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ESA Proposals Focus on Species, Not Red Tape
The online application for NAHB committee and council board of trustees appointments is now live.
NAHB’s senior officers ask all members to consider applying for 2019. The deadline is Sept. 23.
Current committee and council members who are interested in serving ano- ther year must resubmit their applications: There are no automatic multi- year appointments.
In a victory for NAHB, the Department of Labor in July officially rescinded the Obama-era “Persuader Rule" that would have re- uired lawyers to report to the DOL when counseling employers concerning union organizing.
The regulation was issued in 2016. However, before it could be implemented, NAHB scored a major legal victory when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted a permanent stay of the Persuader Rule.
Apply to Serve on a Committee or Council
This fall, voting members of the International Code Council will make decisions on changes to building and energy codes.
NAHB is asking each HBA to name one member to give NAHB’s codes voting guide to a local codes official.
“If one member of each HBA gives this guide to one code official to explain why these changes are important to home builders and their clients, we’ll end up with a usable building code,” said Construction, Codes and Standards Chair David Sowders.
Informed Officials Mean Better Building Codes
President Trump’s proposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — including nearly 500 products used in residential construction — could have major ramifications for the housing industry.
Of the planned $200 billion in tariffs, NAHB economists estimate that $10 billion of goods used by the home building community would be subject to the 10% levy. Put another way, if the tariffs take effect, this would represent a $1 billion tax increase on residential construction.
This tax increase would come on top of the current 20% tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada. Since the beginning of last year, lumber prices are up more than 40%, due in large part to the tariffs.
Looming $1 Billion Tax Increase on Housing
DOL Officially Kills 'Persuader Rule'
Proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act would streamline a burden- some permitting process and allow regulators to spend more time on preser- vation rather than red tape.
One proposed change seeks to streamline the consult- ation process by encourag- ing FWS, NOAA, and the Corps to agree to a set of broad requirements when it is clear that the impacts on species will be minimal.
Another would require FWS and NOAA to specify what data the developer must supply so the agencies can complete their review.
The Senate voted July 31 to approve House-passed legislation that will extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until Nov. 30. The Congressional action came just hours before the program was set to expire.
It is anticipated that the four-month extension — which will keep home owners covered through the end of the hurricane season — will give the House and Senate time to hammer out a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP.
NAHB has been at the forefront of this issue, working with lawmakers on a viable, long-term bill.
The House last year approved a five-year reauthorization that would keep the NFIP fiscally sound and let builders provide safe and affordable housing.
The Senate continues to work on its own version of a long-term reauthorization of the program.
Employers Must Use New I-9 Form
Greater Houston BA Teams with HBI, Norbord to Launch Training Program
IRS Targets S Corp Compliance
The IRS in July announced five new compliance campaigns, including one that seeks to stop S corporations from abusing the rules governing pass-through entities.
The IRS is looking at provisions in the law that dictate whether an S-corporation distribution to a shareholder is taxable, and if so, to what extent.
The campaign takes aim at three types of noncompliance resulting in underpayment:
• When an S corporation fails to report gain
on the distribution of appreciated
property to a shareholder;
• When an S corporation fails to determine
that a distribution is properly taxable as a
• When a shareholder fails to report
non-dividend distributions—in excess of
their stock basis—that are subject to
NFIP Extended Four Months
HBI has teamed up with the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA), the City of Houston and Norbord Inc. to launch HBI Acres Homes, a workforce development initiative that will help people ages 18 to 24 prepare for careers in the building trades.
HBI, NAHB’s workforce training arm, often partners with other stakeholders in the industry. Following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, HBI was contacted by Norbord Inc., a Toronto-based producer of wood-based panels that wanted to help with recovery.
Morgan and GHBA President Don Klein worked with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, HBI CEO John Courson and Norbord Inc. CEO Peter Wijnbergen to get the program started.
Mayor Turner had just announced Complete Communities, an initiative focusing economic revitalization and workforce development in five Houston neighborhoods.
The city found available classroom space in one of the mayor’s Complete Communities neighborhoods, Acres Homes. HBI provided curriculum and hired two instructors, and the GHBA, along with the Chesmar Foundation, provided funding for classroom materials.
Fueled by a generous $500,000 contribution from Norbord, the classes began June 18 with 14 students. The program includes two 12-week carpentry classes that will prepare students for jobs in framing, painting and roofing and similar trades.
It is well known that in the 2013 cyber attack on Target, hackers got access to credit and debit card information on 40 million consumers, an attack that cost Target more than $250 million.
It is less well known that the hackers gained access to the Target payment system through an HVAC contractor.
With nearly every aspect of the home building industry moving online and most information stored in digital formats, it’s time for every home builder to take a close look at their cyber security and potential exposure to liability.
Home builders store and electronically share a trove of personal and financial data on clients, potential clients, vendors, suppliers, partners and more. Some of this data includes payment information. And most business-critical information – like building plans and proposals – is also kept in a digital format.
It’s little wonder that a residential construction business might be a target for cyber criminals.
“It really is not a matter of if, but when,” said Kristen Hilton, CIPP/US, an attorney with Sussman Shank LLP in Oregon. “And, of course, how much it will cost.”
Loss of trade secrets, loss of reputation and even illicit bank account access are certainly huge concerns in a cyberattack. But the liability associated with exposing
others’ personal and sensitive information to intrusions is where the greatest risk lies.
“There are many state privacy law implications to storing information containing personal and financial data,” said Hilton. “If that data were to be exposed, there could be legal and civil liability.”
Hilton notes that construction companies, like most other businesses, have numerous points of entry for malicious hackers. “Many people connect their company laptops and tablets to public Wi-Fi,” she noted. “That could be a vulnerability.”
The first line of defense is strong digital information training for all employees, not just those who operate computers and other connected devices.
Read the NAHBNow blog post to learn about the many steps builders can take to protect their data.
Time to Get Serious about Cyber Security
Wednesday September 5
HBA Board Meeting
Monday, September 10
HBA Yard Clean Up
Tuesday, October 9
Table Top Night
Thursday, November 1
SPOTING CLAYS COMING
Detailed Event information
can be found at:
Attending a White House event on workforce develop- ment, NAHB Chairman Randy Noel pledged that NAHB and HBI will educate and train 50,000 new workers over the next five years
for careers in the construction trades.
President Trump signed an executive order that establishes the National Council for the American Worker, which will develop a national strategy for training and retraining workers for high-demand industries.
As part of this initiative, the administration is asking companies and associations to sign a pledge committing them to expanding apprenticeships, increasing on-the-job training and providing students and workers the training and opportunities they need to succeed in the American workplace.
The Home Builders Institute, NAHB’s workforce development arm, will expand its training, certification and job placement programs for underserved and at-risk youth, transitioning military, veterans, ex-offenders and displaced workers.
NAHB Chairman Randy Noel speaks with President Trump during a White House event.
NAHB, HBI Pledge to Train 50,000 Workers
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