Get to know MRBA Member Ryan Evenson in the June issue of the River Valley Woman magazine. Read Article.
Get to know MRBA Member Ryan Evenson in the June issue of the River Valley Woman magazine. Read Article.
The Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry released the new state codes that go into effect on March 31, 2020.
Below is are links to each of the codes or click here to visit their website.
The following codes have been approved for adoption:
2020 Minnesota Conservation Code for Existing Buildings
2020 Minnesota Residential Code
2020 Minnesota Building Code
2020 Minnesota Energy Code
Note: The 2015 Minnesota Residential Energy Code remains in effect.
2020 Minnesota Accessibility Code
2020 Minnesota Mechanical/Fuel Gas Code – Effective April 6, 2020
2020 Minnesota State Fire Code
The MRBA will host an Education Day for all area contractors. Join us for our 7-credit offering (including energy). All courses are approved for Contractor CEU’s through the MN Department of Labor & Industry. Learn more
Join us for our Annual Banquet on Thursday, January 23 at the Loose Moose Saloon.
We will enjoy a dinner, live music and announce our award winners!
To purchase tickets, click here.
Housing affordability and the negative impact regulations have on home ownership and housing was the featured topic for Week 6 of the legislative session. It was a busy week and we expect to keep up same pace during Week 7. Below are a few things BAM has been working on.
Affordable Housing Hearings: There were two hearings regarding housing affordability and regulatory costs. The morning hearing in the House was comprehensive and a multi-perspective of affordability (or lack thereof) in housing. Steve Noble (CMBA & 2019 BAM President) and Mike Paradise (RAB & 2015 BAM President) did a really nice job giving concrete examples of the impact of the energy code and infrastructure funding. It has become apparent that the energy code has become a big conversation at the Capitol not only at this hearing, but in other conversations as well. The afternoon hearing in the Senate focused more about the Price Out study that Housing First MN prepared. Steve closed the hearing’s list of testifiers with very authentic testimony and a real world perspective.
Steve was also able to spend the day with BAM, which was great to connect with legislators and opened the door to have unique conversations about what BAM is working on. We invite you to do the same if you want to spend the morning or afternoon with us. Special guests change the conversational dynamic and help promote BAM initiatives.
Construction Careers: Last week Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) successfully passed SF293 out of the Senate Education Finance & Policy committee and passed to the Jobs & Economic Growth Finance & Policy committee. This bill is one of our top priorities for 2019 and are now waiting for the bill to receive additional committee hearings.
Legacy Grant Coordinated Watershed Management: This week in the Environment & Natural Resources Finance Division, HF875 authored by Representative Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) was heard. This bill requests for legacy grant money to allow for coordinated management of the many (and often redundant) watershed permitting agencies. This bill defines what a comprehensive local water management plan is and adds surface water and groundwater interactions among other items to the list of considerations that must be made when setting priorities.
404 Assumption: SF962, authored by Senator Mathews (R-Milaca) and heard this week in the Environment & Natural Resources Finance Committee pertains to the state assuming the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 Federal Clean Water Act permitting authority. The idea of Minnesota taking over the federal government’s role in this aspect of water permitting has been around for several years now and finally may be getting traction. The bill allows for the state and federal permitting systems to be consolidated to reduce redundancy and duplication.
Construction Tax Exemption: HF7670 sponsored by Representative Mike Freiberg (DFL- Golden Valley) provides a sale tax exemption for building and construction materials/supplies brought by contractors and subcontractors for a government projects such as schools, libraries, nursing homes, and public infrastructure such as water, sewer, and road infrastructure. This bill was heard in the House Taxes Committee this week and laid over by the committee.
BAM Priorities: BAM has 16 bills (8 House and 8 Senate) we are pushing this legislative session that are geared toward improving statewide code administration and builder licensing compliance. At this point, we have both a Senator and Representative ready to drop these bills. Additionally, we are working with the Reviser’s office with Representative Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul)’s approval to draft a bill pertaining to the best use of the funds held in the Contract Recovery Fund. We have made great progress on all of these bills and look forward to the upcoming weeks.
Committee deadlines for 2019: Last week the three deadlines for committees to complete their business for the session were unveiled: March 15th, March 29th, and April 12th. As a reminder the legislature must complete its work by May 20th this year. We now have one month until the first deadline so we expect committee hearings to ramp up even more in the next few weeks.
The revised rule would address many of the serious concerns that NAHB had over the Obama-era regulation that went so far as to regulate man-made ditches and isolated ponds on private property. Today’s proposal would exclude short-lived ponds, streams and tributaries that only flow in response to a rain event from federal regulation. It would also exclude wetlands that are not directly connected to federally regulated bodies of water.
This new rule will help landowners to determine whether a project on their property will require a federal permit or not, without spending tens of thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals. This revised rule will protect our nation’s waterways and save home builders and other industries that rely on a predictable permitting process time and money.
NAHB CEO Jerry Howard attended the event announcing the proposal by Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler at EPA headquarters in Washington.
The proposal fulfills President Trump’s commitment to NAHB to end this federal overreach of the 2015 WOTUS rule. One of Trump’s earliest acts in office was to sign an executive order directing EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin the process of repealing and replacing the WOTUS rule. The action honored a campaign promise he made to the NAHB Board of Directors in 2016 when he was running for president.
The new rule will be open to a public comment period for 60 days and is expected to be finalized and instituted in all 50 states by the fall of 2019.
In the meantime, because of multiple legal challenges, the Obama-era WOTUS rule remains in effect in 22 states and the District of Columbia; the previous regulation issued in 1986, together with subsequent agency guidance, is in effect in the remaining 28 states.
Further analysis on this proposal will be posted at nahb.org/wotus later this week.
President Trump’s decision yesterday to escalate the trade conflict with China could wind up imposing a $2.5 billion tax increase on residential construction at time when builders are already grappling with higher housing costs.
Trump announced he is moving immediately to impose 10% tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including $10 billion of goods used by the home building industry. This 10% levy represents a $1 billion tax increase on residential construction. Making matters even worse, the tax hike will rise to $2.5 billion on Jan. 1 when the president said the tariff rate will jump to 25% if the two nations have not resolved their differences by year end.
If China retaliates, Trump has vowed to place tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of imports — a move NAHB has strongly opposed.
Responding to this action, NAHB Chairman Randy Noel issued the following statement noting the effects this will have on the housing market and urging the White House to change course:
“President Trump’s decision to impose 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including $10 billion of goods used by the residential construction sector, could have major ramifications for the housing industry. With housing costs on the rise, this action translates into a tax increase on housing that will rise even more significantly on Jan. 1 when the tariff rate jumps to 25 percent.
“Further, this tax increase is coming on top of the current 20% tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada. The lumber tariffs have already added thousands of dollars to the price of a typical single-family home.
“With America facing a housing affordability crisis, it is counterproductive to enact policies that will needlessly drive up the cost of housing. We respectfully urge the administration to change course and work to resolve these trade disputes in a manner that won’t harm American businesses and consumers.”
NAHB has been leading the charge to urge the Trump administration to resume trade talks with Canada. It is imperative to find a long-term solution to this trade dispute that will ensure American home builders and consumers have access to a reliable supply of softwood lumber at reasonable prices.
At NAHB’s urging, 171 House members sent a letter to the administration in June urging the United States to re-start softwood trade negotiations with Canada.
And in another effort spearheaded by NAHB, 12 Democratic and Republican senators sent a joint letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last week urging the administration to resume lumber trade talks and find an equitable solution that will satisfy all sides.
NAHB continues to work on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber imports into the United States at a competitive price.
View NAHB’s analysis on how the Chinese tariffs will impact the housing sector.
Builders Association of Minnesota Executives,
I’m happy to announce that the bills asking the legislature for workforce development dollars to enhance our Project Build Minnesota efforts have been introduced in each body. The numbers are HF3810 and SF3430. The language is for $1,000,000 in fiscal year 2019 appropriated from the workforce development fund. The single-year request in 2019 reflects the second year of the current two-year budget, which begins on July 1. Additional funding requests beyond 2019 would be made in that two-year budget cycle, which will commence next Spring.
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Regina Barr (Inver Grove Heights) is the chief author with co-authors Reps. Garofalo, Peterson and Nash. Of importance, this bill will initially go to Rep. Garofalo’s Job Growth Committee, so having him as a co-author is encouraging.
In the Senate, Sen. Rich Draheim (Madison Lake) is the chief author with co-authors Sens. Lang, Goggin and Johnson.
Additionally, Housing First Minnesota, ABC, BAM and MNLA have had great discussions with legislators from throughout the state during their respective days at the Capitol. Now that the bills have been introduced, they have been referred to their respective Jobs committees and await future discussion that will occur in the coming weeks.
We will undoubtedly need your support and the engagement of all of our members to make this happen. It’s never easy asking for money at the Capitol, and we heard repeatedly at our Day at the Capitol yesterday that the demands on the surplus will be powerful. We have our work cut out for us but working together with a powerful focus, I believe we can make a difference.
Please share this with your membership and ask them to talk to their local State Legislators and support these bills. Remember Project Build Minnesota is trying to reduce the construction workforce shortage that exists and help our local contractors.
We’ll continue to keep everyone informed as the process progresses.
Dennis Medo, Executive Director
Project Build Minnesota
1123 Glenwood Ave. Minneapolis, MN. 55405
Unlicensed Contractors, Unenforced Codes, & Consumer Protection
Builders Association of Minnesota (October 2017)
Remi Stone, Executive Vice President
Currently there is a gap in the state law about what happens when a permit is pulled outside city limits where the building code is not enforced. The enforcement gap continues within city limits where building codes are enforced but homeowners are pulling permits for work to be done unlicensed contractors. The gaps are causing some significant problems as it relates to unlicensed contractors working in areas where there is no building code enforcement or when permits are being pulled to avoid code inspections.
This is an ongoing issue for the industry and one that BAM elevates before state legislators with a very clear message – the state and local governments must make licensure and code enforcement meaningful and if political will is not there to make a government mandate meaningful, then the legislature should consider whether these mandates on legitimate, small businesses should be repealed.
Representative Tama Theis (R-St. Cloud) has championed this issue for the industry and on September 25, 2017 the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee heard Rep. Theis’ most recent bill on the matter, HF 1119. The bill increases the criminal penalties on those performing builder contractor work as an unlicensed individual. The bill passed quickly and will be ready to go immediately upon the start of the 2018 session. This bill is just one tweak to a statutory licensing scheme that is riddled with loopholes and vagueness.
State law also allows for a significant number of jurisdictions to opt out of the building code enforcement process. This can lead to unsafe construction for the homeowner pulling the permit, denied access to consumer protections such as the contractor recovery fund, loss of revenue for the jurisdiction, and unfair business practices by unlicensed contractors.
The Builder Association of Minnesota supports the concept of licensing for contractors, however licensing is only as effective as the enforcement behind the requirement. If the state is not able to properly enforce licensed contractors or the building code, we should reconsider licensing for the residential construction industry.
BAM’s 2018 legislative agenda is heavy on improving the licensing and code inspection system. In addition to HF 1119, BAM will be advocating for other changes including:
Members interested in this issue and other legislative initiatives are encouraged to join BAM’s government affairs committee.
Since 1974, BAM is the statewide voice of Minnesota’s builders & remodelers. We represent you and your business at the State’s Capitol, regulatory agencies and the courts because industry unity is good business.
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