BUILDING TODAY

 for a better tomorrow.

News and Updates

  • 08 Jul 2019 9:11 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    On July 2,  Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 751 (Act 53 of 2019) reforming the way private water and sewer utilities’ income tax liability is calculated. The tax change specifically relates to a federal tax provision affecting private water and sewer utilities when they extend service to a new area.   With more than 3,800 member companies, Pennsylvania Builders Association Members annually invest millions of dollars in water and wastewater infrastructure that is donated to private water/sewer companies after development is complete.  Act 53 becomes effective August 31,2019.

    Investor-owned water companies previously enjoyed a federal tax exemption for such infrastructure known as contributions in aid of construction (CIAC), but a little-advertised change in the Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) eliminated this exemption in 2018.  Prior to the passage of  Act 53 this tax impacted  developers, increasing the cost of every new home by thousands of dollars. 

    PA Builders Association Fixes Federal Tax Issue in Extraordinary Four Month State Legislative Win

    In 2018, PBA engaged in litigation before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to change private water company tariffs to mitigate the effect of the TCJA.  When the PUC ruled against PBA’s interests in a tariff rate change case, along a party line vote in February of 2019, attention immediately turned to Pennsylvania’s General Assembly to change the underlying Pennsylvania law relating to taxable contributions.  

    The “no gross up” method (also called the “utility finance” or “socialization” method) adopted in Act 53 requires the utility to pay the tax and then adds that amount to the utility’s rate base for all customers. Essentially, the utility finances the payment of the tax expense and the utility gets reimbursed from rates over the life of the depreciating CIAC asset.   Eliminating the requirement that developers fund the utilities tax obligation up front. 

    Act 53 of 2019  provides significant savings for developers, homebuilders, and homebuyers. 

    Pennsylvania Home Builders and Developers are the only advocates that consumers can trust to safeguard the integrity of affordable housing. 

    Background

    Effective January 1, 2018 the TCJA required that water companies include advances for construction and Contributions in Aid of Construction (“CIAC”) in taxable income. Private water companies in turn passed the tax burden on to  developers thereby making their cost to install water and wastewater infrastructure even higher.   Additionally, because Pennsylvania Corporate Net Income Tax is based on federal taxable income, CAC and CIAC are also state taxable income to water and wastewater utilities.  Pennsylvania Developers were required to furnish either a cashier’s check or letter of credit in the amount of 40% of the total project cost (including engineering and inspections fees) to reflect the gross-up for the private water/sewer companies state and federal tax liability on the contributed property.

  • 03 Jul 2019 12:56 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    Yes, it has been a very wet year so far, yet after a few of these hot 90-degree days you can start seeing a couple of dry patches in your yard. So with the July 4th holiday upon us, it’s important to remember some safety tips to keep you and your home safe.

    As tempting as it is to set fireworks off in your backyard, why not leave it up to the professionals? Besides the fact that fireworks can be expensive (and sometimes even illegal), the professional shows are going to be more impressive and free, not to mention safe.

    For those of you who insist on putting on your own show, here are a few tips to making the display a pleasant memory instead of a four-alarm event.

    • Above all else, make sure your fireworks are legal in your area. Just because your brother-in-law bought some from a roadside stand in another state (and he swears they are reallllly good), doesn’t mean you can use them here in Pennsylvania. Just be certain you are within the law.
    • As mentioned previously noted, some things are just starting to get a little dry. Always be aware of the vegetation around where you plan to set off fireworks – this includes those sparklers as well. Even the tiniest of sparks can cause a fire. The best spot for handling fireworks would be a large paved area. And remember to always have a fire extinguisher and/or a hose or water bucket handy. Don’t forget that it’s not only where you light the fireworks, but also where they land – so be smart.
    • It goes without saying that you need to steer clear of all buildings when lighting fireworks. No one needs a rogue lit firework landing on a rooftop.
    • Fireworks always require supervision. Adults only, obviously! But just because you are an “adult” doesn’t mean that common sense and safety should be forgotten. We’ve all seen the news videos around this time of year where the mannequin’s hand is blown off holding a firework – or their clothes are set on fire.
    • Care should always be taken when storing fireworks. Keep them dry and in a plastic or metal container. Never use a simple cardboard box. Stay away from ignitable materials like gasoline or kerosene or near a heat source. The best storage area would be in a shed or structure that is away from the home.

    The 4th of July is a great time to celebrate. But be smart about it and safe. Your home, property, and even your life depends on it.

  • 01 Jul 2019 10:56 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)


    The Summer 2019 PBA Board Meeting is right around the corner. Are you on the fence about attending? If so, we have some solid reasons why your participation is essential. PBA is about working for the industry but we depend on the input of members. The Summer Board Meeting is the time to come together, work on initiatives, and set the course for the future.

    PLUS – The room block deadline for the Nittany Lion Inn is fast approaching. Book your room by July 8 using the group code PABA19J for special savings. Call 1-800-233-7506 today.

    Consider these top reasons to attend and gather fellow members to join us in State College, July 25-27.

    1. Share Your Concerns

    This is your opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your industry. The PBA Board Meeting is an excellent chance to have your voice be heard. Various committee meetings on everything from government affairs to non-dues revenue, communications, membership, workforce development, workers compensation, PWB, and BSI allow members to participate and help shape the mission of PBA. Don’t you want to be able to be part of something that is working toward a better future for you and your business?

    2. Picnic for PaCAH

    For the second year in a row, Betsy Dupuis is graciously opening the doors to her home to host a PaCAH picnic event. This year we’re all looking forward to some delicious food, drink, and fun. Rumor has it that there will be a dunk tank on site featuring a few PBA members that you just might want to send into the water! Plus there will be a few other surprises as well. And the best part is that all money raised at the event will be credited to your individual local’s PaCAH goal. You can’t beat it – having fun while raising funds for a fantastic cause.

    3. Finally Understand Social Media

    Social media is that mysterious marketing aspect that everyone knows about but few understand and know how to use it to their advantage. On Friday at the PBA Board Meeting, we will be hosting an invaluable seminar called Getting Savvy With Social Media. Web Service Specialist (and Master of Social Media) Debbie Kozlovac, of Alliance Business Technology, will share the very best ways for businesses to use the various social media platforms. She’ll tell you the ones you should be using and how to use them to make an impact and market your business in today’s online world.

    4. Connect With Colleagues

    There’s nothing better than being in a room with like-minded colleagues – people who understand the challenges and triumphs you face in day-to-day business. The Summer Board Meeting brings together builders, remodelers, suppliers, and many others who support the building industry. Attendees can make the most of generating connections with others in the industry. You never know how beneficial those relationships will be. Join us and renew old friendships and make important new ones.

    5. Make a Weekend of It!

    Come for the Board Meeting, stay for the weekend! State College is a great place to visit. So after the business is done, we encourage you to explore Happy Valley. There are some great restaurants and breweries, outdoor adventures like exploring Mount Nittany, attractions including nearby Penn’s Cave or Penn State’s beautiful arboretum, and for those Lion fans there’s the Penn State All-Sports Museum. Don’t forget a quick trip to the Creamery for the best ice cream around.

    So what are you waiting for? The PBA Summer Board Meeting is a great way to get involved, make a difference, connect with others, discover new ways to improve your business, and just have fun.

    Click here to register today and we’ll see you in State College!

  • 26 Jun 2019 12:05 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    With all the rain lately, it’s been hard to even mow the lawn. But what about those big plans you have to do some D-I-Y landscaping around the house? Well there is still time. We want to help you with some ideas on what you can do and what you should definitely avoid to make your yard a personal oasis.

    • You must start with a vision – and better yet, a plan! Make it realistic and maintainable. There is nothing worse than just digging holes and plopping trees and shrubs in random areas. Remember they GROW! So if you haven’t thought the finished yard out beforehand, you could end up with an overgrown forest. There is much more that comes after the initial planting so be sure you can handle the annual trimming, mulching, weeding, and general maintenance that comes with a manicured landscape.

    • Many of us think of symmetry. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Let your mind take that extra step because everything doesn’t have to be balanced. Plant what you like but just be sure that you take in the whole picture. You don’t want to have holes in the finished product. Curb appeal is EVERYTHING.
    • By the way, good things come in multiples. Rather than just having one certain kind of plant, go for an odd number of the same kind of plant or flower. Having areas of a common color just looks good and it cuts down on the task keeping the look in shape.
    • You know how all the quaint stories had gingerbread homes with narrow winding walkways leading up to the door? Don’t do that! Curved pathways make eyes roam instead of focusing. Plus you’ll thank yourself later if you have a straight and wide passage when you are lugging bags and boxes into the house.
    • Straight-lined flower beds can be boring. Round. Curved. Even a triangle! These can all add a great visual to your home – as long as you don’t go overboard.
    • Don’t forget behind the house. We all end up spending most of our time in the backyard so it’s important to remember to make that area special as well. However, if you are truly interested in the investment value of your home, there’s nothing better than concentrating in the front. Buyers are draw to curb appeal.
    • Plants and flowers are great but don’t overlook what a difference hardscapes, lighting, and even water features can make. When they all come together the right way, it can be magic.

    Your lawn is an extension of your home. Consider it another room. Landscaping – whether you try your own hand at it or bring in a professional to give it that extra polish – can make a world of difference.

    Live in the home that everyone seems to slow down in front of when they drive past!

  • 25 Jun 2019 10:01 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    Act 36 of 2017 requires the Review & Advisory Council (RAC) to establish Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) that allow for further public participation in the Model Code Adoption process for the PA UCC. The TACs are designed to provide the RAC members with more diverse and balanced input – and to allow for the public who is effected the most by the PA UCC updates to provide real-time feedback on the model code provisions.

    Members of the TACs will be appointed by the RAC Chairman and must contain persons who build, design, and enforce the PA UCC. Public members of the TACs will act as resources to RAC members reviewing the updated model code provisions.

    This is an opportunity for PBA members to be directly involved in the discussions surrounding the adoption of specific code provisions. The composition of the TACs must be diverse and represent all areas of the construction industry. Please note that environmental groups and manufacturers will also be eligible to participate.

    Applicants must apply by July 13, 2019 to be considered for a position on a TAC – you can sign up to serve on one or more TAC at this following link: Technical Advisory Committee Participation Form.

    TAC Member Responsibilities
    Act 36 requires that after the expiration of the 120-day public comment period, the RAC Chair must assign each updated code section to a TAC. Each TAC must make recommendations to the RAC on whether to accept, modify, or reject updated sections, including the rationale relied upon. Recommendations will be determined by a majority vote of the RAC members who serve on the TAC. TAC recommendations are non-binding on the full RAC. The TAC’s will officially begin meeting after the close of the 2018 public comment period (October 10, 2019) and are required to submit their recommendations to the full RAC by June of 2020. PBA would encourage all members who have an interest in serving on a TAC to apply.

    Meetings may be conducted in person or via tele-conference/video-conference. We anticipate that most meetings of the TAC’s will be held via conference call.
    This is the first review cycle for the RAC under the new law that includes the creation of the Technical Advisory Committees. The process will only work in PBA’s favor if members are willing to commit their time and expertise to helping craft the best health/safety UCC possible. If you have any question about the application process, the time commitment involved, or the RAC UCC model code adoption process, please contact Sarah Miller at smiller@pabuilders.org or Jon Sukonik at jsukonik@sukonik.com.

    List of Technical Advisory Committees:
    Administration (Chapter 401 & 403)
    Building Code General (IBC)
    Building Code Egress (IBC)
    Building Code Structural (IBC)
    Building Code Fire Safety (IBC)
    Energy Code Residential (IECC)
    Energy Code Commercial (IECC)
    Existing Building Code (IEBC)
    Fire Code (IFC)
    Fuel Gas Code (IFGC)
    Mechanical Code (IMC)
    Performance Code (ICCPC)
    Plumbing Code (IPC)
    Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC)
    Residential Code (IRC)
    Wildland-Urban Interface Code (IWUIC)

  • 24 Jun 2019 11:34 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)


    This week the first edition of Building Pennsylvania will be landing in the mailboxes of all PBA members. The issue will recognize the installation of Maria Coutts, PBA President, as well as spell out the many benefits that PBA members enjoy.

    Plus you’ll see the latest news from Government Affairs and celebrate the students from across the state who have benefited from the Endorsed Trade Program. Local associations have submitted news about activities and members in their area AND you will get some tips on how you can use social media to benefit your business.

    Building Pennsylvania is an excellent tool to showcase the benefits of being a PBA and local association member. Please share it will others in the industry who you feel should be a part of the PBA family!

    The next issue is scheduled to be published later this year. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please tell us what you want to see in Building Pennsylvania. EMAIL us at PBA.

    Happy Reading!
  • 21 Jun 2019 10:55 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    Act 36 of 2017 requires the Review & Advisory Council (RAC) to establish Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) that allow for further public participation in the Model Code Adoption process for the PA UCC. The TACs are designed to provide the RAC members with more diverse and balanced input – and to allow for the public who is effected the most by the PA UCC updates to provide real-time feedback on the model code provisions. 

    Members of the TACs will be appointed by the RAC Chairman and must contain persons who build, design, and enforce the PA UCC.  Public members of the TACs will act as resources to RAC members reviewing the updated model code provisions. 

    This is an opportunity for PBA members to be directly involved in the discussions surrounding the adoption of specific code provisions.  The composition of the TACs must be diverse and represent all areas of the construction industry.  Please note that environmental groups and manufacturers will also be eligible to participate. 

    Applicants must apply by July 13, 2019 to be considered for a position on a TAC – you can sign up to serve on one or more TAC at this following link:  Technical Advisory Committee Participation Form .  

    TAC Member Responsibilities

    Act 36 requires that after the expiration of the 120-day public comment period, the RAC Chair must assign each updated code section to a TAC. Each TAC must make recommendations to the RAC on whether to accept, modify, or reject updated sections, including the rationale relied upon. Recommendations will be determined by a majority vote of the RAC members who serve on the TAC. TAC recommendations are non-binding on the full RAC.  The TAC’s will officially begin meeting after the close of the 2018 public comment period (October 10, 2019) and are required to submit their recommendations to the full RAC by June of 2020.  PBA would encourage all members who have an interest in serving on a TAC to apply. 

    Meetings may be conducted in person or via tele-conference/video-conference.  We anticipate that most meetings of the TAC’s will be held via conference call. 

    This is the first review cycle for the RAC under the new law that includes the creation of the Technical Advisory Committees.  The process will only work in PBA’s favor if members are willing to commit their time and expertise to helping craft the best health/safety UCC possible.  If you have any question about the application process, the time commitment involved, or the RAC UCC model code adoption process, please contact Sarah Miller at smiller@pabuilders.org or Jon Sukonik at jsukonik@sukonik.com

    List of Technical Advisory Committees:

    Administration (Chapter 401 & 403)

    Building Code General (IBC)

    Building Code Egress (IBC)

    Building Code Structural (IBC)

    Building Code Fire Safety (IBC)

    Energy Code Residential (IECC)

    Energy Code Commercial (IECC)

    Existing Building Code (IEBC)

    Fire Code (IFC)

    Fuel Gas Code (IFGC)

    Mechanical Code (IMC)

    Performance Code (ICCPC)

    Plumbing Code (IPC)

    Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC)

    Residential Code (IRC)

    Wildland-Urban Interface Code (IWUIC)

  • 17 Jun 2019 10:22 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    We all watched the shows on television where the couple are searching for their new home. You know, one of them professes to be barista “artist” while the other is a professional dog walker and their budget is $650,000. The want list for their first home includes all brand new granite, five bedrooms, a crafting room, a home theater, and an outside entertainment area that could double as an in-law quarters. Everything MUST be perfect!

    Now welcome to the real world.

    We all know that home buying is a matter of compromising. You aren’t going to get everything you, but over time that want list can become a reality. But the key phrase there is over time.

    It’s important to make your home your own. Personalizing is an important way to make that happen. But overspending on personalization could lead to problems down the road. Are those brand new cabinets more important than jeopardizing your status as a homeowner?

    Rather than attacking the whole house, start going room by room and adding the small personal touches that will make it feel like home. Hang photos, update the paint color, add some fresh window treatments, or install a new light fixture. These small changes will make a big impact on the feel of your home – and not so much on your wallet.

    Repairs may be inevitable but don’t trick yourself into a “necessary repair” when it is actually just a fun improvement. This could have tax implications for you so know what you are doing before you get started. So don’t confuse a repair with an improvement.

    Of course there will be needed repairs as time goes on. Don’t ignore a leak or a crack. Check it out and if it means spending money on that instead of a new patio door because you want a view – be smart and go for the repair. Remember your home is an investment that needs to be safe and secure. The view can come later.

    Your home is your sanctuary – make it your own. But take it slow and steady and always be smart with your money.

  • 17 Jun 2019 9:33 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    Summer always goes fast – we know that. Before we know it, July 4th will be history. So it’s not too early to save your spot for the Summer PBA Board Meeting. Be sure to mark the dates – July 25-27 at the Nittany Lion Inn in State College.

    Remember this is your opportunity to stay informed about everything that is going on with your state association. Committee meetings on Government Affairs, Membership, Communications, Workforce Training and Education, Non-Dues Revenue, and more are all on the schedule.

    In addition, an expert from Alliance Business Technologies will help attendees get a better understanding of how to leverage social media and make the most of the all-important online presence in today’s digital world. Did you know that 93% of consumers expect businesses to have a social media presence? Do you?

    There will also be a special PaCAH event to help you relax and enjoy each other’s company all while raising funds for this important cause.

    Be sure to save your spot today by registering here. And don’t forget to reserve your room at the Nittany Lion Inn (use the group code PABA19J) to get the special discount). Visit www.pennstatehotels.com or call 1-800-233-7505 PRIOR to July 8.

    REGISTER FOR THE BOARD MEETING HERE

    For more information, please check out the Summer 2019 Board Meeting Schedule below:

     Summer 2019 Board Meeting
    Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA
    July 25-27, 2019

    Note – Meetings are open to all members unless otherwise indicated. Times are subject to change.

    THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2019

    3 p.m.         Finance Committee Meeting *by invitation only

    3:30 p.m.    PBA Senior Officer/Personnel Committee Meeting *by invitation only

    4:30 p.m.    Executive Committee Meeting

    6 p.m.          Hospitality Reception

                   

    FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2019

    7:30 a.m.   PA Housing Research Center (PHRC) Meeting

    8 a.m.         Non-Dues Revenue Task Force Meeting

    8:30 a.m.   Membership Committee Meeting

    10 a.m.      Governmental Affairs Committee Meeting

    11:30 a.m. Lunch - SPEAKER: Elizabeth Hensil, Finish Line Strategies; TOPIC: Legislative Day in Harrisburg

    RSVP and prepay for tickets at www.pabuilders.org/events

    1 p.m.         Communications Committee Meeting

    1 p.m.         Workers Comp Committee Meeting

    1 p.m.         Workforce Training and Education Committee Meeting

    2 p.m.         Seminar - Getting Savvy With Social Media - Debbie Kozlovac, Alliance Business Technologies

    3 p.m.         Professional Women in Building (PWB) Meeting

    3 p.m.         Builder Services, Inc. (BSI) Board of Directors Meeting

    6 p.m.          PaCAH Event at Betsy Dupuis’ house – 3203 Buffalo Run Road, Bellefonte  (Transportation will be provided)

    SATURDAY, JULY 27, 2019

    8 a.m.        PBA Past Presidents Committee Meeting

    8:30 a.m.   New Board of Directors Orientation

    9 a.m.        Associates Council Meeting

    9:30 a.m.   Regional Caucus Meetings (member meetings for the 8 regions of PA)

    10 a.m.      Board of Directors Meeting


    Contact PBA Staff with questions! Register for the meetings you plan to attend at www.pabuilders.org/events or by using the link from your Board Registration email.

  • 11 Jun 2019 2:59 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    On June 5th, more than 700 NAHB members climbed Capital Hill in Washington to lobby on behalf of the home building industry. PBA leadership was right in the midst, meeting with a variety of elected representatives from Pennsylvania’s delegation. It is impossible to overstate the value of constituents speaking directly to elected officials. Your influence is amplified by the personal contact that one can only find in a face-to-face meeting. PBA thanks everyone who made the trip to the Hill to speak for your interests.

    Read more about this important and the issues that were key to the discussions.

    Pictured above from left: Andrew Kaye, Herb Miller, Cindy Cepko, Kert Sloan, Cathy Sloan, and Dan Durden. (Not pictured - Jerry Leach)



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