Weekly Update: February 8, 2018

All eyes were on HBAI President Scott Webster last Tuesday as he discussed SSB3138, which is a proposal put forward to guide the adoption of the energy code. It was a very interesting meeting and the future of the bill is unknown at this time. There was an excellent home rule discussion.

Legislative Update February 2

Budgets will not be delivered officially until March reports, but you might check out SF2117, which are the proposed budget cuts on the Senate side.

We asked you to contact your senators and representatives regarding SSB3064 and HSB575. These are companion bills that allow for the opportunity to repair construction defects prior to litigation. It was a top priority, but now may be on the path to pushing it to next year. More info will follow after we make it past next week’s funnel. Here are a few other bills of interest:

SSB3065 – Partition of Property -The bill contains general provisions applicable to all property partitions. The current procedures related to an action for partition, partition pending probate or administration of an estate, a petition for partition and the parties to such, the answer to a partition petition, and the prohibition of a counterclaim or joinder of claims to a partition petition are not changed by the bill. The bill requires that personal property subject to a lien be partitioned by sale. Partition of real and personal property owned by the same person may be partitioned in the same partition action. HBAI Undecided.

SSB3087 & HSB602 – Workforce Development/Apprenticeship – This bill relates to workforce development by establishing a volunteer mentoring program, a registered apprenticeship development program, an employer innovation fund, a summer youth intern program, and future ready Iowa skilled workforce scholarship and grant programs and funds, and providing for shared postsecondary summer classes for high school students that are aligned with career pathways. The bill also makes conforming changes. HBAI in Support.

SSB3097 – Abandoned Structures – Read it, it’s sort of long, but The bill defines abandoned structures, requires a property to remain vacant for 135 days before a person may request the responsible building official to inspect a building to determine whether it is abandoned, and adds a section on the term “responsible building official.”. HBAI Undecided.

SSB3100 – Mechanics Lien Anti-Collateral – The bill removes the bar to obtaining a mechanic’s lien if a person takes collateral security, either at the time of making a contract or during progress of the work, on a contract for furnishing material or performing labor. HBAI in Support.

SSB3138 – Energy Conservation Requirements – This bill relates to energy conservation requirements contained within the state building code or adopted by governmental subdivisions. HBAI in Support.

HSB596 – Time of Sale Requirements for Real Property – This bill prohibits cities and counties from restricting a person’s ability to refinance, sell, or transfer title to property. Under the bill, a city or county cannot, by ordinance, motion, resolution, amendment, or other means, restrict the ability of an owner to refinance, sell, or otherwise transfer title to property by requiring an owner to take or show compliance with any action with respect to a property or pay any fee before, at the time of, or within a certain period of time after refinancing, selling, or transferring title to the property. HBAI in Support.

The Iowa Building Code Advisory Council met Tuesday to discuss the state energy code. It’s been a long struggle, but we’re looking out for housing affordability and the opportunity to make amendments that make the most business sense. There will be much more to talk about in the coming months.

2017 Federation Membership Saved $7,500 Per Housing Start

NAHB economists have put a dollar value on selected member benefits and advocacy victories achieved in 2017. Add it up, and you get an average of $7,500 per housing start for a typical builder. That figure demonstrates just how much value NAHB delivers for members: the value per housing start a typical builder will see in 2018 as a result of key NAHB advocacy victories in 2017. Some members will experience more of these benefits than others. Here are some of the advocacy victories that contributed to that number.

  1. OSHA Suspends Enforcement of Onerous Beryllium Rule. Estimated value: $2.03 billion ($1,600 per housing start). On Jan. 9, 2017, OSHA published its final rule on Occupational Exposure to Beryllium. Even though the proposed rule did not apply to the construction industry, the final rule did. NAHB filed a lawsuit challenging OSHA’s authority to issue such a rule under these circumstances. In response, OSHA announced that it would stop enforcing the rule in the construction industry.
  2. Preservation of Lower Cost Options in Building Codes. Estimated Value: $1.26 billion ($1,000 per housing start). NAHB was successful in keeping a number of costly provisions out of the 2015 versions of the International Residential Code and International Energy Conservation Code. Defeated proposals include: Fenestration-U-Factor in Climate Zones 5, 6, 7 and 8 increased to triple pane levels; a high-efficiency water heating equipment requirement; and requirements for new homes to facilitate future solar energy system installations.
  3. Tax Reform: Reductions in Builder Taxes. Estimated value: $1.51 billion ($1,200 per housing start). NAHB was involved from start to finish in the legislative debate over tax reform. On the business side, NAHB worked to reduce taxes on business, including reductions for pass-thru entities, which resulted in lower tax rates and a special pass-thru deduction intended to benefit small business.
  4. Tax Reform: Private Activity Bonds. Estimated value: $991 million ($800 per housing start). House-passed tax reform legislation followed early tax reform plans by eliminating the tax-exempt status of private activity bonds (PABs). NAHB worked hard to demonstrate the importance of PABs to the housing market, especially the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, and the final bill preserved PABs.
  5. Tax Reform: Protection of Builder Interest Deduction. Estimated value: $884 million ($700 per housing start). The 2016 Better Way Tax Reform blueprint (published by the Ways and Means Committee as an initial draft of tax reform) proposed to eliminate any business deduction on interest paid on business loans, including acquisition, development and construction loans. Because of NAHB’s advocacy efforts, the final tax reform legislation includes a special exemption for real estate businesses from the interest deduction limits imposed on the rest of the economy.
  6. Elimination of Seriously Flawed Duct Proposal. Estimated value: $867.4 million ($700 per housing start). NAHB, along with HBA leaders in California and Nevada, strongly opposed a proposed change to the 2018 edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) that would have limited the length of flex duct to five feet in residential applications. Recently, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials announced that it has decided not to approve this change.

Rural Ruin

Since 1/1/10, total employment growth has been 14% in the 53 metro areas with a population exceeding one million. In metro areas between 250,000 and one million, employment growth has been 9%, and in smaller metro areas, it’s been just 4.5%. Worse, in non-metro areas, employment growth has totaled 2%! The 53 largest metro areas have generated 93.3% of all new jobs despite accounting for just 56% of the population. Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D

SkillsUSA Partnership

SkillsUSA will be working with Iowa Skilled Trades to expand opportunities for all SkillsUSA students. The Iowa Skilled Trades group works with companies from all over the state who specialize in skilled trades including construction companies, cabinetry, plumbing, HVACR, and many other areas that we cover in their competitive events.

They are promoting the HBAI Educational Corporation scholarships for students pursuing a career in the home building industry and related trades. The deadline is March 31 and the scholarship details are available by clicking here.

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