Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Fall Protection Regulations will be Phased in by OSHA Over the Next 90 Days

Be prepared for increased OSHA enforcement action

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced last month that it will phase in enforcement of its fall protection regulations for residential construction sites.

In a June 8 letter to NAHB, Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, announced a three month phase-in period to allow residential construction companies additional time to come into compliance with the Agency’s new directive Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction (STD 03-11-002).

This decision is in response to a meeting between NAHB and OSHA’s leadership on May 26, during which NAHB First Vice Chairman Barry Rutenberg and Dean Mon, Chairman of NAHB’s Construction Safety and Health Committee, argued that builders need additional time to fully understand the steps that must be taken and to properly plan for the fall protection change. NAHB also stressed there is a continued need for more fall protection training and compliance assistance for residential construction employers.

The effective date of the new regulation is June 16 and the 90-day phase-in period will run through September 15.

OSHA's field staff have now been instructed that for the first three months in which the new directive is in effect, the agency will not issue fall protection citations to home builders who are using the protective measures in the old residential construction fall protection directive (STD 03-00-001). Instead, where necessary, OSHA will issue a hazard alert letter informing the builder of the feasible methods that can be used to comply with OSHA’s fall protection standard or the need for a written fall protection plan to be implemented. If the builder’s practices do not meet the minimum requirements set in the old directive — or if a company fails to implement the fall protection measures outlined in a hazard alert letter and during a subsequent inspection OSHA should find violations involving the same hazards — the agency will at that time issue a citation.

In addition, OSHA has announced that it is increasing the dollar amounts of fines associated with citations. Fines are expect to increase from an average of $1,000 to $4,000. The maximum penalty is $70,000. Click here to read a detailed assessment of OSHA's new fines in NAHB's EH&S Monthly newsletter.

Builders and trade contractors should pay particular attention to the following hazards, which are the top 10 most frequently-cited OSHA standards for construction in 2010 (with the reference to the specific OSHA standard in parentheses):
  1. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
  2. Fall Protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
  3. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
  4. Fall Protection, training requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)
  5. Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  6. General Safety & Health Provisions (29 CFR 1926.20)
  7. Head Protection (29 CFR 1926.100)
  8. Aerial Lifts (29 CFR 1926.453)
  9. Eye & Face Protection (29 CFR 1926.102)
  10. Excavation, specific excavation requirements (29 CFR 1926.651)
There are a few simple things that builders and trade contractors should do to be prepared for OSHA inspections. These include:
  • Conducting an assessment to identify and correct safety hazards on the job site.
  • Conducting appropriate safety training for employees — such as fall protection and ladder safety training.
  • Updating records and making sure they are readily available.
  • Understanding the OSHA inspection process.
NAHB has multiple resources that are designed to assist member in achieving compliance with OSHA's rules, including handbooks and videos. Order these materials at by clicking here. Additional compliance safety information is available at by clicking here.

Additional resources are available from OSHA:
Additional resources have been added to the HBA of Greenville's website. Click here to access these construction site resources at

Additional resources also are available on NAHB's website. Click here to access these construction site resources at

HBA Member Benefit: S.C. Member Rebate Program

As a member of the HBA of Greenville, home builders and remodelers qualify for the S.C. Member Rebate Program.

Introducing the S.C. Member Rebate Program
No one likes to leave money on the table. So, what would you think if you could get a rebate for your loyalty to many of the nation's leading housing industry product suppliers? Now you can!

We are happy to introduce the S.C. Member Rebate Program, aimed at increasing your bottom line. For the minimal effort of informing us about the home construction products you use and when you close on a home or project, you will be putting money back in your pocket. Both Builder & Remodeler companies, no matter how large or small, qualify for the program. When you participate in the program, you can count on receiving checks every quarter.

Please note: Program is only available to current HBASC Members (all HBA of Greenville members are members of HBASC).

Special Offer
If you register for the S.C. Member Rebate Program by July 31, your membership will be made retroactive to January 1, 2011.

Register Now

Quinn-Satterfield, ProSource, Trehel make Inc. magazine's list of fastest growing private companies in America

Three HBA of Greenville member companies made Inc. magazine's list of fastest growing private companies in America.

Quinn-Satterfield, a Greenville-based home building and remodeling company, came in at 684 on the list. It also came in at 33 on their list of Top 100 Construction Companies. Click here to view Quinn-Satterfield's profile on the Inc. list.

ProSource, based in Greenville, ranked 2,811 on the Inc. list. Click here to view their profile on the Inc. list.

Trehel, based in Clemson, ranked 4,680 on the Inc. list. Click here to view their profile on the Inc. list.

Are 30 somethings abandoning the city for the suburbs

By Michael Dey, Executive Vice President
Home Builders Association of Greenville

The challenge of understanding how demographics impacts the housing market is not in the assessment of what has happened, but in the assessment of what will happen.

A couple of years ago I looked at some of the causes of the current housing market crisis. Clearly easy access to financing, access that was too easy, was a major factor. However, in my opinion, the catalyst was demand, or lack of it.

From 2006 to 2009 the population at prime first-time home buying age was extraordinarily small. That is because that age group was born during the lowest birth-rate years since World War II: 1973-1976.

In my opinion lack of demand from people that had to buy a home was the catalyst that created the chain reaction that brought down the housing industry.

Unfortunately that first-time home buyer demand is still lower than normal and is probably a couple of years away from strengthening. Low demand is compounded with the fact that many people who should have been in the market place in the last couple of years have deferred buying homes because they either don't have a job or are under employed, or they are not confident enough to enter the housing market at this time, or they are having difficulty qualifying for a loan, and perhaps a combination of the three. This one-two punch explains why the housing industry continues to "bounce along the bottom": lack of demand.

Demand is coming, but where?
The question I am often asked when I present this data, and one that I have not been able to answer, is where will the next generation of first-time home buyers want to live? That is a very good question and one that is hard to answer; until now.

The professional planners and smart-growth advocates say future demand will matriculate toward more urban settings. I have generally agreed with that assessment and I have wondered if we don't already have enough suburban housing to meet future demand.

However, analysis of 2010 Census data by demographer Wendell Cox demonstrates the opposite trend. According to Cox's analysis, 1.8 million 25-34 year-olds moved to the suburbs during the last decade. At the same time, 1.3 million25-34 year-olds moved away from urban areas around the country.

There is a lot of speculation about why this has happened, but a member of the HBA staff who falls into that age group gave me the most plausible explanation for this trend: "we can't afford to live in the city."

No matter the explanation, the answer to where first-time home buyers will settle may be answered: where their parents settled when they bought their first home.

Audit finds that 27 percent of calls to LLR go unaswered

According to a report by the Legislative Audit Council, the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR) failed to answer 27 percent of the calls it received.

LLR is the umbrella agency under which the S.C. Residential Builders Commission and the S.C. Contractors Licensing Board are managed. Both boards regulate home builders, general contractors, home inspectors, and other trades professionals who work on construction sites. In addition, LLR manages the S.C. Real Estate Licensing Board.

The audit also found that agency staff “spent an average of 36 percent of their time on calls or after call work when 70 percent is a reasonable expectation.” The audit also found that 60 percent of complaints referred to LLR’s Office of Investigations and Enforcement received “no action,” while another 30 percent had “minimal actions such as fines and reprimands.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Carolina First Center changes name to TD Convention Center

The Carolina First Center has a new name: the TD Convention Center made its debut this month as the conversion of the Carolina First brand to TD Bank continues throughout the Carolinas. Carolina First had a multi-year naming rights sponsorship of the convention center, which TD Bank assumed with the acquisition of the bank.

The Carolina First Center, now TD Convention Center, is the home of the Southern Home and Garden Shows, produced by the Home Builders Association of Greenville. It is also the location of several of the HBAs membership meetings throughout the year.

“We are pleased to have this relationship with TD Bank that has once again shown its commitment to our community,” said John Castile, Greenville City Manager. “As host to hundreds of events, both consumer and corporate, each year, we feel the TD Convention Center will be a great asset to the bank as they strive to expand their footprint and brand in this region.”

“TD Bank is excited to support this key venue in the state,” said Rob Hoak, Regional President for TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank. “TD Bank remains dedicated to making a meaningful and positive contribution to the communities in which we do business, and we feel having our name on this signature facility is a great way to do so while also sharing our brand.”

The TD Convention Center is one of the region’s largest convention and meeting facilities and has a long history as one of the top meeting places in the Southeast. Though the current building was constructed in 1964, the tradition of industry leaders meeting in Greenville began in 1915. That tradition continues today as the TD Convention Center hosts more than 450 events and 270,000 people from across the state and the nation each year.

Originally the Palmetto Expo Center, the facility was purchased by the City of Greenville in 2001. In 2007, of the facility was renamed the Carolina First Center after Carolina First purchased the naming rights as part of the city’s $22 million renovation of the facility.

The Carolina First Center is managed by SMG, a facilities management company that oversees more than 200 arenas, stadiums and convention centers around the world.

Bruce Yandle: "South Carolina's economy is getting in gear...finally"

Good news on the economy is about as hard to find as an ivory-billed woodpecker. So when there is a sighting, it needs to be shared. Here's the good news. South Carolina's economy has turned some important corners. State GDP growth, a fundamental measure of economic health, has turned positive.

NAHB: How Government Regulations Affect the Cost of Housing

For the past four years the housing market has faced considerable adversity and still faces significant barriers to recovery. Some of those barriers are government imposed.

Even when the current barriers are overcome, home builders and developers will still be contending with markets in which homes cost more to build and sell because of government regulations.

NAHB Economist Paul Emrath, PhD., recently completed a study of the impact of government regulation on the cost of housing. According to the report, 25 percent of the cost of a new home is the result of government regulation.

Click here to read the report at

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Association Maximization 8: HBA Leadership: The Ultimate Return On Your Investment

In this final part of our abbreviated Association Maximization series we will discuss leadership for both builders and associates. I hope you enjoyed the first 7 parts as much as I enjoyed writing them.

College gives a graduate the necessary knowledge to function in their chosen professions. It takes time to learn the chosen discipline when it comes to the real world because college gives you “book smarts” while the real world teaches you “street smarts” or, more to the point, “industry smarts.”

I don’t know how many people in our home building and remodeling industry have a college degree or any years spent in college but when it comes to this particular industry a college degree is great but it doesn’t prepare you for the challenges of this noble profession. The ultimate education, for the home building industry, is HBA leadership. The time, which certainly is money, you spend learning about the industry prepares you like no college can.
There is a worn out “joke” that is always used about builders and being president that builders always go bankrupt after they have served. Unfortunately some have but it’s not because of the HBA leadership role. Multiple factors may have caused this; economic conditions, poor management skills, poor time management skills or even the fact that maybe they should not have been a builder. Who really knows but I do know that it wasn’t being president that did it. Yes, it does take time to be a leader let alone president. By blending the following benefits of leadership into the way you conduct business, for both builders and associates, you will understand that serving as officers and board members you will gain immeasurable quality in return:
  1. Direct knowledge of industry threats or trends. In the meeting rooms of local, state or NAHB board of directors what could possibly affect the building industry is discussed and strategic plans are implemented. Knowing how certain or multiple items can affect the industry prepares you and your company for those affects. If it affects the building industry it has a direct affect on your business (this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). As a general member you will get the same information but the amount of thought and discussion that went into the releasing of that information to the general membership is the education you , as a leader, receive. Your time spent volunteering at the leadership level should not be considered wasted time by you. It should, in fact, be considered education of the real world. The time spent and the knowledge gained is invaluable.
  2. Working knowledge of government. In your role as an HBA leader you will be asked to be involved with your state legislators or your state’s federal legislators. This places you in direct contact with the lawmakers meaning you are building relationships with those who can control your career, your destiny. I can’t place a dollar amount for your return on your investment here either. This is another benefit of leadership that is invaluable.
  3. Your career or business improvement and direction. Learning about this industry from all angles prepares you, makes you more in tune with trends that can make your company stand out. It gives you a road map for your company’s, or your personal, short term and long term plans. The direct knowledge you gain as a leader could save years of retooling, restructuring, reinventing yourself and company. Once again, invaluable.
  4. Relationships that last a lifetime. The leadership level brings you into a family style environment. Like any large family, there are people you like and people that you don’t like. Just like a family, your personal feelings are put a side when turmoil or crisis hits. The bonds become stronger and the relationships get deeper. Leadership at this level brings that social capital I spoke about to a higher plane. Say it with me…. INVALUABLE.
If you properly time mange the risks are minimal and the benefits are enormous. Not everyone is a leader and that’s fine although everyone has certain leadership skills inside them. It maybe that you are not as confident as you’d like to be or maybe you don’t relish the idea of public speaking. Added benefits of HBA leadership would be that you will develop a more confident attitude and as you get to know the members at this level you will speak with confidence as well. Time and gradual participation is all that’s needed and you ascend at your desired pace.

Stepping away from what’s been written there is another reason for you to become a leader. Your industry needs you. We need new ideas, fresh takes on situations, new faces with raw and exciting passion that only comes from the beginning. The next generation of leadership will decide the future of our building industry. These new leaders will be properly mentored in what has worked and what hasn’t worked. The new leaders will listen to the past, pay attention to the present and craft strategies for a better future of home building and remodeling. Don’t look at the “ask” of being involved on the board or as an officer to be a burden to you or your family. Look at it as a great business asset that will enable your family to have a great life. Today’s 21st century leader has enormous advantages that the past did not have. With the rise of social media and instant contact time management abilities have skyrocketed. When your local, state or NAHB leaders come to you to discuss your HBA future, listen to what they have to say.

Becoming an HBA leader now may not be the right time but it is absolutely the right direction for anyone whose passion and career is in the building industry.

Submitted by: Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chair
Director of Trade Association Relations, ProBuild

Greenville makes list of 10 cities that avoided the housing bust

According to a report in and CNBC, Greenville South Carolina is one of 10 cities that avoided the housing bust. The report points to lower unemployment and foreclosures than the rest of the country.

"Of course this is something we have known all along," said Michael Dey, Executive Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Greenville. "All real estate is local and Greenville has little in common with the larger markets that tend to drive stories of a national housing crisis," Dey said.

A key measure, according to CNBC, is average home prices. According to the report, Greenville's average home prices have fallen just 2.9 percent since the peak of the housing market.

Read the report at by clicking here.

Read the report at by clicking here.

New home construction up 14 percent

New home construction ticked higher in June, the government said Tuesday, as two key measures topped expectations.

Housing starts, the number of new homes being built, rose 14.6% in June to an annual rate of 629,000 units, up from a revised 549,000 in May, the Commerce Department said.

Read the full report at by clicking here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Governor Nikki Haley holds signing ceremony for Crossman Bill

Governor Nikki Haley participated in a signing ceremony for the Crossman Bill in Conway this week. The Crossman Bill reverses a Supreme Court decision that severely curtailed builders' coverage under their general liability insurance policies. Harry Dill, president of the HBA of Horry-Georgetown and Secretary of the HBA of South Carolina, spoke on behalf of home builders at the event.

Read the story and watch a video of Governor Haley's comments at by clicking here.

NAHB making progress in correcting problems with the Lead Paint Rule

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved a provision that would limit funding for the EPA's enforcement of the Lead Paint Rule until the agency approves a test kit that complies with its own regulations. To read more in NAHB's Monday Morning Briefing, click here.

In other news, NAHB won a victory when the EPA announced it would reject a proposal to require third-party sampling and testing of dust samples after renovations are completed on homes built before 1978. To read more in NAHB's Monday Morning Briefing, click here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

U.S. House votes to reauthorize flood insurance program for five years

By an overwhelming margin the U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to approved legislation that will reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for five years.

The flood insurance program has suffered through several short-term renewals in recent years and on at least two occasions the program has been suspended because its authorization from Congress to back flood insurance polices had expired.

Read more in NAHB's Washington Update by clicking here.

Vee Daniel Named President of Better Business Bureau of the Upstate

Vee Daniel, formerly Membership and Events Director of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina and Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of Spartanburg, has been named President of the Better Business Bureau of the Upstate. Click here to read more at GSA Business.