Weekly Update: December 8, 2016

HBA Iowa eo20 group meeting

  Our State EO20 group met this week in Tampa.  During the first week of each December each year, the executive officers of state HBA’s gather together to discuss needs and share information.  HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson is chairman of the group.  Our breakfast sponsor was Bonded Builders, who also took us out later that evening on a 106′ yacht owned by the president of the Bankers Insurance Group (B.I.G.) – the parent organization.  It was a taste of a lifestyle that none of us in the non profit world will experience very often and overall a great meeting.  Such a wealth of information in one room.

Excellent Content and Interview with Mark Reetz

Check out the latest issue of Build Des Moines magazine by clicking here.  There are several interesting articles, including an interview with member Mark Reetz, who chairs the state Building Code Advisory Council.

Speaker Upmeyer Announced House Leadership

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) announced committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for the Eighty-Seventh General Assembly earlier this week.  Click here for the full list.

Build for Performance Training

As a homebuilder, you know when to step it up – so get ready to push yourself and join us as we take it to The Next Level.  This year’s lineup for the Alliant Energy training will feature renowned keynote speaker Peter Yost. For over 25 years, he has been building, researching, teaching, writing, and consulting on high performance homes.  But we are not stopping there!

For the second straight year, join our building experts at a Q&A session to solve your toughest building “puzzles.” You will learn how to take on and push past any contractor or building problem and not look back.  We have an expert panel of building-industry leaders, including: Joe Nagan, Justin Wilson, Steve Romme and Pat O’Malley. They are in addition to our ever-popular team of building instructors, which includes: Bill McAnally, Erin Wiggins, Dave Ruffcorn and Greg Nahn.  It’s the “can’t-miss” training for builders and contractors that has everyone talking. If you only go to one conference this year, make this the one!
And, certain sessions will still qualify for CEUs. Choose from four tracks of study:

  1. Concept to creation demonstrations – Live Remodeling Components, Water-Managed Window Installations and Compression Depression
  2. Building on the home buyer’s vision – Building Better, Tighter and More Efficient Homes for Less. Guaranteed!, Energy Code: Reality of the Law, Remodeling the Home for Efficiency, Comfort and Health
  3. Mechanical … the heartbeat of the home – HVAC  for Low Energy Homes Part 1 and Part 2, Mechanical Ventilation: Code Requirements and Beyond
  4. Your building puzzles – bring your own (open forum) – Moisture Intrusion, Attic Best Practices, High Performance Walls

To receive your CEU credits, fill out the official paperwork (available at the training) and submit to our education partner, Seventhwave, following your session. The number of credits you receive will depend on which classes you attend that day. For more information, call (319) 786-4640.  The cost?  Nowhere else can you get CEU-qualified train­ing at this price!

  • $75 for Alliant Energy, Cedar Falls Utilities and MidAmerican Energy customers and Dealer Network members.
  • $60 for students
  • $150 per person for non-customers


Payment:  Please mail in your check or money order for payment. We do not accept credit card payments over the phone.

Alliant Energy Builder Training

ATTN: Jeremy Rannals

200 1st Street SE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401-1409

For questions, please email buildforperformance@alliantenergy.com or call (319) 786-4640 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Dr. Ben Carson New HUD Secretary

Congratulations to Dr. Ben Carson, who is President-elect Trump’s secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  NAHB Chairman Ed Brady today issued this statement “NAHB congratulates Dr. Carson on his nomination as HUD secretary. He is a thoughtful leader who is sure to assemble a professional team of policy experts and be a great spokesperson for housing.  Upon his confirmation to the Cabinet post, NAHB looks forward to working with Dr. Carson to promote pro-housing policies that support homeownership, provide rental housing opportunities for low- and middle-income households, and remove regulatory barriers that are needlessly raising housing costs for hard-working American families.”

Expiring Tax Provisions

A number of temporary tax provisions, or tax extenders, are set to expire this month, and it appears unlikely that Congress will renew them.  They include energy tax incentives used by builders, as well as home owner tax benefits including the deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.  Renewing this package of tax extenders had become a regular and dependable political event, but recent political developments have altered the political calculation.  The following tax provisions will expire after Dec. 31:

  • Deduction for Mortgage Insurance. Allows taxpayers, subject to an income cap beginning at $100,000, to deduct premiums paid for private mortgage insurance and FHA/RHA/VA insurance premiums.
  • Section 45L Tax Credit for Energy Efficient New Homes. Provides builders a $2,000 tax credit for the construction of homes exceeding heating and cooling energy standards by 50%. The base energy code is the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code plus supplements. Builders must have tax basis in the home to claim the credit (i.e., they must own and then sell/lease the residence).
  • Section 25C Tax Credit for Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements. This policy offers a credit worth up to $500 (subject to a $500 lifetime cap), with lower caps for certain products like windows, for consumers to install qualified energy-efficient upgrades.
  • Section 25D Tax Credit for Power Production Property (partial expiration). This program offers a 30% tax credit for the installation of solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps and fuel cells in new or existing homes. Starting Jan. 1, this credit will only be available for solar, and will remain in effect through 2021, although under a new phase-out regime. The 30% credit becomes a 26% credit in 2020, a 22% credit in 2021, and then expires.
  • Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief. The provision eliminates any taxes home owners might face due to renegotiating the terms of a home loan, which result in forgiving or canceling a portion of the outstanding mortgage, particularly in connection with short sales. It applies only to principal residences and is extended for 2015 and 2016. The exclusion is also modified to debt discharged in 2017 if the discharge is pursuant to a written agreement entered into in 2016.
  • Section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction. Provides a deduction up to $1.80 per square foot for commercial and multifamily buildings that exceed specific energy efficiency requirements under ASHRAE 2007.

FHA New Loan Limits

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has released its new schedule of loan limits effective Jan. 1, and the nationwide rise in home prices means that buyers in 2,948 counties will see increases.  The news was expected in the wake of the increase in the conforming loan limit announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Nov. 23.

The FHA floor is set at 65% of the national limit, which FHFA increased from $417,000 to $424,100. That makes the new FHA limit rise from $271,050 to $275,665. This floor applies to areas where 115% of area median home price is less than $275,665. For these areas, the loan limit is the floor.

The FHA high-cost ceiling is 150% of the national limit, which will increase from $625,500 to $ 636,150, the same ceiling for conforming loans in 2017. High-cost areas are those where 115% of area median home price is greater than the floor ($275,665) but less than the ceiling ($636,150). In these areas, the limit equals 115% of area median home price.

The limit will remain the same in 286 counties, and there are no counties where the limit decreased.  Learn more in HUD’s press release, and see the list of counties where limits will increase.

Weekly Update: December 1, 2016

10 Hour OSHA Course in Iowa City – Deadline Tomorrow

Here is a great opportunity on December 6 and 7, 2016 – a 10 Hour OSHA Construction Course designed for commercial and residential construction firms as well as sub-contractors. Attendees of the class will walk away with important knowledge of OSHA requirements, the importance of learning and adhering to proper safety procedures, as well as a practical understanding of why safety conscious behavior is so vital to each and every worker on the jobsite. Attendees will understand the importance of proactively preventing losses and demonstrating how it will help them retain profitability.

Topics include: Intro to OSHA, Fall Protection, Caught-in/Between Hazards, Electrical. Learn about scaffolds, personal protection and lifesaving equipment, stairways and ladders, material han-dling, storage use and disposal, power and hand tools and much more. All who attend will receive multiple handouts and a completion card issued by the OSHA institute. Click here for the details and if you are a member of our Federation, the member price applies depending on your local HBA.

HBAI Member Rebate Extended Until Tomorrow

You have until tomorrow, December 2 and it can’t be much easier to do and it puts money in your pocket for using products from over 50 manufacturers.  You’re already using them! The average rebate for participants in 2015 was $1,178.12.  That alone is a 200-300% return on your HBA dues investment.  Go to our website and fill in the online form.

Member Advantage Discounts

Your 3-in-1 membership includes an exclusive program from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) called Member Advantage. This offers you ways to reduce expenses, increase efficiency, and maximize profits through discounts on products and services with leading, national companies. To learn more about these discounts and how to access the savings go to NAHB Member Discounts. Click here for an overview of all discounts.

Second Look at GDP Growth in the Third Quarter – Better But Beware

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released the second estimate of real GDP growth for the third quarter of 2016. Real GDP grew at a 3.2% seasonally adjusted annual rate, an upward revision from the advance estimate of 2.9%. Growth was 1.4% in the second quarter. The upward revision was based mainly on faster growth in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) that was partially offset by weaker investment spending.

The upward revision and acceleration from the first half of the year notwithstanding, the report still has weaknesses. Personal consumption expenditures, roughly two thirds of GDP, have been the workhorse of GDP growth in recent quarters and represent sustainable growth. However, the surprisingly strong growth in exports was maintained in the revision but is unlikely to be maintained in coming quarters. And weaker than previously estimated investment spending reduced overall growth and relied mainly on inventory rather than fixed investment, but may have the silver lining of being positive after three consecutive quarters of decline.

GDP growth has accelerated from recent quarters but the composition of growth is less strong than the rate suggests and its sustainability will require a rebound in business fixed investment.

Proactive Ideas for Labor Shortages at IBS Session

In a recent article published by Fortune.com, NAHB estimated that there are approximately 200,000 unfilled construction jobs in the United States-a jump of 81% in the last two years. This labor shortage has resulted in increased costs and lost time for builders across the country.

It is a real and pressing issue, but what are the solutions?

The NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) Master Session: “Labor Shortage: Proactive Ideas for Solving Your Trade Gap” hopes to offer a few.

Forward-thinking professionals who have not sat idly by, but instead have successfully taken this issue head on, will share tactics they used to solve their local short-term gap, and how they even found a way to turn it into a competitive advantage.

In this three-hour advanced session, participants will:

  • Learn about steps other builders have taken to solve their immediate labor needs and the actions that did not produce results.
  • Hear the success of a combined team effort to introduce 9,300 students to career opportunities in the building trades.
  • Be able to recognize the specific steps the industry must take to address the trade shortage issue on a broader scale.

The session will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 11 from 8-11 a.m. and is eligible for continuing education credits. To secure a seat, you must have a full registration or one-day education registration for Wednesday.

General seating is first come, first served, but seats can be reserved in advance for $25. Reserved seating can only be purchased during IBS advanced registration online, not on site. Simply add this session to your Builders’ Show registration.

Find It and Fix It Before OSHA Does

Jobsite inspections are a key component of any safety and health program. The responsibility of identifying and correcting hazards extends to every supervisor and worker at the company.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to conduct regular, day-to-day inspections of their jobsites, materials and equipment. The consequences of not having safety procedures in place could potentially result in serious injury or even death. It could also lead to thousands of dollars in fines and increased insurance costs.

Those whom the employer designates to conduct the inspections should be competent enough to know the applicable safety standards and identify various hazards in the workplace. These individuals should also have the authority to take appropriate action. Specific requirements must also be met for some of OSHA’s standards as well, such as those for scaffolding and trenching.

Anytime a potential safety hazard is identified by the supervisor responsible for inspecting the jobsite – or it is identified by workers, subs, vendors or invited visitors – the hazard must be evaluated immediately and appropriate action must be taken.

Immediate action can include:
  • Evaluating the potential hazard and correcting it, if possible
  • Notifying all those who could be at risk to avoid the hazard
  • Contacting the designated person or safety coordinator to either fix the hazard or determine if no action is necessary