Weekly Update: January 5, 2017

New Member Benefit:  Travel Discounts

HBAI is really excited to roll out this new member benefit to you – wholesale travel pricing not available to the public on hotels, resorts, cars, cruises, and more.  This is Jay Iverson writing this and I just booked a few upcoming trips – the hotel prices were indeed less than anywhere else.  It was really easy to use and there is nothing weird about it.   You can still use all of your normal reward programs too.  Please let me know any and all feedback, but they’ve been servicing associations for 25 years, mostly in California and Florida.

With your FREE Snazzy Traveler membership (valued at $99) you gain access to unlimited savings on thousands of hotels, cars, cruises, activities and more all year long.  Go to:


Enter our exclusive promo code: HBAIowaTravel2017

Snazzy Traveler Benefits

No Blackout Dates. No Travel Restrictions

110% Price Guarantee

Free to HBA of Iowa Members

Deep discounts on all travel

Last Chance for Area 10 Party at IBS January 11

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, January 11 from 5-7:00 p.m. at the Rosen Centre for our first ever Region 10 party.  Rather than our traditional Iowa party, we are going to co-host with North Dakota and Minnesota.  Please register by tomorrow, Friday, January 7 by clicking here.

Respirator Training Lunch and Learn in IC

Here is a great opportunity that the Iowa City HBA is making available for employers with jobs that have the potential for exposing their employees to atmospheric contaminants such as gases, vapors and particles. The course objectives are:

  • Overview of OSHA respirator standard 1910.134
  • Review of employer responsibilities under the standard
  • Discuss the requirements for employee medical evaluation and fit testing
  • Review employer requirements for a written program, employee training and record keeping

It will be held January 17, 2017 from Noon until 1:30 at PSC Distribution, 72 Commercial Drive, Iowa City, IA.  The cost is $15.00 and you can register by emailing Executive Officer Karyl Bohnsack or calling (319) 351-5333.

BUILD Des Moines Magazine for January

Here is the January issue of BUILD Des Moines magazine – check out the 2017 real estate outlook from top experts, Zillow design trends, tiny homes, and lots of other cool stuff.

Single-Family Construction Up in November

The NAHB analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending fell 0.7% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $462.9 billion.

Multifamily construction spending slowed for the first time since July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $61.9 billion, down 2.9% from the revised October estimate. Despite the slowdown, multifamily spending was still 10.7% higher than the rate one year prior.  In contrast, single-family construction spending increased by 1.7% over the month, posting its second consecutive gain. However, single-family construction spending still slipped down by 0.9% over November 2015. Though not as pronounced as the drop-off in multifamily construction spending, home improvements still fell by a substantial 3.5%. On a year-over-year basis, spending on home improvements increased by 6.8%.

Weekly Update: December 29, 2016

HBA of Iowa 2016 Annual Report

It’s been a very productive year for our Federation.  Membership is up slightly and there seems to be plenty of work to keep our members active and moving forward.  We will finish this year far ahead of budget and have lots of great new programs planned for 2017.  Thank you for your continued support – you are the key to our success!

Legislative – The 2016 legislative session began January 11 and the per diem ran out last Monday, April 19.  We have a split chamber, a Republican controlled House and a Democrat controlled Senate, so it’s another year where not too much has been accomplished.

Topics of conversation included education funding, Medicaid shortfalls, mental health system issues, water quality, gambling expansion to include fantasy sports leagues, and all of those tie into huge budget battles.  With the estimated revenues being up $176.7 million, they agreed to give $153.8 million to school funding.  That doesn’t leave much left over when everyone wants a piece of it.  Of course academia was disgusted that we were shorting our children and their future with that pitiful 2.25% increase.

We took positions on 71 bills during this session.  We have one of the longest Statute of Repose and Statute of Limitations in the Country, so we pretended like we were going to change that again, but it was killed by the Bar Association again.   Unfortunately any sort of tort reform is met with significant resistance from the legal community.  That all changed November 8.

With this past election, we now have a Republican House and Senate with a Republican governor.  We’re in the process of determining our proactive agenda for the next legislative session.  We believe that with a reduction in the Statute of Repose from 15 years to eight years, we’ll be able to save our members nearly 20% on their insurance rates.

Other issues will continue from the last session, including water quality and flood mitigation.  We’re in the mix with that after several local municipalities would like to force our members to truck in top soil.  Currently Iowa rules match the Federal language, which states what is there must stay there, which is pretty much what our members do anyway.  It was contained last year, but we’re already in conversations with how to draft legislation that will not be punitive and reduce affordability.

Federal Issues – We continue to work in unison with NAHB on a host of federal issues and Iowa is often in the limelight for working through those topical discussions.  We were able to meet with all of our Federal legislators during the Bringing Housing Home campaign.  We are a part of the patent trolling coalition, like many of you and NAHB, but we have some horsepower in our state trying to make some things happen.

There is lots going on with Health Reimbursement Arrangements, the Department of Labor Overtime Rule, Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act (fixes HUD programs, Wetlands, energy codes must be paid back within 10 years, Floodplain issues, Silica, transparency in the Rulemaking Process, Middle Income Housing Tax Credits, and EB-5 extension.  Much of this may change in 2017.

We were 100% successful in providing PAC funds to winning candidates at the Federal and State level, helping NAHB to endorse candidates, and presenting the first ever “Defender of Housing Award” to both Senator Grassley and Congressman Blum.

Regulatory – We are currently working through the proposed adoption of the 2015 Energy Codes, but would actually like to take it back to the 2009.  It may be a battle, but is doable.  We are currently on the 2012 with amendments.

Workforce Development – As our members struggle to find competent workers, the whole vocational technical training issue is going to be one of our priorities in 2017 and beyond. Great schools, great jobs, solid wages – all are key to encouraging the next generation to enter into our industry.  We are concentrating efforts on workforce development issues – trying to get that next generation of tradesmen into our fold.  We are working on a number of different plans, including initiatives that begin at the middle school level.  More info will follow on that and it’s going to be a major focus of ours in 2017 and beyond.

Legal – We have been really successful partnering on lawsuits that our members are involved in.  Commercial General Liability policy clears Iowa Court of Appeals – This is our lawsuit along with Hubbell Realty and Associated Builders & Contractors and we just won again on appeal.  The bottom line is that the Iowa Court of Appeals decided the issue in favor of contractors and against insurers. The history of the CGL policy form reveals a deliberate effort by the insurance industry to provide coverage for property damage arising from defective construction, and contractors doing business in the State of Iowa depend upon that coverage. The district court analyzed the history of the CGL forms and the plain language of the Arch Policy and properly concluded defective work may be an “accident” and therefore constitute an “occurrence” under the Arch Policy.  This is a great win for our members.

On August 31, 2016, the Iowa Court of Appeals entered its decision in a case involving an issue of first impression regarding Iowa’s mechanic’s lien law, which came after Davis Brown Law Firm attorney Jodie McDougal’s February 24, 2016, oral argument to the court in her representation of HBAI member, Standard Water Control Systems, Inc.

In a 2014 trial, Standard Water successfully obtained a judgment in its favor on a mechanic’s lien suit filed against certain homeowners who had not fully paid their bill for Standard’s installation of a waterproofing system within their house. As part of its judgment, Standard obtained a favorable ruling on an issue involving Iowa’s new pre-lien notice law and an order granting its request for foreclosure of its mechanic’s lien.

Specifically, the trial court ruled that general contractors/direct contractors without subcontractors, such as Standard Water, are not required to file a Commencement of Work Notice on the new MNLR registry at the outset of the project or otherwise required to fulfill any pre-lien notice requirement prior to the filing of a mechanic’s lien. The homeowners appealed the trial court decision, and the Iowa Court of Appeals has now entered its decision on the matter.

In its August 31, 2016, decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s opinions regarding the mechanic’s lien and contract issues and, in particular, affirmed the trial court’s ruling that contractors without subcontractors do not need to file a Commencement of Work Notice at the outset of the project or otherwise fulfill any pre-lien notice requirements prior to filing a mechanic’s lien.

Scholarships – Our third annual Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Invitational raised over $26k in scholarship funds in 2016.  We use the funds for students entering into the building trades.  Our next event will beJune 23, 2017.

What Building 1,000 Homes Means to the U.S. Economy

According to NAHB’s National Impact of Home Building model, building 1,000 average single-family homes generates 2,975 jobs and $111.0 million in taxes and fees for all levels of government.  Similarly, building 1,000 average rental apartments generates 1,133 jobs and $42.4 million in taxes.

The jobs are measured in full-time equivalents (enough work to keep one worker employed full-time for a year), and are broad-based.  Although a substantial share of the employment is generated in the construction industry, other jobs are created for employees in firms that manufacture building products, transport and sell those products, and provide professional services to home builders and buyers (e.g., architects and real estate agents).  A breakdown by industry is shown below, along with the wages and business profits generated.

Region 10 Party at IBS January 11

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, January 11 from 5-7:00 p.m. at the Rosen Centre for our first ever Region 10 party.  Rather than our traditional Iowa party, we are going to co-host with North Dakota and Minnesota.  An invitation will be sent out separately.  It should be a great time!