Friday, August 7, 2015

Builder Ballot: Greenville City Council Elections are August 11

Amy Ryberg Doyle
Susan Reynolds

Election day for City Council primary races in the City of Greenville is Tuesday, August 11. The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. If you are registered to vote and live in the City of Greenville, please plan to go to the polls. Not registered to vote? Why not?

Builder Ballot
South Carolina Builders PAC has contributed to the following candidates:
  • Susan Reynolds, Republican, incumbent and candidate for reelection to an a-large seat on Greenville City Council
  • Amy Ryberg Doyle, Republican, incumbent and candidate for reelection to the District 1 seat on Greenville City Council representing the North Main Street area of the City of Greenville
The right to vote is not only a privilege, it is a responsibility that each voter should take seriously. Elections are how our country chooses the leaders who will represent our interests in the halls of government.

Your Home Builders Association has formed two Political Action Committees that raise money from our members, screens candidates, and makes contributions to the campaigns of the candidates that our Government Affairs Committee members and Board of Directors have determined will be represent the interests of the Home Building, Remodeling, Land Development, and Light Commercial Contracting industries.

South Carolina Builders PAC is organized as a 527 committee, is managed by the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, and regulated by the South Carolina Ethics Commission.  It's scope is statewide, legislative, and local government races in South Carolina.  It is a cooperative PAC in which the HBA of Greenville participates.

BuildPAC is organized under Federal Election Laws. It's scope is Congressional races. BuildPAC does not take a position on the Presidency. BuildPAC is managed by the National Association of Home Builders.
The Government Affairs Committee surveys and interviews candidates and makes recommendations for supporting those candidates to the Board of Directors of the Home Builders Association of Greenville, which makes the final decision on local and legislative races. The S.C. Builders PAC Trustees determines contributions for statewide races, and the BuildPAC Trustees determines the contributions for Congressional races.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

FHFA: House Price Index Up 0.4 Percent in May

U.S. house prices rose in May, up 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.3 percent change in April was revised upward to reflect a 0.4 percent change.

The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From May 2014 to May 2015, house prices were up 5.7 percent. The U.S. index is 1.8 percent below its March 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the April 2006 index level.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from April 2015 to May 2015 ranged from -0.6 percent in the East South Central division to +1.1 percent in the East North Central division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from +0.9 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to +8.4 percent in the Pacific division.

CANCELLED! Tonight's HBA of Greenville appreciation night at Downtown Alive

UPDATE: Please note that tonight's HBA of Greenville Member Appreciation Night hosted by Piedmont Natural Gas during Downtown Alive has been cancelled due to potential inclement weather. 
 However, The SMC of the Upstate Summer Social is still scheduled for tonight at 5 p.m. at Conservus Realty. 

What: HBA of Greenville Appreciation Night at Downtown Alive
When: Thursday, August 6, 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
Where: Piedmont Natural Gas' VIP area on Main Street near the Hyatt (downtown).

No registration necessary. Simply show up and enjoy the evening and food and beverage, courtesy of Piedmont Natural Gas.

We look forward to seeing you next week at the She-Conomy Event on August 13th at 8:30 a.m. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

28 Reasons (and Counting) Why EPA Water Rule Should be Rescinded

Since the end of June, 28 state attorneys general, including South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, have filed lawsuits seeking to overturn a federal rule that defines the “waters of the United States” and the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has also filed its own lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, charging that EPA and the Corps are “set and determined to exert jurisdiction over virtually every water feature imaginable.”

The effort by local and state home builders associations to get their state attorney generals involved is important to prevent federal overreach that could place millions of additional acres of private land and countless miles of dry stream beds under federal jurisdiction.

The water rule, which will go into effect Aug. 28, is important to the home building industry because it changes what areas can be regulated by the federal government under the Clean Water Act and when builders and developers must obtain federal permits.

In addition to challenging the rule in the courts, NAHB continues to successfully engage legislators. With bipartisan support, the House recently approved H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would require EPA and the Corps to withdraw their rule and develop a new plan to safeguard America’s waterways in consultation with state and local governments and other affected stakeholders, including small businesses.

NAHB is also urging the Senate to pass companion legislation, S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act.

Members are encouraged to contact their senators and urge them to support this bill. Use these talking points as a guide to talk to elected officials and others about why the rule should be withdrawn.

Help Your Home Builders Association Defeat the EPA

Over the August congressional recess, please contact your members of Congress and urge them to call for the immediate withdrawal of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final "waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) rule. Recently unveiled documents expose how the EPA dismissed legal and regulatory objections to the rule by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and shed light on an EPA that is acting with little regard for the impact of the rule on home builders and home owners. Now, more than ever, we need your help in forcing the EPA to withdraw this flawed rule.

As we reported to you last week, the EPA has not been an honest broker and has made a mockery of the regulatory process. The recently unveiled documents confirm the long-held belief that the EPA forcefully advanced this rule without the requisite input and oversight of its co-authoring agency, the Corps. This is particularly disturbing because the WOTUS rule has always been presented as a joint effort between the two agencies – not solely an EPA rule.

These internal Corps memos outline the specific areas of concern that the Corps has and how EPA ignored its recommendations and input. The documents state that the regulation was arbitrarily written, is legally indefensible and would be extremely difficult to implement. They also reveal that many aspects of the rule are not rooted in science and that EPA grossly misrepresented Corps' data. The Corps disagreed so strongly with the final rule that it worked to distance itself, requesting all references to the Corps be removed from the economic analysis and all supporting documents.

We need your help today!

Tools to help you contact your Members of Congress

Customize these letters, or just sign your name
Senator Letter
Representative Letter

Background Information
Talking Points
Quotes from Army Corps of Engineers

Want to be a part of future outreach efforts? Register as a member of NAHB's Builderlink program!

For more information about the Waters of the US rule, click here.

Ron Tate Named HBASC Associate Member of the Year

Ron Tate, Esq.
On Friday, October 23, at the annual Celebration of Excellence the Home Builders Association of South Carolina will award Ron Tate, Shareholder with Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A., and Darryl Hall, President of D. Hall Construction, Inc., with the Thomas N. Bagnal Builder member of the Year and HBASC Associate of the Year awards, two of the most prestigious HBASC awards. Both awards are given to individuals who demonstrate the same qualities as the awards namesake, Thomas N. Bagnal. These qualities include: tireless service to their community, Home Builders Association (HBA) and to the home building industry.

Ron Tate was nominated by the Home Builders Association of Greenville.  He received the Richard A. Ashmore, Sr., Associate Member of the Year Award for 2014.

Ron Tate has been an ardent supporter and defender of the home building industry and a member of the HBA of Greenville for more than 6 years. He serves on multiple committees and on the Boards of the HBA of Greenville and has served as their General Counsel since 2013. Ron has also been an active leader in his community. Ron’s fervent support of the home building industry and the HBA is evident in his actions and support.

According to Michael Dey, Executive Director of the HBA of Greenville, “I believe that Ron begins each day with the goal to work toward the benefit of our community, industry and association and he purposely strives toward that goal every day.” Ron has quietly, but consistently served our association, and has become a valuable member of our association’s leadership team.”

Darryl Hall will be honored for his tireless dedication to the home building industry and the HBA. Mr. Hall has been a member of the HBA of the Greater Pee Dee for more than 23 years and is recognized as one of its most active members. Darryl started D. Hall Construction, Inc. in 1990 and has continued to successfully apply his trade since. Darryl has served as President of his local and state associations and on the Boards of both the HBA of the Greater Pee Dee and the HBASC and is widely recognized as a community leader.

According to many of his peers, Darryl Hall is a highly regarded home builder and member of his community. Cheryl Floyd, Executive Director of the HBA of the Greater Pee Dee calls him, “an asset to the entire industry and his community. Darryl exemplifies the title “Thomas N. Bagnal Builder Member of the Year” for his efforts as a builder, member of our association, community volunteer and friend.”

The HBASC commends both men on their commitment to the home building industry and to their community.

The Thomas N. Bagnal Builder member of the Year and HBASC Associate of the Year awards will be presented at the Celebration of Excellence on Friday, October 23, 2015, at the Renaissance in Asheville, NC. Tickets for this event are on sale now at the Home Builders Association of South Carolina. For more information, call 803-771-7408 or visit

New Flooring Installation Guidelines Available to HBA Members

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) are working together to share information and resources to promote proper flooring installation standards and best practices. As part of this new collaboration, NWFA is making its Wood Flooring Installation Guidelines available to HBA members at no cost.

The organization has found moisture-related flooring problems to be a long-standing issue for the residential construction industry. When problems like these result in expensive insurance claims and dissatisfied home owners, the impact is felt by all parties in the supply chain.

NWFA spends a significant amount of time each year educating flooring contractors on the proper installation of wood flooring. Recently, after noticing a disproportionately high number of claims for improper installation of wood flooring, NWFA reached out to NAHB to extend the education offering to HBA members.

One solution the guidelines offer, for example, is having an HVAC system in place to help get the wood to optimum performance condition. In fact, the guide recommends that where building codes allow, permanent heating and/or air conditioning systems should operate at least five days prior to flooring installation to promote proper acclimation.

Brett Miller, NWFA vice president of education and certification, met with the NAHB Construction Liability, Risk Management, and Building Materials Committee at the 2015 International Builders’ Show board meeting to discuss the organization’s top concerns related to this issue. Following this meeting, NAHB and NWFA agreed to establish a mutually beneficial, strategic relationship to work cooperatively to achieve their common interests.

To access the guidelines and learn more about other substantive technical, legal and business issues affecting the building industry, visit

Sting Nets 73 Cases of Unlicensed Builders/Contractors in State

Investigators for the S.C. Residential Builders Commission (RBC) and S.C. Contractor’s Licensing Board (CLB) found 73 cases of unlicensed activity when they participated in a national sting operation during the week of June 16, 2015.  The sting was in coordination with the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA).

Of the 33 cases that have resulted in public orders so far, three were for companies with Greater Greenville addresses.

Six investigators from the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s (LLR) Office of Investigations and Enforcement and three staff members reviewed internet listings and physically monitored home improvement store parking lots across the state to look for people who were advertising plumbing, electrical, carpentry, HVAC, roofing, home inspecting and other building services requiring licensure by LLR.

“The goal of the sting was to work together with NASCLA and other boards across the country to protect consumers and deter illegal construction activity,” RBC Administrator Janet Baumberger said. “This is the second time we have participated in the sting, and each time we have discovered at least 70 cases. We look forward to participating again to further protect consumers.”

In addition to South Carolina, eight states participated in the sting: Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah and Washington.

“LLR is committed to its mission of protecting the health and safety of South Carolina citizens,” LLR Director Richele Taylor said. “Operations like these help us educate the public on how to protect themselves from unlicensed contractors and highlights the steps individuals must take to become licensed.”

RBC and CLB encourage consumers to check to see if a builder is licensed by going to and clicking on Licensee Lookup. RBC licenses all residential builders and home inspectors and licenses/registers all specialty contractors in the state. RBC investigates complaints from homeowners having problems with builders or licensed/registered specialty contractors and, if necessary, takes disciplinary action against them.

Most builders who do home improvement projects will fall under the RBC. However, a contractor might be licensed by the CLB, which regulates the practice of general and mechanical contracting, burglar and fire alarm system businesses and fire protection sprinkler contractors.

“Persons holding themselves out to be a general or mechanical contractor while not licensed presents a threat to the general public,” CLB Administrator Roger Lowe said. “By participating in this operation, it is clear that unlicensed practice presents a very real problem in South Carolina. If a property owner discovers that a potential contractor is unlicensed, we would encourage them to pass that information along to our Office of Investigations and Enforcement. By law, offering to perform regulated work without a license is the same as actually doing the work.”

In addition to making sure a builder is licensed, the RBC and CLB offer the following tips when hiring someone to do work on your home:
  • Ask the builder to provide you with the names and contact information of people he or she worked for in the past. 
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been complaints filed against the builder. 
  • Don’t rely on verbal promises. Ask the builder to provide you with a contract, and read it thoroughly to make sure everything you agreed on is in the document. 
  • Don’t pay all the money upfront. 
  • Beware of any builder or contractor who solicits business saying he or she “has material left over from another job in the area and can give you a real good price.” This is a sign you may be dealing with an unlicensed contractor or scam artist. 
  • Ask the builder, contractor or specialty contractor to provide you with a copy of his or her license or registration. 
  • Click here to verify the individual is currently licensed with the RBC. 
  • Click here to verify the individual is currently licensed with the CLB.
  • Click here to search for any possible disciplinary actions with the RBC.
  • Click here to search for any possible disciplinary actions with the CLB.
  • Call the RBC at 803-896-4696 or the CLB at 803-896- 4686 for assistance in locating an individual. 
For more information on the national sting, click here.

For copies of Cease and Desist orders issued as a result of the sting, click here.  Orders are posted to this site as the Boards receive notice the orders have been served on the individuals.

Your HBA membership saved you $29,853*

*Estimated savings per licensed South Carolina builder as a result of direct efforts of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina

Why should you continue to support your Home Builders Association? Because in 2015, the Home Builders Association of South Carolina worked diligently to advance the issues most important to HBA members. Your Home Builders Association was actively engaged in more than 100 bills during the first year of the 2015-16 legislative session to promote and protect the vital work of Home Builders, Remodelers, land developers, light commercial contractors, and other professionals across South Carolina. Our efforts included:
  • Successfully opposing mandated residential fire sprinklers in the building code: more than $180 million in annual savings.
  • Passed a budget proviso for state-specific high wind and seismic zone mapping: more than $150 million in annual savings.
  • Supported legislation to prevent enforcement of erroneous building code section requiring fireproofing of floor joists in crawlspaces: more than $25 million in annual savings.
  • These items, along with other legislative and regulatory issues like health and unemployment insurance, local government policies, septic tanks, and building codes, created a total savings of more than $355 million for 2015 alone!
Your Home Builders Association influences government on all levels. Our goal is to protect affordable housing and to stop needless regulatory costs, which ultimately trickles down and affects everyone who works in the home.

If you know someone who makes their living in the construction and real estate development industry, but is not a member, tell them about these results and ask them why they are not a member. Keep our industry strong and ask that they join your Home Builders Association today to make sure they have a job tomorrow!

NAHB Chairman Tom Woods on EPAs New Rule and Flawed Data

The letter below to HBA members is from Tom Woods, a Home Builder from Kansas City and Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

This week, we learned that before the Environmental Protection Agency released its final version of the waters of the United States rule, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told EPA it was using flawed technical and scientific analysis to craft the regulation – methods so indefensible that the Corps wanted no part of the critical documents that EPA used to support the rule.

This new information is yet another example of how EPA has flaunted the law in completing this rulemaking.

On behalf of our members, and on behalf of the new home buyers being squeezed out of their chance at the American Dream as they suffer the fallout of this regulatory overload, I think this is scandalous. And I said just that in a press release and blog post.

I want you to know that NAHB is calling on EPA to immediately drop its plans to change the way the Clean Water Act is enforced and how "waters of the United States" are defined.

Many of the scientific and economic justifications to support the broad regulatory definitions in this rule – already a new low in federal regulatory overreach – have turned out to not be worth the paper they're printed on. They fly in the face of the Corps' recommendations, and as you know, the Corps is in charge of jurisdictional decisions and issuing the permits that allow homes to be built.

By ignoring stakeholders and willingly choosing which regulations to follow, EPA has not only made a mockery of the regulatory process, but it's impeding our nation's housing recovery and economic growth with this land grab.

Please be assured that we don't plan to turn down the heat on this latest public affront. NAHB will continue to work to make a difference for your business and for housing affordability, and I thank you for your support.

Tom Woods, Chairman, National Association of Home Builders

Interested in why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers thinks the EPA's rule is flawed?

“The preamble to the proposed rule and the draft preamble to the draft rule state that the rulemaking has been a joint effort of the EPA and the Corps, and that both agencies have jointly made significant findings, reached important conclusions, and stand behind the final rule. These statements are not accurate.” (Letter from General Peabody to Assistant Secretary of the Army, 4/27/15)

“Shall not identify Corps as Author, co-author, or substantive contributor.” (Letter from General Peabody to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, 5/15/15)

“To the extent that the term ‘agencies’ includes the Corps any such references should be removed.” (Letter from General Peabody to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, 5/15/15)

“The Corps of Engineers logo should be removed from those documents.” (Letter from General Peabody to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, 5/15/15)

“Corps data to EPA has been selectively applied out of context, and mixes terminology and disparate data sets. In the Corps judgement, these documents contain numerous inappropriate assumptions with no connection to the data provided, misapplied data, analytical deficiencies and logical inconsistencies.” (Letter from General Peabody to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, 5/15/15)

“The 1500 ft limitation is not supported by science or law and thus is legally vulnerable.” (Lance Wood memo to General Peabody, 4/24/15, Pg. 5)

“The 4000 ft bright line rule is not based on any principle of science, hydrology or law, and thus is legally vulnerable.” (Lance Wood memo to General Peabody, 4/24/15, Pg. 9)

“Gross misrepresentation of Corps raw data” (Jennifer Moyer memo to General Peabody, 5/15/15, Pg. 3)

“It will be legally vulnerable, difficult to defend in court, difficult for the Corps to explain or justify and challenging for the Corps to implement.” (Lance Wood memo to General Peabody, 4/24/15, Pg. 5)

“Rule not likely to survive judicial review in federal courts” (Lance Wood memo to General Peabody, 4/24/15, Pg. 9)

“Inconsistent with SWANCC and Rapanos” (Lance Wood memo to General Peabody, 4/24/15, Pg. 10)

“The draft final rule continues to depart significantly from the version provided for public comments, and that the corps recommendations relation to our serious concerns have gone unaddressed. Specifically, the current draft final rule contradicts long-standing and well-established legal principles undergirding CWA 404 regulations and regulatory practices, especially the decisive Rapanos Supreme Court decision. The rule’s contradictions with legal principles generate multiple legal and technical consequences that in the view of the Corps would be fatal to the rule in its current form.” (Letter from General Peabody to Assistant Secretary of the Army, 4/27/15)