First of all, I want to thank Doug Sutton for arranging this year’s Remodelers’ Night Out dinner at the Phantom Canyon Brewery in downtown Colorado Springs. This year’s dinner was well-attended. Each year, we all look forward to this event, which is a fundraiser for scholarships that introduce local remodeler council leaders to the NAHB Remodelers (NAHBR) at the Spring Board Meeting. It also gives us the opportunity of getting together with friends in the remodeling industry from across the country. And, with great appreciation for the work she has done for the NAHBR over the years, we honored Therese Crahan, who is retiring.
As a trustee of NAHBR, I once again concentrated on the various remodeling subcommittees. And here are four noteworthy points that I took away from those meetings.
1. Most significant was a report in the Legislative Committee on new efforts by OSHA in regard to Respirable Crystalline Silica. You may wonder what that is. When you’ve experienced it up until now, you’ve probably thought of it as simply dust. But this particle is found in many commonly used building products including mortar, concrete, stucco, plaster, brick/blocks, rocks/stones, drywall joint compound, and fiber-cement siding, among others. When it’s released into the air and then breathed in, there can be a risk of developing some serious diseases. So, now OSHA is proposing reducing the permitted amount of ingestion from 250 micrograms to 50 micrograms exposure over an 8 hour day. Some of the implications of this are prohibiting dry sweeping and requiring earth moving equipment to have an air-conditioned cab with no possible entry for dust and no dirt brought in by the operator. Figure out how that’s going to be achieved? The possible impact of this rule is expected to exceed one billion dollars per year for the building industry. Learn more
2. Another item is that NAHB’s political analysts all expect the energy tax credit incentives to expire at the end of the year. The chance of them being extended is very low. You might want to encourage your clients to move quickly on projects where they could take advantage of the incentives we currently have.
3. In the Green Remodeling Committee there was a lot of discussion among the remodelers present about what may be a consumer backlash against the word “green” and an avoidance of those remodelers who advertise themselves as being “green” remodelers. According to the remodelers taking part in the discussion, the word “green” has been overused and it seems to perceived by consumers as something that adds expense to a project. One of the members of the committee said, “We’re past using the words ‘green’, ‘sustainability’, and ‘efficiency’. We now need a new emphasis.” One of the words the committee was gravitating toward is “high performance.” Some members said that description seems to be working better with consumers.
4. Talking about green, remodelers should be aware that the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard has a stand-alone section for certifying green remodels, which is now available.
So, there you have it. Please free to contact me at 828.328.8956 if you want to discuss any of this in more detail.