for a better tomorrow.

News and Updates

  • 04 Aug 2015 9:41 AM | Deleted user

    See the video of Ernie’s presentation and acceptance speech here.

    Ernie Pellow of Barr’s Insurance Inc. and the Tri-County Builders Association was awarded the PBA Distinguished Achievement Award. This is the association’s highest honor, having been presented to only a handful of members since 1998. Speaker of the House, Representative Mike Turzai, presented Pellow with his plaque at the PBA Board of Directors Meeting on July 25, 2015.

    Pellow was recognized with the statewide award based on his lifetime of achievement to both the housing industry and his surrounding community. Countless members, legislators, and other industry officials commend Pellow for his constant effort to better the industry.

    Pellow has made significant contributions at both the local and state level of the federation, and has served as president and Executive Officer at the local level.  Pellow is known for remaining active, even from a distance. While recent health issues have sidelined him from traveling to Board and committee meetings, he is still able to keep in contact with numerous active members and ask questions to get the information necessary to continue to advocate for his industry.

    In addition to his association positions, Pellow has served as a founder of Builder Services, Inc. (BSI), and on numerous committees and subcommittees throughout the years. He created the Home Builders Show in Venango County, and has been awarded multiple awards such as Builder of the Year in 1996 and the Executive Officer Service Award from the PA Senate. Many local and state politicians recognize Pellow’s extensive knowledge, wisdom, and experience in the residential construction industry, and come to him for advice and support. He has been recognized many times by legislators such as Congressman John E. Peterson, State Representative Scott E. Hutchinson, and Senator Mary Jo White for his hard work in keeping the industry alive and thriving.

    “Ernie believed that no voice was too small to be heard,” says PBA Past President Al Horn. “Every member is on equal footing in his eyes, and if an issue affects one member, then it is important to all members. He’s a ‘member’s member’.”

    Locally, Pellow is employed at Barr’s Insurance Inc. as Senior Account Executive. Pellow is a wartime veteran and has dedicated time to over 1,000 honor guard events. He is a member of his local VFW and is the President of the Venango County Veterans Coalition. He is a respected member of the community whose opinions and advice are sought and valued.

    For more information about the Builders Gala Awards, click here.

  • 29 Jul 2015 1:17 PM | Deleted user

    Thank you to all who attended the 2015 Summer Board Meeting in Pittsburgh. We love connecting with our members, EO's, and leadership on a regular basis. It is our goal to make these weekends informational and educational, but also fun! 

    Special thanks to McConkey, JRG Advisors, and Bonded Builders for attending and engaging with our members. 

    Some highlights from the weekend:

    • Friday night's Reverse Raffle and Pirates Game fundraisers collected nearly $5,800 for PaCAH. Thank you to 84 Lumber for sponsoring these events!
    • Our local associations presented contributions of over $27,000 for PaCAH during the Board of Directors Meeting.
    • PA State Representative and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai was awarded the Legislator of the Year award. See the video here.
    • Local EO's and leadership had a great discussion at the Leadership Breakfast on Saturday morning.
    • Tri-County BA Executive Officer Ernie Pellow was given the 2014 Distinguished Achievement Award. See his acceptance speech here.
    • Check out our Facebook page for event photos. Feel free to share/tag us in your photos from the weekend! 
    Thanks for yet another great meeting. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Fall Board Meeting, November 5-7 at the Hershey Lodge. 

  • 28 Jul 2015 12:49 PM | Deleted user

    Multiple local associations across the state have been recognized for their outstanding member services and community projects with six Awards of Excellence from the Executive Officers Council (EOC) of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

    “We are very excited to see our local associations recognized for their hard work with these Association Excellence Awards,” said Peter Gallagher, president of the Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA). “It is our goal at PBA and at every local association to provide exceptional benefits and services for all members.”

    The awards given were as follows:

    Best Publication

                BIA of Philadelphia (under 200 members) BIA Philadelphia 2014 Membership Directory

                BIA of Lancaster County (200-600 members) BIA Lancaster 2014 Membership Directory

    Best Website

                HBA of Bucks & Montgomery Counties (200-600 members) New HBA Website!

    Best Community Service Project Conducted

                BIA of Northeastern PA (under 200 members) World Wide Epidemic: Homeless Veterans

                BIA of Lancaster County (200-600 members) BIA Community Collaborative

    Best Membership Event

                HBA of Bucks & Montgomery Counties (200-600 members) Best Value of Your Membership!

    The Association Excellence Awards is an annual program designed to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of state and local home builders’ associations and executive officers in the field of association management. EOC membership is comprised of the staff executives who direct nearly 800 NAHB-affiliated state and local home builders’ associations representing more than 140,000 home builders in communities across the United States.

    The winning entries have been added to searchable directory of AEA winning entries, so that other executives and associations across the country can access and learn from them in order to provide better service to their own members and community. 

    Click here to learn more about the Association Excellence Awards.

  • 27 Jul 2015 12:33 PM | Deleted user

    Speaker of the House, Representative Mike Turzai (R) was given PBA's Legislator of the Year award during the Board of Directors Meeting at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh on July 25.

    “Without his guidance, many of our initiatives would have faltered,” says Jim Rumbaugh, Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee for PBA. “He is a strong supporter of helping hard-working families, making our state more competitive for private sector job creators and cutting government waste, fraud, and abuse.”

    Representative Turzai was recognized for his impact on the construction industry and consistent support of PBA. Unanimously selected as Speaker of the House on January 6, 2015, Representative Turzai is in his 8th term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Working to attract new business to the Commonwealth, he aims to help employers expand their operations to improve job creation and career opportunities. He consistently pushes to control government spending in order to reduce taxes on families and business.

     “He continues to spearhead efforts to lower the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania,” says Rumbaugh. Representative Turzai continually leads the fight to provide real business tax relief and fair and balanced workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation systems.

    See the award presentation here

    To learn more about Representative Turzai, visit

  • 06 Jul 2015 2:17 PM | Deleted user

    PBA announced today that a total of 815 students were awarded a certification from the PBA Endorsed Trade Program at the end of the 2015 school year. PBA's Endorsed Trade Program includes 117 technical programs from 30 schools throughout the state, and grows every year!

    Chris Warren, Chair of the PBA Workforce Training and Education Committee, is excited by the explosion of growth and development seen in the program. "Our decade-long development of the program has produced an outstanding outline of expectations, as well as setting a high standard of education for successful workforce-focused programs in our Pennsylvania Career Technology Schools."

    Endorsement of a trade program involves a thorough review/evaluation by people in the construction industry using criteria established by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The program is also recognized by the Department of Education and endorsed by the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators. Endorsement ensures that trade programs meet high standards of performance and will properly prepare students for a career in the industry with foundational knowledge in the building trades.

    PBA works with schools around the state to certify their various home building courses, demonstrating they meet NAHB educational guidelines. Students who complete PBA-certified programs can take tests that demonstrate their skills in their program's core competencies. When these students receive certification, it provides reassurance to builders and potential employers that they are well-prepared for work with a residential construction company. PBA members are also provided exclusive access to contact these students directly about employment opportunities.

    "PBA is committed to a viable, high-quality construction industry and the workforce to support it. Through our Endorsed Trade Program, we can create a stronger future workforce and provide students with recognized certification and other benefits, like building a network of ties in the community through connections with PBA members, locals, and local student chapters," according to Peter Gallagher, 2015 PBA President. 

    Further information about the Endorsed Trade Program can be found at

    Photo: Upper Bucks County AVTS students complete an assignment.

  • 29 Jun 2015 1:47 PM | Deleted user

    The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) has been in effect since July 1, 2009. It requires all home improvement contractors who work in our state to be registered with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

    PBA wants to ensure that all of our members have access to the resources they need to comply with this law. As a home improvement contractor, you are expected to register every 2 years and the cost is $50. Here are answers to frequently asked questions from the Attorney General:

    Who Must Register?
    - Anyone who owns or operates a home improvement business or who offers, performs, or agrees to perform home improvements in Pennsylvania must register with the Office of Attorney General, unless they fall into two exceptions: small contractors (less than $5,000 of work in a calendar year), and large retailers (net worth of more than $50 million). All contractors, including self-employed contractors and sole proprietorships, subcontractors and independent contractors, and corporations, partnerships and all other types of business entities must be registered, unless they fall into the two exemptions above.

    - Contractors are defined as: Any person who owns and operates a home improvement business or who undertakes, offers to undertake, or agrees to perform any home improvement. The term includes a subcontractor or independent contractor who has contracted with a home improvement retailer, regardless of the retailer's net worth, to provide home improvement services to the retailer's customers.

    Contractors who exclusively build new homes, commercial builders, and builders who only work on local, state and federal government construction projects are excluded from the law.

    What Information is Required to Register?
    The law requires contractors to submit a completed application, which includes the following information:

    - Contact and identifying information for the applicant (including information on any prior home improvement businesses operated by the applicant)
    - For corporations and business entities - information on partners, officers, managers and other parties with an interest in the business
    - Information on other contractor licenses and registrations held by the applicant
    - A description of the applicant's business
    - Background disclosures, including information on prior bankruptcies and criminal pleas or convictions
    - Insurance policy information showing at least $50,000 of personal injury liability coverage and $50,000 of property damage coverage
    - A signed and dated certification by the applicant
    - A non-refundable application fee of $50, payable to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    Do Contractors Need to Display Their Registration # on Their Vehicles?
    Your registration number must be included in any advertisements, contracts, estimates and proposals that you use in Pennsylvania. If your vehicle includes an advertisement of your business, then it must display your HIC Registration number.

    Your number display must include the abbreviation "PA" and the number assigned to you (example: PA123456). Though the law does not dictate where your number must appear in contracts or advertisements, it must be clearly displayed so the consumer can easily read it.

    What Needs to be in Contracts for Home Improvements?
    Every contract for home improvements needs to be written, legible and signed by the consumer and the contractor (or their representatives). Contracts must also contain important provisions, including the total price of the project; estimated start and completion dates; and a description of the work.

    In October 2014, HICPA was amended to allow "time and materials" contract usage by contractors, provided the contractor: (1) informs the consumer in writing that the time and materials contract will not exceed 10% above an initial cost estimate agreed by the homeowner; and (2) informs the consumer in writing that any cost beyond the contract price (initial cost plus estimated 10%) must be agreed to by the homeowner in a written change order.

    Where Can I Renew My Registration?
    - Contractors can renew their registration with the Office of Attorney General online
    - Contractors must re-register every 2 years. Re-registration applicants will continue to use their previously issued registration number; however you must renew in order to avoid your HIC number showing as expired in the HIC registry.
    - Any home improvement contractor who is not registered is prohibited from offering or performing home improvements. The failure to register is a violation of the law and unregistered contractors face legal action, including civil penalties of $1,000 or more. 

    For more information, please contact:
    PA Attorney General 
    (717) 787-3391

    This information was adapted from the State Attorney General's website. You can view the full information and more FAQ's here.

  • 22 Jun 2015 8:53 AM | Deleted user


    The PBA Board Meeting is a multi-day event that takes place three times each calendar year at multiple locations across the state. During these gatherings, PBA's committee meetings are held (see a full list of committees here) along with seminars or training for members. Our partners from member benefits programs also attend to connect with members and answer questions. There are social events for members to attend, as well, whether it's a cocktail reception in the summer/fall or the Winter Installation & Awards Banquet. 

    These events are not just for board members or leadership; any member may attend! Unless otherwise noted on the schedule of events below, committee meetings are open to all membership and we encourage you to attend them to let your voice be heard. It's your chance to get involved at the state level, learn about issues concerning the industry, and make valuable connections with other members. So, how do you sign up?

    Registration Process

    Last week, an email was sent to all membership with the subject line "Register for the PBA Summer Board Meeting (Regional/Board Packet available)". This email included: 

    - Date, time, and location
    - Room reservation details
    - Regional/Board Packet for upcoming regional meetings
    - Registration link to RSVP for meetings
    - Full schedule of events
    - PaCAH Cocktail Reception and fundraising information

    If you didn't get this email, contact PBA staff. You can expect to receive this email each time a Board Meeting is approaching. As this information becomes available, it will always be posted to the PBA events calendar along with all of the links you'll need. 

    Schedule of Events

    Board Meetings usually take place over the span of 3 days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). 

    However, NAHB's Association Leadership Institute is being held in Pittsburgh during the same week of this year's Summer Board Meeting. Therefore, the PBA Board of Directors voted to modify the schedule for this meeting only so that members, Executive Officers, and staff could attend both events. This year's Summer Board Meeting will have a condensed schedule of Friday and Saturday meetings. You can download the full schedule of events here

    Any Questions?

    Consult your Member Guide or our FAQ's document for more information. If you still can't find your answers, please don't hesitate to contact PBA Staff. We hope to see you in Pittsburgh this summer!

  • 15 Jun 2015 9:59 AM | Deleted user

    In good times or bad, there is one constant: Homeownership remains the American Dream for millions of American families. And there are many reasons why, both economic and emotional. 

    Most Americans consider homeownership to be their single best long-term investment and a primary source of their wealth and financial security. Generations of families have counted on and used the equity in their homes for their children's education, their own retirement and other milestone expenses. 

    Individual household budgets are helped by tax incentives that are designed to make owning a home more affordable. Deductions for mortgage interest and property  taxes can result in thousands of dollars of tax savings, especially in the early years of the mortgage when interest makes up most of the payment. Home owners save nearly $100 billion annually on mortgage interest and property deductions alone. 

    And when home owners sell their primary residence, they get an enormous tax break. A couple who owns and lives in their home for two years and then decides to sell can keep up to $500,000 of the profit tax-free, and a single owner can keep up to $250,000. A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger U.S. economy. In fact, fully 15% of the U.S. economy relies on housing.

    Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured in the United States. Constructing 100 new homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income, and $8.9 million in federal, state, and local tax revenue. New home owners spend money on decorations and furnishings, to enhance the landscaping and to become members of the community by patronizing local businesses and service providers.

    Yet a home is so much more than an investment. In good times and in bad, the opportunity to own a home has been a cherished ideal and a source of pride, accomplishment, social stability and peace of mind. 

    Homeownership strengthens communities as well as families.

    Home building increases the property tax  base that supports local schools and communities. When a family owns their home, it is an asset that has a direct impact on their financial security and future. People are more likely to take care of things they own so they remain valuable. And a home's value is determined by how well it is maintained, as well as by the condition of the neighborhood it is located in. So home owners have incentive to spend their time and resources improving the neighborhood, even if it is just to protect the value of their investment.

    Homeownership builds stronger communities, provides a solid foundation for family and personal achievement and improves the quality of life for millions of people. The Bipartisan Policy Center's Housing Commission has said that homeownership can "produce powerful economic, social, and civic benefits that serve the individual home owner, the larger community, and the nation". 

    It is important to know that despite the fact that housing and homeownership policies over the last century have contributed to the growth of the middle class and helped the United States become the most dynamic economy the world has ever seen, homeownership is under attack. Policymakers are proposing radical changes, including ending the mortgage interest deduction and mandating minimum 20% down payments, that would threaten the dream of homeownership for millions of Americans.

    The National Association of Home Builders' website,, has more information about the threats to homeownership and how to take action to protect it. 

    Help us protect your American Dream, and celebrate National Homeownership Month with us! Visit our Building a New Home page for more information.

  • 01 Jun 2015 11:54 AM | Deleted user

    The only people who benefit when a house is built are the family members who get to live there, and the builder who constructed and sold the home, right?

    Wrong. The positive impact of new residential construction is far-reaching, bringing benefits to families, businesses, and services throughout a community immediately, as well as for years to come. 

    According to economists at the National Association of Home Builders, the one-year estimated local impacts of building 100 single-family homes in a typical metro area include $28.7 million in local income, $3.6 million in taxes and other local government revenue, and 394 local jobs.

    But what does that economic impact mean in the real, day-to-day lives of community residents?

    Just think about it. When a family moves to a community and buys a new house, they will likely shop at local stores to buy furniture and accessories to decorate their home. They will fill their car's gas tank at the local gas station so they can get to the stores, have local mechanics work on the car when it breaks down or needs an oil change, or buy a new car at a local dealer when it's time for an upgrade.

    The family may need to hire local companies for regular services to maintain their home, such as landscaping, house cleaning, pet sitters or pool upkeep.

    The children will enroll in local schools. This increases enrollment, meaning more teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers and other school support staff will need to be hired. Those kids will also join sports leagues and other activities, buy equipment and pay registration fees that provide stipends for referees and coaches. 

    All of this economic activity puts income into the pockets of local business owners and their families, who can then afford to go out and spend money themselves, which recycles even more money into the community's economy.

    The new family also pays local and state taxes. These tax revenues help pay for a wide range of government services, including school teachers, police departments, refuse collection, parks maintenance and road repairs. 

    Over the long term, as families who move into new homes become part of the community, their positive impact continues. NAHB estimates that those 100 new homes also provide the community with additional, annually-recurring impacts of $4.1 million in local income, $1 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 69 local jobs.

    Families who buy a newly built home enjoy benefits including safety, amenities, energy efficiency and floor plans to fit a modern lifestyle. But the advantages of new homes extend far beyond the buyers and the builders - residential construction has a positive, direct impact on the local community for years. 

    Join us in celebrating the American dream with National Homeownership Month! For more information, visit the Building a New Home page under the Consumers tab, or go to

  • 20 May 2015 9:33 AM | Deleted user


    1. Consider your contractor’s personality. This person will be in your home every day throughout the project; do you feel comfortable talking to or being around him/her?
    2. Ask for a contract. A good contract should cover basics like: start and finish dates, total cost, how add-ons will be handled, payment schedule, names of all parties, contractor’s license number, description of the project, provisions for early termination, etc.
    3. Create a directory. Keep a notebook or sheet handy with all of the contact information for each person working in your home.
    4. Ask about insurance. If you hire an uninsured contractor and a crew member is injured, the liability falls on you as the homeowner.
    5. Look for abbreviations behind their name. Designations like NAHB-RC show their activity in a national trade organization. Members of these associations are held to a strict code of ethics when they join.


    1. Be an absentee homeowner. Communicate with your contractor on a regular, if not daily basis. Whether it be by phone, e-mail, or face-to-face, make sure you are consistently on the same page about the progress and goals of the project.
    2. Rely on your imagination. Ask to see color swatches, paint chips, or samples before ordering your materials.
    3. Forget about permits and regulations. Find out what requirements affect the design of your remodel, if any; but leave it to the contractor or architect to apply for any necessary permits.
    4. Assume the lowest bidder is the best choice. It could be a sign that the contractor is desperate for work, or that they plan to use inferior, inexpensive materials. Ask each bidder to write a job description and materials list to go along with their bid to get a better idea of what they’re envisioning.
    5. Get disorganized. Keep a project file that includes a copy of the contract, plans, specifications, invoices, change orders, and any other papers that pertain to the project and any decisions made regarding it.

    Sources: ELLE Décor, DIY Network, and Martha Stewart

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