Weekly Update: December 26, 2013

We’re Officially in the New Location

home-builder-iowaEverything is moved and the signage is down at our former location in Urbandale.  We’re now within walking distance of the Capitol and right in the heart of the action in a thriving East Village.

From now on, please use the following address:


Home Builders Association of Iowa

400 East Court Avenue

Suite 120

Des Moines, IA  50309


Our office phone number remains the same:


 We cancelled the fax number, although the machine is still there waiting if we ever need it again.

Give us until after the holidays to get it looking presentable, but then please stop by to check it out.  If you walk in the front door to the building at 400 East Court Avenue, follow the purple curved wall to the right and we’re the first door on the right, around the corner.

Evaluating New Building Materials

Builders face many choices in selecting new products, materials, equipment, and fixtures to use in the construction of a home. You can determine which building materials best fit your needs by obtaining information about new or unfamiliar items from manufacturers and distributors. Reviewing building material choices in advance may help eliminate non-conforming materials, returns and possibly disputes.

For builders that may not have their own review process, NAHB has developed a guide to assist you in gathering information from manufacturers and distributors when considering the selection of new building materials.

The Multigenerational Household Trend

Family households consisting of three or more generations, or “multigenerational households,” have become increasingly popular. According to the most recent Census, approximately 4.4 million American homes had three generations or more living under one roof in 2010, a 15 percent increase from two years earlier. This is 5.6 percent of the total of 76.4 million U.S. households with more than one person.

There are many reasons for this trend. The recession caused many adult children to return home after college, either because they weren’t able to get jobs that would cover rent, or they wanted to save up to buy homes of their own. According to Pew Institute research, the share of the U.S. population aged 18 to 31 living in their parent’s home increased to 36 percent or a record 21.6 million young adults in 2012.

 Multigenerational households also form so that grandparents can help take care of their grandchildren, and as they age, their children can care for them. This type of arrangement can ease financial burdens as well, with several generations contributing to the mortgage payment and not having to incur the expenses of childcare, retirement housing or professional care-giving environments.

Home builders and remodelers are building and renovating homes to meet the needs of multigenerational households. These designs allow many generations of the same family to live together under one roof yet have private areas as well as combined living space.

Features of multigenerational home plans can include in-law suites within the main home with separate areas for independent living. These often have kitchenettes and en suite bathrooms, and sometimes private entrances from the street. They frequently include “universal design” products, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include walk-in showers, smooth flooring transitions, and cabinets with pull-out drawers.

Building professionals who have earned the National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation have received training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of their age or ability level. They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically pleasing, barrier-free living environments. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care professionals. 

Weekly Update: December 19, 2013


Iowa Party at Pizza Rock Las Vegas on Wednesday, February 5

The Iowa Night party at IBS should be a great time, we’re working on plans with Pizza Rock for Wednesday, February 5, 2014.  It’s located at 201 North Third Street in Downtown Las Vegas.  We’re still looking for sponsors – we do have Cascade and Lumber Specialties both on board, American Contract Sales is in, and Rich & Mary Fitch have committed to helping out as well.

   Mark it on your calendar today – the early registration rates for IBS end tomorrow.  To help you decide to go, here’s the menu:

Classic Caesar – Hearts of Romaine, house croutons and Parmigiano reggiano

Fried green beans – Tossed with Garlic and EVOO

Classic meatballs – Served with house made marinara and fresh grated parmesan

La Regina (Sicilian style) – Gold Cup Winner Intl. Pizza Championships Parma, Italy; Sopressata Picante, Proscuitto de Parma, Mozzarella, Provola, Parmaigiano, Piave, Arugula

Romana Pizzas (Romana Style) – A melody of a very long pizza made “three ways” with different toppings and flavors

New Yorker (New York/New Haven Style) – Mozzarella, Garlic, Hand Crushed Tomato Sauce, Natural Casing Peperoni, Italian Fennel Sausage, Ricotta, Oregano

Congressman Tom Latham Moving On at End of 2014 Term

tom-lathamYou probably heard on the news Tuesday that Iowa Third District Congressman will not be seeking any other office after his term concludes at the end of next year.  He’s been great for our industry and state.  It’s a bummer, but understandable and we wish him well.  In a note he wrote:  

   My professional life has taken me away from home often. In fact, in my 39 years of marriage to Kathy I have spent half of it on the road building a family business and the other half serving in the United States Congress. It is never a perfect time or a right time to step aside. But for me, this is the time.  I want to share with you my decision that I will not be a candidate for any office in November of 2014.  What makes this decision most difficult is the continued and faithful friendship and support I have received from you and so many friends. Because of you, I have never been in a stronger position to win reelection to Congress. I will never find the words that can adequately reflect how truly blessed I feel. For a farm kid from a small town in Franklin County this has truly been an amazing and honored experience.  I still have one year left on my term and we have a great amount of work to do on behalf of this nation and her people.

Clean Water Act Redo – Pay attention

In a move that would have far-reaching effects on builders seeking stormwater and wetlands permits, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are expected to unveil a proposed rule in the coming weeks that would greatly expand federal regulatory jurisdiction over wetlands under the Clean Water Act (CWA). We have representation within our ranks on this and will keep you informed of future developments.

For the first time ever, the rule would specifically define ditches as jurisdictional tributaries. Moreover, any other man-made conveyance that drains or connects would also likely qualify as a tributary. The proposed rule would dramatically increase the number of isolated wetlands, ephemeral streams and “other waters” (a term that has not been defined) that would require federal wetlands permits.

A Huge Economic Impact

clean-waterThe regulatory consequences of this expanded jurisdiction are staggering. Allowing roadside, irrigation and stormwater ditches to be classified as waters of the United States obliterates state authority over land and water, which runs contrary to the CWA.

Under the strict terms of the CWA, any discharge into a waterbody covered under the act is illegal unless the property owner gets a permit. By expanding jurisdiction to features like ditches, EPA and the Corps will exert federal control over large tracts of state and private lands, requiring CWA permits from anyone who wants to do anything on that land.

Under the CWA, federal agencies issue permits frequently used by builders. The EPA or responsible state authorities issue permits under the Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program, while the Corps issues Section 404 dredge-and-fill permits for construction and other development projects.

Drastically extending the regulatory reach of the U.S. government over most bodies of water will result in a substantial economic impact. CWA permits can take years to obtain and cost thousands of dollars or more.

Only Congress reserves the authority to make such a sweeping change to the Clean Water Act.

In meetings with lawmakers, we are hammering home the point that the proposed rule would impede the fragile housing recovery and dramatically increase the cost and time needed to obtain a wetlands permit prior to home construction. It would also interfere with the ability of individual landowners to use their property, and thus negatively impact economic growth.