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.

Weekly Update: July 6, 2017

The 4th Annual Doug Mayo Golf Outing in the Books

We lucked out with the weather and had a great day at Copper Creek last Friday for the 4th Annual Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Outing.  The scholarship recipients had great things to say in front of the full crowd of 36 teams, everything flowed very well and it was basically a 4.5-hour round.  The event raises over $20k each year to provide scholarships to students entering the building trades.  We really appreciated having seven of our scholarship recipients and their parents take the time to travel and participate – Alec Brundell (Paul Brundell); Audrey Hefel (Doug and Sheila Hefel); Tanner Iverson (Jay Iverson); Drew Madden (Rick Madden); Michael Madden (Todd Madden); Caleb Statler (Jeremy Statler); and Abby Tornow (Sherry).

Commencement of Work Notices for Residential Projects – It Started Last Saturday

On July 1, 2017, House File 586 went into effect. This new law requires all “general contractors” as defined under the law (that is, all contractors who directly work for a homeowner) to timely file a C.O.W. Notice at the outset of each residential project to preserve their lien rights, regardless of whether subcontractors will be used on the project. Thus, even contractors who self-perform all work without any “subcontractors,” as well as suppliers who supply directly to homeowners, will now have to timely file this C.O.W. Notice within 10 days of the start of their residential projects to preserve their lien rights.

Thus, as of July 1, 2017, all general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers on residential projects who want to preserve their mechanic’s lien rights on residential projects must timely file their C.O.W. Notice (for general contractors and others working directly for an owner) or Preliminary Notice (for subcontractors) at the outset of such projects. Otherwise, all lien rights are lost.  Please see this article for further details. Please contact attorney Jodie McDougal if you have any questions regarding this law.

ICC Energy Code Free Webinar July 13

Builders have a choice between two different paths to satisfy the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  The prescriptive path lays out specifications for both the materials and installation, like a recipe. But the performance path can reduce construction cost by allowing builders to cost-optimize a solution that is best for them in order to meet the energy code requirements.

The webinar Using the Performance Path for Compliance in the IRC and Energy CodeThursday, July 132-3 p.m. ET, will explore how the performance path provides builders more choices when deciding how to comply with the new energy code requirements. Learn about these options and how to use them to build a code-compliant, energy-efficient home at a lower cost.  Participants in this webinar will:

  • Recognize the flexibility built into the energy code and when to apply the various paths of compliance
  • Become familiar with the performance path and new Energy Rating Index path in the IECC
  • Walk through the way energy modeling compliance works in this path
  • Review the “Mandatory” requirements specified in the energy code
  • See the potential benefit of using the performance path to save on energy code compliance

Although this is a free webinar, you’ll still need to register to attend. Registration is open until 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 12.  This webinar provides 1.0 hours of continuing education credits for the following 12 designations: CAPS, CGA, CGB, CGP, CGR, CMP, CSP, GMB, GMR, Master CGP, Master CSP, MIRM.  This webinar is the third in a series of three webinars available free of charge thanks to the generous support of the International Code Council (ICC). For access to the latest tools for code compliance, standards, education, and ICC’s Family of Companies, visit www.iccsafe.org or call 888-422-7233.

30 year fixed mortgages continue to be lowered, an interesting pattern over the course of a year.


10 Year High on Residential Fixed Investment

Final estimates of first quarter 2017 GDP growth (revised up two-tenths of a percentage point to 1.4%), show that housing’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) was unchanged at 15.6%.  The home building and remodeling component-residential fixed investment (RFI)-increased 0.1 percentage point to 3.6% as a share of GDP.  The first-quarter expansion of RFI added 0.48 percentage point to the headline GDP growth rate (i.e. GDP would have expanded only 0.9% had RFI remained unchanged).  Of the 31 quarters since the end of the Great Recession, only five times has residential fixed investment contributed more to GDP than it did in Q1 2017.

Housing-related activities contribute to GDP in two basic ways.  The first is through RFI-effectively the measure of the home building, multifamily development, and remodeling contributions to GDP. It includes construction of new single-family and multifamily structures, residential remodeling, production of manufactured homes, and brokers’ fees.

RFI comprised 3.6% of the economy in the first quarter of 2017.  In nominal terms, RFI rose from a $596 billion seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) to $614 billion in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars-a 3.1% increase.  This represents the highest level of real RFI (SAAR) in nearly a decade (Q3 2007).

The second impact of housing on GDP is the measure of housing services, which includes gross rents (including utilities) paid by renters, and owners’ imputed rent (an estimate of how much it would cost to rent owner-occupied units) and utility payments. The inclusion of owners’ imputed rent is necessary from a national income accounting approach, because without this measure, increases in homeownership would result in declines for GDP.  In the first quarter, housing services comprised 12.0% of the economy or $2.03 trillion (SAAR), falling 0.1 percentage point from the fourth quarter of 2016.

Taken together, housing’s share of GDP was 15.6% in the first quarter.  RFI and housing services have averaged 4.6% and 13.2% of GDP, respectively, over the past 35 years for a combined 17.9% of GDP. These shares tend to vary over the business cycle. RFI as a share of the economy, for instance, has risen 33% (from 2.6% to 3.6%) since the end of the Great Recession.

Iowa Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Board

License Renewal Update

Over 5,500 individuals have successfully renewed their license as of June 30, 2017.  This number represents slightly less than half of all individuals who were sent renewal notices.   The vast majority of applications that are submitted online are able to be renewed automatically and issued within a few days of submission.  Paper applications are processed in the order received. Due to the extremely high volumes at this time, paper applications can take 4 to 6 weeks to process.  Below are some helpful tips and reminders to assist you with navigating the renewal process.

Renewal Grace Period

If you have a license that expires on June 30, 2017, the license is still valid for work until the end of August 2017.  Individuals can renew the license during the month of July with no additional late fees or penalties.  Beginning August 1, individuals who have not renewed the license must submit a late fee of $60 per license in addition to the renewal fee.  Beginning September 1, the license is no longer valid for work in the state of Iowa and individuals must submit a late fee of $100 per license in addition to the renewal fee.  Please submit your renewal as soon as possible if you have not already done so.  If you submit an incomplete application or incorrect fees, the application will be returned to you and you will owe late fees after the end of July.

Contractor Renewals

The job of creating a combined application process for contractors that are covered by Iowa Code Chapters 91C and 105 has resulted in some processing delays. However, be advised that all contractor licenses are still valid during the renewal grace period.  The Iowa Division of Labor has extended a similar grace period to contractors who are renewing registration through the one-stop shop.  If your contractor license was due to expire on June 30, 2017, it is still valid for work in the state of Iowa until the end of July.

Board staff are working closely with the Division of Labor and will begin issuing new license certificates and registration numbers starting today.  Contractors who have submitted a complete renewal application should expect to begin receiving their license certificate in the upcoming weeks.  Licenses and wallet cards will be sent via email to the email address we have on file for the company.  If you do not have an email address, the certificate and renewal card will be mailed to the company’s business address.

Fee Calculation Worksheet

Incorrect fees are one of the most common reasons renewal applications are returned.  A fee calculation worksheet is available on our website at https://idph.iowa.gov/pmsb/fees.  The board office does not issue routine refunds which means if you submit an application with incorrect fees, the application will be returned.