Weekly Update: March 2, 2017

home builder iowa scott webster

   HBAI First Vice President Scott Webster (on left) guided members of the Senate State Government Committee through the Energy Conservation bill SSB1126 (Now SF388) last Tuesday.  He and Senator Roby Smith (Scott County) put together the legislation to make the 2009 ICC Energy Code the minimum requirement in the State.  Cities can still go higher, but this will help many of our members who cannot be competitive with border states.  Many groups and individuals have been pushing the 2015 and 2018 codes, which could add approximately $7k to the cost of a new home.  As long as it’s not mandated at the state level, there will be opportunities to build homes that are more affordable, healthy, and safe.  It advances.

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.

DM HBA raises $750 For HBAI Education Corp

A big thank you goes to the Greater Des Moines HBA for raising $750 in a silent auction to benefit the HBAI Education Corporation.  We award scholarships to students going into building trade programs.  The deadline for the scholarship applications is March 31 and you can find them here.

Kansas City HBA Looking for Parade Judges

We’ve had our members participate in this in the past and they’ve had a great time.  Meet industry professionals and see new homes outside of your area.  They need you to judge on Thursday, April 20 and Friday, April 21.  You’re responsible for your own transportation down there, but they’ll put you up in a nice hotel and provide meals and entertainment.  Email Jay Iverson if interested and he’ll forward the application form.

4th Annual Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Tourney Registration Now Open

Please join us for the 4th Annual Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday June 30th, 2017. Click here to register.

President Trump Rescinds WOTUS

President Trump Rescinds WOTUS

As NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald looked on (on left in photo) – President Donald Trump today honored a campaign promise made to home builders and signed an executive order directing EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin the process of rescinding or revising the controversial “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.

“NAHB commends President Trump for listening to our serious concerns about the flawed WOTUS rule that goes so far as to regulate man-made ditches and isolated ponds on private property,” said MacDonald before the signing ceremony. “This is an important first step towards fixing the flawed regulation and working towards a more sensible WOTUS rulemaking.”

HBAI Endorses Fred Hoppe (NE) for NAHB Third Vice Chair

At our HBAI Board of Directors meeting, we endorsed Fred Hoppe from Lincoln, NE as our choice for NAHB third vice chair.  Driven by family history, Fred Hoppe is determined to put people into housing. His family has been in the housing industry in Nebraska since the early 1900s.

Fred owns and runs Hoppe Homes, which builds an “affordable future” by specializing in lease-to-own single-family, low income housing tax credit and workforce multifamily. He owns Hoppe Inc., which builds commercial, including remodeling. As a lawyer, he concentrates on residential housing and builder issues. As an advocate, he reviews every new law in Nebraska for its effect on the industry.

Fred is an NAHB Life Director, and has served NAHB for over 20 years including chairmanships of Conventions, Association Planning and Legal Action. For a full list of NAHB activities see hoppetalkshousing.com.

Fred has been a dedicated fundraiser for BUILD-PAC, reaching a $1.5 million goal as chairman in 2015. He has been Nebraska State Government Affairs chair and Lincoln Home Builders Home-Pac chair.

He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife Julie, who also served as an Associate leader at NAHB. They have seven children. Fred is a member of the Nebraska State HBA, the Central Nebraska HBA and the HBA of Lincoln. He has recruited more than 130 new NAHB members.

Federal HJ Res 83 Legislation Support – Disapprove of OSHA’s Volks Rule

A key vote at the Federal level is expected to occur this week, disapproving of OSHA’s Volks Rule.  The rule is a regulatory end run around Congress and the courts.  If the rule is not disapproved, small businesses will be subject to recordkeeping paperwork violations that do nothing to improve worker safety.  Check out the NAHB letters to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

HBA Iowa Legislative Session

   This is funnel week and we’re halfway through the Iowa Legislative Session.  Meetings are long and packed with people, silly arguments are in play, minor illnesses abound – but, we’re getting through it and making some progress.  Many giant issues like abortion, gun laws, and assorted others will consume time.

Dynamite Domiciles

Last month existing home sales absolutely sizzled, hitting a rate of 5.69 million/year, the best level since 2/07. Remarkably, this strength came despite inventory of only 1.69 million units. That’s just 3.6 months of supply at the current sales pace, the lowest level seen this century! Moreover, inventory has fallen year-over-year for 20 straight months. Unsurprisingly, the median-priced home is up a whopping 7.1% from last January. Please, more homebuilding!  Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

Last Chance for Weekend Walleye Tournament – May 5-7

We still need another team member for the 2017 Wall-Iowa Tournament on Lake Erie.  Friday May 5 is a pre-fishing day, Saturday May 6 and Sunday May 7 are tournament days.  Email Jay Iverson if you’re interested as soon as possible.  It will be a cheap trip and lots of fun.

Weekly Update: February 23, 2017

   The Iowa Truss Manufacturers Association and the Iowa Lumber Association held their annual lobby day early Wednesday morning.  It was an excellent event, with a steady flow of legislators.  We are all working on the same legislative priorities.

4th Annual Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Tourney Registration Now Open

Please join us for the 4th Annual Doug Mayo Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday June 30th, 2017. We will have a great day of golf to support the Home Builders Association of Iowa Educational Corporation and the proceeds will provide scholarships to students entering the building trades.

Our event sells out quickly and will feature a great day of golf along with many other activities. Sponsorship packages are available to provide you added recognition and business opportunities at the event. New this year is our clothing line.  On the registration page you’ll find a link to order your apparel.

Register today and be sure to invite your friends and business associates to register as well. If you have any questions, please contact us. Our contact information is under the ‘Contact’ tab.
We will also have another awesome live auction – last year we had NCAA basketball playoff tickets, Cubs & Cardinals baseball game tickets, steak fry’s at your business site, exclusive golf packages, etc.

Click here to register.

Iowa Lumber Prices Graph

    Have you noticed the price increases in lumber this past 30 days?  There are several market conditions that are driving it and hopefully it’s just a very temporary thing.  There is a great deal of work going on to try to correct it before it injures our progress and growth.

Legislative Update

It’s been really busy and there is a huge flurry of activity as next week’s funnel deadline approaches.  Meetings have been non-stop and into the night.  Our HBAI Legislative Committee did not meet last week, but we will meet tomorrow.  Several of our initiatives are moving forward and the following notes will bring you up to speed.

Statute of Repose Ready for House Floor

The House Judiciary Committee passed HF3 as amended by a 12-9 vote.  The bill would reduce the statute of repose from 15 years to 8 years for commercial construction, but included the following ammendments:

  • Actions causing injury or death, related to nuclear power plants and interstate pipelines would maintain a 15 year repose period.
  • Residential construction would have a 10 year statute of repose.
  • For actions related to intentional misconduct or fraudulent concealment of unsafe or defective conditions, would retain a 15 year repose period.
  • If the unsafe or defective condition is discovered within one year of the expiration of the applicable repose period, the repose period would be extended one year.

We did not want to see any amendments to it and we’re working hard on the Senate version.  The bill does create an exemption for intentional misconduct and fraudulent concealment, which is redundant with other portions of the Iowa code.  It is very narrow and the burden of proof is extremely high and limited – a plaintiff must prove that a design was altered or substitutions made with the intent of doing harm.  We will need to do a call to action for your representatives in the Iowa House next week.

HSB62 & SSB1092Mechanics Lien – This is one that we had elected to register as undecided earlier, but had some concerns as several other like-minded organizations registered against the bill.  At the HBAI BOD meeting we did make that change with an 8-3 vote to register against.  Here are some of our concerns and the response from Master Builders of Iowa to address them:

Page 2, Line 6:  An easement or right-of-way is a property interest that has already been conveyed, i.e. utility company, municipality, neighbor, etc.  Since the law was originally written, easements have been excluded.   (This portion of HSB 62 will be withdrawn, thus existing statute remains intact.)

Line 10:  This appears to remove the ability for general contractors to file a lien on an owner past 90 days.  Why is it necessary to limit the time that a residential general can file a lien?  In the event that payment is late, it shortens the window that a general can take action against an owner who doesn’t pay. (This portion of HSB 62 will be withdrawn, thus existing statute remains intact.)

Page 3, Line 9:  We believe that this gives the general a disproportionate amount of control over subcontractors.  An owner-builder has the ability under the current statute to stand in the shoes of the owner.  The new language extends the general’s reach to all other properties.  The intent of the 572 is to protect those who have extended labor or materials.  Our membership is heavily split with generals and subs, it is important to balance the protections of both generals and subs.  (Striking the words “or general contractor” and inserting the words “owner-builder”.

Line 16:  The language change would create a new burden on contractors who file a court action to enforce a mechanic’s lien.  In the event that the contractor does not win the lawsuit, the contractors would then be required to pay the property owner’s attorney’s fees.  Property owners are already protected from improper mechanic’s lien filings under 572.32, where attorney’s fees can be recovered. (MBI remains convinced that making this section mutual is a better approach to avoid frivolous filings.)

Page 4, Line 10:  For any subcontractors within the association that do commercial work, it adds an additional burden for subcontractors and suppliers without creating clarity.  572 creates a database where the various parties have access to who is working on a project.  This section requires a paper notice to a general in order to have lien rights in the event that subs aren’t paid.  If there is a dispute on whether the sub provided a paper notice, the sub has the burden to prove it was received by the general.  (Again, please note that this is public sector work / taxpayer funded work (Iowa Code Section 573 – claims on retainage).  So the statement that this is commercial work needs to be understood under that context.  Section 10 of the bill basically creates a notification process that is already being copied verbatim after what Chapter 572 (private sector mechanic liens) is required to do.  Check Iowa code section 572.33.  BTW- if you read the section you will note that 572.33.1 states “The notification requirements in this section apply only to commercial construction.”  The legislative intent to when this exemption was created stated that commercial construction does not have follow the procedures of the registry.  Also, ask any attorney who has worked on a public sector claim, they will tell you a mechanic’s lien on a public project is not worth the price of paper it is printed on.  How is a mechanics lien enforced on a public project?  Is the owner required to sell the school to pay off the claimants?  No.  That is why 573 was created.)  MBI is simply asking that a notice is provided to the general or principal contractor (the entity with contractual privity with the owner) to provide notice of when materials and/or labor are provided to a jobsite for a subcontractor.  The general or the principal as no way of knowing whether or not that entity is getting paid under the current statute.  We are simply asking that is what is being done on 80 percent of the commercial construction industry (private sector work), be applied to the remaining 20 percent (public sector work).

Page 5, Line 28:  This creates a risk that contractors will have to pay for the property owner’s attorney’s fees.  MBI remains convinced that making this section mutual is a better approach to avoid frivolous filings.)

SSB1126Energy Code/Home Rule – The bill provides that if a governmental subdivision adopts minimum energy conservation requirements that are not less restrictive than the 2009 edition of the international energy conservation code, then applicable residential construction must comply with the energy conservation requirements adopted by the governmental subdivision in lieu of the energy conservation requirements adopted by the commissioner.

Last Chance for Weekend Walleye Tournament – May 5-7

We still need a couple of team members for the 2017 Wall-Iowa Tournament on Lake Erie.  There is nowhere in the world with as good of a chance to catch 30″+ walleyes consistently.  The cost for each of us is $610, which includes three days of guided fishing, lodging in condos, a prime rib dinner at the awards banquet, and tons of prizes and awards.  Once we have our six, we’ll figure out transportation and there are inexpensive options for that. Friday May 5 is a pre-fishing day, Saturday May 6 and Sunday May 7 are tournament days.  Email Jay Iverson if you’re interested as soon as possible.

Scholarship Deadline

The HBAI Education Corporation annually awards scholarships to students entering the building trades.  If you know of a student, the deadline to apply is March 31.  Follow this link for more information and the application.

Travel Discounts

We recently announced a new member benefit – discounts on travel.  So far they have been significantly less expensive than any other travel site.  It’s a $99 value, but costs you nothing as a member.  Pass it on to family and friends too.

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:

www.SnazzyTraveler.com/HBAIowa

Enter our exclusive promo code: HBAIowaTravel2017

When you enter in our code, you have to hit that “redeem” icon or else it acts like it wants credit card info and a $99 payment.