OSHBA awarded Association Excellence Award

Posted on September 25, 2018 by Jorie Helms

The Oklahoma State Home Builders Association (OSHBA) recently received an Award of Excellence in the following category from the Executive Officers Council (EOC) of the National Association of Home Builders: Best Service Provided by State Association or Local Association. Awards were presented during the annual National Association of Home Builders’ 2018 Association Management Conference held in Long Beach, Calif.

The council's membership consists of the staff executives who manage the more than 700 state and local home builders associations that comprise the National Association of Home Builders.

"Winning an Association Excellence Award is a great honor," said Eric Person, president of the Executive Officers Council and CEO of the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Central Connecticut. "Each award recognizes the outstanding effort, commitment, and achievement our home building associations and their membership make to further the value and importance of their organization.”

The winning entries will be available in the AEA Awards Directory to help other executives and associations across the country provide better service to members and their community.

The Oklahoma State Home Builders Association represents home builders and associates in the housing industry throughout the state area.

“I am proud to be recognized by the NAHB Executive Officers Council with the Association Excellence Award for Best Service Provided by a State or Local Association.” Said Mike Means, Executive Officer of OSHBA. “They recognized our efforts on behalf of our locals and to be recognized by our peers is an honor.”

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OSHBA leaders meet with Governor Mary Fallin

Posted on August 29, 2018 by Jorie Helms

                               left to right - Dan Reeves, Governor Mary Fallin, David Blackburn (President of OSHBA) and Mike Means, EVP.

Members of the OSHBA joined other industry members of the Western Governors Association to have lunch with Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma.  Members of OSHBA shared with Governor Fallin the effects of the lumber tariff and urged her to communicate to her colleagues and President Trump to work to resolve the issue.

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OSHA Releases Silica Standard FAQ for Construction

Posted on August 20, 2018 by Jorie Helms

A saw cuts a block containing silica, creating silica dustThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Monday released a set of 53 frequently asked questions – and their answers – to provide guidance to employers and employees on its respirable crystalline silica standard for construction.

Through the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, NAHB was an important contributor to the formulation of this FAQ. The development stemmed from litigation filed against OSHA by numerous construction industry trade associations challenging the legality of the new silica rule.

NAHB will continue to look for ways to work with OSHA to improve the workability of this significant rule.

The FAQ is extensive and organized by topic. A short introductory paragraph is included for each group of questions; the answers appear in an expanded box when each question is clicked.

Importantly, the FAQ clarifies that many common construction tasks are likely to be outside the scope of the standard. This includes mixing small amounts of mortar; mixing small amounts of concrete; mixing bagged, silica-free drywall compound; mixing bagged exterior insulation finishing system base and finish coat; and removing concrete formwork.

In addition, tasks in which employees are working with silica products that are handled while wet are likely to generate exposures outside of the scope of the standard, including finishing and hand wiping block walls to remove excess wet mortar, pouring concrete, and grouting floor and wall tiles. The FAQ also states that many silica-generating tasks performed for 15 minutes or less a day will fall outside the scope of the standard.

Other clarifications in the FAQ highlighted by NAHB staff include:

Table 1. The requirement that employers “[o]perate and maintain” tools “in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to minimize dust emissions,” applies only to manufacturer instructions that are related to dust control.  Other information in these instructions, including recommended respiratory protection, do not have to be followed for purposes of the standard.

OSHA also has agreed to issue a Request for Information on Table 1 to revise the table to improve its utility.

Written Exposure Control Plan. The standard does not require employers to develop a newwritten plan for each job or worksite. It requires only that employers have a written exposure control plan applicable to each worksite. Employers may develop a single, comprehensive, written exposure-control plan that covers all required aspects of the plan for all work activities at all worksites.

Also, the standard does not preclude employees from entering work areas where silica-generating tasks are occurring when it is necessary for them to do so. Rather, the rule calls only for minimizing the number of employees in the relevant work areas.

All home builders should carefully review the new FAQ at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/silicacrystalline/construction_info_silica.html.

For additional information, contact Rob Matuga at 800-368-5242 x8507 or Felicia Watson at 800-368-5242 x8229.

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Recruit During the Fall Drive - Win a Trip to Napa

Posted on August 20, 2018 by Jorie Helms

As the official NAHB membership sponsor, Signature Kitchen Suite is offering an all-inclusive trip to Napa Valley to each of the top six Builder members who sign up the most new* members during the fall membership drive.

The competition runs from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, 2018. Builder members will compete against others from HBAs similar in size (see size categories below). The top two members from each category will be invited to attend and bring a guest. HBA categories are:

  • Small: 0 – 249 members
  • Medium: 250 – 499 members
  • Large: 500+ members

The prize includes:

  • 3-day, 3-night trip from Wednesday to Saturday
  • Airfare, meals, hotel and transportation
  • Exclusive Signature Kitchen Suite Experience featuring sous vide cooking demos and learning more about the True to Food™ philosophy and Technicurean™ customer
  • Great food, fine wine and fun activities (wine tour or golf)

* Membership renewals will not be included.

Official rules coming soon.

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Increasing costs could curb home building

Posted on July 9, 2018 by Jorie Helms

Real Estate Editor rmize@oklahoman.com


Dan Reeves of Landmark Fine Homes in Norman built this “voice-controlled” concept home at 741 Villaverde Drive in Norman. [PHOTO BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN]


Park space is shown in the Seiter Farms addition in Moore.



New homes are shown along SE 38 in Seiter Farms addition, west of S Sunnylane Road between SE 34 and Indian Hills Road in Moore. [PHOTO BY JIM BECKEL, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Metro-area homebuilders surpassed last year’s pace at midyear, but fear some speed bumps ahead because of skyrocketing lumber and labor costs.

Builders started 2,473 houses by the end of June, 2.3 percent more than in the first half of 2017, according to The Builder Report by Dharma Inc. in Norman.

Dharma tracks building permits in Oklahoma City, unincorporated Oklahoma County, Bethany, Blanchard, Choctaw, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Mustang, Newcastle, Noble, Norman, Shawnee and Yukon.

Lumber and labor

“Builders biggest concern is the out-of-control material costs,” said Tony Foust, owner of Da Vinci Homes in Norman and president of Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association. “We have seen in some cases a 40 percent increase from January to June, and it shows no signs of stopping.

“It has stemmed from the lumber tariffs with Canada and our government not allowing us to harvest our own resources. The other concern is the increased labor cost due to the shortage of labor and skilled labor.

“These are the two items at the top of the residential builders’ concern. These two factors are driving up the cost and extending time of construction.”

Buyer interest has been strong so far this year and could spike further to get ahead of possible steeper increases in house prices, said Ali Farzaneh, co-owner of Home Creations in Moore.

“Business has proved to be great in 2018,” he said. “We did not expect the tariffs to drive the housing prices up so much, but even with the increase in the price of homes and the increase in interest rates, we are 10 percent ahead of where we were last year this time.”

Farzaneh said Home Creations has more than 200 custom homes under contract with deliveries as far out as early 2019. With prices fixed, he said the increase in tariffs and material costs could drive construction costs higher than sales prices, which would have them selling at a loss.

Buyers are paying attention to finance and international trade, he said.

“Buyers are starting to understand the impact tariffs and a rising interest rate have on the price of homes, and as a result, their mortgage payments. Most buyers are trying to purchase their new home before the next wave of price increases,” Farzaneh said.

Rising rates, costs

Oklahoma City’s Homes by Taber is having its best year ever, and is on pace to surpass its 2018 goal of 340 sales, said Lindsay Haltom, director of marketing.

“We are consistently reminding shoppers that interest rates and construction costs are on the rise,” Haltom said. “What does that mean for them? It means that what they are able to afford now, will not be the same home they can afford later. Our construction costs have increased by the thousands and luckily, we have been able to sustain our price points with minimal increases.

“No matter your political stance, the facts are that (President) Trump’s tariffs have increased costs that are being funneled down to consumers. We are doing our absolute best to absorb these increased costs ourselves whenever possible, but that cannot go on forever. If you are in construction, you’re feeling those added costs of lumber and steel.”

Interest rates won’t stay low forever, either, she said.

“If it’s not on their mind already, we want to make sure we are educating them about this key issue. While a small shift in interest rates can seem nominal, when someone is shopping based on monthly payments, this can greatly influence their ability to purchase,” Haltom said.

Ideal Homes of Norman was two months ahead of 2018 projected sales at midyear, and expects buyer enthusiasm to stay strong throughout 2018, said Steve Shoemaker, vice president of sales and marketing.

Buyers are “informed about their buying power,” he said. “There are so many tools online for buyers to learn about how interest rates will impact their mortgage payment.

“Interest rates are still low, but people know they’re likely headed up and buyers are acting accordingly. We spend a lot of time talking to potential buyers about the total cost of ownership — not just their mortgage payment, but heating and cooling costs and other things that impact their monthly budget.”

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Election Results Positive to Builders

Posted on July 5, 2018 by Jorie Helms

The headline may seem a bit ironic, if you are thinking about the passage of SQ 788, the medical marijuana bill.  But it actually refers to the number of pro-business candidates that we supported who won or are in the primary.

The biggest disappointment was Lt. Governor Todd Lamb not making the runoff for Governor.  Our history with Lamb when he was a state senator was our biggest reason for supporting him.  His pro-business reputation and his authorship of one of our most important pieces of legislation deserved our support.  But our disappointment is balanced by the fact that both Mick Cornett and Kevin Stitt appear to be two pro-business candidates.

I recently read a story in Oklahoma Watch that said, “The biggest prize will be the 23.9 percent of GOP primary voters who cast ballots for Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, the one-time favorite in the race who was eliminated after he came a few thousand votes shy of cracking the top two. A June 6-7 poll by Right Strategy Group found that more than half of Lamb supporters identified themselves as “very conservative”. This could favor Stitt because about 47 percent of his supporters said they were “very conservative” while just 30 percent of Cornett’s backers identified similarly.  August 28 will give us the answer.

We backed Matt Pinnell for Lt. Governor and he advanced to the runoff where he will face Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy.  

We backed Mike Hunter for Attorney General and he advanced to the runoff where he will face Gentner Drummond.  This was a very bitter primary and many wonder if it will be just as bitter during the runoff election.

We backed all the incumbents for Congress and they all won their primaries without a hitch.  In the open seat for the 1st Congressional District we backed businessman Kevin Hern who advanced to the runoff.

In the vast majority of House and Senate races for the Oklahoma Legislature, we fared very well.  We were involved in 5 Senate races and won 4.  We were involved in 14 House races in which those we supported won 10, made the runoff in 2 and lost 2.

So once again, thank you to those who helped by voting and especially to those who supported our PAC.  And remember, if you donate to Build-PAC by July 15, you are also helping our state PAC in time to make an impact in the general election.  Send me an email and I will give you the details on how to help your industry.

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