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5 Ways to Get Competitive with CAPS

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in News

5 Ways to Get Competitive with CAPS Filed in Education, Remodelers by NAHB Now on August 8, 2017 • This front walkway by NAHB Remodelers chair Dan Bawden beautifully combines a ramp and porch steps.                   The term universal design has been traced back to the late 1970s, when, according to a timeline from Professional Builder magazine, architect Ron Mace coined the term. This 70’s invention turned into an NAHB educational designation focusing on retrofitting existing homes. It’s not exactly a “secret” weapon if more than 3,000 builders and remodelers across the country are using it to attract new business. But for the last 18 years, the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation has given these industry pros a competitive edge. Many Americans have no intention of moving out of their homes as they age. Investing in home modifications seems like a much more appealing option. Even small improvements can make an enormous difference in the safety and comfort of their home, especially if they begin to experience mobility issues. Tom Ashley and Curt Kiriu are CAPS building professionals and NAHB members who find CAPS-focused work to be both professionally profitable and personally rewarding. “Hawaii is a small market, but I have been nonstop busy since mid-2009, and the demand for my services continues to grow each year,” said Kiriu. “It is difficult to keep up, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else.” While CAPS modifications can encompass countless projects, here are five particularly crucial areas to think about when trying to make a home safer and more comfortable while maintaining its original beauty and character. Bathrooms. Here’s where falls happen. But turning the tub into a zero degree entrance shower can reduce the risk. “People don’t realize that a two- or three-inch step up can basically be like climbing a mountain,” said Ashley. “Most of our clients use zero-degree entrance showers, which is a shower that has no step up. It’s clean. It’s crisp. It’s user friendly. It’s wheelchair accessible. And it even looks better.” If you want a bench seat, make it either completely removable, or have it be able to fold into the wall in case wheelchair access is needed. Additionally, raising the toilet and adding a grab bar can make it easy and safe to use. Kitchens. Storage, especially in older homes, can be a maze of cupboards and cabinets that are extremely deep and close to the ground. Including full extension doors, pull-down shelves and swing-away corner shelves helps avoid constantly bending down and reaching far back to feel around for a can of beans. You can also make your faucets touchless or replace knobs with levers to make turning water on and off easy for people with arthritis or trouble with fine motor skills. Lighting. Make sure all hallways and entrances have accessible and adequate lighting so you don’t have...

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Cantwell-Hatch Bill Would Help Ease Affordable Housing Crisis

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 in News

Cantwell-Hatch Bill Would Help Ease Affordable Housing Crisis Filed in Capitol Hill, Multifamily by NAHB Now on August 1, 2017 • NAHB today called on Congress to pass the Affordable Housing Credit Improvements Act of 2017 (S. 548), legislation that would promote the construction of sorely needed rental apartments and help alleviate the nation’s affordable housing crisis. Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald told lawmakers that it is essential to increase the resources supporting housing production in order to meet the growing need for affordable rental housing. “S. 548, a bipartisan bill championed by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), takes a significant and needed step to boosting supply by increasing Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocations by 50%,” said MacDonald. “Enacting this bill is expected to result in an additional 400,000 LIHTC units over the next 10 years. NAHB estimates that added construction would increase federal tax revenue by $11.6 billion and state and local revenues by $5.6 billion.” The number of renter households considered “severely cost burdened,” meaning they spend more than half of their monthly income on rent, is at an all-time high of 11.4 million, according to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies. In starker terms, that translates to more than one in four of all renters in the U.S. “Fees, regulatory compliance, modern building and energy codes, building materials, land and labor costs determine whether a project is financial viable,” said MacDonald. “If we want to provide affordable rental housing for lower-income households, we cannot do so without a subsidy.” This is why the LIHTC, a unique private-public partnership, is such an indispensable program. Since its inception, the program has produced and financed more than 2.9 million affordable apartments for low-income families, seniors and individuals with special needs. Moreover, the tax credit is an important job creator, generating approximately $7.1 billion in economic income and roughly 95,000 jobs per year across many industries. The Affordable Housing Credit Improvements Act would further promote the construction of affordable housing by making permanent the 4% credit rate for acquisition and bond-financed projects, which would provide more certainty and flexibility in financing these properties. In addition, the legislation would allow energy tax incentives to be used in combination with LIHTCs and help combat local opposition to affordable housing projects by prohibiting local approval and contribution requirements. “The nation lacks enough affordable housing for hard-working families,” said MacDonald. “The only effective long-term solution is to increase supply. Passing this bipartisan legislation would greatly enhance our ability to meet the growing demand for more affordable rental...

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Welcome New Members!

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in News

The board of directors approved three new members at their July 20, 2017 board meeting. Affordable Metal Mfg. in Muscatine – Sponsored by Tim Ruth K+R Wholesale Building Materials in Camdenton, MO – Sponsored by Andy Martin Star Equipment Ltd. in Cedar Rapids – Sponsored by Tim Ruth Look for them at our upcoming meetings and say hello!

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NAHB and House Panel Reach Agreement on Flood Insurance Bill

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in News

NAHB and House Panel Reach Agreement on Flood Insurance Bill Filed in Capitol Hill by NAHB Now on July 20, 2017 • NAHB today reached an agreement with leaders of the House Financial Services Committee to craft a viable, long-term flood insurance reauthorization bill that will keep the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) fiscally sound and enable home builders to provide safe and affordable housing to consumers. “NAHB commends House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Housing Subcommittee Chair Sean Duffy for their leadership in working with us to produce a bill that will preserve rate affordability, shore up the NFIP and address the concerns of the housing community,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald. “With the NFIP set to expire on Sept. 30, we urge the House to pass this bill quickly.” NAHB and the committee leadership have worked together to provide a five-year reauthorization of the NFIP that: Eliminates a provision that would have ended NFIP coverage of new homes constructed in the 100-year floodplain; Ensures that “grandfathering” will remain available for all policyholders if their risk changes, which will enable home owners to have continued access to affordable flood insurance; and Sustains affordability by raising the annual premium floor for rate hikes from its current 5% level to 6.5% instead of the proposed rate of 8%. “As a builder who knows firsthand how flood insurance rate increases can hurt home owners, businesses and communities, I am pleased that the House Financial Services Committee has made such important progress on reauthorizing the NFIP,” said Randy Noel, a home builder from LaPlace, La. and NAHB first vice chairman. “This bill is critical to allow more borrowers to be covered by flood insurance and ensure that we can continue to provide safe and affordable housing in Louisiana and across the nation.” For more information, contact Jessica Hall at 800-368-5242...

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EPA Formally Withdraws National Post-Construction Rule

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in News

EPA Formally Withdraws National Post-Construction Rule Filed in Codes and Regulations, Environmental, Land Development by NAHB Now on July 20, 2017 • The Environmental Protection Agency today announced that long-awaited federal regulations to require all developers to install stormwater management devices have been jettisoned. In response to NAHB comments, EPA tabled the rule in 2014 that would have required “post-construction” controls for stormwater discharges. That rule would have required all builders to retain a certain volume of stormwater onsite, regardless of underlying soils or rainfall patterns. Some of the technologies EPA was thinking about mandating would be almost impossible in many urban areas, making smart-growth and redevelopment projects less likely to succeed. Since then, the shelved rule has sat on the agency’s “long-term action” list – not a priority, but still able to be revisited at a future date. Today, EPA, along with all other federal agencies, published an updated rulemaking agenda for 2017. This time, the agency announced that EPA’s would-be national post-construction rule has been officially withdrawn. Since EPA first announced its plans in December 2009, NAHB staff and members have submitted comments and letters, testified at hearings, served on small-business panels and met with appointed and elected officials to explain why EPA’s proposal was an incursion into land-use regulations and plain wouldn’t work. Today’s announcement doesn’t mean builders are out of the woods yet. As technologies such as green infrastructure continue to advance and more is known about the causes of urban water pollution, a growing number of states are using existing Clean Water Act authority to require stricter stormwater quantity or quality limits. EPA included in its announcement a commitment to pursuing education and technical assistance for new stormwater technologies: Good news for communities that increasingly need innovative, flexible options for managing stormwater. “If post-construction regulations are not designed and implemented in a thoughtful way, new standards can decrease the number of available pollutant-reduction options, increase costs, delay projects, result in poorly designed or maintained features, or simply occupy valuable space that could be used for housing or other community amenities,” said NAHB environmental program manager Eva Birk. “Alternatively, post-construction approaches such as green infrastructure, if implemented well, can seamlessly integrate into existing requirements, build value and achieve multiple community and environmental benefits. In many cases it will be up to the development community to speak up on a case-by-case basis to ensure that these new programs are cost effective,” she...

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Builder Confidence Continues Climb

Posted by on May 15, 2017 in News

Builder Confidence Continues Climb Filed in Economics, Home Building by NAHB Now on May 15, 2017 • In a further sign that the housing market continues to strengthen, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points in May to 70 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the second-highest HMI reading since the downturn. “This report shows that builders’ optimism in the housing market is solidifying, even as they deal with higher building material costs and shortages of lots and labor,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald. “The HMI measure of future sales conditions reached its highest level since June 2005, a sign of growing consumer confidence in the new home market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Especially as existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect increased demand for new construction moving forward.” Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NHMI 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 for 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. Two of the three HMI components registered gains in May. The index charting sales expectations in the next six months jumped four points to 79 while the index gauging current sales conditions increased two points to 76. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic edged one point down to 51. The three-month moving averages for HMI scores posted gains in three out of the four regions. The Northeast and South each registered three-point gains to 49 and 71, respectively, while the West rose one point to 78. The Midwest was unchanged at 68. See the HMI tables, and find more information on housing statistics on...

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