The latest news from the Joomla! Team
MBIA will be hosting a conference call with builders from across
Montana to discuss the technical details of the code changes on Tuesday
June 11th at 9:00AM.
This call is exclusively for MBIA members that wish to discuss changes to the upcoming codes.
At the conclusion of the call, the MBIA will be drafting a letter to the Montana Department of Labor and begin the process of lobbying for the changes that our members would like to see made.
Click on “join meeting” near the top right
Enter: 477932241 as your meeting ID
Montanans built almost the same number of homes in 2010 as they did in 2009. Unfortunately, 2010 was still 58% lower than 2005.
The year started on a strong note as starts were boosted significantly by the first time home buyer tax credit. After the credit expired in April, starts fell to record low levels and the second half of the year was 14% lower than 2009.
If you are in search of good news, take solace in December’s numbers. After seeing declines of 54% in October and 25% in November, we finished the year strong with a 76% increase over last December.
The MBIA health insurance trust program will move to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana on June 1st. The move will result in only a 5.5% rate increase for 2010 - a substantially better rate than the national average (the 8th year in a row that we have had a great rate!)
The move will result in better hospital coverage with 96% of Montana doctors and 100% of Montana hospitals participating in the plan. The benefits also include a full (free) vision exam, and $100,000 in accidental death benefit.
Current MBIA insurance trust members will receive two premium holidays in 2010. This will result in no costs for next July and next January.
Following 30 months of decline, 2010 brought with it a strong turn upward for Montana's housing starts. The news is certainly welcomed by an industry that has struggled with the strong and swift downturn of the housing economy.
Though a 53% increase over the first quarter of 2009 is exciting, a note of caution is required; the starts are an increase over the lowest numbers we have ever recorded and the the starts have certainly been buoyed by $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of this month. Only time will tell if Montana's housing market will continue to recover.
The starts are still over 50% below the same quarter in 2006.
Over a dozen Montana Builders are in Washington D.C this week to meet with Montana's congressional delegation on topics including lead paint, construction credit issues and energy retrofit programs. Here is an overview of our meetings
Congressman Rehberg secured a meeting with a top EPA official and took her to task for not providing the appropriate training opportunities in rural areas, such as Montana. Rehberg communicated our frustrations very well. His approach and the EPA's response were in stark contrast. Our Congressman understands building, small businesses and Montana. The EPA understands bureaucracy, D.C, and little else. Though we have been unsuccessful in deterring the EPA, this process has, once again, proven that builders have a very good friend in Denny Rehberg.
Senator Max Baucus was in a committee debating banking and finance reform. He was unable to meet with us though we did meet with Cathrine Ransom, his Environmental Policy Aide. Senator Baucus penned a letter to the EPA asking them to investigate their training opportunities in Montana. Additionally we discussed the lack of available credit and the upcoming "Homestar" program, aka "cash for caulkers". We thanked him for his support of the $8,000 tax credit.
Our meeting with Senator Tester was focused on Lead Paint, AD&C credit problems and the constant rule changes with FHA. Senator Tester sits on the banking committee and was concerned about the constant changes in the FHA rules. He was surprised to hear that the rules are changing frequently and promised to look into the issue. He also will contact the EPA and ask for a delay of the lead paint rule in rural areas due to a lack of training opportunities. We thanked him for his support of the $8,000 first time homebuyer tax credit.
Ray Mehrer, Don Garramone and John Agnew Elected As MBIA Life Directors
Ray Mehrer, Don Garramone, John Agnew have been elected by the MBIA Board of Directors as State Life Directors. A Life Director must have served on the MBIA board for a total of ten years, must have a distinguished record of service to MBIA, and their local association.
Thank you for your continued commitment this great association and industry!
Kramer Enterprises, Inc. Wins Another NAHB SAFE Award
The NAHB Construction Safety and Health Committee launched a national safety awards program in 2006 to recognize builders and trade contractors who have excellent construction safety programs, as well as honoring government officials and NAHB-affiliated associations who have advanced safety in the home building industry. The Safety Award For Excellence (SAFE) is open to all NAHB member companies, as well as NAHB-affiliated Associations, and Federal or State Plan OSHA officials who have been nominated by an NAHB member or Association. The SAFE program closely examined each candidate’s commitment to construction safety and health in the home building industry.
The purpose of this awards program was to recognize the achievements of builders and trade contractors who have developed and implemented high quality construction safety programs. There were 10 categories of SAFE awards given out at the International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas in January 2010. We are pleased to announce that the 2009 winner in the category of Light Commercial Contractors Safety Program of the Year was MBIA GRIP member Terry Kramer of Kramer Enterprises, Inc. Applicants in this award category consist of general contractors engaged in construction of commercial buildings, including but not limited to the following: self-storage facilities; strip malls; office buildings; mixed-use developments; community centers; and schools.
Bridgewater Innovative Builders Wins EVHA Award
Montana green building expert Mark Van Everen of Bridgewater Innovative Builders in Whitefish was the recipient of a 2010 Silver EnergyValue Housing Award (EVHA). He, and his wife/business partner Heidi Van Everen, accepted the award at a dinner ceremony during the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas this week. Van Everen was also honored as a guest speaker at the conference educational session “Energy Value Exposed: EnergyValue Housing Award Winners Tell All.”
The EVHA is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and is the nation’s preeminent energy efficiency award honoring builders who voluntarily incorporate energy efficiency into all aspects of new home construction. Bridgewater Innovative Builders was chosen for their silver award for their home located at 4 Pine Avenue in Whitefish, Mont. “I am honored to be part of such an exceptional group of builders from across the country and feel that our commitment to building with more efficiency is the best step towards long term sustainability.” Van Everen explains.
Now in its 15th year, the EVHA is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Building America program, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in addition to the NAHB Research Center. The EVHA challenges builders to elevate standards for energy-efficient construction, provides educational opportunities for home builders, and fosters the adoption of energy efficiency principles.
Winners were selected from builders’ projects in three climate regions (cold, moderate, hot) and five categories (affordable, custom/demonstration, factory-built, multi-family, production). Bridgewater Innovative Builders Whitefish home was selected in the cold climate region and custom home category, and is the only recipient from Montana. You can see the 20 winning homes at: www.nahbrc.org/evha.
Bridgewater Innovative Builders’ 2,650 square foot Whitefish home, completed in May 2009, is the 2nd home in Montana to attain the Gold Certified Green Residence. Rating 40 on the U.S. Department of Energy’s E-scale, the home will use 60% less energy than a typical new home making it one of the most energy efficient homes in America. The house is expected to spend no more than $350 to heat and cool for the entire year.
Western Montana Lighting Receives ART Award
The ARTS Award is based on merchandising and display, advertising and promotion and company differentiation.
More than 500 guests attended the gala consisting of a wide range of retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives, media and designers from across the country.
The ARTS Awards, presented each January during the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market, is the premier awards program, representing twenty-six categories for the decorative accessories industry and recognizes excellence from retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives and designers.
If you attended the MBIA GRIP training in February or March, you may have noticed that the rooms were overflowing with people. The MBIA GRIP program easily set a record for the highest attendance in its 12 year history by packing 305 people into training rooms just during the month of March.
The FREE safety training is a membership benefit of MBIA. GRIP membership is also available at no cost to MBIA members, you only have to be a relatively safe company and have work comp insurance through the Montana State Fund.
GRIP members losses are pooled together, if the group as a whole does well, then the group shares in a yearly dividend on premium, which in the past has been has high as $1.6 million. This year we hope to return nearly $1 million to the 300+ GRIP members.Click Here to see the GRIP Training Schedule
Dave Cook from the Montana Department of Labor announced on March 27th that the 2009 Montana Energy code has been formally adopted by the state. "Certified jurisdictions" will have 90 days to come into compliance with the new rules.
"The State of Montana, Department of Labor and Industry filed the final adoption notice for the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code with the Secretary of State on March 15th with an effective date of the adoption to be March 26, 2010. Local certified jurisdictions will have an additional 90 days to adopt the same code and edition for their jurisdictions.
The Notice of Amendment for ARM 24.301.161, Energy Code can be viewed at our website at http://bsd.dli.mt.gov/bc/pdf/24-301-239adp-arm.pdf
The department wishes to thanks all those who actively participated in this adoption process. The department appreciated and valued your input and feedback prior to and at the public hearing and will continue to seek your opinions on energy code issues as the department develops future energy code provisions."
Please call our office if you have any questions. 406-442-4479
Montana housing starts for the first 3 quarters of 2009 are now available online. Though starts continued to decline for the 31st month, good news may be on the horizon. Helena and Lewis and Clark County turned in their second strong quarter in a row, and Statewide, September was only down 4% compared to September 2008.
NAHB Senior Economist Elliot Eisenberg recently visited the Magic City to discuss the costs and benefits of building. The conference was attended by over 100 community leaders, including City Councilmen, County Commissioners, Planning Board members, and the leadership of the Billings Association of REALTORS.