Sunday, June 30, 2013

2013 Reniassance Overall Grand Award Winner - New Commercial Division

Renovations Article for June 30, 2013


By: Karen T. Nakamura, CEO
Building Industry Association of Hawaii

The BIA Renaissance Building and Remodeling Awards, established in 1986, celebrates excellence in design and construction of new and remodeled projects in Hawaii. This showcase recognizes competing categories including Details, Kitchen & Bath, Landscape & Outdoor Living, New & Remodeled Commercial Building, New & Remodeled Residential Building, Public Works, Hawaii BuiltGreen™, Historical and Innovative Design & Construction. The 28th Annual Awards Ceremony was held on May 8th and 38 entrants from Maui, Molokai and Oahu represented an exciting year of statewide participation.

The entries were judged on creativity, use of materials, environmental & sustainability, functionality, design principles, value, interior space, overall quality and workmanship.

The highlight of the awards ceremony was the recognition of the top four Overall Grand Awards and the Carl Reppun Award. Today’s column will feature the winner of the Overall Grand Award in the New Commercial Division. The winner is Architects Hawaii, Ltd. for “WCC Library Learning Commons”.
2013 BIA Renaissance Overall Grand Award Winner in the New Commercial Division,
“WCC Library Learning Commons” by Architects Hawaii, Ltd.
The Windward Community College (WCC) Library Learning Commons serves as an academic center combining five previously separate campus buildings; including the library, learning center, instructional media service center, computing services and computer laboratory and the learning resource administration center. Exterior features that complement the Spanish Mission Revival campus architecture include decorative copper motifs, a red tiled roof and library placement in between the major existing trees. The interior of the center inspires interaction as a gathering space for the students while serving as an effective workspace for the staff. The lower level is a more public and noisy active zone with the circulation desk, the upper level offers quiet private study zones and the computer lounge, while open common spaces offer group study flexibility and mobile furniture. Natural daylight flows throughout the library to 75% of occupied spaces, and the first green library in Hawaii, is in the process of receiving Silver LEED certification.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bill Would Ease Regulatory Burdens on Small Businesses, Builders Tell Congress

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, June 28 - The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) today urged Congress to support bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) that would ease regulatory burdens on small businesses.

Testifying on behalf of NAHB before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, Kansas builder Carl Harris said that the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2013 (H.R. 2542) is critical to provide regulatory relief to small businesses burdened my onerous and excessive regulations.

"As a small businessman operating in a highly regulated industry, I know how difficult and costly it can be to comply with scores of government regulations that apply to my day-to-day work," said Harris. "In fact, in my industry, the sum total of regulations imposed by government at all levels account for 25 percent of the final price of a new single-family home. This is particularly important in an industry where margins are so thin and consumer sensitivity to price fluctuations is so acute."

H.R. 2542 requires federal agencies to identify and reduce the costs of regulations on small businesses when determining the economic benefits of a proposed rule. It also gives small businesses more opportunities to be heard as regulations are written.

Though the Regulatory Flexibility Act already stipulates that federal agencies must consider the effect of their actions on small businesses, Harris noted that too often they circumvent the intent and the letter of a law that is intended to make the regulatory process more cost effective and less burdensome for small businesses.

"To improve federal compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, assure small businesses have a voice in the regulatory process, limit unnecessary regulations and spur job growth, I urge Congress to move quickly on this legislation," said Harris.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bill Signing Ceremony for S.B. 1077, Act 176, Owner-Builder Exemption

On June 25, 2013, Governor Abercrombie signed into law S.B. 1077, which sets forth specific responsibilities and protections for owner-builders. This exemption to Chapter 444 was established, and intended, for legitimate circumstances where homeowners had the requisite ability, time, and inclination to save money by performing their own home improvements and construction. However, and unfortunately, this exemption has been abused by unlicensed contractors, resulting in millions of lost tax revenue and leaves licensed contractors at a disadvantage because of the higher costs associated with running a legitimate contracting business. Act 176 benefits our construction industry, the State, and homeowners against unlicensed construction activity.
Governor Abercrombie with BIA Government Relations Committee Members

Governor Abercrombie with Greg Thielen, 2013 BIA President

New Plan Review Fees at DPP

Mayor Caldwell signed Bill 15 into Ordinance 13-16, which would increase certain permit fees at the Department of Planning and Permitting. Of particular concern to BIA members, Ord. 13-16 adds a fee of 20% of the value of the permit as a plan review fee, in addition to the building permit fee. BIA’s government relations committee had worked with DPP Director and Deputy Director, and submitted testimony during the entire process, recommending they consider other options. Unfortunately, despite BIA’s efforts, Bill 15 is now law.

View press release here.

Please see testimony here.

If you have any questions, please contact Gladys Marrone at 629-7509 or gqm@biahawaii.org.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CTC Instructor Spotlight - Larry Hawkins

From Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii May 2013 Newsletter Article

 By learning you will teach; by teaching you will understand.
Latin Proverb

Larry Hawkins is working as an instructor with the Construction Training Center of the Pacific (CTC) at the BIA facilities. For six years he has been an instructor for the PACT (Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training) program. PACT’s curriculum uses NAHB residential construction academy text and programs. This program works with the general public and sponsored by Community and Government agencies.

Larry has taught with the Probationary Department at the Federal Detention Center (near Honolulu Airport) and also taught at the Waianae Comprehensive Health Center with this program.

He is certified by NAHB to lead this PACT Program Residential Academy and is a Certified Green Professional thru NAHB.

Larry has given classes in plumbing, electrical, HVAC, building maintenance and green building fundamentals (sustainability).
As a teacher, Larry Hawkins uses his understanding of the many things involved in the building industry and enjoys relating it to his students. Currently, Larry is teaching Youth Build Programs for the State of Hawaii to about 70 students. In local Youth Build programs, low-income young people ages 16–24 work toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while learning job skills by building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people and participating in leadership development activities in their communities. Since 1994, more than 110,000 Youth Build students have produced over 21,000 units of affordable, increasingly green housing in rural and urban communities across the United States.

Ask him why he chooses to teach he simply says,
“I was given the opportunity to learn all that I could in this industry by very talented and knowledgeable individuals, and I want to pay back to my community and help others find their career path.”

 Someone once said - “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” And Teachers are surely helping to change the world!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Senate Bill an Important Step Forward in Debate on Housing Finance Reform

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, June 25 - Bipartisan legislation introduced today by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) is an important first step in moving the dialogue forward on overhauling the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the U.S. housing finance system, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"We applaud Sens. Corker and Warner, along with Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) for crafting comprehensive legislation to reform the mortgage finance system," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C. "This bill will advance the debate on GSE reform in an earnest manner."

The Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013 (S. 1217) contains several elements recommended by NAHB to restructure the nation's housing finance system, such as retaining a federal backstop while limiting taxpayer exposure.

A stable and reliable housing finance system is vital to a vibrant housing market and sustainable economic recovery. Currently, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration guarantee or insure more than 90 percent of all home mortgage activity. This is not sustainable or desirable as NAHB believes the private sector must play a greater role.

"As private lenders gradually re-enter the mortgage market, it is essential that the federal government plays a proper role in backing up the nation's housing finance system to ensure liquidity and stability for homeownership and rental housing," said Judson.

"We look forward to participating in the discussions to reform the mortgage finance system as the bill moves forward," he added.

New-Home Sales Rise 2.1 Percent in May

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, June 25 - Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose for a third consecutive month in May, posting a 2.1 percent gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 476,000 units, according to data released by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau today. This is the fastest sales pace recorded since July of 2008.

"Builders are reporting increased demand for new homes as buyers seek to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates while they remain so favorable," observed Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "Consumers in markets nationwide are definitely becoming more confident about making a home purchase as firming prices and tighter inventories provide further evidence of the ongoing housing recovery."

"Today's report confirms that the improvement we have been seeing in housing markets over the past year continues to take place at a gradual and steady pace," said NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk. "We expect to see more of this positive momentum in the coming months, tempered by the caution that builders are exercising to avoid getting ahead of demand along with ongoing constraints they face with regard to the availability of credit, materials, lots and labor."

Three out of four regions posted sales gains in May, with double-digit increases of 20.7 percent and 40.7 percent in the Northeast and Midwest, respectively, and a more moderate, 3.6 percent gain in the West. The South posted a 9.0 percent decrease following an unsustainably large gain in the previous month.

The inventory of new homes for sale edged up slightly to 161,000 units in May, which is a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace.

Last Chance to be in the 2013-2014 Hawaii Building Products Directory


The Honolulu chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute, would like to invite you to list your company in the 2013-2014 Hawaii Building Products Directory. For as low as $75, you will be able to showcase your products or services to local specifiers and contractors by both print and online! Below is a letter from our editor and an order form containing more information. Don't pass up this opportunity of reaching the entire Hawaii design and construction industry!

Deadline is Friday, June 28, 2013

Download order form here

OSHA announces new National Emphasis Program for occupational exposure to isocyanates

OSHA Press Release



WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a new National Emphasis Program to protect workers from the serious health effects from occupational exposure to isocyanates. OSHA develops national emphasis programs to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a three-year period. Through this NEP, OSHA will focus on workplaces in general, construction and maritime industries that use isocyanate compounds in an effort to reduce occupational illnesses and deaths.

“Workers exposed to isocyanates can suffer debilitating health problems for months or even years after exposure,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Through this program, OSHA will strengthen protections for workers exposed to isocyanates.”

Isocyanates are chemicals that can cause occupational asthma, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat, and cancer. Deaths have occurred due to both asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis from isocyanates exposure. Respiratory illnesses also can be caused by isocyanates exposure to the skin. Isocyanates are used in materials including paints, varnishes, auto body repair, and building insulation. Jobs that involve exposure to isocyanates include the spray-on polyurethane manufacturing of products such as mattresses and car seats, and protective coatings for truck beds, boats, and decks.

OSHA’s Web page on Isocyanates provides additional information on recognizing potential hazards, as well as OSHA standards that address isocyanates in the general, construction and maritime industries.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Congratulations YouthBuild 2013 Graduates!

On Friday, June 14, 2013, 32 students participated in the 2013 YouthBuild Honolulu Awards Ceremony held at CTC-Pacific.

The YouthBuild Honolulu program is administered by the City & County of Honolulu's Youth Services Center.  In this program, low-income young people ages 16 to 24 work full-time for 6 to 24 months toward their GED's or high school diplomas while learning job skills by building affordable housing in their communities. Emphasis is placed on leadership development, community service, and the creation of a positive mini-community of adults and youth committed to each other’s success. Students may earn AmeriCorps education awards through their home building and other community service. At exit, they are placed in college, jobs, or both.

The YouthBuild students completed a 9-week Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) program at CTC-Pacific.  Training consisted of Basic Principles for Construction, First Aid & CPR w/AED, OSHA 10-Hour, Fundamentals of Green Building, Introduction to Facilities Maintenance, and Job Readiness courses.

Mahalo to our education sponsors - 1st Look Exteriors, Hawaii Energy Connection, and Simpson Strong-Tie Co., who took time out of their busy schedules to familiarize the students with their line of work.








Hawaii Building Industry Foundation receives grant from Haseko Training Fund

HONOLULU - The Hawaii Building Industry Foundation (HBIF) has received a $15,000 grant from the Haseko Training Fund which is administered by the Hawai’i Community Foundation to support its work force development efforts. This grant will offer adults 18 and older in the Ewa Community an opportunity to participate in a pre-apprenticeship construction training project named ComPACT: “Building Skills to Build Lives”.

Karen Nakamura, Executive Director of the Hawaii Building Industry Foundation stated, “This generous grant from the Haseko Training Fund will support our community educational outreach programs. We target non-traditional students who are unemployed and under-employed, so these funds will provide opportunities for participants to gain the necessary knowledge and job skills for entry level positions in the construction industry.”


Project ComPACT is scheduled to begin in July 2013 and scholarships are still available. Download an application here.

For more information, contact Barbara Nishikawa at (808) 629-7505 or email BLN@biahawaii.org.

Governor Releases $134.7 Million for Hawaii Schools

Press Release


HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $134.7 million for capital improvement projects (CIPs), identified by members of the state Legislature, that will improve Hawaii’s public school facilities while enhancing economic conditions.

“These priority projects will address many needed repairs and upgrades at our public schools to create environments in which students can learn and thrive,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The improvements are an investment in our keiki and our economy. Capital improvement projects like these across the state are contributing to Hawaii’s strong economy and our improved state unemployment rate, which declined to 4.7 percent in May.”

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects has been approved by the Governor:

 

Various Schools, Statewide

  • $41,700,000 – Construction for numerous repair and maintenance projects at school facilities across the state, including re-roofing, electrical upgrades, plumbing and other work
  • $2,000,000 – Planning, design, construction and equipment to provide energy improvements at various schools to identify inefficiencies and develop and implement energy conservation plans; the DOE will identify those schools with inordinate electricity consumption as compared to other schools
  • $1,000,000 – Planning, design and construction to remove potentially hazardous material to ensure various state schools are up-to-date with current federal standards
  • $500,000 – Construction to provide safe, age appropriate, and accessible playground equipment and walkways that meet the ADA Accessibility Guidelines at campuses that include Aina Haina, Manoa, Waialae, Pearl City Highlands, and Pahala Elementary Schools

Specific Schools

  • $40,000,000 – Kapolei II Elementary School, Oahu – Construction for the new Kapolei II Elementary School to accommodate population growth in this area of Oahu; the school will accommodate approximately 750 students
  • $9,600,000 – Ewa Elementary School, Oahu – Construction and equipment for an eight-classroom building to meet growth and enrollment needs; the building will include seven general education classrooms, one computer lab, one faculty center, two utility closets, restrooms, and mechanical/electrical/communications rooms
  • $8,000,000 – McKinley High School, Oahu – Design and construction to create a new synthetic track and field per recommendations of a completed athletic master plan for the school; project includes the demolition and rebuilding of existing structures occupying the area
  • $5,000,000 – Kawananakoa Middle School, Oahu – Design, construction and equipment for auditorium renovations to allow the facility to meet current ADA accessibility and building and fire codes, as well as modernize the facility as a performing arts center
  • $4,665,000 – Kapolei High School, Oahu – Design and construction of locker rooms and related facilities necessary to provide equitable girls and boys athletic, PE or other locker room facilities and appurtenances, in compliance with federal standards (Design funds are necessary to re-adjust the location of the athletic locker rooms)
  • $2,500,000 – Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction of a new synthetic track and field to be used by the five Leeward District High Schools and also for the Special Olympics regional track and field championships, as hosted by Nanakuli for the last 20 years (The current cinder track is used daily by student athletes, special needs students, and the general community)
  • $1,480,000 – Ewa Beach Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs
  • $1,251,000 – Mililani High School, Oahu – Design and construction to remove and reconstruct the tennis courts due to wear and tear and damage from tree roots and water, as well as resurfacing of the lower parking lot and be ADA compliant
  • $1,200,000 – Aiea Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs at Aiea Intermediate School
  • $1,200,000 – Waiau Elementary, Oahu – Design and construction to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs
  • $1,100,000 – Mililani High School, Oahu - Design and construction of additional restrooms and concession improvements
  • $1,050,000 – Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction to provide protection for students and staff from rain and the sun as they walk to the cafeteria, as there is no protection at present, and also provide drinking fountains for the students (The walkway will connect up to 6 buildings)
  • $997,000 – McKinley High School, Oahu – Design and construction for various electrical work (e.g., upgrading electrical transformers and panels, telecommunications systems, electrical outlets, and data ports) and other related site work to provide for current and future technology needs at the school
  • $950,000 – Aiea Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction for a retaining wall, perimeter fence, and pedestrian gate with a ramp/walkway transition to the school parking lot
  • $940,000 – Lahaina Intermediate School, Maui – Design and construction for ADA compliant boys and girls restrooms
  • $800,000 – Kamaile Elementary School (Kamaile Academy Public Charter School), Oahu – Design and construction for various electrical system improvements and related site work (CIP projects for conversion charter schools such as Kamaile are implemented by DOE since the campuses are still considered DOE property)
  • $750,000 – Kanoelani Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction of a covered walkway for students and staff from inclement weather and the sun as they walk to the cafeteria (This walkway will connect up to 5 buildings)
  • $650,000 – Pearl Ridge Elementary, Oahu – Design and construction of a covered walkway for students and staff from rain and the sun as they walk to the cafeteria (This walkway will connect up to 4 buildings)
  • $625,000 – Kaleiopuu Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction for a second evacuation ramp through the back of the campus in case of an emergency
  • $550,000 – Kaleiopuu Elementary School, Oahu – Construction to provide various electrical system upgrades to provide ample power infrastructure to support technology-based curriculum
  • $500,000 – Waiakea High School, Hawaii Island – Additional construction for all-weather track and field facilities to be shared with Hilo High School, as both schools are currently using county facilities to host track and field events; this phase of the project involves the replacement of grass turf with all-weather surfacing and drainage enhancements (the current track and infield are subject to frequent rains)
  • $500,000 – Kauai High School, Kauai – Construction for renovation of Building T (a former locker room) and a new technology center, which will include a computer lab, visual design studio, two ADA-compliant restrooms, and office and storage space
  • $500,000 – Central Maui Middle Schools, Maui – Planning for a new school to accommodate population growth in Central Maui; according to the DOE, schools in the area are already over capacity and, as a condition for developing a housing project in Central Maui, the developer has set aside space for this new school (no funds to purchase land will be needed)
  • $475,000 – Washington Middle School, Oahu – Design, equipment and construction to transform an existing underutilized wood shop classroom into a combined agriculture laboratory/classroom and have room for computers and lab equipment so that students may have first-hand experience relating to plant science and lab activities
  • $450,000 – Waikiki Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction for a dedicated student drop-off on the makai side of campus, along Leahi Avenue, to significantly improve traffic congestion and safety (the school has doubled its enrollment in the last 10 years)
  • $410,000 – Kalaheo High School, Oahu – Design and construction for bleachers between the athletic field and tennis courts; this project will also address erosion control on the hillside slope
  • $375,000 – Makakilo Elementary, Oahu – Design, equipment and construction for a portable classroom for special education students
  • $360,000 – Manana Elementary School Library, Oahu – Restroom renovations and security and energy efficiency improvements in the school Library
  • $350,000 – Waiakeawaena Elementary School, Hawaii Island – Design and construction to provide safe and accessible playground equipment to meet ADA accessibility guidelines
  • $350,000 – Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School, Oahu – Design and construction to address various electrical and related site work to provide for current and future technology needs
  • $330,000 – Moanalua Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction of additional parking and a drop-off lane for the students
  • $330,000 – Kapunahala Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction to add wheelchair access to the second floor of a two-story classroom building to meet ADA accessibility guidelines
  • $256,000 – Kalihi Uka Elementary School, Oahu – Construction to repair roof leaks in Building C
  • $250,000 – Roosevelt High School, Oahu – Planning for comprehensive master plan to address lack of onsite parking and placement of future new or expanded facilities, such as the existing gymnasium and music facility, which are undersized and antiquated
  • $200,000 – Kipapa Elementary School, Oahu – Construction to replace the air conditioning system at the school's administration building (Building J)
  • $195,000 – Washington Middle School, Oahu – Design, construction and equipment for the renovation of an existing computer classroom that will include a multimedia studio enabling students to broadcast live events, produce instructional DVDs, documentaries, and public service announcements; it will also allow the school's video production class to provide its students with exposure to college and career opportunities
  • $190,000 – Honowai Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction to replace a steep, slippery, single-run outdoor stairway at Building H with a wider and safer stairway having a gentler slope
  • $150,000 – Ala Wai Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction of a secure space to store equipment and repair school furniture
  • $25,000 – Moanalua High School, Oahu – Additional Phase 1 construction for Auditorium/Performing Arts Center, including a rehearsal hall/band room facility with instructional support spaces (Additional funds are necessary to complete necessary items such as additional permitting and electrical connection fees)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Builders and Lumber Dealers See Shortages of Key Building Materials

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, June 19 - Home builders and lumber dealers are reporting significant shortages of key home building materials such as lumber and wall board, according to recent surveys by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA).

"Supply constraints are one of the barriers to a more robust recovery," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "The shortages and price increases reported by both home builders and lumber dealers are particularly concerning given that the current rate of construction is still far below what would be considered normal or necessary to meet underlying demand."

Among builders, the highest incidence of shortages was for oriented strand board (OSB), with 22 percent of builders reporting shortages, followed by wall board (20 percent), framing lumber (18 percent) and plywood (18 percent). The builder results come from special questions added to the monthly survey that serves as the basis for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), which is widely viewed as a key indicator of the overall strength of the home building market.

With the exception of wall board, the lumber dealers reported greater shortages of these products than the home builders. Among lumber dealers, 27 to 28 percent reported shortages of OSB and plywood, 36 percent reported shortages of framing lumber and 12 percent reported shortages of wall board. The dealer results come from a special survey of NLBMDA's members, who operate single or multiple lumber yards and component plants and deal in many of the same products that NAHB members purchase.

Both the builder and lumber dealer surveys asked about shortages of 24 specific building products and materials. For most of the products, the share of builders reporting a shortage was considerably higher in May of 2013 than in 2011 or 2012. The only exceptions were copper wire, vinyl siding, HVAC equipment, insulation and structural insulated panels.

"The shares of reported shortages are not as high now as they were in 2004 or 2005, but the increases since 2012 are quite significant, especially when you take the early stage of the housing recovery into account," said Crowe. "In 2004 and 2005 the home building industry was producing over 1.8 million new homes a year, while the current rate of new housing starts is still below 1 million."

With the exception of concrete-related products, a larger share of lumber dealers than builders reported price increases in building materials over the past six months. On average, builders reported a 5.17 percent increase in the materials that go into a house over the past six months. Most lumber dealers reported that the prices of the products they handle had increased on average by 10 percent or more over the past six months.

"While a nascent housing recovery is underway, as reflected by the modest increase in sales by dealers, it's clear that the ongoing material shortages and price increases being reported by dealers continue to be a cause for concern as we move into the latter half of 2013," said Michael O'Brien, NLBMDA president and CEO.

The reported results reflect survey data collected from NAHB builders and NLBMDA dealers during the first half of May; 383 builders and 230 dealers provided responses. For more information or a copy of the complete report covering both surveys, contact Paul Emrath at 800-368-5242 x8449.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Housing Starts Rise 6.8 Percent in May

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, June 18 - Nationwide housing starts rose 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000 units in May due primarily to increased production on the multifamily side, according to newly released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.

"The outlook for housing continues to brighten as builders respond to increased demand for new homes and rental apartments," said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "While challenges with regard to the cost and availability of building materials, lots and labor are still keeping the pace of improvement in check, both builders and consumers are more confident about their prospects in the current marketplace."

"Unusually wet weather across much of the country likely dampened the pace of single-family production in May," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Nevertheless, the strength in permit issuance for single-family units -- and stockpiling of permits for future use -- provides further evidence that housing continues on a slow and steady path to recovery."

While single-family housing starts held at a solid but virtually unchanged pace of 599,000 units in May, multifamily production bounced back from an over-correction in the previous month with a 21.6 percent gain to 315,000 units. From a regional perspective, combined starts activity was mixed in the month, posting gains of 17.8 percent in the South and 5.7 percent in the West and declines of 9.0 percent in the Northeast and 13.7 percent in the Midwest.

Issuance of new building permits declined 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 units in May. This reduction was due entirely to a 10.0 percent decline to 352,000 units on the multifamily side following a spike in that sector's permits in April. Meanwhile, single-family permits edged up 1.3 percent to 622,000 units in May -- their best pace in five years. Regionally, permits rose 4.0 percent in the Northeast but declined 6.1 percent in the Midwest, 3.3 percent in the South and 3.5 percent in the West in May.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Builder Confidence Hits Major Milestone in June

NAHB Press Release



WASHINGTON, June 17 - Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes hit a significant milestone in June, surging eight points to a reading of 52 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

"This is the first time the HMI has been above 50 since April 2006, and surpassing this important benchmark reflects the fact that builders are seeing better market conditions as demand for new homes increases," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C. "With the low inventory of existing homes, an increasing number of buyers are gravitating toward new homes."

The eight-point jump in the index was the biggest one-month gain since August and September of 2002, when the HMI recorded a similar increase of eight points.

"Builders are experiencing some relief in the headwinds that are holding back a more robust recovery," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Today's report is consistent with our forecast for a 29 percent increase in total housing starts this year, which would mark the first time since 2007 that starts have topped the 1 million mark."

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components posted gains in June. The index gauging current sales conditions increased eight points to 56, while the index measuring expectations for future sales rose nine points to 61 - its highest level since March 2006. The index gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose seven points to 40.

The HMI three-month moving average was up in three of the four regions, with the Northeast and Midwest posting a one-point and three-point gain to 37 and 47, respectively. The South registered a four point gain to 46 while the West fell one point to 48.

Editor's Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found atwww.nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at www.housingeconomics.com

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mahalo to Ferguson for hosting another great Networking Night

 On Wednesday, June 12, 2013, over 130 people attended the "Sushi & Sake" Networking Night hosted by Ferguson. The networking night featured Ferguson's vendors, prize giveaways, delicious food, sake tasting and live Taiko drum performance.





Mahalo to Tim Yee, General Manager, Clayton Gomi, Showroom Manager, and their outstanding staff for another successful networking event!

We look forward to Ferguson's next BIA Networking Night in 2014.

BIA-Hawaii Executive Awarded one of 12 positions for a National Leadership Program

ASAE Selects 12 Association Professionals for 2013–2015 DELP Class

 

ASAE Press Release


WASHINGTON- Twelve scholars have been chosen to join the Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) as the class of 2013–2015. DELP gives individuals from underrepresented segments of the association profession an opportunity to advance into the ranks of leadership in association management by providing networking opportunities, educational programs, and career guidance.

“Congratulations to the new DELP class, a diverse group of talent," said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, CAE. "This leadership program is a great opportunity to raise the visibility of their contributions within the association community."

Gladys Marrone, BIA Government Relations Director, was awarded one of the 12 positions
DELP is a two-year program which includes a more dynamic learning experience to prepare the scholars for future leadership roles. Although the program is officially two years long, many consider themselves as DELP scholars for life and continue to give back to the new members and the association community.

Graham added, “We also recognize and want to thank the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau for their continued support of this important program in helping us fulfill our commitment to developing diverse + inclusive leaders within the association industry,” added Graham.

DELP is exclusively sponsored by the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. DMCVB is also an ASAE strategic partner.

This year’s class includes:


Beau Ballinger
Senior Program Specialist
AARP Foundation

Adrienne Bryant
Member Information and Database Manager
Association of Florida Colleges

JJ Colburn
Executive Director
Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented

Paul K. Farrell, Au.D.
Associate Director, Audiology Professional Practices
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Shane H. Feldman, CAE
Executive Director
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf/National Association of the Deaf

Audra F. Franks, MTA, CMP
Senior Director for Meetings
American Dental Education Association

Tracy King, CFD
Associate Director, Education
American Academy of Neurology

Maunda Land, CMP
Manager, College and University Relations
The Institute of Internal Auditors

Gladys Quinto Marrone, JD
Director, Government Relations
Building Industry Association of Hawaii


Michelle Mills, CAE
Senior Manager, Member Communities
Association Forum of Chicagoland

Nathan Victoria
Director, Member Engagement and Student Initiatives
NASPA–Student Affairs Administration in Higher Ed

Irving Washington, III
Director of Operations
Online News Association

IRS Small Business Week Webinar – Get All the Tax Benefits You Deserve – June 18th

Taking all the deductions you’re entitled to? Know what business tax credits you can take?


Get answers to these questions and more during this FREE one-hour webinar…

Topic: Small Business Owners: Get All the Tax Benefits You Deserve

Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Time: 11:00 a.m. (Pacific); Noon (Mountain); 1:00 p.m. (Central); 2:00 p.m. (Eastern)

What's Covered:
Learn about business expenses and deductions
What is a business depreciation deduction?
Find out which business tax credits are available for your business
Get the latest facts about the American Taxpayer Relief Act
What are the qualifications for the Earned Income Tax Credit?
Broadcast will include a live Q&A session

CPE: CE Credit is NOT being offered for this webinar.

Information & Registration:

Click on the following link to register:
http://www.visualwebcaster.com/IRS/94208/reg.asp?id=94208

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More Home Sales, Increased Demand for New Products Lead to Bigger, Better Trade Show

NAHB Press Release

 

IBS, KBIS 'Co-Location' Launches first-ever Design and Construction Week Next February


WASHINGTON, June 11 - Gearing up for the return of a healthy home building and remodeling market, manufacturers and suppliers have stepped up plans for exhibit spaces for the new Design and Construction Week, when the International Builders' Show (IBS) and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) join forces for a mega-exhibit in Las Vegas Feb. 4-6, 2014.

Exhibit sales are up by 16 percent over last year, and that's good news for attendees of both shows: IBS, presented by the National Association of Home Builders, and KBIS, the annual show of the National Kitchen and Bath Association - already the two leading trade events in the residential design and construction market.

Since the announcement earlier this year IBS and KBIS would co-locate to create the first annual Design and Construction Week, IBS has already reeled back in more than 60 companies that had left the show during the building downturn. The result: more than 20,000 square feet of new exhibit space.

Nearly 90 other companies have increased the size of their exhibit spaces by more than 30,000 square feet. Exhibit space for KBIS is already 90 percent sold.

"Design and Construction Week offers manufacturers and suppliers the unique opportunity to reach two very large audiences for thecost of exhibiting in one trade show,"said Mark Pursell, NAHB's senior vice president of Exposition Marketing & Sales. "That, combined with an improving housing market, is translating into these bigger exhibit space sales. We are seeing more and more companies returning to exhibit after sitting out for several years."

Among the companies back in the show:Electrolux Home Appliances, Pro Build Holdings, Masterbrand Cabinets, BSH Appliances,Caesarstone USA, Rinnai and Viega.

"With an emphasis on our exhibitor and attendee experience, there is no question that Design and Construction Week will create an unparalleled value to the marketplace," said Brian Pagel, Nielsen Expositions kitchen and bath group vice president.

"Clearly, the co-location of these two great events, together with the steady climb in home building and remodeling projects, are being well received by our industry's' manufacturers and suppliers," Pursell added.

The first annual Design and Construction Week takes place Feb. 4-6, 2014 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Department of Taxation (Announcement 2013-04) on the Sunset of Act 105

BIA's top legislative priority in the 2013 legislative session was to ensure that Act 105 (2011), which suspended the subcontractors' exemption, sunset as scheduled on June 30, 2013. We are happy to report that Act 105 repeals on June 30, 2013, after which all GE and Use Tax exclusions, exemptions and deductions under it will no longer be suspended. The Department of Taxation has issued an announcement on Act 105.

View Announcement No. 2013-04 here

List of Improving Housing Markets Rises to 263 Metros in June

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, June 6 - The number of U.S. housing markets on the mend rose by five to a total of 263 in June, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today. The list includes entrants from 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Twenty-nine new markets were added to the list while 24 others were dropped from it this month. New entrants included such geographically diverse metros as Salinas, Calif.; Sioux City, Iowa; Chicago, Ill.; Topeka, Kan.; Baton Rouge, La.; Laredo, Texas; and Philadelphia, Pa.

"This is the fifth consecutive month in which the IMI has designated more than 70 percent of U.S. metros as improving," observed NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "While that's a good sign that the housing recovery is on solid footing, we know that various challenges are slowing its progress - including continuing issues with credit availability for builders and buyers, as well as appraisals that aren't keeping up with the rising cost of construction."

"As market conditions improve across most of the country, some metros have moved onto the IMI list while marginal seasonal fluctuations have nudged others off of it," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "This is to be expected as the recovery expands. Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the number of improving markets is now more than three times what it was in June 2012."

"The continued strength of the IMI is an indicator of the ongoing, positive momentum in housing markets nationwide as consumers move to take advantage of historically favorable interest rates and affordable home prices," added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company.

The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metro area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures' respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

A complete list of all 263 metros currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in June, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More Than 750 Builders Discuss Housing Issues in Hill Visits

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, June 5 - More than 750 builders from across the nation converged on Capitol Hill today for the annual National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Legislative Conference to urge their lawmakers to support policies that will keep the housing recovery moving forward and increase housing opportunities for all Americans.

"We are sending a loud and clear message to members of Congress that a strong housing market is critical to create jobs and boost economic growth," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C.

In 300 individual meetings with their representatives and senators, builders discussed the following key housing issues:

· Tax reform. To meet the nation's growing need for affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities, NAHB members urged Congress to maintain its support for vital housing tax incentives, including the mortgage interest deduction. Builders also emphasized that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit is essential to ensure that lower-income families have access to safe, decent and affordable housing.

· Housing finance reform. With Congress preparing to address the future of the nation's housing finance system and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, NAHB continued to advocate that any restructuring provides for a reliable and adequate flow of credit for home buyers and that the federal government plays an appropriate role in backing up the housing finance system.

· Immigration reform. NAHB called on Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform that protects the nation's borders; focuses on the direct employer-employee relationship so that U.S. employers remain accountable only for the identity and work authorization status of their direct employees; and creates an efficient, temporary guest worker program that allows employers to recruit legal immigrant workers when there is a shortage of domestic workers.

· Credit for housing production. Despite the recent upturn in housing, builders in many markets are still unable to obtain construction loans for viable home building projects. NAHB called on lawmakers to support House bill H.R. 1255 sponsored by Reps. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) and companion Senate bill S. 1002 introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) that would help resolve the ongoing credit problems for builders.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Builders Urge Congress to Pursue Pro-Housing Policies to Spur Job and Economic Growth

NAHB Press Release


WASHINGTON, June 4 - New-home production and remodeling contribute billions of dollars to the nation's economy each year, and with the right policies in place housing can serve as a catalyst to boost job and economic growth, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) told Congress today.

"How lawmakers and regulators deal with tax reform, home energy codes and the availability of building materials will go a long way to ensure a robust, long-term recovery for housing and the economy," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C., in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

NAHB supports the goals of many in Congress to reform the tax code and believes that lawmakers should maintain existing housing tax incentives because homeownership remains the major path to wealth for the middle class.

"Any policy change that makes it harder to buy a home, or delays the purchase of a home until an older age, will have a significant long-term impact on household wealth accumulation and the makeup of the middle class as a whole," said Judson.

"As most home owners benefit from the mortgage interest deduction, and most of that benefit flows to younger families, weakening the deduction and making homeownership less accessible is likely to diminish the financial success of future generations," he added.

NAHB is urging building code officials to reinstate energy-neutral equipment efficiency trade-offs in the performance path of the International Energy Conservation Code to allow builders to more cost-effectively construct energy-efficient homes.

Energy efficiency tax credits such as the Existing Home Retrofit Tax Credit (25C) that provides consumers a tax credit of up to $500 for the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products and the New Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit (45L) available to builders who construct energy-efficient new homes are important policy tools to provide home owners and builders with incentives to perform energy efficiency upgrades on homes, he added.

Meanwhile, the rising cost of building materials - most notably for framing lumber, oriented strand board and gypsum - are decreasing affordability and preventing builders from meeting the growing demand for new homes.

"Any effort to ease escalating price pressures, help rebuild the supply chain and support a continuing housing recovery is effective economic policy," said Judson.

Labor Shortages Hamper Housing Recovery

Edward Martin, president and CEO of Tilson Home Corp. based in Austin, Texas, and president of the Texas Association of Builders, also participated in the congressional hearing. He told lawmakers that worker shortages in residential construction are impeding the housing recovery.

"My company is experiencing delays due to the lack of qualified framing crews to begin work on the structure of our homes," said Martin. "We are also struggling to find master plumbers and rough-in crews, which run the pipes in the foundation before the concrete is poured. As a result of the shortage of skilled labor, on average, it is taking my company a month longer to build a home."

A recent survey of NAHB members shows that since June 2012, residential construction firms have been reporting an increasing number of shortages in all aspects of the industry - from carpenters, excavators, framers, roofers and plumbers, to bricklayers, HVAC, building maintenance managers and weatherization workers.

Forty-six percent of the builders surveyed experienced delays in completing projects on time, 15 percent had to turn down some projects and 9 percent lost or cancelled sales as a result of recent labor shortages. Fewer homes built will harm the property tax base of local communities, which is vital to fund local schools, police and firefighters.

"With congressional attention shifting to immigration reform, I believe strongly that this debate provides an important opportunity for the country to implement a new market-based visa system that would allow more immigrants to legally enter the construction workforce each year," said Martin. "This would complement our skills training efforts within the nation's borders, and fill the labor gaps needed to meet the nation's housing needs."

Onerous Regulations Harm Remodeling, Job Growth

On the remodeling front, William Shaw, founder of William Shaw and Associates, a residential remodeling, design and build company located in Houston, said the federal government's regulatory process is hampering the ability of remodeling firms to do business and impeding job growth.

"Housing serves as a great example of an industry that would benefit from smarter and more sensible regulation," he said.

Shaw urged lawmakers to support the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 (H.R. 2093), bipartisan legislation recently introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and 21 original co-sponsors that would make much-needed improvements to the EPA's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule.

The measure would restore the opt-out provision for homes without children or pregnant women; allow remodelers to correct paperwork errors without facing full penalties; provide an exemption for emergency renovations; and make it easier for remodelers to obtain recertification training.

By removing the opt-out provision in July 2010, EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP rule, adding an estimated $336 million per year in compliance costs to the remodeling community without making young children any safer, Shaw said.

For the small contractor, these additional costs have to be passed on to the consumer, which increases the chances that a home owner will likely hire another uncertified contractor to do the work, or worse, do the work themselves, which would actually increase the likelihood of disturbing lead-based paint.

Officials from Kohler Co. and Louisiana-Pacific Corp., major suppliers and manufacturers of kitchen and bath products and building materials, also testified at the hearing. Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured in the United States and home buying typically generates a positive economic ripple effect. When a family moves into a new home, they spend $7,400 more than usual on appliances, furnishings and remodeling.