While Pennsylvania has just finalized the 2015 Uniform Construction Code review process, the International Code Council (ICC) is already considering code changes to the next International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Although builders who are members of the ICC can participate in the Code development process, only designated persons from Governmental Agencies who are ICC members are eligible to vote on the final changes to the model code provisions.
For Building Code Officials (BCOs) in Pennsylvania, there exists no shortage of reasons for their Governmental Agency to join the ICC. Pennsylvania currently has a very low voting base with ICC. States like California and Virginia largely dictate what codes are adopted by ICC as part of their triennial code revision process. Pennsylvania’s lack of participation in ICC’s voting process leads to onerous and burdensome code provisions that are not cost-effective or affordable and serve no responsible purpose for Pennsylvania industry professionals and consumers. Only 1% of the total voters at the 2015 hearings represented a governmental agency in Pennsylvania.
Additional benefits of ICC Membership for Governmental Entities
• Governmental members can request oral and written code interpretations from ICC experts to help them better understand and enforce the codes.
• New members may receive a complimentary copy of an ICC code book and member discounts on publications.
• Governmental members are able to participate in the ICC Code Development Process – writing proposed changes, collaborating with others in writing and revising proposed changes, joining Code Action Committees, and voting on proposed changes – utilizing ICC’s new cdpAccess program to participate via computer.
• Governmental members can have their voices heard on which code changes are written into the I-Codes.
• Governmental members can keep Pennsylvania’s code adoption process more streamlined by voting against code changes that are not reasonable, cost-effective, or are technically infeasible, before they are written into Pennsylvania’s Uniform Construction Code.
• Only Governmental members are able to vote during the final hearings.
For more news and updates from PBA's Government Affairs team, go to www.pabuilders.org/government-affairs
On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf proposed a $32.7 billion state budget for fiscal year 2016-17, an increase from the $30.3 billion blue line vetoed budget signed in late December.
The budget address itself had little to do with the governor addressing his actual priorities for the upcoming year. Rather, most of the address was spent admonishing Republican lawmakers for failing to agree to an increase in spending and tax hikes in the 2015-16 budget.
At one point, Wolf remarked that GOP members should “find another job” if they were unable to agree on the state’s fiscal issues. Representative Craig Staats (R-Bucks) stated that rather than provide concrete details on the budget proposal, Wolf instead “lectured the Legislature and used political attacks to further polarize an already contentious environment.”
Democratic lawmakers say the newest budget includes spending and revenue figures designed to solve a looming $2 billion structural deficit. However, the Wolf Administration is still operating under the assumption that the Legislature will eventually pass his $30.5 billion framework budget from the previous fiscal year. Republican lawmakers urged Governor Wolf to be realistic. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) stated, “The framework basis for his budget died the day that pension reform died after the governor failed to garner the support for his plans from within his own party.”
The proposed budget for 2016-17 still calls for large increases in funding to the state’s public school system. During a presentation this morning, attended by PBA’s Government Affairs team, Secretary of the Budget Randy Albright explained that the $2.2 billion spending increase over the framework budget of 2015-16 falls into three categories: mandated spending increases of $1.6 billion, an aid package to schools in the amount of $500 million, and $120 million worth of other spending increases.
Governor Wolf again renewed his call for higher taxes to help balance the proposed budget. Those tax increases are as follows:
In the weeks ahead, both House and Senate Appropriations Committees will hold hearings on Governor Wolf’s budget proposal.
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 trainings 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?
If you are on the Board of Directors or a member of our local leadership, you should have received an email earlier this week called “Register for the PBA Winter Board Meeting (Regional/Board Packet available)”
For easy access for all members, this information is also posted to the PBA events calendar at www.pabuilders.org/events. The calendar has details such as:
If you aren't getting the emails you're supposed to, contact PBA staff.
Schedule of Events
Board Meetings usually take place over the span of 3 days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).
You can see a full schedule of events by clicking here.
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 Bedford Springs in March!
The Budget Negotiating Table
Pennsylvania officials announced last Thursday a renewed effort to clean up local waters that drain into the Chesapeake Bay. The announcement occurs months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated Pennsylvania was “substantially off track” in meeting goals to reduce agricultural runoff, and warned of the potential for increased federal oversight of state efforts.
A major issue continues to be the lack of state oversight and enforcement of existing regulations concerning manure-management and sedimentation control plans.
In a webinar, John Quigley, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), spoke candidly about issues surrounding the lack of progress in our state. “We’ve got to create a culture of compliance in Pennsylvania,” Quigley explained. Members of Governor Tom Wolf’s administration acknowledge that Pennsylvania needs to change its current approach to meeting EPA regulations, but caution that the state may lack the resources to effectively do so. Quigley stated that DEP will seek more state and federal funding in order to implement the new strategy.
Moving forward, the rebooted plan focuses on six elements:
Read more at the Pennsylvania Pressroom
The rebooted plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay Watershed will bring with it a renewed grassroots push toward enacting more restrictive forest and riparian buffers within the affected area.
The Residential Construction Management Competition (RCMC) is an annual event that takes place at NAHB's International Builders Show. This year, two of Pennsylvania's secondary schools came in at the top of their division. Defending their title and receiving back-to-back first places in 2015 and 2016 is Williamsport High School. Right behind them in second place is York County School of Technology. Both of these schools have programs endorsed by PBA. We are excited for these students, teachers, and their programs during this time of success!
This yearly competition gives students from schools across the country the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real construction company by completing a management project and proposal. Proposals are submitted to a group of construction company executives who act as judges. During the convention, students defend their proposals to the judges in front of an audience.
Click the links below to read more about the RCMC and see photos from the Awards Ceremony:
On January 19, 2016, President Obama vetoed a vital congressional resolution of disapproval which focused on preventing the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Rule, commonly referred to as the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.
Read a summary of the WOTUS rule here
“Because this resolution seeks to block the progress represented by this rule and deny businesses and communities the regulatory certainty and clarity needed to invest in projects that rely on clean water, I cannot support it,” Obama wrote in his veto message to Congress.
The resolution passed through the US House of Representatives last week by a 253-166 vote. It had previously passed through the US Senate in November.
WOTUS was jointly drafted by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, who stated that the legislation was necessary to protect small waterways from pollutants in the same manner in which larger waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act. The new regulations, which dramatically expanded the definition of “wetlands,” went into effect on Aug. 28, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit enacted a nationwide stay on Oct. 9.
The rule is opposed by a broad coalition of industries including the National Association of Home Builders, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Mining Association, National Pork Producers Council and Public Lands Council; who worry that the new regulations are too broad and complicated to follow, and are concerned about the potential far reaching consequences of granting federal oversight to small waterways.
The resolution's prime sponsor, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said she was still “committed to identifying new ways to push back against this complex, burdensome and overreaching rule.”
Members of farming, small business and land use industries now need to obtain costly and time-consuming “jurisdictional determinations” from the Army Corps of Engineers in order to ascertain whether the property in question is a wetland within the new definitions of the Clear Water Rule.
The fight against WOTUS isn’t over; read more about NAHB’s fight at the Supreme Court to protect land owners from excessive federal overreach on the Clean Water Rule at NAHBNow.
PBA Successfully Gains Party Status to Fight Residential Sprinkler Mandates and Forced Energy Efficiency Code Adoption
This information was emailed to our members on January 18. If you are not receiving member emails, please let us know!
On January 6, 2016, the Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA) successfully convinced Commonwealth Court to include PBA as a party in the Clean Air Council (CAC) lawsuit. This important first step recognizes PBA as the voice and defender of the residential housing industry, and guarantees Builder interests will be protected against a “sue and settle” action.
Read the full Court Order here.
On October 9, 2015, the CAC filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Act 1 of 2011 (Residential Sprinkler Repeal). If the CAC prevails on its claims it could force the adoption of updated building codes that will drive affordable new residential construction out of Pennsylvania. The CAC also seek to change the way in which Pennsylvania adopts residential construction codes so as to disadvantage builders. Finally, the CAC wants the court to reject the prior ICC code provisions approved by the Department of Labor and Industry’s UCC Review and Advisory Council.
Help Keep PBA in the Fight!
As a recognized party to the CAC lawsuit, PBA will start the process of filing various documents to defend Act 1 and sensible building codes.
While PBA members can celebrate an early victory, we have a long road ahead of us. This battle will likely span six to nine months and proceed to a full-blown trial. Pennsylvania home builders are the only advocates that consumers can trust to safeguard the integrity and cost effectiveness of the construction code while ensuring safe and affordable housing.
PBA has long been the voice of the residential housing industry and is again prepared to fight this battle, but we need your support now. Litigation is expensive and our adversaries have shown a willingness to spend. If we are to stay in the fight, we need the backing to finance our efforts.
Contribute to the Builders Legal Defense Fund today.
Make checks payable to:
Sarah MillerManager of Public Policy
Pennsylvania Builders Association
717.730.4380, ext. 3013
The Keystone Technical Institute announced last week that its trade programs for Electrical Lighting & Installation and Electrical Residential & Commercial have been endorsed by the Pennsylvania Builders Association, the voice of the home building industry in Pennsylvania. The Electrical program occupies a dedicated 4,000 square foot facility 1.5 miles from their main building on Linglestown Road in Harrisburg, PA.
“Keystone Technical Institute is committed to providing career training programs that benefit both our students and employers. Students benefit by gaining the trade specific and soft skills employers are looking for in their employees, and employers gain a resource to find qualified electricians,” according to David W. Snyder, Keystone Technical Institute President. Snyder also states “the endorsement by the PBA adds to our recognitions for our electrical training programs”.
The endorsement of a trade program involves a comprehensive review and evaluation by professionals working 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 certifies that trade programs will properly prepare students for a career in the industry with foundational knowledge in the various building trades.
PBA works with schools around the state to certify their various home building courses, verifying that they meet NAHB educational guidelines. Students who complete PBA-certified programs can take tests that demonstrate their skills in their program’s core competencies. The students’ certification provides reassurance to future employers that they are well-prepared for work with a residential construction company or subcontractor. PBA members are also provided exclusive access to the contact information of these students to directly discuss 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 program can be found at pbaendorsedtrade.org.
and Other Event Highlights from PBA Board Meeting
We had many exciting events take place last weekend at the 2015 PBA Fall BoardMeeting, including a brand new event, educational presentations, and lots of money raised for both PaCAH and BUILD PAC. Read on for more information!
EOC Training & Development Day Thank you to all of our presenters who engaged with our Executive Officers and leadership during the EOC Training & Development Day! It was a fun day full of learning many new ways to make our associations better.
PHRC Roof Moisture Management Seminar
On Friday afternoon, PHRC presented a great seminar on Roof Moisture Management to a group of members. If you missed it, you can watch the full seminar here!
Water Street Rescue Mission
The Associates’ Council collected donations for the Water Street Rescue Mission throughout the weekend. Thank you to Mark Stanley, Mary Pucciarella, Eugene Minnick, and Deb Kearse for your leadership and commitment to a greater cause. They managed to raise over $1,000! Thank you to everyone who donated to such a great cause.
BUILD PAC Cocktail Reception
Thank you to Rep. Scott Petri for attending and speaking to our members at our annual BUILD PAC event. We also had one new platinum member and two new gold keys bring the event total to over $10,000 raised. Congratulations!
Meet The Builder Event
We had a great turnout at the first Meet the Builder event on Friday evening – with 9 vendors and over 40 members, it was a recipe for success! You can check out the event photos here. Thank you to our vendors who came out to speak with our members about their products and services:
Thank you to all of the local associations who presented PaCAH checks on the board floor. The total presented was $28,500! Thank you to all of our locals for working hard to reach your PaCAH goals. If you’d like to donate to PaCAH or buy a shirt, you can shop here.
JRG Advisors, EK McConkey, BDX, and Bonded Builders all had tables set up throughout the weekend to speak and interact with our members. We appreciate you sharing your time with us and our members!
Don’t forget to sign up for 2016 Committee Appointments! A list of PBA Committees and GA Task Forces/Subcommittees available for sign-up can be found here.
All nominations for the 2015 Builders Gala Awards are being accepted until January 15, 2016. If you know of a member (or local association if applicable) who would fit the description for Builder of the Year, Associate of the Year, Builder and Shaker, Best Community Service Project, or Best Local Publication, be sure to nominate them for a 2015 award!
PBA 2016 Winter Board Meeting
The next Board of Directors Meeting will be held March 18-19, 2016 at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford Springs, PA. We look forward to seeing you next year!
*photo: PBA member Joe Martin at the Meet the Builder event.
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