March President's Report from David Blackburn of Classè Homes OSHBA.

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Jorie Helms

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HBI Receives $50 Million Grant to Train 20,000 Skilled Workers

Posted on March 15, 2018 by Jorie Helms


The Home Depot Foundation announced yesterday a $50 million commitment to partner with HBI to train 20,000 new skilled workers over the next 10 years.

HBI, the industry’s education arm, trains separating military members, high school students and at-risk youth for careers in the skilled trades. The grant will significantly increase the number of workers trained through HBI curriculum and help address the industry’s labor shortage.

“We want to bring shop class back, from coast-to-coast,” said Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation. “We’re thrilled to train 20,000 next-generation plumbers, electricians, carpenters and beyond.”

HBI joined forces with The Home Depot Foundation last year to launch a pilot trades training program for military members at Fort Stewart, Georgia and Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The first set of students will graduate this month.

“Our program prepares men and women for high-growth careers in the industry after leaving military service,” said HBI CEO John Courson. “With 200,000 service members separating from the military every year, our partnership with The Home Depot Foundation enables us to serve more veterans across the country.”

The 12-week pre-apprenticeship certification program, which is provided at no cost to students, uses industry-based curriculum recognized by the Department of Labor that integrates work-based learning with technical and academic skills. The program, which has a job placement rate of more than 90%, will now roll out on additional bases across the United States.

Learn more about HBI’s training programs at

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Persistent Workforce Shortages Challenge Commercial Construction Industry as U.S. Building Demands Continue to Grow

Posted on March 6, 2018 by Jorie Helms

To Offset the Lack of Skilled Workers, Contractors Increase use of Efficient Building Approaches

**Article and research provided by Dodge Data & Analytics**

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The Q1 2018 USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (Index), released today, reveals nearly two-thirds of contractors are highly confident that demand for commercial construction will increase over the next year, however, continued concerns around labor shortages have put even greater pressure on the industry. To increase jobsite efficiency and improve labor productivity, increasingly more builders are turning to alternative construction solutions, like prefabrication and modularization.

The Q1 Index indicates contractors turn to innovations such as prefabricated and modular building materials to create more efficient jobsites (89 percent), increase labor productivity (85 percent), drive cost savings (58 percent), and provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace (51 percent). In fact, 50 percent of contractors report their companies already use prefabricated and modular components and the number was even higher among general contractors (72 percent). Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of contractors report at least moderate demand for these building materials.  

"Access to skilled labor is a continued concern, which has led contractors to increasingly seek solutions that help offset jobsite challenges,” said Jennifer Scanlon, president and chief executive officer of USG Corporation. “There is significant opportunity to introduce innovations that confront jobsite efficiency and strengthen the industry – such as solutions that enable prefabricated and modular building components.”


Contractors in the Northeast (69 percent) reported the most frequent usage of prefabricated and modular components, compared to the South where only 24 percent indicate their companies are using these materials. Firms in the Northeast also expect to hire fewer workers—38 percent of contractors in the region expect to employ more staff in the next six months, compared with 57 percent in the South, 59 percent in the West, and 68 percent in the Midwest. Across all regions, concern over the cost of hiring skilled labor has remained consistent over the past year—nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of contractors expect these costs to increase in the next six months.

Despite labor concerns, contractor sentiment remained steady for the first quarter, as a result of strong revenue expectations and higher profit margins, with a composite score of 74.

“As we work to continually build our neighborhoods, towns, regions, and roads, as well as the workforce that supports our growth, innovation becomes a key component in advancing our country into the 21st century,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “We must invest in a skilled, competitive, motivated workforce and embrace new innovations to ensure we are able to compete on a global scale.”

The Index looks at the results of three leading indicators to gauge confidence in the commercial construction industry – backlog levels, new business opportunities and revenue forecasts – generating a composite index on a scale of 0 to 100 that serves as an indicator of health for the contractor segment on a quarterly basis. The Q1 2018 composite score was 74, holding steady from Q4 2017.  

The Q1 2018 results from the three key drivers were:


  • Backlog: On average, contractors currently hold 8.9 months of backlog, relatively close to the average ideal amount of 12.2 months, continuing the stability of the market, although there is room for growth. Down two points from Q4 2017, this represents 73 percent of ideal backlog levels.
  • New Business: Nearly all (98 percent) contractors report high or moderate confidence in the demand for commercial construction. Year-over-year, the number of contractors who have high confidence in demand over the next 12 months jumped 11 percentage points (from 51 percent in Q1 2017 to 62 percent in Q1 2018).
  • Revenues: Over half (54 percent) of contractors expect to see revenue gains in the next year. This percentage jumped seven points from last quarter (47 percent in Q4 2017).
The research was developed with Dodge Data & Analytics (DD&A), the leading provider of insights and data for the construction industry, by surveying commercial and institutional contractors.

About the Index

The USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index is a quarterly economic index designed to gauge the outlook for, and resulting confidence in, the commercial construction industry. USG Corporation and the U.S. Chamber produce this Index, along with Dodge Data & Analytics (DD&A). Each quarter, researchers from DD&A source responses from their Contractor Panel of more than 2,700 commercial construction decision-makers in order to better understand their levels of confidence in the industry and other key trends. This panel allows DD&A to provide findings that are representative of the entire U.S. construction industry by geography, size, and type of company.

Click here to see the full report, methodology, and graphics.

Please note the Commercial Construction Index report is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to support an investment decision with respect to USG Corporation, nor is it intended to be used for marketing purposes to any existing or prospective investor of USG. This report is not a forecast of future results for USG and actual results of USG may differ materially from those of the commercial construction industry.

Where the Index is Available

Each quarterly Index published is available on the USG Corporation website at as well as on the website

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. For more information, visit

About USG Corporation
USG Corporation is an industry-leading manufacturer of building products and innovative solutions. Headquartered in Chicago, USG serves construction markets around the world through its Gypsum, Performance Materials, Ceilings, and USG Boral divisions. Its wall, ceiling, flooring, sheathing and roofing products provide the solutions that enable customers to build the outstanding spaces where people live, work and play. Its USG Boral Building Products joint venture is a leading plasterboard and ceilings producer across Asia, Australasia and the Middle East. For additional information, visit

**Article and research provided by Dodge Data & Analytics**


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Choosing the Right Professional to Help You Stay in Your Home

Posted on February 26, 2018 by Jorie Helms

By John Baker, President, OSHBA Remodelers Council

While some homeowners might dream of retiring to a private tropical island, more and more are choosing to “age in place” and live independently, comfortably, and safely in their own home, regardless of age or ability. 
As the Baby Boomer generation embraces this stage of life, many are searching for builders and remodelers who can help turn their home into a safer, more convenient place to live as they age.
As part of National Designation Month - a month where Oklahoma State Home Builders Association and the National Association of Home Builders shine a spotlight on industry professionals who go the extra mile to attain advanced training and achieve specialized designations - we recognize the importance of professionals who have received the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) designation. 
CAPS professionals are helping people throughout Oklahoma find aging-in-place solutions that fit their specific needs and budget. CAPS remodelers and builders are trained to understand the unique needs of aging adults without sacrificing the aesthetic value of the home.   Our Association has conducted several courses over the past few years, showing the growing demand for this designation.
While there are countless ways CAPS remodelers can help make your home work for you, some of the most common aging-in-place renovations include:
Widening doorways and hallways
Installing brighter lighting
Adding railings or grab bars to prevent falls
Changing floor coverings to add traction
Installing ease-of-reach systems 
A Closer Look at the CAPS Difference
Aging homeowners looking to renovate need to be able to find a remodeler they can trust completely, and the CAPS designation helps give homeowners a guarantee that they’re working with a trustworthy professional who’s an expert in aging-in-place renovation. 
Upon graduation from the program, CAPS designees pledge to uphold a strict code of conduct, so you can be sure that they will listen closely to your specific needs and will never push you to add any renovations you don't need. 
CAPS professionals also commit to attending continuing education programs, so they are always up to date on the latest aging-in-place technologies and strategies. 
If you’re working with a CAPS designated remodeler, you can be confident that you’re getting the best quality service from a professional with integrity and expertise. 
More than 3,100 remodelers and builders hold this designation, including many working in Oklahoma.  Visit our website – - to find one that is located near you.  There are also many other distinguished designations that our local builders have achieved to serve their clients and community better. A few include: 
Certified Green Professional (CGP) — those who incorporate eco-friendly building principles into their work, without driving up the cost of construction 
Certified Graduate Builder (CGB) or Remodeler (CGR) — those who have several years of industry experience and possess advanced skills not only as a tenanted home builder or remodeler but also as a trusted business manager. 
If you’d like to find a builder or remodeler in your area with a CAPS or other designation, contact  If you have questions, you can call the Association at (405) 843-5579.  You can also search the online directory at 
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Top Design Trends by 2018 OSHBA President David Blackburn

Posted on February 19, 2018 by Jorie Helms

Top Design Trends for 2018


By David Blackburn, President

At the start of each year, the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) recognizes dozens of new projects from the past year that featured the most innovative layouts and eye-catching design elements.  It is something that I as a homebuilder take time to review.


Whether you’re looking to buy a new home, having a new home constructed on your land, thinking about remodeling your current residence, or you’re just interested in what’s new in home design, here are some the biggest trends that you’ll see dominating the landscape in 2018.


Open but defined floor plans. Instead of one large, undefined space, open floor plans will evolve to include more definition in 2018, whether it’s by shifting materials, adding columns, or changing the ceiling height. This way, you can still get the airiness of an open floor plan while giving each section its own definition and style. 


Restored and repurposed. Historic preservation and restoration, as well as adaptive reuse projects, are becoming increasingly popular with multifamily designers and developers. Adaptive reuse projects are particularly sought-after by millennials who love the story behind a repurposed building and want to live somewhere stylish, unique and chic.


Right-sized kitchens. Leave massive kitchen islands in 2017. You’ll be seeing far fewer double islands appearing in 2018, and even single islands are being designed to be smaller and more proportionally sized with the kitchen and adjoining rooms.  This is a cost saving idea when looking a remodel project since moving walls can be tricky.


Spa-like baths. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re stepping into a spa every day? Bath design is trending toward refinement and sophistication, with home baths becoming more and more reminiscent of upscale hotels and spas. Tasteful and luxurious are the two words that will define baths in 2018. Floating vanities and stand-alone tubs will also be more popular this year.


Clean details. You’ll notice clean, simple lines and detailing in homes everywhere. Forget about overly-ornate decor and shift toward thinking more minimally. It will make your home feel fresh, new, and uncluttered for the year ahead. 


Metal and wood exterior details. You’ll be seeing this trend a lot this year, particularly on single-family homes. There will be an increased use of metal and wood in exterior details, with the two materials often combined to create interesting, two-tone facades for both traditional and contemporary-style homes. It gives the impression of bringing the past and future together into one cohesive idea, making homes seem modern and sleek without sacrificing a warm, natural feel.


Whites, grays and charcoal paints. Gray is still a strong trend with home buyers, and it looks like white is here to stay. You’ll see more monochromatic designs that add variety by incorporating multiple textures instead of pops of color. For example, think about a white kitchen with quartzite countertops, a white shiplap ceiling, white cabinets, and airy white window coverings. This creates a clean and multi-layer look that is guaranteed to compliment itself and please a wide variety of buyers.  Plus it is a design feature that has a long life.


For more information about the latest designs that could be incorporated in your home, or to find a builder in your area that can create the new home of your dreams, contact Oklahoma State Home Builders Association ( for a list of our Certified Professional Builders or an association near you.

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Attention Oklahoma State Home Builders: Don’t Forget to Budget for NEW Technology Enabling Boomers Their Forever Homes to Age in Place

Posted on February 12, 2018 by Jorie Helms


By: Lisa Cini, ASID


Homebuilders and designers are now faced with the reality that boomers want homes that they can age in place without ever having to move to an assisted living facility or nursing home. Builders all over the world are offering unprecedented opportunities for single and multi-generational families who can now provide their clients the peace of mind and flexibility to live in a new environment that supports and enables them to thrive as they age.  

The interior environment of a modern ‘forever home’ allows clients to live their best without compromising on great design.  Senior living is in a state of transformation as technology and design are integrated to give decades of flexibility and freedom. 

Senior living is on the verge of a renaissance fueled by technology and design. We are living in the best possible time to age on our own terms and experiencing the tipping point, on the edge of a paradigm shift today that will affect every aspect of how we live and age tomorrow. 

Products in the home will encompass everything from robotics, sensors and gadgets to 3-D printers and augmented reality - all of which eventually will be controlled by artificial intelligence.

For instance, it’s currently possible without personal staff invading your private space, for curtains to automatically open, coffee to start brewing, the bathroom floor to begin heating, all at a set time, before your feet hit the ground in the morning.  

And, the capabilities are endless – extending beyond comfort to necessity. Your walls can become computer screens, artwork, TVs and communication devices, your closet virtually trialing outfits on your hologram allows you to view them from bed, your bathroom faucet automatically dispenses into your glass of water, the proper vitamins you need for the day.  It’s not so far off that your doctor receives a text because the health monitor in your clothing notifies her that your blood pressure has been up for two days and you’ve had trouble sleeping, and the nurse calls to check in on you.

There are currently products available in flooring that can sense if someone has fallen or is just sitting on the floor.  Other technology can notify you if someone hasn’t opened the fridge to eat in the last 48 hours or if a door opened at an unusual time.  Between Lyft and Uber and the forthcoming autonomous vehicles, seniors can stay connected and active all the while keeping others on the road safe.

These technological advancements transform life for two generations - caregivers and caretakers. 

If Mom and Dad want to stay at home, but by all definitions it’s unsafe in their current environment, it’s now possible for them to retain their freedom and for you transform their existing or brand-new home with the addition of new tech advances.

This is all taking place NOW.  

The key is for the builder and designer is to make the space flexible for future needs while creating an environment that is world class.  The style, comfort of the ride, integrated technology and brand are all components in making a car desirable.  The home environment is no different – it should automatically adjust to your client’s particular size, style, preferences and needs.  This methodology is truly transformational – your home now supports and even anticipates your needs, connecting you to resources and people as you age.


Designing from the inside out is key to allowing the space to flow. A space should embrace your client and their specific needs both for today and tomorrow.  


Great interior design has always had an intimate relationship with the products that we use daily to make our lives easier.  


My own family consists of four generations who all live under one roof in Columbus, Ohio, and we’ve figured out to make it work: dividing responsibilities and chores, re-designing physical spaces for privacy, and reconfiguring others into common areas for all to gather and enjoy living together.


I call it our “multi-generational social experiment,” which encompasses kids in their teens, parents in their forties, grandparents in their seventies, and a ninety-plus year-old great-grandmother. 

My book, HIVE describes in detail how we navigate the joys and challenges that come with aging, and answers the questions, "How does family help you thrive at home when you're old?" An Alzheimer's/dementia diagnosis added a layer of complexity, yet we resolve to keep our eldest at home for as long as she's happy, safe and engaged in life. The younger generation learns much from their elders, and the elders from their children. While mastering the use of technology and new family systems, we’re also mastering the use of humor, tolerance, and patience. Ultimately, that's what makes this four-generation experiment a success. Hive provides practical design and strategies mixed with personal tips and observations, making it easy to see how you can transform a home in into a multi-generational living space. 

Just don’t forget to budget and design with all the NEW echnology available to enabling boomers to age in place.





Lisa M. Cini, Transformational Living designer integrates the latest technologies and tools to enable seniors to age at home while enjoying a great quality of life.


Lisa Cini, ASID, IIDA is an award-winning, internationally-recognized designer with more than 25 years’ experience developing interiors that improve quality of life for seniors. 

Her company, Mosaic Design Studio, is the nation’s leading provider of design services for senior living, long term care, hospitality and health care institutions. Mosaic is also active in global commercial design, project management and procurement. Mosaic has worked with clients including the National Hockey League, the U.S. Military, Coopers Hawk Winery Restaurants, PGA Tour Country Clubs and various hotels. 

Lisa is the Founder of think Sharper Image meets AARP! She searches the world for the best products to Embrace Living as we age and brings them all together in one online store. 

Her latest mission is to help baby boomers age at home, rather than in a home. Author of: 

  1. BOOM: The Baby Boomers Guide to Leveraging Technology, so that you can Preserve Your Independent Lifestyle & Thrive, 
  2. The Future is Here: Senior Living Reimagined, 
  3. Hive: The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living is based on her social experiment of living in a 4-generation household and the positive impact design can have in a home for seniors with dementia.



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