Weekly Update: May 26, 2016

HBA Iowa Products Logos

See Any Familiar Logos?  Cash in Your Pocket

With very little effort, you can receive cash back by using any of the products from the companies shown in the above list.  It’s a member benefit of yours and you can easily claim enough to pay for your annual HBA dues (over 70% did last year).  We have members in the $3k category and the average for 2015 was $1,178.12 per participant.  Click here to go to our rebate website.

Obtaining the Upper Hand in Estimating – Online Course

Professionals know that the accuracy of an estimate can make or break your project. Estimates are powerful tools in landing new business, but are one of the most challenging skills to master.  Whether you’re new to estimating or want to learn effective techniques for presenting estimates to your customers, the Estimating for Builders and Remodelers live online course, taught by John Barrows, CGB, CGP, GMB, Master CGP, offers:

  • Understanding. Learn the importance of quality estimating.
  • Ways to Beat the Competition. Make and use strong bids to stand out.
  • Technology Tools. Implement technology programs to help you estimate.

You also can’t beat the convenience: Held over three consecutive Tuesdays, June 7, 14 and 21 from 1-3 p.m. ET, you can grow your knowledge from your home or office.  It’s $199 for members and $299 for non-members. Register today.

New or Better Amenities is the Top Reason to Remodel

In NAHB’s most recent quarterly Remodeling Market Index (RMI), remodelers across the country were asked to rate the reasons why customers want to remodel on a scale of 1=Never/Almost Never to 5=Very Often. The reason that received the highest average rating was ‘Desire for better/newer amenities’ (4.3), followed by ‘Need to repair/replace old components’ (4.2), and ‘Desire/need for more space’ (3.8).

Guide to Significant Code Proposals

NAHB has created a Top 40 document that highlights proposed code changes that, because of extraordinary expense on the negative side or better building practices on the positive, are most important to the home building industry and to home buyers, whose interests we represent.

Cash Conclusion

During 2/16, cash home sales were 35.7% of all transactions, their lowest February reading since 2008 and a 2.5 percentage points decline Y-o-Y. Cash sales were 59.2% of REO sales, 35.6% of resales, 32.6% of short sales and 15.2% of new home sales. Traditionally, cash transactions were 25% of sales and should be back there by late 2018. AL had the most cash sales at 51.7%, FL followed at 49.2%.   Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D

New Home Sales Reach Post Recession High

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 16.6% in April from an upwardly revised March reading to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 619,000 units, according to newly released data by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the highest sales pace since January 2008. “Rising home sales combined with tight inventory will translate into increased housing production as we move onward in 2016, especially as job creation continues and mortgage rates remain low,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

The inventory of new homes for sale was 243,000 in April, which is a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price of new houses sold in April was $321,100.  Regionally, new home sales rose by 52.8% in the Northeast, 18.8% in the West and 15.8% in the South. Sales fell by 4.8% in the Midwest.  See NAHB’s historical new home sales data and read Dietz’s Eye on Housing blog post for further details.

Our Friends at OSHA and a New Rule…

On May 11, 2016, OSHA announced changes to the requirements for submitting records of workplace injuries and illnesses. The changes are effective January 1, 2017. Previously, employers were not required to report information directly to OSHA unless they were notified otherwise in writing (for instance, a mandatory survey received in the mail). Under the new rule, certain employers are required to report information from their OSHA logs/summaries electronically through OSHA’s website. The new requirement does not add to or change an employer’s existing obligation to complete, retain, certify, and post injury and illness records. It only requires certain employers to electronically submit some of the information from the OSHA records they have prepared.

Who Must Submit Information Electronically to OSHA?

  • Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries (many of our member industries are on the list) must electronically submit to OSHA some of the information from the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A).
  • Establishments with 250 or more employees that are subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit to OSHA some of the information from the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300), the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A), and the Injury and Illness Incident Report (OSHA Form 301).
  • Establishments with fewer than 20 employees at all times during the year do not have to routinely submit information electronically to OSHA.

When it Begins

The final rule takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, and reporting requirements will be phased in over two years, as follows:  Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must begin submitting information from their 2016 Form 300A (summary page) by July 1, 2017, and again by July 1, 2018, for their 2017 injuries. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2 for the prior year’s injuries.

Establishments with 250 or more employees must begin submitting information from their 2016 Form 300A (summary page) by July 1, 2017, and must submit information from all forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

How to Submit Data

WWW.OSHA.GOV will provide a secure website for the electronic submission of information. The website will include web forms for direct data entry and instructions for other means of submission (e.g. file uploads). Establishments must submit the information electronically and may not submit the information on paper. Employers who do not have the necessary equipment or internet connection may submit their data from a public facility, such as a library. OSHA also intends to provide an interface for entering data from a mobile device.

For establishments with 20-249 employees that are required to report, OSHA estimates that it will take a typical employer about 10 minutes to create an account and another 10 minutes to enter the required information from the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300A, summary page).

For establishments with 250 or more employees, OSHA estimates that it will take a typical employer about 10 minutes to create an account, 10 minutes to enter the required information from the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300A), and 12 minutes to enter the required information for each injury or illness recorded on their Log and Injury and Illness Incident Report forms (Forms 300 and 301).

Will the Info Be Public?

OSHA will make the injury and illness data public, as encouraged by President Obama’s Open Government Initiative. After removing any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that could be used to identify individual employees, OSHA will post the data on osha.gov. Interested parties will be able to search and download the data. OSHA believes that posting timely, establishment-specific injury and illness data will provide valuable information to employers, employees, employee representatives, and researchers.

OSHA believes that public disclosure of the data will “nudge” employers to improve workplace safety (without an OSHA inspection) in order to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers, and the broader public that their workplaces provide safe and healthy work environments for their employees.

Does the New Rule Require Anything Else?

The new rule also requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation; clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.

One way for employers to meet this requirement is by posting the OSHA “It’s The Law” worker rights poster from April 2015 or later (http://www.osha.gov/Publications/poster.html). This information may already be posted at your location. Employers also must establish a reporting procedure that does not deter or discourage employees from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.

Helpful Links

Fact Sheet regarding OSHA’s new rule.

Frequently asked questions.

Press release.

Home Builders of Iowa Memorial Day

Weekly Update: May 19, 2016

HBA Iowa Scholarship Information

Scholarships Awarded to 11 Building Trades Students

We had another great crop of scholarship candidates – enough that we awarded a record 11 of them worth $10,000.  The Home Builders Association of Iowa Educational Corporation is committed to educational and economic empowerment for scholarship applicants entering the building trades.  By offering these scholarships to students going into the trades, we impact the prosperity of the building industry by developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders.  Here are your winners:

  • Dylan Balmer (Johnston) won a scholarship and is a junior at ISU in aerospace engineering.  His father Brian Balmer owns Erickson Balmer Construction.
  • Tyler Brown (Donnellson) won the David Ealy Memorial Scholarship and is planning to attend Southeastern Community College studying carpentry and construction.  He had an amazing reference letter from Clint Kobelt, who is the building trades instructor at Ft. Madison HS.
  • Andrew Brundell (Marion) won the Jeff Tegeler Memorial Scholarship and is planning to attend Kirkwood CC where he will be in the construction management program.  His father Paul Brundell owns Allan Custom Homes and was the 2014 president of the Greater Cedar Rapids HBA.
  • Jonathan Bullock (Sioux City) won the John Small Memorial Scholarship and is a senior at ISU studying civil engineering.  His father Darrel Bullock is a HBAI board member and is the first vice president of the HBA of Greater Siouxland.
  • Jeremy Cable (Ames) won the Bob Friedrich Sr. Memorial Scholarship and is planning to attend ISU, where he’ll work on his mechanical engineering degree.  He is the son of Jerry Cable, Jr. and the grandson of Jerry Cable, who served as HBAI president in 2001 and is owner of Cable Plumbing.
  • Zachary Lesher (South Sioux City) won a scholarship and is attending the University of Nebraska where he plans to study architecture.
  • Drew Madden (Waukee) won the Doug Mayo Memorial Scholarship and is planning to attend the University of Iowa.  His father Rick Madden and uncle Todd Madden own Madden Realty and Construction.
  • Derek Manternach (Monticello) won the Kenny Selzer Memorial Scholarship and is planning to attend UNI where he’ll work on a Bachelor of Science degree in construction management.
  • Michael Salazar (Alta) won the Charlie Wasker Scholarship and is a sophomore at Iowa Western CC and is planning to attend Northwest Missouri State University where he will study construction technology.
  • Scott Sievert (St. Ansgar) won a scholarship and is planning to attend Central College where he will be a business management major.  He’s been involved in the home building industry and would like to open his own construction firm upon graduation.
  • Braden Wheeler (Glenwood) won a scholarship and is currently at Iowa Western CC, but plans to attend South Dakota State University where he’ll study construction management.

Notice the Named Scholarships?

You may have noticed that several of the scholarships have names attached to them.  What a great way to keep your name alive every year – think about a legacy gift to the Educational Corporation.  Someday we’d like to have it built up to a level where we only award the interest.  Actually, you do not have to pass to have one named after you – we can set it up now.  If that’s of interest, email HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson.

Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Outing Volunteers Needed

It won’t be long before the Third Annual Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Outing is here and we could use your help.  We already have nine volunteers ready to help, but we could use three more.  Helping our golfers check in, supervise a few holes to help speed play, or assisting in whatever may pop up.

The event will be held at Copper Creek in Pleasant Hill on Friday, June 24.  We still have one remaining team spot available.  Click here to register or go to DougMayoMemorialGolf.com.  You can go to the same website above or email Jay Iverson.

Are you a member if the International Code Council?

If so, we need your help by May 24.  From expanded fire sprinkler requirements to new limits on showerhead water flow rates, there are 1,994 proposed code changes that have been submitted this year to alter and update the ICC family of construction codes.

These include the International Residential Code, International Energy Conservation Code and International Fire Code.

In March, NAHB volunteers and staff reviewed all of these proposals, spending days in meetings to figure out their importance and whether they would be a cost-effective improvement in building safety, energy efficiency or occupant health. As a result of these meetings, NAHB supports 119 and opposes 505 of the proposed code changes.

In late April, ICC held its Committee Action Hearings  in Louisville, Kentucky. As the first step in the ICC code development process, committee members and the general public in attendance discussed the merits of each of the proposals. The committee members then voted their recommendations on each proposed code change to either:

  1. Approve as Submitted
  2. Approve as Modified by the Committee
  3. Disapprove

If any ICC member in the audience disagreed with the committee’s recommendation, they could request a floor motion. If their floor motion receives a second from the assembly in attendance, that floor motion was added to the online Assembly Floor Motion ballot.  The actual outcome of the floor motion will be decided during the online Assembly Floor Motion voting period, which is taking place now until Tuesday, May 24.

A simple majority of all the votes cast during the online voting period is required to approve any of the floor motions. If approved, that motion will be added to the ICC Public Comment Hearing agenda, which will be held Oct. 19-16 in Kansas City, Mo.  Any ICC member is eligible to vote on the floor motions this month. We are asking all members to cast their online votes if they are also ICC members. To help, the Construction, Codes and Standards staff has prepared this voting guide. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download the NAHB voting guide;
  2. Create a cdpACCESS Account, if you do not have one;
  3. Log onto cdpACCESS and cast your votes to support NAHB.

Avoid voting confusion. The two important things to remember are the ID numbers for each proposal in the first column and the recommended vote in the last column.

As NAHB prepares for the Public Comment Hearings this fall, it’s important to gain strength for our positions now.  Questions?  Contact NAHB Vice President of Construction, Codes and Standards Neil Burning, get assistance from your NAHB staff liaison for codes or visit the ICC website for additional news and updates on the code development process.

Contradictory Construction

While April housing starts rose 6.6% M-o-M and declined 1.7% Y-o-Y, housing starts have been flat for a year. Since 4/15, the peak in monthly seasonally adjusted starts was a rate of 1.213 million in 6/15; the trough was 1.063 million in 5/15. However, this stability exists because the 14% increase in single-family activity has been countered by an offsetting 20% decrease in multifamily activity. Single-family builders have it good.  Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D

Bye Bye HUD Ties to 100 Year Flood Plain – At Least for Now

Yesterday the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) approved $38.7 billion for HUD in fiscal year 2017. This is an increase of $384 million above the fiscal 2016 enacted level and $500 million less than what Senate appropriators are proposing for the department.

The bill contains language that delays HUD from implementing last year’s executive order signed by President Obama that would allow the agency to expand the floodplain well beyond the 100-year floodplain for all HUD programs. Specifically, the legislative language stipulates that no funds shall be appropriated for the executive order until at least 90 days after the HUD secretary submits a cost-benefit analysis, as well as a detailed nationwide floodplain map.

Here is a comparison of key housing budget items between the House spending bill and the T-HUD appropriations bill that is now being debated in the Senate:

  • The House provides $20.19 billion for Section 8 Tenant Based Rental Assistance, with $18.31 billion for contract renewals.
  • The Senate spending bill includes $20.43 billion for Section 8 Tenant Based Rental Assistance, with $18.36 billion for contract renewals and $57 million for Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH).
  • Both the House and Senate T-HUD spending bills propose $10.9 billion for Section 8 Project-based Rental Assistance and $950 million for the HOME program.
  • The House bill includes $100 million for Choice Neighborhood funding while the Senate version provides $80 million.
  • Each chamber would allocate $3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program.

View the House Appropriation Committee’s press release on T-HUD funding.

Home Evolution Revolution Seminar

Energy Independent Bloomfield will present a seminar on Saturday, June 4 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Davis County High School in Bloomfield.  The cost is $50, but it’s free for customers of Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative and Bloomfield city utility customers.  You can register and check out the details here.  The Home Evolution Revolution: An Energy Independence Symposium in the Hairy Nation will bring together experts in residential energy efficiency technologies and financing to present at a live conference in Bloomfield, Iowa.  Presentations include:

  • What a Homeowner/Contractor Needs to Know about Energy Codes:  David Ruffcorn (Des Moines, Iowa)
  • PHIUS+2015 Building Standard – Climate specific, cost optimized performance targets as baseline for resilient, zero energy communities:  Katrin Klinginberg (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Building and Living in a High Performance House:  Dan Marine (Wilton, Iowa)
  • TCO – The Future of Home Ownership:  Kerry Langley (Atlanta, Georgia) & Larry Grimstad (Decorah, Iowa)
  • Connecting the Dots:  Terrence Hill (Alexandria, Virginia)

Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Regulations

Following a two year wait, the new FLSA overtime regulations were officially released last Tuesday and will be finalized soon.  The details of the final rule that will take effect on December 1, 2016, are below:

  • Raise the salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476 a year, or from $455 to $913 a week.
  • Raise Americans’ wages by an estimated $12 billion over the next 10 years, with an average increase of $1.2 billion annually.
  • Extend overtime protections to 4.2 million additional workers who are not currently eligible for overtime under federal law.
  • Update the salary threshold every three years.
  • Raise the “highly compensated employee” threshold – from $100,000 to $134,004 – above which only a minimal showing is needed to demonstrate an employee is not eligible for overtime.

Respond to employers’ concerns by making no changes to the “duties test” and allowing bonuses and incentive payments to count toward up to 10 percent of the new salary level.