Tulsans Phil Rhees and Mike Fretz represent two of 20 Certified Professional Builders at the state convention.
By Carol Hartzog, For The OSHBA
Chateau on the Lake is truly a huge chateau overlooking a more-than-gorgeous view. State homebuilders and associates, their families, and the hot weather are all going to mix-it-up for what's going to be a great next few days for the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association 2012 Summer Convention.
The facility is spacious, the talk is lively and the congeniality grows more and more every year.
The convention numbers are holding their own. We had 131 register last year, 139 this year. Not bad, considering what's going on in the market.
Certified Professional Builders have a strong showing again this year - 20 - as with last year.
So we asked a few from Tulsa here why the CPB designation is so important to them, and we learned a little history with it too.
Did you know one convention attendance will get you all the CPB credits you need in a year? But, why bother? Here's why.
"It proves to the public that you are serious about what you are doing," said Mike Fretz, who also serves on the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association CPB committee. "It sets you above the average builder."
Also, Tulsans have a long history of credentialing home builders. Phil Rhees, national liaison for congressional affairs for the state association, told us about it at Thursday night's opening reception.
The Tulsa leadership "raised the bar" for membership when in the late 90s, the Legislature was pushing for builder certification. Not everyone in the association at the time was supportive of that move.
To ameliorate those forces, Tulsa established a Code of Ethics for its membership. Not only did a new member have to sign the ethics code, but a member had to have workers compensation and liability insurance. However, the continuing education requirements were not mandatory, as they are at the state level.
It was a bold step for the Tulsa area home builders association, as they knew they would lose membership as a result of the new requirements, Rhees said.
In less than a year, they lost 50 percent of their membership, but they knew it would rebound. That was in 1998-99 when the elder Rhees, Bill, was involved at the state leadership level. After several years, the numbers grew back to their original level and, in 2007, before the economy soured, the membership numbers had increased by 150 percent from that initial drop.
"I wholeheartedly support a Certified Professional Builder designation for all builders," said Rhees. "With all the codes now changing and technology changes, you really need to stay on top of all of it."
"CBP designation provides more recognition of my capabilities as a builder. It incentivizes me to continually build better homes."
Check out others in the business who are Certified professional Builders at https://www.okhba.org/html/current_certified_builders.php
And watch for new updates on the progress here at "the chateau."
"Auf wiedersehen" til next time.