHB highlights another way home building helps drive a healthy economy: In their first year of ownership, new home buyers spend about $10,600 on appliances, furnishings and home improvements – 2.6 times as much as other home owners in a typical year.

Summit to Highlight Offsite Construction

Hundreds of builders, manufacturers and suppliers of modular, panelized, concrete, log and timber-framed homes will gather this fall for the 2017 Building Systems Housing Summit, the only national conference dedicated to the offsite construction industry. Now in its 32nd year, the Building Systems Housing Summit will take place Oct. 8-10 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pa.

Looking at Changes to NAHB Governance and Membership Models

NAHB is seeking to streamline its governance model to make serving in governance more rewarding, and to reduce liability for NAHB and individual directors. At the same time, the Association Planning Committee has been exploring a revised membership model for the association. Watch for additional updates on both of these initiatives by mid-September.  Discussions within our Area 10 Caucus (Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota) were very much against the proposed changes.  Time will tell on what ultimately moves forward.

Big Temporary Worker Visa Changes

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will allow an additional 15,000 H-2B temporary worker visas to be issued during this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.  The H-2B programallows employers to hire temporary foreign workers for seasonal, non-agricultural positions. In past years, roughly half of the visas have gone to landscaping businesses.

The department announced it will publish a rule in the Federal Register this Wednesday to authorize the expansion and spell out related requirements. Employers are expected to be able to apply for the additional visas once the rule has been published.

Companies seeking to use the program will face increased scrutiny in their petitions for workers. Employer applicants must already hold a temporary labor certification (TLC) from the Department of Labor and will be required to attest that their business will likely suffer “irreparable harm” if they do not have access to additional workers.

Many employers that have relied on H-2B workers for peak or seasonal business needs when local labor isn’t available – including those in the construction sector – were shut out from the program when the cap of 66,000 visas was reached extremely early this year in March.

We are very much in favor of pushing Congress and the Department of Homeland Security to expand the program – including reinstatement of an expired provision that would exempt workers from being counted towards the annual cap if they came into the US on an H-2B visa in any of three prior years- so that more companies in the construction sector will be able to access temporary labor.

Help Needed – Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership Proposed NEW Training for Builders

We have been asked to assist in a Stormwater training program and there is a proposed teleconference meeting August 2.  Check out their goals below and if you’d like to participate, email HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson.

Goal: Create and implement a training program for Iowa residential and commercial builders that addresses stormwater pollution prevention, SWPPPs, inspections of construction sites for compliance with Iowa DNR General Permit Number 2 requirements and BMP corrections and maintenance.

This training would be live ¾-day training at first and then maybe offered as online training later.  This could be a certification in that there would be an exam offered at the end of the training.  Recertification would be required every 3 years and would require attendance at first part of ¾ day training to get any regulatory requirement updates.  This training could satisfy the inspector “qualification” requirements in General Permit Number 2.  The training will be adjusted for each event to include some of the local requirements.

Design the training for the following:

* Builders that have signed a transfer of responsibility (Transfer Agreement-Separate) to accept all General Permit Number 2 requirements, SWPPP development, NOI, practice installation, maintenance and inspections and reporting

* Builders that have signed a transfer of responsibility (Transfer Agreement-Same) and use the developers’ authorization and SWPPP; they may be responsible for practice installation, maintenance and inspections

* Builders that build on infill lots in some communities that have local requirements

* Commercial builders

Proposed DRAFT Training Outline

  1. Introduction and regulatory requirements; Cleanwater Act; EPA-IDNR-MS-4 cities requirements
  2. Briefly touch on erosion process, erosion vs sediment control–basic
  3. Developments vs individual building sites vs infill lots
  4. Transfer Agreements same or separate agreement, if same use developers GP#2 authorization, if separate then required to do all General Permit Number 2 requirements for SWPPP etc.
  5. Filing Notice of Intent- take through process, class demo, Letter of Authorization from IDNR, go
  6. Overview of General permit number 2 requirements; any local requirements
  7. BMPs commonly used for erosion and sediment control and good housekeeping at individual sites; correct installation and maintenance
  8. Creating SWPPPs for individual sites, go through ISWEP and EPA templates
  9. Class SWPPP exercise including site map and BMP placement
  10. Documentation and inspection requirements; updates to SWPPPs and reports; timeliness of site corrections and maintenance of practices; sample inspection form provided to attendees
  11. Contractors and subcontractors, co-permittees
  12. Local permits, expectations, any pre-inspections from city and topsoil and soil quality restoration requirements-if there are local requirements

Whither Whites  

For the first time, the US population under 10 is majority minority. Overall, 61.3% of the population is white, 17.8% are Hispanic, 12.4% are Black non-Hispanic, 5.7% are Asian, 2.1% are multiracial and 0.7% are Native American. In 2016, Nevada joined Hawaii, DC, CA, NM and TX as states that are majority minority. By 2020, Maryland will also be majority minority. ME is 93.5% white, more than any other state. – Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

Weekly Update: July 13, 2017


   The Iowa Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors is leading the way in workforce development, currently servicing over 1,500 apprentices in their HVAC, electrical, plumbing and sheet metal programs. We met with them a few weeks ago and discussed a number of  topics.  Check out their cool new trailer that will be touring around to schools throughout Iowa.

Mike Rowe Contracted for Sure!

We’re really excited about bringing Mike Rowe to Central Iowa on September 28 and we’re seeking sponsors for the event.  It’s an expensive project.  Check out the sponsorship packages and contracts:

Sponsorship Packages

Sponsorship Contract

For more information contact Dan Knoup or Melisa Cox at 515-270-8500 or email Jay Iverson.

Fall Interns for Your Company?

We haven’t worked this angle hard enough, even though several members are quite successful at it.  Student internships provide a valuable opportunity for home builders, remodelers and other industry pros to engage with three talent resources to meet their skilled labor needs: high school students in career and technical education programs; community college students; and university students.

NAHB recently released a guide, Student Internships: Resources for NAHB Members, to help members understand work-study student-learning opportunities and how to determine the type of student resource that best fits your company’s needs. The guide focuses on one type of work-study student learning experience: the paid internship.  The guide will help you identify ways to:

Establish contacts at local high schools or colleges

  • Engage with students through career fairs and other approved venues
  • Write a suitable job posting
  • Interview and hire candidates
  • Supervise, evaluate and communicate with your interns and their educational institutions

The internship guide can be found in the members-only Skilled Workforce Development Resources section on nahb.org, under Internship Resources.

NAHB Leadership Meets with Governor Reynolds

NAHB President Jerry Howard, Government Affairs VP Jim Tobin and Intergovernmental Affairs VP Karl Eckart met with Governor Reynolds and her staff last week, discussing workforce development and Home Builders Institute.  There is an amazing amount of work going on as we continue to deal with our labor shortage crisis.  Stay tuned.

   Over 200 golfers participated in the Dubuque HBA golf outing last Monday at Lacoma in East Dubuque, IL.  It’s a beautiful 45 hole course that works well with large groups.  It was steamy, but a great time! 

An Awesome Member Benefit – Snazzy Traveler

We just received a report on how many members have been using Snazzy Traveler for your travel needs.  Not overly impressive, but still our members saved a little over $20k through YTD June 2017 – you’re missing out!  A great example was our HBAI leadership booking the Marriott Wardman for the NAHB mid-year.  We saved about $3k over NAHB and the best Marriott prices out there – huge money for our organization.

If you have not yet opened your free Snazzy Traveler account, through your HBAIowa membership, here’s what you have missed:  Our members have saved on average 27% on hotels and 38% on car rentals.  The program is free, there are no black-out dates, there is a low-price guarantee on hotels and a rewards program that lets you use the rewards credits for any type of travel offered on Snazzy Traveler.  Getting onto Snazzy Traveler couldn’t be easier.  Just follow these simple instructions:

  1. Use this link:  www.snazzytravler.com/HBAIowa
  2. Click the “Join Now” button.
  3. You’ll see a green button that says, “Redeem Code Here”.  Click it.
  4. On the next page simply enter the promo code HBAIowaTravel2017 in the box under “Promotional Code” and then hit “Check Code”.   (DO NOT ENTER ANYTHING ELSE ON THIS PAGE AND DO NOT GIVE A CREDIT CARD ON THIS PAGE.)
  5. Once you put in your code and hit Redeem Code, you will see a green box to the right that says success and you will be taken to the next page.  (If you get an error message, reenter the code again.)
  6. On the next page simply enter your information in the boxes provided and check off the box “I agree to Terms and Conditions” and hit the “Submit” button.
  7. Once you hit the Submit button and you’ll get a Success message and will be redirected into Snazzy Traveler.

That is all there is to it and now you’re on.  Don’t just sit there, go onto Snazzy Traveler and start saving today.  You’re going to be traveling at some point, so why not use your free benefit, as a member of HBAIowa, and save money.

Know Before You Owe Mortgage Rule

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on July 7 published final updates to its “Know Before You Owe” mortgage rule. The updates offer amendments on finance charge disclosures, disclosures that are tied to housing assistance that a borrower receives, and when information can be shared with third-parties, including real estate agents.  The final rule clarifies disclosures for construction and construction-to-permanent loans addressing many of the concerns lenders have expressed in making these loans.

The CFPB decided not to adopt the proposal which NAHB opposed that would have required a creditor who offers both construction and permanent financing to provide disclosures to the consumer for both the construction and permanent phases regarding whether the consumer expressly indicated they would obtain permanent financing from the same creditor who provided the construction financing.

In addition, the CFPB clarified that a creditor may share the Closing Disclosure (CD) with sellers and various other parties, including real estate agents. However, the CFPB omits an originally proposed fix for the so-called “black hole” that is created when a mortgage closing is delayed.  The agency has published a proposal for additional comments that attempts to clarify the circumstances that a creditor can use the CD form, instead of the upfront Loan Estimate.  The nearly 600 page rule which can be accessed here.