BUILDING TODAY

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News and Updates

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  • 17 Oct 2018 6:06 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Eight local builder associations, in conjunction with PBA, participated in an NAHB Membership Drive Workshop on Monday, October 17. Facilitated by Anna Tilley and Isabel Shocket of NAHB’s Advisory Services Team, EOs from the eight locals set goals for growth and developed membership drive tools and retention tactics for after the drive is complete. PBA is inviting every local association in the state to participate in a membership drive on November 12th and 13th (you may choose either day.)

    If you can’t get excited about gaining membership, get excited about a chance to get some free money. NAHB will pay the local association $100 for every new builder or associate member added between September 1st and November 30th. You didn’t have to participate in the Workshop but your gains must be net positive compared to the same period last year (from September 1st through November 30th, 2017) NAHB is also offering a $15 incentive for net positive affiliate members. Remember, anyone you’ve already recruited from September 1st until now counts toward your goal.

    All locals are encouraged to participate, regardless of whether they attended the Workshop. Here are the membership goals set for the local associations that participated in Monday’s Workshop with their current builder member totals, goals for the drive, and new post-drive numbers:

    Blair-Bedford BA
    134 10 144

    Central PA BA 
    125 5 130

    Central Susquehanna BA
    87 13 100
    HBA of Berks County 

    209 16 225
    HBA of Metro Harrisburg 
    354 21 375
    Lebanon County BA 
    149 10 159
    Lehigh Valley BA 

    254 16 270
    Wayne-Pike BA 
    121 12 133

    We’re thrilled at the ambitious goals each of these locals announced. Can your local association do better? For more information, please download the NAHB/PBA Membership Drive Workshop presentation.

    Questions may be directed to Craig Hoffman at 717-730-4380 or choffman@pabuilders.org.

  • 04 Oct 2018 2:52 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)


    October is Careers in Construction Month, an opportunity for home builders, materials suppliers, and others to increase public awareness of the outstanding opportunities available in the construction trades. This month of emphasis is timely due to exciting trends for those thinking about entering the residential construction industry.

    In Pennsylvania and throughout much of the US, constructions jobs are plentiful and paying more wages than ever. The devastating recession that began in 2008 struck the construction industry particularly hard. Many skilled tradespeople simply gave-up hopes for well-paying jobs in residential housing, and in the case of the baby boomers, many simply retired.

    Now in 2018, levels of supply and demand have reversed, with skilled construction workers desperately needed in all levels of residential building. This labor shortage is so acute that 91 percent of more than 2,700 contractors, construction managers, builders and trade contractors surveyed by Commercial Construction Index report having a difficult or moderately difficult time finding skilled workers.

    In turn, pay has skyrocketed in tandem with the high demand. Historically, average wages in the residential construction industry are slightly higher than wages overall. As of March 2018, the average U.S. residential construction wage nationwide is about 13.7 percent above the average private-sector wage – a gap on par with late-2008 levels. Residential construction worker wages continue to grow at a 5 percent annual pace, almost double the 2.9 percent pace of wage growth for all workers.

    Despite these increased wages and high worker demand, there aren’t enough skilled builders around to complete the work. Through the first quarter of 2018, employers have been looking to fill an average of nearly 225,000 construction jobs each month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That average was eclipsed in only one year going back to 2000 when the BLS first began tracking the data – and that year was 2007, at the tail end of the U.S. housing boom.

    RANK/STATE/NO. OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS

    1          California        863,600          

    2          Texas               763,100          

    3          Florida             541,700          

    4          New York         415,500          

    5          Pennsylvania   265,500

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics & Statistics   


    Construction trades: demand but lack of supply

    A recent poll from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) of young Americans ages 18-to-25 shows that almost no millennials want a career in construction, despite the above average pay. 64 percent of these millennials said they wouldn’t even consider working in construction if you paid them $100,000 or more.

    There are many reasons for the lack of skilled tradespeople. Millennials were more likely to grow up with a focus on a four-year college degree. Coupled with budget cuts to high school vocational and skills development programs this overemphasis on four-year degrees helped create a negative stigma in the trade professions. Finally, the opioid epidemic and random drug testing by employers have shut out a large swath of potential workers nationwide, especially in areas of the Rust Belt and Midwest (including Pennsylvania).

    ***

    Construction trades: five reasons to join the construction industry

    So you or someone you know is beginning their first career, or are looking to switch to opportunities for more money and advancement. If more convincing is needed than what we’ve stated above, here are five reasons to consider a career in the building trades:

    Builders Across the Country Are Hiring

    Home builders in Pennsylvania and nationwide are seeking skilled workers — especially carpenters, framers and roofers to help them build the American Dream. This means there is ample opportunity for motivated students seeking a rewarding career path. The number of open construction sector jobs is expected to reach 275,000 by the end of 2018, according to the analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

    Job Satisfaction and Competitive Salaries

    Residential construction workers consistently express high job satisfaction. Average salaries in Pennsylvania remain competitive with other industries in our area. For example, brick masons and carpenters can enter the industry in Pennsylvania with a starting salary of over $51,000 annually. Specialized fields such as electrician and construction supervisor can earn much more. Projections from all sources predict that construction jobs will see steady wage growth for at least the next five years.

    Career Ladders with No Limit

    When people think of professions with great opportunities for advancement, construction might not immediately come to mind. But from an entry-level labor position, a home building worker has the opportunity to learn more highly-skilled trades, serve as frontline management, grow into a company management role, and eventually, for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, even own their own home building or remodeling firm. And this is just within one type of company; there is always the opportunity to take a job with a supplier, a specialty contractor, or any other of dozens of supporting companies essential to the residential construction industry.

    Diversity of Skilled Trades to Consider

    A home builder relies on a number of highly trained workers to get the job done right. This includes dozens of skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters and landscapers. Analysis from NAHB shows that 70 percent of builders typically use between 11 and 30 subcontractors to build a single-family home. Indeed, there are many different trades you can pursue depending on your personal interests. 

    Rewarding Career without College Debt

    At a time when countless college graduates are finding themselves underemployed and saddled with crushing student debt, it’s important to know that earning a college degree is not the only road to success. A vocational education is equally rewarding and can be obtained at a fraction of the cost.  

    PBA created its Endorsed Trade Program (ETP) with the primary goal of bridging the gap between training and career. ETP awards hundreds of students an advanced trade certification in collaboration with trade schools around Pennsylvania in fields such as building construction, cabinetry, HVAC, masonry, and plumbing. Students who complete the PBA-certified program are then tested and receive their accreditation - providing reassurance to builders and potential employers they are well-prepared for work with a residential construction company. Students and schools that participate in PBA’s ETP have the unique chance to work directly with residential contractors who can share real-life pointers and applications. Moreover, the students gain exposure to potential employers or references who can open the doors to the right job.

    A career in construction is not just another job. It’s an opportunity to build a lifetime of success and fulfillment.

    For more information, go to NAHB’s Careers in the Construction Trades
  • 17 Sep 2018 5:14 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    The Pennsylvania Builders Association’s Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) is celebrating Professional Women in Building Week, September 17 – 21, 2018. PWB Week aims to drive awareness of the vast contributions women have made and continue to make every day in the residential construction industry.

     “Women are a vital component of the home building industry. As we continue to grow our numbers, PWB Week provides a platform to collectively demonstrate the important roles women play in residential construction,” said Kim Gartner, Chair, PBA Professional Women in Building Council and Vice President at Prime Custom Builders, LLC of Doylestown, PA. “Women have long been in this field, but awareness and recognition are needed to continue to recruit and train new talented women to the field,” she added.

     “PWB is seeing an organic evolution of women at the grassroots level making the necessary strides to fuel the next generation of female building professionals through industry support, professional development, and leadership training opportunities,” said Anna Coutts, PBA Professional Women in Building Council Vice Chair and Real Estate Salesperson with Weichert Realtors Paupack Group in Hawley, PA. “Our members are not just the builder’s wives anymore, but accredited, licensed and certified professionals representing all facets of the residential construction industry.”

    Professional Women in Building has become NAHB’s fastest growing council, experiencing a 40% growth in membership over the last decade, and counts 43 Pennsylvania members of its 1,868 total membership.

     For more information, visit www.nahb.org/pwbweek

  • 17 Sep 2018 9:00 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)


    The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is issuing a Request for Proposals soliciting applications from organizations for projects to improve the availability and affordability of housing across the commonwealth. Funding for this RFP is being provided through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) Fund. The total PHARE funding available this year is $39.6 million.

    PHARE receives its funding from a number of sources. These include the impact fee levied on natural gas companies, a portion of the Realty Transfer Tax, and money from the National Housing Trust Fund. Funding is available for housing initiatives in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. PHFA is charged with administering the allocation of PHARE dollars.

    New this year for PHARE is an application process that can be completed entirely online, eliminating the need for paper submissions and simplifying the process for applicants and the evaluation staff. The RFP is located on PHFA’s website at www.phfa.org, and the application is accessible at https://phare.phfa.org/.

    Applications are due to PHFA no later than 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.

    PHFA is planning two informational webinars for groups interested in applying for PHARE funds. Both webinars will cover the same information. Webinar dates and times are: Sept.20 – 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Oct. 4 – 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    Questions may be directed to Bryce Maretzki at PHFA via email at bmaretzki@phfa.org or by phone at 717.780.1867.

  • 10 Sep 2018 4:45 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Recent natural disasters in Pennsylvania remind us that our lives can quickly be turned upside down with little warning. September is National Preparedness Month, which makes now a perfect time to prepare your family and household for emergency situations that are most likely to impact our area.

    Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Agency (PEMA’s) Ready PA website provides information on how to be prepared for both natural and man-made disasters. PEMA recommends following these steps to plan ahead for emergency situations.

    Sign up for emergency alerts. Discuss with your family or household members how you will each receive emergency alerts and warnings. Check to see what wireless emergency alerts are offered by Pennsylvania state agencies or local public safety officials and sign up to receive the latest news.

    Devise a shelter plan. Depending on the emergency, you may be required to evacuate or seek shelter in another location. Or, you may be advised to stay at home and shelter-in-place. Review the recommended shelter plans for the type of disasters that are likely to affect your area. For example, with a tornado warning, you should seek shelter in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.

    Create an evacuation plan.  If necessary, you’ll need to know an evacuation plan. You may have a few days to prepare for an evacuation or you may need to leave your home immediately. That’s why it’s important to assemble supplies ahead of time, both a “go-bag” you can carry if you need to you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling by longer distances if you have a personal vehicle.

    Develop a household communication plan.  Your family or other household members may not all be together, or at home, when disaster strikes. That’s why it’s important to know how you will communicate with the members of your household. Using an emergency contact list will help you keep in contact with your family in case you are separated during a disaster.

    ***

    A disaster can strike without warning, and the best way to protect your family is to be prepared. These tips, along with additional information available on https://www.ready.pa.gov are a good start to make sure your family is safe and comfortable before, during and after the onset of an emergency situation.

    For more tips for your home, visit https://www.pabuilders.org/consumers.


  • 10 Sep 2018 4:33 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Residential construction professionals are constantly reminded of the weather and its effects on their projects. Recent storms and flooding in Pennsylvania remind us that emergency situations can occur anywhere, and thorough preparation is vital to keep worksites safe and workers safer.

    September is National Preparedness Month, and while preparing for a storm event requires some cost and effort, it is often a valuable expenditure that greatly reduces losses and is a worthwhile investment. Taking a wait-and-see approach regarding storm preparations is a gamble that can result in far greater project disruption and damage.

    Most important is that all team members understand their roles and responsibilities well before a storm arrives. This is especially challenging as often there is no real guarantee that the project site will be affected by the storm. Site preparations have real and definite costs. Weather prediction is not a perfect science, and often a storm can either completely miss a project or arrive stronger than anticipated.

    Building codes and engineering standards provide guidance regarding the minimum design and resistance of structures. However, designing to modern codes and standards does not guarantee that structures won’t be damaged by extreme storm events. Additionally, during construction, many structural systems may be incomplete and the structure partially erected and temporarily stored. A partially completed building with openings protected by tarps and materials stored at low levels on the construction site may be at a substantially greater risk of damage. A storm event that is well within the structure’s design tolerances may be at risk of severe damage while partially constructed. Tornado wind speeds—perhaps as high as 317 mph-- are so high that it is typically not economical to design structures for this event. Only very special structures are designed to withstand the largest tornados, such as facilities handling dangerous biological agents, aerospace facilities, nuclear power facilities, etc.


    Typically, hurricane events provide the most notice. Forming far out in the Atlantic Ocean, many storms provide at least some notice, which allows the contractor time to prepare (lower crane booms, secure materials, shore up partially supported structures, etc.). A contractor can take multiple measures to protect the construction site from extreme wind events. For example, prior to construction, the company should clearly designate a person in charge who will take control during an emergency, develop a response team and a recovery team, maintain emergency phone lists, discuss action plans at weekly meetings, establish an emergency control center and monitor the weather.

    Some steps taken to mitigate against natural disasters are obvious. But some might not be intuitive. For example, according to the Builder Hurricane Preparation Plan from NAHB’s Home Innovation Research Labs, all dumpsters should be either removed or emptied once an area comes under a hurricane warning. All material deliveries should be halted under a hurricane watch.

    Insurance companies also have great resources for operators of construction sites facing natural disasters, including the importance of creating a relocation plan for workers should evacuation become necessary.

    OSHA also recognizes the importance of worker safety and the necessity to create, implement, and follow plans of action for emergencies. The agency maintains an Emergency Preparedness and Response page that covers most types of natural and man-made disasters.

    After the storm, recovery and rebuilding is often a huge undertaking. Builders Mutual has helpful tips for getting the job site back up and running, including the imperative to document everything, with paper and pictures.

    As always, NAHB has numerous resources for builders, workers, HBAs, and homeowners facing a natural disaster and cleanup and recovery.

    Extra work right now can help builders avoid unnecessary loss, reduce exposure to liability, keep their workers safe and ensure the job continues as quickly as possible after the incident.

    For information on emergency preparedness for the homeowner, visit https://www.pabuilders.org/news/6663130


  • 04 Sep 2018 9:00 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    On May 1, 2018, the PA Uniform Construction Code (PA UCC) Review and Advisory Council (RAC) submitted their report to the Department of Labor and Industry adopting the majority of code provisions contained in the 2015 International Code Council (ICC) Model Codes. These new code provisions will take effect on October 1, 2018.

    Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC) seminars are being held at local builders associations across the Commonwealth through October 1.

    September Sessions
    • Blower Doors for Builders (1 hr)
    • HERS & the ERI Path (1 hr)
    • Whole House Mechanical Ventilation (1 hr)

    October Sessions
    • PA Alternative Residential Energy Provisions (1 hr)


    Contact your local builders association for more information and reservations!

    Builders Assn. of Pittsburgh (BAMP)

    Location:  Paryway West Career & Technology Center, Oakdale, PA

    Date, time:  Thursday, October 18, CTC 10am – 3pm (Lunch at noon)

    Contact: Jim Eichenlaub – jime@pghhomebuilders.com

     

    Wayne/Pike Counties BIA

    Location:  Brookfield Learning Center, Tafton

    Date, time:  Wednesday, October 30, 10am-2pm

    Contact:  Nicky Patterson – info@waynepikebia.com

     

    Lawrence County Home Builders

    Location:  New Castle School of Trades

    Date, time:  Thursday, November 15, time TBD

    Contact:  Tom McCosby – tfmccosby@comcast.net


  • 17 Aug 2018 9:10 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    PBA's Membership Video has been named the 1st Place Winner in the large association category in the GrowthZone 2018 Association Momentum Competition!

    PBA will be awarded $500 and is featured alongside the other finalists in the Big Book of Ideas for Building Associations, available now.

  • 06 Aug 2018 3:05 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    PBA’s Summer 2018 Board Meeting descended into Happy Valley at the Nittany Lion Inn in State College with nearly 100 attendees participating in a full slate of great meetings, an informative seminar, and a lovely PaCAH evening reception. Highlights of the concluding Board of Directors Meeting included welcoming PBA’s new President-elect, Maria Coutts, the acceptance of nominations for PBA’s 2019 slate of officers and the election of PBA’s latest Life Director, Joe Harcum.  

     

    PHRC Seminar

    Members gathered the afternoon of Friday, August 3 for a timely and educational seminar from the PA Housing Research Center (PHRC). The seminar focused on the PA Uniform Construction Code (PA UCC) Review and Advisory Council (RAC) code provisions contained in the 2015 International Code Council (ICC) Model Codes.

     

    Special Guests

    PBA was honored to have two prominent guests in attendance during the Board of Directors Meeting on Saturday, August 4. Scott Wagner, Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania spoke and answered members’ questions. Also Jerry Konter, NAHB 3rd Vice Chair candidate spoke and mingled with PBA’s directors.

     

    ***

    Finally, a big thank you to EK McConkey for sponsoring the new lanyards, networking with our members and assisting them with questions over the weekend. We especially thank Betsy Dupuis for opening her home for the PaCAH reception.



    PBA Fall 2018 Board Meeting

    Mark your calendar for the next Board of Directors Meeting on November 3, 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Harrisburg, PA. We look forward to seeing you there!

  • 30 Jul 2018 5:43 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    PBA Senior Leadership and Staff congratulate HBA of Berks County Executive Officer Cathy Sloan on her election as an NAHB Life Director at their mid-year meeting. Way to go Cathy!

    Pictured: Cathy Sloan & Chuck Fowke, NAHB Third Vice Chairman


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