Weekly Update: June 22, 2017

Here are a few of us Iowans getting ready to attend the NAHB 75th Anniversary celebration, which was a fabulous party.  Chris Matthews was our keynote speaker and a group call Jesse’s Girls from Atlanta provided the entertainment.  It was really well done.  Unfortunately it’s not a photo of all 21 Iowans who attended the NAHB Legislative Conference and Mid-Year Meeting last week in Washington D.C.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate!   It was a worthwhile set of meetings with a long list of agenda items.  From left to right:  Rich Fitch, Mary Fitch, Mike Farr, Kaytie Hill, Jay Iverson, Karyl Bohnsack, Rachel Flint, Drew Retz, Keith Butz, Tim Ruth, Mary Ruth.

Mark Hall Contributes $5,000 to HBAI EC

Longtime member and former HBAI Treasurer Mark Hall of Kings Materials just donated $5,000 to our HBAI Educational Corporation.  What an awesome gift – all proceeds go towards scholarships for students entering the building trades.  If you would like to contribute legacy gifts to the organization, it will truly help with keeping our industry alive and well.  It is a 501c3 and donations are fully deductible as the IRS allows.  Thank you Mark!  For more information on how you can help, email Jay Iverson.

Mary Fitch Recognized as NAHB Life Director

Longtime member and HBAI Secretary Mary Fitch of Ames was just awarded her NAHB life directorship, meaning that she is a permanent voting member of NAHB.  You must be a voting director for ten years and attend at least two meetings per year.  Congratulations Mary!

Don Beal and Jim Sattler Recognized for BUILD PAC Contributions

Longtime members and past HBAI presidents Don Beal and Jim Sattler were both recognized for their BUILD PAC contributions of between $50k-100k at the NAHB 75th Anniversary celebration.  Awesome!  The majority of our membership is a little weak on our contributions – we should have over 100 members giving at a minimum of Gold Key, which is $1,000 annually.  If you want to help change that, email Jay Iverson.

HBAI Board of Directors Meets Next Week

Your leadership team meets a week from today for the HBAI Board of Directors Summer meeting.  We’ve accomplished some awesome things thus far in 2017 with much more on the way.  There is much on the agenda and it should be a fruitful gathering.

21st Century Flood Reform Act

We worked this issue hard when we were in DC last week, but as the House Financial Services Committee voted last Thursday to approve the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, NAHB vowed to fight the measure until a “new construction” component is dropped from the bill.

“This is a bad bill that will make flood insurance unaffordable and inaccessible to too many home owners,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald.

At issue is a provision in the bill that would place restrictions on new construction developed in the 100-year floodplain. Specifically, four years after the bill’s enactment, new construction would no longer have access to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), pending the availability of private flood insurance.

In a new manager’s amendment, Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) put forward language that would introduce a new Federal Emergency Management Agency-contracted clearinghouse. This suggestion is based off of a state model, and NAHB has numerous concerns about how it would work on a federal level.

Additionally, if private insurance is not available in a state, NAHB warned House committee leaders in a letter that “home owners will be forced to pay a 10% surcharge on their NFIP policy. This surcharge is a penalty for policyholders solely because they purchased a newly constructed, more resilient home and a market for private insurance has not developed in their state.”

NAHB further stated that this “new construction” provision places $34 billion in wages and salaries, $24 billion in taxes and revenue, and 587,000 full-time jobs annually at risk.  “Instead of letting private insurance companies enter the market organically, this mandate skews the market through artificial means,” NAHB’s letter to lawmakers stated.

Reauthorizing the NFIP, which expires on Sept. 30, is a priority for the association. NAHB will work with lawmakers to ensure that any final reauthorization bill takes into account the concerns of the housing community.

New Tech Notes on Insulation

Today’s builders can select from an increasing number of insulation products to meet the high R-values specified by current energy codes. And installing these products correctly is key to providing energy-efficient and durable wall assemblies and comfortable indoor conditions for home buyers.  NAHB’s  Construction Technology Research Subcommittee worked with Home Innovation Research Labs to produce a Tech Note covering Installation of Common Insulation Types: Wood Frame Walls and Attics.

This Tech Note reflects industry best practices for the installation of fiberglass batts, blown fiberglass (both directly into wall cavities or on attic floors or behind netting), dry-blown and damp-spray cellulose, and open- and closed-cell spray polyurethane foam. These reflect the most common insulation products selected as reported in Home Innovation’s Annual Builder Practices Survey.

Included in the Tech Note are descriptions of the three insulation installation grades documented in theANSI/RESNET/ICC 301 Standard for the Calculation and Labeling of the Energy Performance of Low-rise Residential Buildings using an Energy Rating Index.

A Grade I installation is required under the air sealing and insulation provisions of the 2015 edition of theICC/ASHRAE 700 National Green Building Standard™.  Other highlighted practices include recommended drying times for cellulose insulation, and ventilation and re-entry recommendations when SPF insulation is applied.

The new Tech Note joins seven others available in our TechNotes: Best Practices for Home Buildersseries. Other topics include Whole House Mechanical Ventilation, Building Air Tightness, and Vapor Retarders.

These 4- to 6-page brochures provide summaries of building code requirements and document industry-recommended best practices. Graphics illustrate key code provisions and practices, and references are provided for additional information.

These resources can help builders understand today’s complex energy and mechanical codes, and select from the ever-increasing array of products and systems to meet stringent code requirements. The best practices in the Tech Notes can help builders avoid problems related to lower energy performance, moisture and mold in wall and ceiling assemblies, and poor occupant comfort that can lead to home owner complaints and callbacks.

For more information on the Tech Notes series or other building code-related research, visitnahb.org/coderesearch or contact Gary Ehrlich at 800-368-5242 x8545.

Members Ages 21-35 – IBS Scholarships!

The IBS Scholarship program is a great opportunity for NAHB members ages 21-35 to experience the 2018 NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS) – almost free. Applications are being accepted until June 21. If you qualify, here’s why you should apply:

  • Education sessions. 140+ IBS education sessions will cover the hottest industry topics and tools to help advance your career.
  • Cool products. With over 569,000 net square feet and 1,500 manufacturers and suppliers, IBS is the place to see debuting products and discover what’s trending in home building.
  • Construction demos. From IBS Live to the High Performance Building Zone, Builder Clinics and Exhibitor Floor Forums, there’s always an engaging and informative demonstration to watch.
  • Outdoor exhibits. The convention center parking lot becomes an outdoor oasis with homes, networking events, food trucks and presentations in Show Village.
  • Networking events. IBS hosts some of the most memorable after-hours events. Not only are events like the Official House Party and the Young Pro Party, fun, they’re a great place to connect with others in the industry.
  • Niche-specific focus. Discover fun, educational lounges to explore new ideas, refine your skills and gain valuable business information about your specific industry niche. Roundtable discussions, workshops and presentations are all available in the six Centrals: 55+ Housing, Custom Home Building, Design Studio, Multifamily, Remodelers and Sales and Marketing.
  • Awards programs. From luncheons to glamorous galas, award nominees and attendees alike can learn new tips and tactics that have produced successful results.
  • The New American Home® and The New American Remodel™. Tour these top-notch NAHB show homes featuring new products, construction methods, energy efficient features and latest design trends.

And a bonus: Airfare (up to $600) and hotel accommodations for four nights are included.  If you’re an NAHB member between the ages of 21-35, submit your application and video by June 21 to be considered.

Hapless Housing  

Surprisingly, Y-o-Y housing starts fell 5.5% in May. YTD, single-family starts are up 7.4% but multi-family starts are down 2.8%. Continuing that theme, total starts are progressively weakening due to MF activity plunging from a +20% Y-o-Y increase in January to a -23% decline in May; single-family starts have been consistently 7% higher. This flat SF performance is disappointing given ever declining inventories, unsustainably large price increases, and low rates.  Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D.

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