Today's guest blogger is my dear friend Jerry Howard, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Jerry has over 25 years of association experience and a lifetime in the housing industry. Jerry began his association career at the National Association of Realtors, where he served as a Legislative Analyst for tax issues. Prior to joining NAHB, Jerry served as the Chief Lobbyist for the National Council of State Housing Agencies where he was instrumental in the development of the low-income housing tax credit as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Jerry came to NAHB as tax counsel in 1988 and served in a variety of roles, including Chief Lobbyist. Jerry was promoted to Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer in February 2001. Before embarking on his association career, Jerry practiced real estate law in his home state of South Carolina. His exposure to the housing industry has literally encompassed a lifetime; Jerry grew up working in a variety of roles for his father, a developer. Jerry earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina. He, his wife Christina and their children Eirann, Meaghan and Sean live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.
NAHB at the Three Quarter Mark of 2015
|Jerry Howard, NAHB CEO|
NAHB has been busy this year fighting for housing on major policy issues, providing excellent educational programming, and creating outstanding networking opportunities for members. The proof of our success is in the numbers. Through the first eight months of 2015, just a handful of NAHB's many advocacy efforts saved association members a total of almost $720 million nationwide.
Stronger Market, Improving Membership
Even as NAHB is working hard on behalf of members, our economists are giving us good news about the state of the housing market. Chief Economist David Crowe and his staff are projecting roughly 1.1 million housing starts this year, almost 1.3 million in 2016 and roughly 1.5 million starts in 2017.
After several very tough years, membership numbers have stabilized and there are signs that soon we may be enjoying real growth. This last spring we had one of our most successful membership drives in years, with locals bringing in more than 3,600 new members. We’ll be wrapping up the fall drive at the end of October, and we have almost 70 percent of local associations participating. That is a 6 percent increase over the HBA participation rate last fall.
Design and Construction Week
NAHB is also deep into planning for the 2016 International Builders’ Show. For the third year in a row, NAHB is partnering with the National Kitchen and Bath Association and their Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) to produce Design and Construction Week.
Along with IBS and KBIS, this year’s Design and Construction Week will include two more industry tradeshows. The International Window Coverings Expo will join us once again in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The International Surface Event, which combines all types of flooring and tile, will co-date with us and will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
For three days in January, Design and Construction Week will be the center of the home building universe. And with acres of product exhibits, cutting-edge education, and countless networking events, NAHB’s Builders’ Show provides unparalleled opportunities for anyone working in the housing industry.
Fighting for the Housing IndustryNAHB has been on the forefront of fighting the “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers ever since the proposal was first introduced. We have taken action on the legal, legislative and regulatory fronts to put a stop to this ill-advised rule.
NAHB is fighting several burdensome labor issues, includingthe Department of Labor’s (DOL) draft regulation on overtime, the DOL’s emphasis on classification of independent contractors, and the National Labor Relations Board’s decision in Browning Ferris Industries, which expands the “joint employer” definition.
In a victory for single-family home builders, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) announced Oct. 2 its decision to delay enforcement of the new Confined Spaces in Construction Standard until Jan. 8, 2016.
The Army Corps of Engineers made significant changes to its new flood plain standards based on comments provided by NAHB. The Corps will not apply the floodplain requirements to Clean Water Act wetland permits. Similarly, FEMA will not apply the requirements to the National Flood Insurance Program, and HUD has indicated that the standard will not apply to FHA insurance of single-family mortgages.
NAHB is very involved in the ongoing effort to keep codes sensible and cost-effective. Earlier this month, NAHB 1st Vice Chairman Ed Brady spoke to the International Code Council during their meetings in Long Beach, California about the importance of cost-effective building code changes.
This has always been the theme of NAHB’s advocacy: Code change proposals that attempt to make homes safer and more energy efficient need to be balanced with what families can actually afford – so we have buyers for these homes. And while proposals that would have limited a lot of flexibility in our construction practices were soundly defeated when code officials voted in Long Beach, advocates who have their own profits in mind are likely to try to influence the final outcome when these proposals are opened to online voting later this month. Be on the lookout for the NAHB Voting Guide and be ready to share it with the building code officials in your city so they support only those code change proposals that are necessary and will result in building sustainable homes that are also safe and affordable.
Learn More about how NAHB Can Serve You
These are just a few highlights of the many ways NAHB is working for members. I could go on about NAHB’s educational offerings, leadership from NAHB councils, designation programs that help members set themselves apart, and Member Advantage programs that save members millions of dollars each year. But the easiest way to learn about all these services, and much more, is to visit www.valueofnahb.org.