Colder temperatures can take a big toll on your home. Severe winter storms can also knock out heat, power and other services to your home. That’s why it’s important to take a few steps now to prepare your home for the changing weather ahead.
Here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help you make sure your home is the best shelter possible for you and your family during the colder months ahead.
* Ensure you are keeping outside air and moisture from entering your home as much as possible. Insulate walls and attics, caulk and weather-strip doors and windows, and install storm windows.
* Clear rain gutters so they don’t fill with water that could freeze and cause damage to the roof due to the added weight.
* Trim tree branches that could potentially fall on your home during a storm. Hiring a professional is strongly advised, especially if any branches are near power lines.
* Have your heating equipment and chimney cleaned and inspected every year. Ensure there are no openings in the chimney bricks or mortar or flashing.
* Insulate water pipes with foam wrap or similar products to help prevent them from freezing.
* Make sure all your fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside, and the vent openings are clear of debris and snow.
* Learn how to shut off your main water valve in case your pipes do freeze and burst.
* Hire a contractor to check the structural integrity of your roof to sustain the weight of accumulated snow or water.
Important Safety Tips
During the winter, many people use alternate heating and power sources. But doing so can increase the risk of electric shock, house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning if the necessary safety precautions are not taken:
* Keep fire extinguishers around the home, and make sure all family members know how to use them.
* Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawl space or any partially enclosed area. And do not place the unit near a door, window or vent where carbon monoxide could seep indoors.
* Space heaters should only be placed on a level surface and away from heavy foot traffic when in use, especially if pets or small children are nearby. It’s best to have space heaters that automatically turn off when a room reaches the desired temperature or in the event it is tipped over.
To learn more about routine maintenance, energy efficiency, safety and other tips to protect and properly care for your home click here, or contact your local Pennsylvania builders association at www.pabuilders.org/find-a-local.
Longtime PBA member David Eakin from Montgomery, PA passed away on Nov. 8, 2018 at his home surrounded by his family. Dave was a member of the West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association Board of Directors. He worked most of his career as an independent insurance agent most recently as Regional Vice President of Henry Dunn Agency.
David is survived by his wife Gladys Louise (Kahler) Eakin who together would have celebrated 54 years of marriage on December 4, and his children and their families.
A memorial service to honor the life of David will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday November 17 at St. John’s Lutheran “Brick” Church, 196 Brick Church Rd., Montgomery with the Rev. Theodore Cockley officiating. Burial will follow in St. John Church Cemetery. A masonic service will be held at 8:45 a.m. with a visitation to follow from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran “Brick” Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church, 196 Brick Church Rd, Montgomery, PA 17752.
PBA has elected its incoming Senior Leadership for 2019, as unanimously voted on at the November 3rd PBA Board of Directors meeting held on Saturday, November 3 at the Harrisburg Hilton.
The incoming 2019 PBA President is Maria Coutts from Wayne Pike Building Industry Association. Maria is the President of The Coutts Group in Hawley, PA and also serves on the Governmental Affairs Committee, Membership Committee, and Professional Women in Building Committee. She also serves on the NAHB Board of Directors.
Elected to 2019 PBA Vice President is Jon Sukonik of the HBA of Bucks & Montgomery Counties. Having previously served in 2018 as PBA Secretary, Jon will oversee PBA’s activities on both state and national levels, and serve as the liaison to all coalitions and task forces of which PBA is a member. Jon is President of Sukonik Building Companies, Ltd. in Plymouth Meeting, PA.
Continuing her role on PBA’s Senior Leadership team as Associate Vice President is Betsy Dupuis of the Builders Association of Central Pennsylvania. Betsy will lead the Associate Member Committee and other assignments. She is an attorney with Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C. in State College, PA.
Newly appointed to the Senior Leadership team for 2019 include Cindy Cepko from Wayne Pike BIA who was elected as PBA’s new Secretary and Lori Moore Venema from West Branch Susquehanna BA as Treasurer. Cindy will record and communicate all official proceedings of PBA and its Board of Directors, including all reports of committees and task forces. She is with Granite Homes Property Management in Paupack, PA. Lori will have oversight of PBA’s financial affairs and supervise the collection and disbursement of the funds of the Association. She is a licensed CPA and works with Susquehanna Builders, Inc. in Montoursville, PA.
Please welcome our new leadership team for 2019.
The PBA Fall 2018 Board Meeting at the Harrisburg Hilton in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania created positive vibes and great memories as the organization came together for the third time in 2018. Highlights of the meeting’s three days of events included the unanimous passing of PBA’s 2019 budget and the election of next year’s slate of officers, RVPs, and RLOs. The PHRC led in informative seminar on the recent building code changes and the 4th annual Meet the Builder event drew top builders and remodelers together with vendors showing the latest in home building products and technologies.
Meet the Builder
Meet the Builder featured 11 building industry focused suppliers and service providers at a cocktail reception on Friday, November 2 at the Harrisburg Hilton. The event invited PBA’s active builders and remodeler members to socialize, share ideas, and meet large national/regional product manufacturers, suppliers and vendors. Thanks to our sponsors and attendees for a great event!
Code Updates in Seminar
After giving dozens of seminars across Pennsylvania detailing the changes to the UCC Review & Advisory Council Regulations, PHRC gathered their best practices to share with the event attendees. They highlighted specific changes that are causing the most disruption at worksites, what questions that are left unanswered, and some recommendations for future training opportunities at the local level.
Finally, a huge thank you to our partner McConkey Insurance & Benefits for sponsoring the EOC Training Conference lunch and working with our members over the weekend.
PBA Winter 2019 Board Meeting
Mark your calendar for the next Board of Directors Meeting on March 2, 2019 at the Hershey Hotel in Hershey, PA. We look forward to seeing you there!
Eight local builder associations, in conjunction with PBA, participated in an NAHB Membership Drive Workshop on Monday, October 17. Facilitated by Anna Tilley and Isabel Shocket of NAHB’s Advisory Services Team, EOs and leaders from the eight locals set goals for growth and explored membership drive tools and retention tactics for after the drive is complete. PBA is inviting every local association in the state to participate in a membership drive on November 12th and 13th (you may choose either day.)
If you can’t get excited about gaining membership, get excited about a chance to get some free money. NAHB will pay the local association $100 for every net builder or associate member added between September 1st and November 30th. You didn’t have to participate in the Workshop but your gains must be net positive compared to the same period last year (from September 1st through November 30th, 2017) NAHB is also offering a $15 incentive for net positive affiliate members. Remember, anyone you’ve already recruited from September 1st until now counts toward your goal.
All locals are encouraged to participate, regardless of whether they attended the Workshop.
We’re thrilled at the ambitious goals each of the participating locals announced. Can your local association do better? PBA will be awarding prizes to the locals with the best percentage increases as well as the top member recruiters.
For more information, please download the NAHB/PBA Membership Drive Workshop presentation.
Questions may be directed to Craig Hoffman at 717-730-4380 or email@example.com.
PBA members, EOs and other stakeholders sponsored and participated in PA Build My Future on Thursday, Oct. 18 at Penn College’s Building Construction Technology Department, College Transitions, and the School of Construction & Design Technologies.
The event was attended by over 800 secondary students and their chaperones from across Pennsylvania, who joined scores of residential and commercial construction businesses to connect through hands-on activities that displayed the breadth of opportunities in the construction and design industry. PBA staff were joined by colleagues from West Branch Susquehanna BA, Central Susquehanna BA, PHRC, NAHB and PBA’s Endorsed Trade Program.
View more photos on the PBA website homepage
October is Careers in Construction Month, an opportunity for home builders, materials suppliers, and others to increase public awareness of the outstanding opportunities available in the construction trades. This month of emphasis is timely due to exciting trends for those thinking about entering the residential construction industry.
In Pennsylvania and throughout much of the US, constructions jobs are plentiful and paying more wages than ever. The devastating recession that began in 2008 struck the construction industry particularly hard. Many skilled tradespeople simply gave-up hopes for well-paying jobs in residential housing, and in the case of the baby boomers, many simply retired.
Now in 2018, levels of supply and demand have reversed, with skilled construction workers desperately needed in all levels of residential building. This labor shortage is so acute that 91 percent of more than 2,700 contractors, construction managers, builders and trade contractors surveyed by Commercial Construction Index report having a difficult or moderately difficult time finding skilled workers.
In turn, pay has skyrocketed in tandem with the high demand. Historically, average wages in the residential construction industry are slightly higher than wages overall. As of March 2018, the average U.S. residential construction wage nationwide is about 13.7 percent above the average private-sector wage – a gap on par with late-2008 levels. Residential construction worker wages continue to grow at a 5 percent annual pace, almost double the 2.9 percent pace of wage growth for all workers.
Despite these increased wages and high worker demand, there aren’t enough skilled builders around to complete the work. Through the first quarter of 2018, employers have been looking to fill an average of nearly 225,000 construction jobs each month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That average was eclipsed in only one year going back to 2000 when the BLS first began tracking the data – and that year was 2007, at the tail end of the U.S. housing boom.
RANK/STATE/NO. OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
1 California 863,600
2 Texas 763,100
3 Florida 541,700
4 New York 415,500
5 Pennsylvania 265,500
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics & Statistics
Construction trades: demand but lack of supply
A recent poll from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) of young Americans ages 18-to-25 shows that almost no millennials want a career in construction, despite the above average pay. 64 percent of these millennials said they wouldn’t even consider working in construction if you paid them $100,000 or more.
There are many reasons for the lack of skilled tradespeople. Millennials were more likely to grow up with a focus on a four-year college degree. Coupled with budget cuts to high school vocational and skills development programs this overemphasis on four-year degrees helped create a negative stigma in the trade professions. Finally, the opioid epidemic and random drug testing by employers have shut out a large swath of potential workers nationwide, especially in areas of the Rust Belt and Midwest (including Pennsylvania).
Construction trades: five reasons to join the construction industry
So you or someone you know is beginning their first career, or are looking to switch to opportunities for more money and advancement. If more convincing is needed than what we’ve stated above, here are five reasons to consider a career in the building trades:
Builders Across the Country Are Hiring
Home builders in Pennsylvania and nationwide are seeking skilled workers — especially carpenters, framers and roofers to help them build the American Dream. This means there is ample opportunity for motivated students seeking a rewarding career path. The number of open construction sector jobs is expected to reach 275,000 by the end of 2018, according to the analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Job Satisfaction and Competitive Salaries
Residential construction workers consistently express high job satisfaction. Average salaries in Pennsylvania remain competitive with other industries in our area. For example, brick masons and carpenters can enter the industry in Pennsylvania with a starting salary of over $51,000 annually. Specialized fields such as electrician and construction supervisor can earn much more. Projections from all sources predict that construction jobs will see steady wage growth for at least the next five years.
Career Ladders with No Limit
When people think of professions with great opportunities for advancement, construction might not immediately come to mind. But from an entry-level labor position, a home building worker has the opportunity to learn more highly-skilled trades, serve as frontline management, grow into a company management role, and eventually, for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, even own their own home building or remodeling firm. And this is just within one type of company; there is always the opportunity to take a job with a supplier, a specialty contractor, or any other of dozens of supporting companies essential to the residential construction industry.
Diversity of Skilled Trades to Consider
A home builder relies on a number of highly trained workers to get the job done right. This includes dozens of skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters and landscapers. Analysis from NAHB shows that 70 percent of builders typically use between 11 and 30 subcontractors to build a single-family home. Indeed, there are many different trades you can pursue depending on your personal interests.
Rewarding Career without College Debt
At a time when countless college graduates are finding themselves underemployed and saddled with crushing student debt, it’s important to know that earning a college degree is not the only road to success. A vocational education is equally rewarding and can be obtained at a fraction of the cost.
PBA created its Endorsed Trade Program (ETP) with the primary goal of bridging the gap between training and career. ETP awards hundreds of students an advanced trade certification in collaboration with trade schools around Pennsylvania in fields such as building construction, cabinetry, HVAC, masonry, and plumbing. Students who complete the PBA-certified program are then tested and receive their accreditation - providing reassurance to builders and potential employers they are well-prepared for work with a residential construction company. Students and schools that participate in PBA’s ETP have the unique chance to work directly with residential contractors who can share real-life pointers and applications. Moreover, the students gain exposure to potential employers or references who can open the doors to the right job.
A career in construction is not just another job. It’s an opportunity to build a lifetime of success and fulfillment.
The Pennsylvania Builders Association’s Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) is celebrating Professional Women in Building Week, September 17 – 21, 2018. PWB Week aims to drive awareness of the vast contributions women have made and continue to make every day in the residential construction industry.
“Women are a vital component of the home building industry. As we continue to grow our numbers, PWB Week provides a platform to collectively demonstrate the important roles women play in residential construction,” said Kim Gartner, Chair, PBA Professional Women in Building Council and Vice President at Prime Custom Builders, LLC of Doylestown, PA. “Women have long been in this field, but awareness and recognition are needed to continue to recruit and train new talented women to the field,” she added.
“PWB is seeing an organic evolution of women at the grassroots level making the necessary strides to fuel the next generation of female building professionals through industry support, professional development, and leadership training opportunities,” said Anna Coutts, PBA Professional Women in Building Council Vice Chair and Real Estate Salesperson with Weichert Realtors Paupack Group in Hawley, PA. “Our members are not just the builder’s wives anymore, but accredited, licensed and certified professionals representing all facets of the residential construction industry.”
Professional Women in Building has become NAHB’s fastest growing council, experiencing a 40% growth in membership over the last decade, and counts 43 Pennsylvania members of its 1,868 total membership.
For more information, visit www.nahb.org/pwbweek
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is issuing a Request for Proposals soliciting applications from organizations for projects to improve the availability and affordability of housing across the commonwealth. Funding for this RFP is being provided through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) Fund. The total PHARE funding available this year is $39.6 million.
PHARE receives its funding from a number of sources. These include the impact fee levied on natural gas companies, a portion of the Realty Transfer Tax, and money from the National Housing Trust Fund. Funding is available for housing initiatives in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. PHFA is charged with administering the allocation of PHARE dollars.
New this year for PHARE is an application process that can be completed entirely online, eliminating the need for paper submissions and simplifying the process for applicants and the evaluation staff. The RFP is located on PHFA’s website at www.phfa.org, and the application is accessible at https://phare.phfa.org/.
Applications are due to PHFA no later than 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.
PHFA is planning two informational webinars for groups interested in applying for PHARE funds. Both webinars will cover the same information. Webinar dates and times are: Sept.20 – 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Oct. 4 – 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Questions may be directed to Bryce Maretzki at PHFA via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 717.780.1867.
Recent natural disasters in Pennsylvania remind us that our lives can quickly be turned upside down with little warning. September is National Preparedness Month, which makes now a perfect time to prepare your family and household for emergency situations that are most likely to impact our area.
Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Agency (PEMA’s) Ready PA website provides information on how to be prepared for both natural and man-made disasters. PEMA recommends following these steps to plan ahead for emergency situations.
Sign up for emergency alerts. Discuss with your family or household members how you will each receive emergency alerts and warnings. Check to see what wireless emergency alerts are offered by Pennsylvania state agencies or local public safety officials and sign up to receive the latest news.
Devise a shelter plan. Depending on the emergency, you may be required to evacuate or seek shelter in another location. Or, you may be advised to stay at home and shelter-in-place. Review the recommended shelter plans for the type of disasters that are likely to affect your area. For example, with a tornado warning, you should seek shelter in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
Create an evacuation plan. If necessary, you’ll need to know an evacuation plan. You may have a few days to prepare for an evacuation or you may need to leave your home immediately. That’s why it’s important to assemble supplies ahead of time, both a “go-bag” you can carry if you need to you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling by longer distances if you have a personal vehicle.
Develop a household communication plan. Your family or other household members may not all be together, or at home, when disaster strikes. That’s why it’s important to know how you will communicate with the members of your household. Using an emergency contact list will help you keep in contact with your family in case you are separated during a disaster.
A disaster can strike without warning, and the best way to protect your family is to be prepared. These tips, along with additional information available on https://www.ready.pa.gov are a good start to make sure your family is safe and comfortable before, during and after the onset of an emergency situation.
For more tips for your home, visit https://www.pabuilders.org/consumers.
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