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News and Updates

  • 22 May 2018 11:16 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)
    May is National Remodeling Month

    Aging-in-Place: Remodeling for a Lifetime

    What is “Aging-in-Place?”

    According to most experts, aging-in-place is a term used to describe a person living in the residence of their choice, for as long as they are able, as they age. This includes being able to have any services (or other support) they might need over time as their needs change.

    According to a recent NAHB survey, “desire for better/newer amenities” and “need to repair/replace old components” once again ranked as the top reasons owners remodel their homes.  However, several other reasons to remodel are gaining ground, particularly the desire to be able to age-in-place.

    The baby boom generation has many choices as this large population of potential clients for remodelers, builders, contractors, and occupational therapists considers where to live – but overwhelmingly, seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes.


    What does Aging-in-Place look like?

    If you are like the majority of Americans you want to continue living at home in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. Aging-in-place means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level. It addresses the need to remodel existing homes and design new homes so that people can age in place and not have to move to assisted-living facilities as they age. Since the vast majority of homes we live in are not well designed for aging seniors, a movement in residential construction has sprung up to meet this new consumer demand.

    Boomers, who are 77 million strong and make-up 28% of the U.S. population, are leading this trend. The economics of aging-in-place modifications are a no-brainer. Moving to a typical assisted-living facility can cost up to $60,000 annually. The cost to widen the bathroom door, put in safety bars, and add a roll-in shower would typically cost about $6,000 to $8,000, but doing so is a one-time expense, not a yearly drain on your finances.

    Too early to think this applies to you? Consider how many folks struggle with bouts of arthritis at an early age. If you fell and broke a leg, how easy would it be to get up and downstairs in your house? Perhaps you have an aging parent or relative who may need to move in with you. Most home owners don’t think they will need traditional aging in place items like task lighting, grab bars, and other home modifications for their own use, but their family members and visitors might.


    Universal Design

    Aging-in-place means so many different things to so many different types of home owners, it’s difficult to find where to begin the process of evaluating the needs of everyone living in, or potentially living in the home. A good place to begin is universal design, which refers to products and spaces that can be used by the widest range of people.

    The theory behind universal design is to have an environment (in a building, product, or service in that environment) that is designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. Universal design considers the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process and takes advantage of products, services, and environments that meet peoples' needs.


    Aging-in-place Action Plan

    Fortunately, there are industry standards in place to help potential remodelers make sense of the multiple challenges of aging-in-place planning. NAHB’s answer to this is CAPS, which stands for Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. It’s a construction credential that has builders, architects, remodelers, designers and even occupational therapists using universal design ideas, aging-in-place principles designed to custom-fit your home to you and your family as time goes by.

    CAPS design takes your current and future circumstances into consideration by using the universal design principles to focus on elegant, aesthetically enriching, and barrier-free environments. These are changes that can actually increase the value of your home, according to most realtors.

    Construction and design professionals are taking advantage of CAPS training across the nation. This designation is taught through the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP.

    Aging-in-Place Planning Checklist

    Universal design taken to the practical level can include the most common aging-in-place remodeling, like raised toilet seats, chair lifts, and walk-in tubs. However, improvements that make homes universally more livable (e.g., replacing lower cabinets with pull out drawers, large windows providing natural light), however, will make them appealing to everyone regardless of age.

    Here are some ideas additional aging-in-place ideas to consider when planning a new or remodeling home project:

    Home Safety

    • Better outdoor lighting to get you from your car to the door.
    • Attractive ramps or a zero-step entrance for the home.
    • Handrails at existing steps and porches.
    • Fewer or no stairs.

    Kitchen Helpers

    • Lever-handle faucets with pull-out spray.
    • Raised dishwasher to avoid back strain (a good idea for front-loading washers and dryers, too).
    • Rolling island that can be placed back under the counter.
    • Lower, side-opening oven.
    • Adjustable height sink.
    • Side-by side refrigerator with slide-out shelves and a water/ice dispenser.
    • Cooktop with controls on front.

    Bathroom Amenities

    • Attractive grab bars in the shower.
    • Lever handles on faucets.
    • Slide-bar-type hand-held shower, for sitting or standing.
    • Tub and shower controls moved closer to entry point.
    • Widened entry doors to at least 32.”
    • Higher toilets with non-slam seats and lids.

    Home Comfort

    • Improved lighting with recessed fixtures in common areas and hallways.
    • Lever handles on doors and windows.
    • Lower light switches and thermostats; raised outlets.
    • Wider doors that accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.

    Smart Homes = Smart Aging in Pace
    The trends in home automation and interconnection are a perfect example of taking the many tools of universal design to its practical conclusion. Internet-connected thermostats, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely not only help everyone in the house live well together, but can save time, money and energy.


    With so much to consider while using aging-in-place during your remodeling project, it’s hard to go it alone. The CAPS designation is a reliable way to identify professionals to modify your home or build a new one that is designed for a lifespan. CAPS graduates receive training about the technical/construction aspects and learn about the unique aspects of working with older Americans.

    Visit NAHB’s aging-in-place and remodeling website for more info.

    To find an NAHB Certified Aging-in-Place professional in your area, contact your local builders association at


  • 11 May 2018 8:49 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Weigh Your Options before a Do-it-Yourself Remodel

    Homeowners are tackling more home improvement projects than ever, according to a new study from Home Advisor. What’s more, they spent an average of roughly $1,850 more on home improvement projects than ten years previous.

    Home project spending is up among millennials, but less than half report always hiring a professional to help complete home improvement projects — in part because they’d have to save for or finance a home improvement, and in part because they’re uncertain they’re being charged a fair price.

    Age of home and length of residence matter. Homeowners who’ve lived in their homes for less than six years spent the most on home improvement projects last year, followed by those who’ve lived in their homes longer than 11 years. Homeowners who’ve lived in their homes for six to 10 years, on the other hand, spent the least on home improvement projects.

    With websites like Pinterest, and home improvement shows too numerous to count, many homeowners feel they can take on that bathroom or kitchen, but DIY remodeling isn’t always the best path to that completed remodeling project.


    Without the proper training and preparation, a DIYer can and has landed in the emergency room. Unfamiliarity with new tools and techniques can lead to life-threatening accidents. Follow product directions and safety procedures and always use proper safety equipment.

    A good rule of thumb for any homeowner is to avoid projects that require a license. Veteran remodelers advise against doing electrical or plumbing work on your own and avoid making structural changes to walls, roofs, and floors. You run the risk of compromising the structural integrity of your home and having a large hole in your roof or floor. Leave this work in the hands of professionals with the proper training.

    Even projects that appear simple like laying floor tile can result in you stubbing your toes every time you are in that room if improperly installed.


    DIYers often tackle larger projects than they can handle before the holidays so that visiting family can enjoy the updates. But when something goes wrong, there is no one to hold to the deadline. Hiring a professional will ensure that you have a contract with a completion date and that the remodeler will bring in whatever help is necessary to get the job finished on time.

    Even professional remodelers sometimes need extra time on projects when they find surprises behind walls. Troubleshooting these issues often takes more time and expertise than originally planned. If timing is a priority for your weekend warrior, call a professional remodeler to get your project completed.


    Purchasing new tools is exciting but consider the price of all the specialty tools used for a one-time project when they are sitting untouched in your garage for a few years.

    Additionally, many of the products purchased for the DIY market, although designated by a name brand, are not always the same quality available to contractors. It is also important to verify the terms of the product warranty. Many warranties become void by improper installation.


    Depending on the scale of the project, some home improvement projects can also involve compliance with local codes that require permits and inspections.  In addition, older homes may have asbestos and /or lead paint. The removal of these two dangerous materials are often strictly regulated in most states. Other common DIY code violations are deck ledger fastening problems, basement bedroom egress windows, and botched electrical work.

    Work that’s not up to code may be discovered by an inspector when you try and sell, putting a big damper on your plans. You may be required to fix any problems (with added expense) before a buyer will consider making an offer. And if your buyer should later discover fixes that aren’t up to code, you could be sued for repairs and damages.


    Not all projects require permits and inspections. Start off by inquiring with your local building authority and discussing your project in detail.

    There are some home projects that professional remodelers believe can be tackled by determined DIYers such as hanging pictures, interior painting, caulking, changing door knobs and cabinet pulls, and some aesthetic work (depending on skill level) such as installing crown molding. Just consider the safety risks, time and cost involved in a DIY project of any size.

    Still think you can tackle a big remodeling project? Just remember, DIY projects should be fun and suit your skill level. If they’re not, then consider hiring a professional.

    For information about hiring a remodeler, contact your local builders association or search the Directory of Professional Remodelers ( to find a professional remodeler in your area. Visit for more information on remodeling. The PA Builders Association Buyers Guide has hundreds of products and services for the DIYer from all over Pennsylvania. 

  • 04 May 2018 10:52 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Bathroom Remodels – Hire a pro for the new king of home renovations

    You’ve collected ideas of your dream master bath, drafted a general budget, and talked with friends about how you wish your home was more comfortable or modern. You’re hitting remodeling websites to find the latest trends in bathroom design and fixtures. It sounds like you’re ready to hire a professional remodeler to get your project done right.

    You’re not alone. Bathrooms have now overtaken kitchens as the most popular remodeling project. The kitchen is king among the spaces with the most impact on a home’s identity. But having a beautiful bathroom is just as, if not, more important for many homeowners.

    In fact, bathrooms overtook kitchens as the most popular remodeling project, according to a new NAHB survey. NAHB has released the results highlighting the most common remodeling projects to kick off National Home Remodeling Month in May.

    Survey Says

    In the survey, remodelers reported the most common projects in 2017:

        81% did bathroom remodeling

        78% did kitchen remodeling

        49% did whole house remodeling

        37% did room additions

        30% did window/door replacements

    While remodeling is commonly associated with kitchens and baths, demand for green upgrades continues to swell as homeowners seek to save on utili

    ty costs, improve air quality and increase the value of their homes.

    An additional survey by NAHB Remodelers showed that high-performing, low-emissivity (Low-E) windows are the most common green-building product installed by residential remodelers. Programmable thermostats and high-efficiency HVAC systems also ranked highly among the most common green products used.

    Hire aPro

    Check out these steps for hiring a professional remodeler:

    Collect names of remodeling companies.
    1.  Start by searching the National Association of Home Builders’ Directory of Professional Remodelers at You’ll get a list of licensed remodelers in your area to contact.

    Discuss your project with a couple remodelers.

    2.  Call a few remodelers from your list to discuss your project. Describe what you envision for the home remodel, styles you like, your estimated budget, and other ideas for the remodeling work. Ask the remodeler if they can provide background information on their expertise. They may have a website or brochure they can share that describes their experience and accomplishments.

    Ask if the remodeler has general liability insurance.
    3.  Be sure to ask some important questions about the remodeler’s business that will help ensure you hire the best professional. Does the remodeler have a contractor’s license? Do they have general liability insurance in case of an accident on the job? Do they guarantee their work? How do they handle any problems that may arise on the project? Having these answers in advance will prevent future problems and nail down the best professional remodeler for the job.

    Check the references and background of the remodeler.

    4. After you start speaking with remodelers and find one or two who match your project’s needs, be sure to conduct some background research by checking with the Better Business Bureau, talking to their references, and asking if they are a trade association member (such as NAHB Remodelers). Remodelers with these qualities tend to be more reliable, better educated, and more likely to stay on top of construction and design trends.

    Don’t fall for the lowest bidder.

    5.  Many people may be lured by the lowest price to their remodeling project, thinking that they have found a great deal. But beware of these alluring low prices. These bids may be more costly in the end if the contractor is cutting corners, not taking into account certain costs, or is inexperienced. Professional remodelers have stories about coming into homes to fix remodels from unscrupulous contractors who did shoddy work or failed to complete the job. Often times, the lowest price may not ultimately provide the best value for your home remodel.

    Make the smartest investment in your home by hiring a professional remodeler. They’ll help you stay on budget, solve remodeling challenges, and provide a higher-quality service.

    For more tips on planning a home remodel or hiring a professional remodeler, visit or contact your local builders association at

  • 04 May 2018 8:27 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Rep. Charlie Dent (R) was honored on April 30th by Lehigh Valley Builders Association (LVBA) with the National Defender of Housing Award, acknowledging him as a forward-thinking federal legislator who recognizes housing’s significant role within the U.S. economy.

    “Dent understands the key national issues facing home builders and remodelers here in the Lehigh Valley,” said LVBA Executive Officer, Chuck Hamilton.  “We commend him for his past support of pro-housing policies such as removing needless regulatory barriers that drive up the cost of housing making it more difficult for families to afford a home.”

    The Defender of Housing Award honors a very important partnership--the working relationship between builders and lawmakers. In many ways, members of Congress create the blueprint for our businesses with their votes on legislation that defines how our industry operates.

    John Howard, chair of the LVBA Governmental Affairs Committee, added, “This award represents a strong commitment to affordable housing, consumer choice and most importantly, the significant contribution that home building makes to the economy. Homeownership is the engine that drives this nation, and the Defender of Housing Award goes to those who enable more homes to be built.”

  • 01 May 2018 8:39 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

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

    The submission of the report to the Department signals the end of the RAC’s re-review of all previously un-adopted code provisions contained in the 2012, and 2015 editions of the ICC Model Codes. 

    PBA was successful in advocating for the non-adoption or modification of the most egregious code provisions contained in the 2015 ICC Model Codes, but all residential builders should be prepared for a major update to the current PA UCC beginning in October of this year.  

    New Regulations

    On October 1, 2018, new regulations will go into effect codifying the RAC report on the 2015 ICC Model Code re-review including the provisions of the 2014 National Electric Code.

    PBA is working on materials and educational training sessions to help make the transition to the revised PA UCC easier to manage for our members.

    Moving forward, all subsequent RAC review and adoption of future Model Code provisions will be delayed by a full three years.  As an example, the 2018 ICC Model Codes will not be eligible for enactment in Pennsylvania until March of 2022. 

    Other Key Changes for Builders:

    Design or Construction Contract Time-frames:

    Members should also be aware that a new limitation relating to design and construction contracts will be implemented with the updates to the PA UCC.  A design or construction contract that is entered into prior to the effective date of regulations implementing changes to the PA UCC, in this case October 1, 2018, may be issued under the code in place at the time that the contracts were signed if the permit to build and inspect is applied for within six months of the effective date of the regulation or the period noted by municipal ordinance, whichever is less.   Simply, if you want to build under the 2009 PA UCC you must have a signed design or construction contract dated prior October 1, 2018, and pull the building permit prior to April 1, 2019.  

  • 27 Apr 2018 9:45 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    As the spring home-buying season kicks into full gear, the home building industry is celebrating New Homes Month in April. If you’re in the market for a new home, you’re probably thinking about what features are essential on your must-have list. Do you wonder if other home buyers are looking for the same things?

    A recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveals what consumers are looking for in their house hunting this year. Both first-time buyers and existing homeowners were asked about the features they consider essential in their next home.

     Nearly half of first-time home buyers rank these features among their top five must-haves:

    ·         Living room

    ·         Laundry room

    ·         Dining room

    ·         Garage storage

    ·         Walk-in closet in the master bedroom

    First-time buyers are also looking for a front porch, a 2-car garage and a double sink in the kitchen.

    Are existing homeowners looking for dramatically different features as they look to move up or downsize? In fact, their list of essential items includes many of the same preferences of first-time buyers. But they also are looking for more, including a patio, table space for eating in the kitchen, hardwood floors on the main level, Energy Star appliances and granite countertops in the kitchen.

    Both sets of home buyers are continuing their commitment to energy efficiency in 2018. Energy-efficient features like low-E windows and Energy Star-certified appliances are among the popular desired features.

    Home buyers also indicated their openness to joining the tiny home trend. NAHB found that 53 percent of respondents would consider purchasing a home of 600 square feet or less at some point during their lifetime. Perhaps not surprisingly, Gen Xers and millennias were much more open to the idea of a tiny house than baby boomers and seniors.

    Contact your local builders association in Pennsylvania at to learn about the latest features available in new homes in your area. 

  • 27 Apr 2018 9:33 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Andrew Kaye of Stevenson Home Builders, LLC in Conshohocken, PA and the BA of Bucks/Montgomery Counties has been appointed by NAHB Chairman Randy Noel as the PBA NAHB State Representative, filling the roll vacated by the passing of previous State Rep Ray Venema. Andrew will fulfill the current 2018 term and will also remain a member of the PBA Senior Leadership Committee serving as its Past President.  

  • 19 Apr 2018 8:53 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Bringing Housing Home is an opportunity for members to conduct in-district meetings with their U.S. representatives and senators. These meetings, especially important during each election year, are key to strengthening relationships with lawmakers and to maintaining housing issues as a priority in Congress.

    Meetings in the home district often allow for less rushed and more open conversations between members and their elected representatives in Washington. This year’s events are set for the week of April 30 through May 5. If you want to set up a meeting, you can use this letter template. If you have already scheduled a meeting, please let us know.

    We would love to send someone from PBA leadership, a BUILD-PAC trustee and/or one of the NAHB government affairs staff to join you if schedules permit. The sooner we know the date and place, the more likely we can send someone to help you carry the message. If you would like help in scheduling, Pennsylvania’s BUILD-PAC trustees would be glad to assist. We can give you contact information for any of the trustees if you are interested.

    You can download the NAHB 2018 Legislative Priorities brochure and related materials here. The brochure provides a useful “cheat sheet” for your members as well as being a great item to leave behind for your legislator or his staff. Don’t pass by this opportunity to make an impression on your U.S. lawmakers. Those running for reelection are more likely than ever to want your input.

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

    Don’t miss out on an opportunity to increase your local membership and get “cash back.” Through the end of May 2018, PBA will pay your local association $7.50 for every new affiliate member that the local adds.

    You may not be aware that PBA does not charge anything for affiliate membership. The $7.50 represents one-half of the affiliate dues charged by NAHB. PBA’s board approved this temporary program following a proposal from 2019 President Kert Sloan. Affiliate membership is an ideal way to get younger members involved or to add additional active volunteers from the same company.

    Local executive officers or presidents simply need to identify all of your new affiliates each month for the promotion period (February 1 through May 31, 2018) and PBA will write the local association a check representing $7.50 for each new affiliate. Please use this form.

    There is no limit on the number of affiliates you can claim so long as they are new members who joined during the limited time offered. Ten new affiliates translates into $75 back to your association and, we hope, ten new members engaged and participating at your local. Grab the cash while it’s available. This offer ends soon.

    If you have any questions regarding this promotion or affiliate membership, contact Daniel Durden at or (717) 325-4329.

  • 06 Apr 2018 3:12 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    This April marks the eleventh annual recognition month, reminding Pennsylvania residents to always dial 8‐1‐1 three business days before any digging project.

    National Safe Digging Month is formally recognized by the Governor of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representative and has traditionally earned the support from nearly every state governor across the country.

     As you prepare to excavate, state law requires that you contact 8-1-1 or PBA members have their annual $125 fee covered by the association.

    Here’s what PBA members need to know:

    Each calendar year when you contact 8-1-1 for the first time, you will receive an invoice for $125. Forward your invoice to your local builders association. They will confirm your membership and send your invoice directly to PBA for payment.

    You will not receive an invoice for additional use of the PA One Call System in the same calendar year, regardless of how often you use it. Repeat the same process the first time you dig in the next calendar year!

    When dialing 8‐1‐1, homeowners and contractors are connected to Pennsylvania 811, the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional underground utility line locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.

    The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. Pennsylvania 811 encourages area residents to visit or for more information about digging safely.

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