The PA Builders Association is marking the end of 2017 with an end-of-year summary of important happenings in the Pennsylvania residential housing industry and within PBA. Now we look forward to an exciting 2018!
The PBA Fall Board Meeting in Hershey, PA on October 28 saw the unanimous election of 2018’s slate of officers, including incoming PBA President Kert Sloan, VP Maria Coutts, Secretary Jon Sukonik, Treasurer Joe Harcum, and Associate Vice President Betsy Dupuis. PBA also welcomed its roster of newly appointed Regional VP’s and Regional Legislative Officers. Pictured: 2018 PBA President Kert Sloan.
Governor Signs PA Builder Legislation to Fix Building Code Adoption Process
On October 25, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 409 - PBA's long-awaited reforms and updates to the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (PA UCC). Act 36 of 2017 extensively revises the code review process undertaken by the Department of Labor and Industry's Review and Advisory Council (RAC) for future updates.
NAHB Building Systems Housing Summit
The 2017 Building Systems Housing Summit came to the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA from October 8 – 10. Hundreds of attendees from around the country gathered to learn about emerging trends in the systems-built housing industry. The summit also allowed for guests to network with builders, manufacturers, and suppliers of log, timber frame, modular, panelized and concrete homes.
BUILD-PAC Trustees Reception
The home of Steve and Jen Black in Elizabethtown, PA hosted a cocktail reception of the members and invited guests of the Pennsylvania BUILD-PAC Trustees on Wednesday, August 23.
Guests included Rep. Patrick Meehan (PA 7), Rep. Charlie Dent (PA 15), Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA 16), and Rep. Scott Perry (PA 4).
BUILD-PAC, or Builders United in Legislative Decisions Political Action Committee, is the political arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). It helps elect pro-housing, pro-business candidates to federal office.
PBA Grassroots in Action
On June 14, PBA members gathered at the 2017 NAHB Legislative Conference and Midyear Board of Directors Meeting in Washington, DC to discuss issues vital to the home building industry. After a morning briefing on legislative issues, dozens of our members visited Capitol Hill offices to meet with Pennsylvania representatives. In total, NAHB members conducted over 250 meetings, conveying the importance of the issues currently facing the home building industry.
PBA Awards 772 Endorsed Trade Program Student Certificates
PBA awarded 772 students their certification from the PBA Endorsed Trade Program for the 2016-2017 school year in June. The program currently includes 111 technical programs from 28 different trade schools throughout the Commonwealth.
On November 7, 2017, Pennsylvania voters clicked “Yes” for the Homestead Exclusion Amendment. According to Commonwealth official election results, almost 54% percent voted for the referendum, which would allow local taxing authorities to exempt residents from paying property taxes on their homes.
The result will have no immediate impact on taxes until the state General Assembly passes legislation allowing up to 100 percent of a home’s assessed value to be exempted from property taxes. Indeed, if the intent of the referendum is realized in Harrisburg, counties, school districts, and municipalities are then bound to replace the funds collected from property taxes with other sources of revenue. However, Pennsylvania school districts hold millions in long-term debt that would need to be paid off. In fact, of the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, nearly 90% have enough debt that taxpayers would continue paying property taxes in the future, regardless of legislation. Is 0% property tax realistic in the future for Pennsylvanians?
The PA Builders Association and many other groups think so. PBA encouraged a “Yes” vote on November 7. Continued pressure on the General Assembly to find new or expanded revenue streams coupled with this referendum could lead to a major tax overhaul. As Congress works on tax reform at the federal level with proposed changes to deductions, personal exemptions, and restructuring of overall tax rates, the proposed legislation’s effects will only heighten the issue for some time to come.
The PBA Fall Board Meeting in Hershey, PA was a “sweet” success. This year saw the unanimous passing of PBA’s 2018 Budget and the election of next year’s slate of officers, RVP’s, and RLO’s. We also engaged in an excellent seminar on disaster recovery, our annual Meet the Builder event, and the Government Affairs Committee’s confirmation of the signing of PA House Bill 409 (the “RAC Fix” bill).
Meet the Builder
PBA’s third annual Meet the Builder featured 11 building industry focused service providers at a casual cocktail reception on Friday, October 27 at the Hershey Lodge. The event was a great way for PBA’s active builders and remodeler members to socialize, share ideas, and meet large national/regional product manufacturers as well as suppliers and vendors. Thanks to our sponsors and attendees for a great event.
Disaster Recovery Fall Seminar
Members gathered Friday afternoon for a seminar entitled “Lessons Learned” from Hurricane Harvey & Irma. PBA members and associates were joined by Ali M. Memari, Ph.D., P.E., Bernard and Henrietta Hankin Chair of Residential Construction at The Pennsylvania State University and Director, Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC) in a roundtable discussion about how Pennsylvania can use natural disaster information from storms like Harvey and Irma.
Finally, a huge thank you to our partners EK McConkey, and BDX for networking with our members and assisting them with questions over the weekend. We also thank McConkey for sponsoring the EOC Training Reception at Troegs.
PBA Winter 2018 Board Meeting
Mark your calendar for the next Board of Directors Meeting on February 24, 2018, at the Doubletree by Hilton, Reading, PA. We look forward to seeing you there!
Other Key Provisions in Act 36 of 2017 include:
Speaking on Final Passage of House Bill 409, Prime Sponsor Rep. Eli Evankovich stated,
"House Bill 409 creates a non-agenda-driven process for adopting those codes, and it is a delicate negotiation not just between the builders' associations, who stand up for the consumers of Pennsylvania, but also environmentalist groups, local government groups, labor unions, companies that are in the industry making products that are sold for residential and commercial construction. It is a good step in the right direction for fixing this process in Pennsylvania."
PBA members will receive continuous updates through their Local Associations as the process of the RAC 2015 Code Review unfolds.
America’s skilled labor shortage is the focus of a recent cover story on CBS Sunday Morning that features PBA Endorsed Trade Program partner Lehigh Career & Technical Institute in Schnecksville, PA. The story also includes interviews with "This Old House" host Norm Abram, Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Homebuilders, and Mike Rowe, former host of the TV show "Dirty Jobs."
Kurt Adam, assistant superintendent at LCTI is interviewed about their programs in 41 different trades that provide employers with skills such as plumbing, welding, and carpentry.
Date: October 26, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM EDT
Compliance Assistance Session on the RRP Rule with EPA Representatives
Click here for the flyer
Workplace safety is key in running a successful business. Employers with committed safety programs help reduce employee injuries and help minimize insurance costs. The PBA Workers’ Compensation Program, through its carrier Eastern Alliance, is offering free safety presentations for current and prospective Workers’ Compensation program participants.
Harrisburg, PA – The PA Builders Association Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) is celebrating Professional Women in Building Week, Sept. 18 - 22. 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. PWB Week provides a platform to collectively demonstrate the important roles women play,” said Maria Coutts, Chair, PBA Professional Women in Building Council. “Women have long been in this field, but now we want to shine a spotlight on them to highlight their great work,” 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,” says Cathy Sloan, PBA Professional Women in Building Council member. “Our members are not just the builder’s wives anymore, but accredited, licensed and certified professionals representing all facets of the residential construction industry.”
PWB has become NAHB’s fastest growing council, experiencing a 40% growth in membership over the last decade, and counts 55 Pennsylvania members of its 1531 total membership.
For more information, visit www.nahb.org/pwbweek
The Small Business Advantage Grant provides 50% matching grants, up to a maximum of $9,500 ($7,000 for lighting-only upgrades), to enable Pennsylvania small businesses to purchase energy efficient or pollution prevention equipment or adopt waste reduction processes. The program is open July 25, 2017 through June 30, 2018, or until funds are exhausted.
Pennsylvania-based businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible. Eligible applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and must save the small business a minimum of $500 and at least 25% annually in energy consumption or pollution prevention related expenses.
An overview of the program, eligibility requirements and application instructions are included in the Small Business Advantage Grant Package (see links below). Beginning in 2017, all applications must be submitted on-line. Sample hardcopies of the Grant Package may be obtained by calling DEP's Small Business Ombudsman Office at 717-772-5160.
Small Business Advantage Grant Documents
Below is a list of the documents you will need when applying for the Small Business Advantage Grant:
For technical questions regarding the grant, please e-mail program staff at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance, or call the Small Business Ombudsman Office at 717-772-5160.
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