Weekly Update: October 26, 2017

   The HBA of Des Moines had a networking after hours at Taco Hangover last week – it was really well attended.  Having a great time eating, drinking, and socializing is always in order.

IBS Deadlines, Cheap Flights, Iowa Hotel Block Ends Monday

The 2018 International Builders’ Show® (IBS)will be here before we know it.  You might check on flights soon – HBAI EO Jay Iverson just booked his for $123 round trip with a direct flight on Allegiant out of Des Moines.  The Iowa room block at the Marriott Springhill Suites closes next Monday, October 30. You can find more information here regarding hotel and travel to Orlando.  The early bird registration closes November 10.  As of today, there are about 230 Iowans registered.

Silica and You

Full implementation of the new silica rule began last Monday, October 23, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has now issued additional “interim” enforcement guidance for regional OSHA administrators. A final compliance directive is under review and not yet released.  Earlier this month, we spoke with home building safety compliance specialist Dan Johnson for advice on complyingwith the new standard, which has far-reaching effects on the worksite.  NAHB has also issued a Silica in Construction Toolkit that contains information from manufacturers on tools and accessories intended to be used to meet the silica dust exposure restrictions.

Understanding OSHA Enforcement

Regional OSHA administrators will use newly issued interim guidance released Oct. 19 to enforce the silica rule, and so can be helpful for home builders so that you know what the inspectors are charged to look for and enforce in detail.

The memorandum provides inspection and citation guidance for Compliance Safety and Health Officers, and it includes flow charts to assist compliance officers with evaluating employers’ control methods.  If you review the interim guidance, you’ll see there are specific directives pertaining to the following:
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Housekeeping Practices
  • Written Exposure Control Plan, or ECP
  • Medical Surveillance
  • Communication of Hazards
Builders operating in OSHA state plans will need to check with their local administrators for further information on the silica standard in their states.  HBAI has received several phone calls about it and will continue to share information and guidance on complying with the silica rule as it becomes available.

Gov. Reynolds receives national Stand Up for STEM award

Gov. Kim Reynolds received the national Stand Up for STEM award Tuesday at the Million Women Mentors Summit & Awards in Washington, D.C. This is the first time the award has been presented at the national level.

The Stand Up for STEM award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond to include girls and women in conversations about STEM. Award presenters cited Gov. Reynolds’ ability to make a difference to the STEM movement in the United States through her deep commitment, enthusiasm and expertise.

STEM-related employment is projected to increase 16 percent from 2010 to 2020, totaling more than 8.5 million jobs. More than 75% of STEM workers are male. About 25% are female-even though women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy.

Female high school students are significantly less likely than their male counterparts to pursue a college major or career in STEM. Only 15 percent of female high school students will head down a STEM career path, as opposed to 44 percent of male high school students.

“We have to change that mindset,” Gov. Reynolds said. “Girls and young women need to understand the vast opportunities that await them in STEM-related careers. We must join together to inspire, nurture and engage America’s girls and young women to passionately pursue STEM careers.”

Multi-Employer Worksites

Did you know that just because you’re exempt from most Recordkeeping requirements if your company employed ten or fewer employees during the last calendar year doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from OSHA regulations? You’re not! This is commonly misunderstood by contracted construction companies and their host employer. Citations are generally issued to the “Exposing Employer”, or the employer that knowingly exposed employees to a hazard, and/or “Creating Employer”, or the employer that created the hazard itself. The “Controlling Employer” has supervision the other employer categories. Do you fall in to either of these categories?

In December 2015 at an apartment complex construction site in Lincoln Nebraska, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found construction contractors jeopardizing the safety and health of workers. The agency’s inspection resulted in citations for five companies working at the three-building apartment complex totaling over $115,000. The Controlling Employer was fined in addition to the subcontractors.

HBAI and local HBA’s may be partnering with the Iowa Illinois Safety Council to provide training opportunities to lessen your exposure, keep you out of trouble, and provide a safe environment for your employees and subcontractors.  Stay tuned…

New Home Contracts Up

Contracts for new home sales expanded by 18.9% in September to a 667,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to estimates from the joint data release of HUD and the Census Bureau. The solid reading in September returns new home sales to the positive growth trend it has been on for several years. This expansion is supported by ongoing job growth and improving household formations, as well as tight existing home inventory.

Despite some volatility in the month-to-month sales figures, September marks the fifth month in 2017 at an annual sales pace of more than 600,000. New home sales through September are running 8.6% higher than this time in 2016, in line with NAHB’s forecast.

Inventory held steady in September at 279,000 homes for sale. The current months’ supply stands at a healthy level of 5. Given tight existing inventory, more new homes are required to meet housing demand.

The most recent data also indicate a growing share of homes not-yet-started in builder inventory. For example, on a year-over-year basis, homes under construction in inventory have increased by 15% over the last year. Completed, ready-to-occupy homes (there are only 62,000) are up only 5% since September 2016. In contrast, homes not-yet-started listed in inventory have increased 24%. Sales of homes not-started construction have also been rising, increasing to a 236,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in September. These factors are consistent with positive housing demand.

Pricing increased in September. Median new home sales price (price of the home in the middle of the distribution) rose to $319,700. Average home price jumped to $385,200. Managing rising construction costs in the months ahead will be a key challenge for housing affordability, as input costs increase.

Regionally, there was sales growth in all regions. On a year-to-date basis, home sales are up 28% in the Northeast, up 12% in the West, 6% higher in the South, and up 4% in the Midwest compared to this time in 2016.

Rick Parrino SBCA Hall of Fame Honors

Rick Parrino of Plum Building Systems was just elected into the Structural Building Components Association Hall of Fame.  A very well deserved honor and HBAI is proud to have Rick and Plum as a member.  HBAI works very well together with the SBCA, especially on legislative and legal issues.

Total Taxes 

In 2015, the top 1% of individual filers, those with AGIs (adjusted gross incomes) of at least $480,930, earned 20.65% of total AGI and paid 39.04% of all federal income taxes. The top 5% had AGIs of $195,778 and paid 59.58% of total income taxes and the top 10%, with AGIs of more than $138,030, paid 70.59% of taxes and earned 47.36% of all AGI. These numbers exclude payroll taxes.

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