Thursday, April 19, 2012

Surplus Warehouse storewide 20% off sale now through Saturday

Greenville HBA member Surplus Warehouse is holding a 20% off sale on everything in its Greenville store now through Saturday. Located at 20 Haywood Road, Surplus Warehouse sells discount building materials including cabinets, flooring (carpet, laminate, wood, ceramic and vinyl), doors, windows, tubs, showers, vanities, molding and more. Store hours are 8:30am - 5:30pm Monday - Friday and 8:30am - 3:00pm on Saturday.

Greenville area new job announcements up 50 percent in 2011

The Greenville Area Development Corporation announced 3,092 new jobs in 2011, a record number and up 50 percent from 2,083 jobs announced in 2010.

Read the entire report at GSA Business by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 19: Builder After Hours at GBS Building Supply

The next HBA of Greenville Builder After Hours is at GBS Building Supply.
  • Builder After Hours
  • GBS Building Supply, 103 Old Mill Road, Mauldin, SC
  • Thursday, April 19, 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
  • Sponsor: GBS Building Supply
The Builder After Hours is a strictly social gathering. No business is conducted. The host and sponsor will make a few brief remarks, as will the HBA of Greenville president.

Bob Barretto, CEO of GBS Building Supply, would like to invite all members of the HBA of Greenville to visit GBS for an evening of networking and refreshments.

Don't miss this great evening of networking and fellowship, and delicious food.

To register for the Builder After Hours at GBS Building Supply, click here.

Greenville is the ninth fastest growing city in America

According to a report by CNNMoney, Greenville was the ninth fastest growing city in America between 2000 and 2010.  CNN Money analyzed U.S. Census data to arrive at its report.

Read the entire report at by clicking here.

Below is a list of the top 10 fastest growing cities in America:

Charlotte, NC, population 1.25 million, grew 64.6 percent
Raleigh, NC, population 884,891, grew 63.4 percent
Cape Coral, FL, population 530,920, grew 60.8 percent
Provo, UT, population 482,819, grew 59 percent
Austin, TX, population 1.36 million, grew 51.1 percent
Las Vegas, NV, population 1.89 million, grew 43.5 percent
McAllen, TX, population 728,825, grew 39.3 percent
Knoxville, TN, population 558,696, grew 33.1 percent
Greenville, SC, population 400,492, grew 32.5 percentSan Antonio, TX, population 1.76 million, grew 32.4 percent

Eight of the ten cities are in Southern states.  Greenville is the smallest city on the list, but if the entire metro area is included (Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson), the area's population is about 1 million.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NAHB: Our housing stock is getting older

The American owner-occupied housing stock is growing older. And this fact may signal future increased demand for both remodeling and new home construction over the long-term.

Data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS) reveal that the median age of an owner-occupied home in the United States was 34 years old as of the 2009 survey. This is 11 years older than the median age reported by the 1985 AHS (23 years old).

How “Limited” is Your Liability as a Member of an LLC?

By Ron G. Tate, Esq.
Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A.

The owners of many building companies choose to organize their business as Limited Liability Companies LLC).  Many home builders organize as an LLC to avoid potential personal liability in civil actions. They were taking advantage of what seemed on the surface to be a clearly worded statute that insulates individual LLC members from civil liability for wrongful acts, called torts, such as negligent construction.

Supreme Court Decision Changes the Protection of an LLC
The South Carolina Supreme Court’s April 4, 2012, opinion in 16 Jade Street, LLC v. R. Design Construction Co., LLC calls into question the “limited liability” nature of the LLC business entity. In that case, the court held that the Limited Liability Company Act (Act) does not shield an LLC member from liability for his own torts, but rather protects only those members who did not directly commit wrongful acts, from vicarious liability.

In this case, Carl Aten and his wife were the sole members of R. Design Construction Co., LLC (R. Design), a South Carolina LLC, acting as general contractor for a construction project in Beaufort, South Carolina. After defects were discovered and one subcontractor left the project over a payment dispute, the construction ground to a halt. R. Design abandoned the project, never replacing the subcontractor nor adequately addressing more than sixty defects. At trial, the court awarded the plaintiff $925,556 in damages, finding R. Design and the subcontractor liable, as well as finding Aten personally liable for negligence. On appeal, the South Carolina Supreme Court concluded that the Act does not shield a member of an LLC from liability for his own torts. Rather, the Act protects only non-tortfeasor members of an LLC from vicarious liability.  For example, Aten’s wife is shielded from liability because she was not found to be personally negligent.

About the LLC Act
The statute, § 33-44-303 of the South Carolina Code, provides that the liabilities of the LLC are solely the liabilities of the company, and a member or manager is not personally liable for them solely by reason of being a member or manager. In examining the plain language of the statute, the court acknowledged that it suggests a member is shielded from individual liability from torts committed in furtherance of the LLC. After all, as the court acknowledged, § 33-44-303(a) provides that obligations arising in tort are “solely” those of the company. A footnote further strengthens the argument against the court’s ultimate conclusion in pointing out that because § 33-44-303(c) expressly provides how a member can become personally liable, “it therefore stands to reason that the general rule is he is not otherwise personally liable.” (Emphasis added)

What the Court Said
Nevertheless, the court reasoned that the “right to sue one’s tortfeasor” is a “long-standing right” in our legal system, which will only be abrogated by statute through clear legislative intent. While the court agreed that “the language of the LLC act appears to insulate a member from personal liability,” it ultimately held that “such a sweeping liability shield was not intended by the General Assembly.”

The court also drew a parallel between LLCs and corporations noting that a shareholder of a corporation is not personally liable for the acts of the corporation except that he may become personally liable by reason of his own acts or conduct. Therefore, the impact of the decision is that business owners may not insulate themselves from personal liability for their own torts by organizing as either a corporation or an LLC.

The court certainly recognized the impact of its decision would be particularly acute in the case of a single member LLC. Because “one cannot be vicariously liable for his own actions,” there simply is no one to protect in the case of a single member LLC. Moreover, where the LLC member is a license holder who is required to be in charge of the work, this case raises a question of whether he or she may ever escape personal liability.

The court’s suggestion that the legislature could clarify the intent of the Act has already been taken: Senator Larry Martin has introduced a Joint Resolution of the General Assembly that the “clear and unambiguous intent of the… limited liability act was… to shield a member of an LLC from personal liability for actions taken in the ordinary course of business of the LLC.”

What You Need to do to Protect Yourself and Your Assets
So what does all this mean for you? Perhaps the proposed Joint Resolution will persuade the court that individuals in future cases should not be personally liable where they conduct business under an LLC. Until this issue is resolved by the legislature and the courts, many uncertainties remain. The best practical advice is to look closely at your company’s liability insurance coverages. Talk with your insurance agent or broker about your business risks and make sure that you have appropriate insurance policies that cover you and your activities at adequate coverage limits. Careful analysis of your insurance program is especially important for builders, because liability insurance coverage for construction defects is frequently the subject of litigation. Finally, talk with your legal advisor about how you may protect your individual assets in light of this decision.

Monday, April 16, 2012

EPA reports enforcement actions on lead paint rule

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced its first known enforcement actions on remodelers following implementation of the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP) on April 22, 2010. In the first of three cases, a rental property owner agreed this March to pay $10,000 to resolve rule violations tied to what the agency says was improper use of power equipment to remove paint from the exterior surface of an 1850s apartment building in Rockland, Maine. The complaint further alleged that workers had not been trained under the rule and that the property owner had failed to apply for firm certification with the EPA. Read more here...

Data show homeowner preferences for newer neighborhoods

April is New Homes month. And while the benefits of new homes are typically thought of in terms of the house itself, neighborhoods of new homes are typically preferred by homeowners.

Citing data from the 2009 American Housing Survey, NAHB economists have developed another persuasive argument about why home buyers should give serious consideration to buying a new home in a new neighborhood rather than an existing home in an older community.

The analysis, presented in a recent post to the Eye on Housing blog, explains that, when asked to rank their neighborhood on a scale of 1 to 10, home owners have generally expressed a favorable view of their homes’ surroundings. But owners of newly constructed homes ranked their neighborhoods higher than did any other home owners. Specifically, the data show that more than 90% of owners of newly constructed homes ranked their neighborhoods as either a 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10, versus just 65% of all home owners who ranked their neighborhoods as highly. Meanwhile, 68% of owners of newly built homes (defined as those constructed in the last four years) ranked their own homes as a 9 or a 10, versus 51% who did so among all home owners.

NAHB studies show local impacts of home building

According to recent NAHB studies, the estimated one-year local impact of building 100 single-family homes in a typical metro area amounts to:

$21.1 million in local income
$2.2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and
324 local jobs

The additional, annually recurring local impact of building those homes amounts to:

$3.1 million in local income
$743,000 in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and
53 local jobs

The complete “typical metro” study includes more detail (such as local jobs by industry and impacts for remodeling and multifamily construction), and explains the relatively conservative methodology NAHB uses to estimate the economic benefits of home building. This helpful resource can be printed or downloaded instantly by any NAHB member. Also available instantly and at no cost on the same web page is a companion study that shows how much new housing costs local governments in a typical metropolitan area, and how quickly new housing pays for itself.

Click here to visit The Local Impact of Home Building page on the NAHB website.

S.C. adopts energy conservation code

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, all buildings built in South Carolina will have to comply with the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. According to the Building Codes Assistance Project, the legislation could save the average South Carolinian $207 a year on their energy bills. The bill was introduced by state Rep. Bill Sandifer, R-Oconee, in January and signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley earlier this month. Read the entire article from GSA Business.