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Big Win for Home Builders – EPA Preserves Stormwater Flexibility

 

 

Storm drain

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed new rules for municipal separate
storm sewer systems
(MS4s) which preserve the ability of cities to choose from a wide range of options to tackle urban water pollution.

Despite heavy lobbying by environmental groups, EPA failed to use this court-mandated rulemaking as a means to “raise the floor” of the MS4 program by adding more stormwater requirements for small cities.

Options for Cities and States

The broad impact of this rulemaking spans across the nation, as it could have restricted how cities across the nation regulate new and re-development to comply with the Clean Water Act. NAHB petitioned the agency to return the term “narrative” to the rule text, leaving no room for misinterpretation that EPA may only accept numeric post-construction limits when reviewing state-run programs.  The agency agreed, reversing its initial proposal to eliminate non-numeric options from the list of approved practices.

Allowing narrative requirements (rather than numeric) for new development is especially important to builders in cities facing expensive federal mandates to upgrade their drinking water, sewer and stormwater programs all at once.

“This rule signals that EPA is open to allowing cities to address pollution by carefully crafting local programs that work with development, rather than against it,” said NAHB Environmental Program Manager Eva Birk.

However, moving forward, state permit writers must incorporate “clear, specific and measurable” permit terms to satisfy the order.

“Many cities are turning to low-cost methods such as street sweeping, lawn fertilizer reduction and flexible installation and maintenance programs to achieve better water quality results over the long term,” Birk said. “Cities are creative. Along with water quality trading and stormwater credits, this language leaves a lot of options on the table for cities to grow market-based programs that really work.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the final MS4 General Permit Remand Rule Nov. 17, satisfying a remand by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Environmental Defense Center v. EPA, which required that a final rule addressing its remand be issued by no later than that date. The rule will become final 30 days after being published in the Federal Register – or about Dec. 17.

“As builders, we’re committed to finding common sense ways to keep our local streams clean and our communities healthy,” said Nick Cammarota, general counsel for the California Building Industry Association, the state in which the court issued the remand.

“We’re pleased EPA responded not by restricting federal mandates even further, but by preserving flexibility for states and municipalities to find solutions that work best for them,” he said.

EPA’s decision still does not clarify the definition of the “maximum extent possible” limit under this rule, nor how it applies to specific steps MS4s include in their state-mandated stormwater programs. NAHB expects EPA will continue to pressure states to adopt stricter limits for new and re-development. However, under this language, states can still make their own case for how programs will meet clean-water goals.

For additional information, contact Eva Birk at 800-368-5242 x8124.

Storm drain

Are You Ready For the New Sprinkler Requirements?

Date:               November 18, 2016

To:                    Home Builders Association of Delaware Members

Subjects:        Outline of Residential Sprinkler Requirements per HB 133 Effective 1/1/17

As of 1/1/17, builders of new dwellings in Delaware (defined as 1 or 2 family residential dwellings, not previously occupied, and constructed for residential use) are required to provide buyers the option to have installed, at the buyer’s cost, a residential sprinkler system/fire suppression system in their home. What does this mean for you the builder?

Before the buyer signs the final contract, you (the builder) must give the buyer three items which are:

  • “The Benefits of Home Fire Sprinklers” Brochure (prepared by the Delaware State Fire Marshal). This brochure was prepared without the opportunity for HBA/DE to provide any input in its substance.  A pdf copy of this brochure is attached, however you can download from the State Fire Marshal website http://statefiremarshal.delaware.gov/ (NOTE we will have a limited supply, first come first served, of printed brochures in our office beginning Noon Monday 11/21/16 if you want to pick some up. Please call before you come 302-678-1520. Due to cost expenses we will not be able to mail them).

  • The estimated written cost to install the automatic sprinkler system.

  • The estimated written cost to maintain the sprinkler system.

Attached is a draft addendum that we have put together for your use which may protect you from receiving a $75-$100 fine for your first offense and $100-250 for subsequent offenses plus any liability if there is an eventual fire in the home. The buyer would need to acknowledge that they were given the above items and whether they want or do not want the sprinkler system to be installed. You are required to get their signature on the form as your proof that they were given the required information. If the buyer requests the installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system or other requested fire suppression system, the builder will install at the buyer’s expense. We recommend strongly that your attorney review the draft addendum before you begin using.  A copy of the state legislation, HB 133, is attached for your use.

We are asking that all builder members comply with this new law, given that some home buyers may not want to purchase a sprinkler system in their home. We are asking that as you receive the signed buyer addendums, you furnish to HBADE a copy of all signed addendums, email to info@hbade.org.  This will provide us aggregate data which demonstrates how many buyers have chosen sprinklers and how many have not. 

There are many unanswered questions concerning the implementation of HB 133 and some misleading information in the brochure that the member will receive. Some of these include:

  • The fire marshal’s brochure states an approximate cost of installing a sprinkler/fire suppression system to be $1.75-$1.80 per square foot. This cost is for a simple home with municipal water and no special design issues or upcharges. Our research shows that there can be a wide range in cost and that this number is likely very underestimated. Upcharges that affect pricing includes adding a pump/tank or concealed heads, retro-fitting if it is a spec house and drywall is already installed, additional water service to the house, if the house is on a well it may need a generator to operate the well if a power outage occurs, anti-freeze systems in cold areas, and backflow prevention. You will need to check with your water supplier on their policy and costs. You should also price sprinklers with your subcontractor and installer.  The State Fire Marshal may maintain a list of sprinkler installers.

  • Currently, residential fire suppression systems in single family homes are not governed by any jurisdiction in the State of Delaware. This means that there is no one to review or inspect these new systems.

  • The fire marshal’s brochure claims that these systems are “relatively maintenance free”. This is not always the case, however we recommend you research the factors and costs of maintaining a sprinkler system.

We recommend that you, the builder, quote a price that includes all of the associated costs for sprinklers, including water service into the home.

We have investigated with Artesian Water Company regarding the requirements for sprinkler service lines.  They provided the following:

  • Artesian would require a meter pit ( $900). The service line would be split inside this pit creating a separate service line. 1 domestic and 1 fire

  • This could be done with a ¾ service but the flow requirements would need to be verified by sprinkler designer. A 1”service line would work better

  • It is possible that a booster pump could be added to the fire line to achieve the required flow

  • There would be a charge for this dual meter from Artesian to owner however is it around $2 per month.

Artesian does not service water to the entire State, and you will need to check with your specific water provider.

Summary, below are links for the previously mentioned documents:

“The Benefits of Home Fire Sprinklers” Brochure – Sprinkler Brochure Click Here

Draft Delaware Residential Sprinkler Requirements Addendum – Sprinkler Addendum

House Bill 133 which enacted this law – Sprinkler Law Click Here

Overtime Rule Injunction

(thanks to member Richard Forsten at Saul Ewing for providing this)

New FLSA Overtime Rule Blocked

November 22, 2012

 

The new Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) overtime rule, which set to raise the white collar exemption minimum salary requirement from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year effective December 1, 2016, was blocked this afternoon by a Texas federal judge.

The judge indicated that the plaintiffs, comprised of 21 states, met the burden required for a preliminary injunction finding that the Department of Labor (“DOL”) exceeded its delegated authority. The court held that the DOL does not have the authority to utilize a salary-level test or an automatic updating mechanism. The DOL is now enjoined from implementing and enforcing the rule pending further order of the court.  The injunction is expressly nationwide in scope, including applying to states that did not join in the lawsuit.  Accordingly, pending further action, the December 1, 2016 implementation date of the Final Rule is postponed and employers need not adjust salaries upward in order to continue to claim exempt status.

However, the situation remains fluid and employers should stay tuned – Saul Ewing is continuing to monitor the developments regarding this important subject that impacts millions of employees and will continue reporting as more information becomes available.  To the extent that an employer has employees who are incorrectly being treated as exempt based on duties and authority rather than salary level, the injunction does not apply to those situations and those situations still represent potential violations and liability and changes should be made.

The case is State of Nevada, et al v. United States Department of Labor, et al, case number 4:16-cv-00731, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

For more information, contact Richard Forsten (302.421.6833, RForsten@Saul.com) or Jim Taylor (302.421.6863, JTaylor@Saul.com).

Happy Thanksgiving! HBA/DE Will Be Closed Thursday & Friday!

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Home Builders Association of Delaware will be closed Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th for Thanksgiving. The office will reopen Monday, November 28th. 

 

We are thankful for our members, associates, and friends for your involvement, participation and support!

 

We wish everyone a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday!

images

Associate of the Year Nominations From November 2016 HBA/DE Board Meeting

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Three Associate Members were nominated at the November Home Builders Association of Delaware Board Meeting. They are:

Michael Easton, Horty & Horty, P.A. – nominated for volunteering to chair the Membership Committee

Damien Golden, iKANDE Advertising – nominated for volunteering to be President of the Sales and  Marketing Council and for her help in preparing the Ball programs

Jeff Haggerty, Grubb Lumber – nominated for his help in assembling and shaping the 2017 operating budget

Congratulations for your nomination and thank you for your dedication and support of Home Builders Association of Delaware!

EMAIL NOT FROM HBA/DE!

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You may have received an email recently that says it is from Brett Messick, on behalf of Go Mobile Consulting, and subject line reads: “Delaware Home Builders: Please Confirm Subscription”. This is NOT from  Home Builders Association of Delaware. HBADE does NOT give out Member’s emails. We do not know who this is from and suggest you be careful opening any emails that may be suspicious, especially this time of year. If  you receive any email, that you question whether they are from us or not, don’t hesitate to call and ask.  302-678-1520

Leadership & Legacy Ball Registration Closes Monday at Noon

Time is quickly running out to purchase your 2016 Leadership & Legacy Ball tickets.  Registration deadline is Monday, November 28th at 12:00 pm (noon).  To register for the ball please click here.

ball-cc-photo-pdf

If you need lodging accommodations, the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Rehoboth, has a special group rate just for HBADE Members.  Registration deadline for the Hotel is also Monday, November 28th.  Click here to book your room.

Important Information Regarding the Sprinkler Requirements Beginning 1/1/17

Date:               November 18, 2016

To:                    Home Builders Association of Delaware Members

Subjects:        Outline of Residential Sprinkler Requirements per HB 133 Effective 1/1/17

As of 1/1/17, builders of new dwellings in Delaware (defined as 1 or 2 family residential dwellings, not previously occupied, and constructed for residential use) are required to provide buyers the option to have installed, at the buyer’s cost, a residential sprinkler system/fire suppression system in their home. What does this mean for you the builder?

Before the buyer signs the final contract, you (the builder) must give the buyer three items which are:

  • “The Benefits of Home Fire Sprinklers” Brochure (prepared by the Delaware State Fire Marshal). This brochure was prepared without the opportunity for HBA/DE to provide any input in its substance.  A pdf copy of this brochure is attached, however you can download from the State Fire Marshal website http://statefiremarshal.delaware.gov/ (NOTE we will have a limited supply, first come first served, of printed brochures in our office beginning Noon Monday 11/21/16 if you want to pick some up. Please call before you come 302-678-1520. Due to cost expenses we will not be able to mail them).
  • The estimated written cost to install the automatic sprinkler system.
  • The estimated written cost to maintain the sprinkler system.

Attached is a draft addendum that we have put together for your use which may protect you from receiving a $75-$100 fine for your first offense and $100-250 for subsequent offenses plus any liability if there is an eventual fire in the home. The buyer would need to acknowledge that they were given the above items and whether they want or do not want the sprinkler system to be installed. You are required to get their signature on the form as your proof that they were given the required information. If the buyer requests the installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system or other requested fire suppression system, the builder will install at the buyer’s expense. We recommend strongly that your attorney review the draft addendum before you begin using.  A copy of the state legislation, HB 133, is attached for your use.

We are asking that all builder members comply with this new law, given that some home buyers may not want to purchase a sprinkler system in their home. We are asking that as you receive the signed buyer addendums, you furnish to HBADE a copy of all signed addendums, email to info@hbade.org.  This will provide us aggregate data which demonstrates how many buyers have chosen sprinklers and how many have not. 

There are many unanswered questions concerning the implementation of HB 133 and some misleading information in the brochure that the member will receive. Some of these include:

  • The fire marshal’s brochure states an approximate cost of installing a sprinkler/fire suppression system to be $1.75-$1.80 per square foot. This cost is for a simple home with municipal water and no special design issues or upcharges. Our research shows that there can be a wide range in cost and that this number is likely very underestimated. Upcharges that affect pricing includes adding a pump/tank or concealed heads, retro-fitting if it is a spec house and drywall is already installed, additional water service to the house, if the house is on a well it may need a generator to operate the well if a power outage occurs, anti-freeze systems in cold areas, and backflow prevention. You will need to check with your water supplier on their policy and costs. You should also price sprinklers with your subcontractor and installer.  The State Fire Marshal may maintain a list of sprinkler installers.
  • Currently, residential fire suppression systems in single family homes are not governed by any jurisdiction in the State of Delaware. This means that there is no one to review or inspect these new systems.
  • The fire marshal’s brochure claims that these systems are “relatively maintenance free”. This is not always the case, however we recommend you research the factors and costs of maintaining a sprinkler system.

We recommend that you, the builder, quote a price that includes all of the associated costs for sprinklers, including water service into the home.

We have investigated with Artesian Water Company regarding the requirements for sprinkler service lines.  They provided the following:

  • Artesian would require a meter pit ( $900). The service line would be split inside this pit creating a separate service line. 1 domestic and 1 fire
  • This could be done with a ¾ service but the flow requirements would need to be verified by sprinkler designer. A 1”service line would work better
  • It is possible that a booster pump could be added to the fire line to achieve the required flow
  • There would be a charge for this dual meter from Artesian to owner however is it around $2 per month.

Artesian does not service water to the entire State, and you will need to check with your specific water provider.

Summary, below are links for the previously mentioned documents:

“The Benefits of Home Fire Sprinklers” Brochure – Sprinkler Brochure Click Here

Draft Delaware Residential Sprinkler Requirements Addendum – Sprinkler Addendum

House Bill 133 which enacted this law – Sprinkler Law Click Here

No Quick Fixes for Builders as Trump Administration Slowly Takes Shape

As President-elect Trump begins to assemble a leadership team and a game plan for gold stop watchgovernance, NAHB is hard at work to ensure that our members’ priorities are addressed by the administration that will take office Jan. 20.

But even when those priorities are in alignment with Trump’s campaign platform, none of these changes can take place overnight. Some, tied up in litigation or involving multiple agencies and branches of government, may take years. And others depend on leadership appointment confirmations that also take more time than they should.

No matter what happens, NAHB government affairs, legal and regulatory staff is already preparing. Leaders have had extensive discussions and sent background information to the Trump team about a number of significant issues, including President Obama’s Executive Order that drastically changes development rules in and around floodplains.

“While there may be some expectation of quick and dramatic reversals of some existing policies, political reality may temper the pace and extent of those changes,” First Vice Chairman Granger MacDonald told the NAHB Executive Board when they convened for an online meeting Nov. 18.

For example: health care reform. While both the Republican leadership in the House and Senate want to see significant changes made to the Affordable Care Act, it’s not yet clear what specific issues, like health reimbursement arrangements, will end up in the mix, or whether the Republicans’ rejection of Obamacare will result in repeal, revision or a brand new set of programs.

Until the new Trump team is in place and has made decisions about what to tackle first, it’s hard to predict whether, say, the regulatory overreach seen in the Waters of the United States definitions – an issue of great importance to home builders – or other headline-grabbing rules such as the Clean Power Plan,  will move to the head of the line. And to complicate matters, both those regulations have been stayed in federal court.

“The outcome of the election is likely to re-shape the political landscape for many of NAHB’s highest policy priorities,” MacDonald told the NAHB leadership.

“We cannot be certain as to what will change, or how quickly changes will occur. Regardless, we see this as a tremendous opportunity, because our advocacy team is well-prepared to respond to the new political environment.”

For additional information, contact NAHB Executive Vice President and Chief Lobbyist Jim Tobin at 800-368-5242 x8258.

Woman-owned Delaware business celebrates 10 years in November! Congratulations!

damiengoldenwithsusangardner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2016

For Additional information contact: Damien Golden, 302-727-0071

BETHANY BEACH – When Damien Golden was laid off from her position at a mid-sized advertising agency in 2006, along with thousands of other Americans, she embraced a new chapter in her career. With a background in graphic design, advertising and marketing, and with the support of her family, she was positioned to embark on entrepreneurship. She started with small design jobs and then provided more services as her reputation grew. By 2009, her husband, Ron Golden, joined her and they built iKANDE Advertising into a multi-faceted and profitable woman-owned virtual advertising agency by 2012. November’s 10th year anniversary for the company brings a whole new chapter for this local business.

“We are very excited and fortunate to celebrate being in business for 10 years. Like any business we’ve had our struggles, but we’ve also had great successes over the past decade. We’ve helped numerous businesses connect with their target buying market, grow and meet goals that have benefitted their company, their customers and the community. Over the past 10 years we’ve had nearly $2 Million in sales and we’ve serviced over 75 clients,” says Damien. “That exceptional experience provides added value to our clients.”

With this milestone anniversary, iKANDE has undergone a rebrand to simplify all aspects of the updated company. iKANDE Advertising has become, iKANDE. A shortened and simplified name and logo to better reflect their focus on the future and the launch of their brand new website at iKANDE.com. They will continue to provide only their most sought after services: web design, graphic design, print and social media. Their virtual creative team will grow, while full advertising and marketing plans, media buying and press releases will be eliminated from the list of services because many of their clients already handle that in-house.

“Virtual creative team simply describes our business structure. We provide many of the same creative services a large agency does, but we don’t have the huge overhead of a brick and mortar business, making our services much more affordable. My team is composed of freelancers and contractors who work out of their own offices at various locations,” explains Damien. “It’s similar to other modern, flexible businesses structured to run more efficiently and effectively.”

Because of the virtual aspect, iKANDE has had operational locations in several cities, including Nashville, Tennessee and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. When iKANDE relocated to Bethany Beach in 2011, Damien and her husband Ron quickly fell in love with the quiet beach resort area. “This is truly home and we’ve tried to give back to the community wherever possible. From involvement in area chambers of commerce, to supporting local businesses, cultural and arts associations, iKANDE has afforded us much and we are thankful to be able to continue to share it,” states Damien.

Even though Damien has only operated iKANDE Advertising for five years in Delaware, many local businesses have supported and hired her and her team to help with their creative endeavors.

“I liked the way Damien asked many questions to learn what my business marketing needs were and who we were looking to attract to our hotels. She spent a great deal of time considering our needs as opposed to coming in with a set plan that was off the shelf and bland. She expressed immediate thoughts in our meeting about ideas that made sense and were exciting to think about developing and getting out to potential guests.”

~ Alex Moore. President and COO, Seaboard Hotels

See more customer testimonials here http://ikande.com/testimonials/

With continued growth and the expansion and addition of a full service printing company, there’s no slowing down for this boutique creative agency owner. She oversees all projects going through iKANDE, sits on the Bethany Beach Fenwick Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, serves as President of the Home Builders Association of Delaware Sales and Marketing Council, and sits on the Advisory Board for the Designers Roundtable. Mrs. Golden also presents educational workshops, speaks at industry conferences, and writes for industry publications.

For additional information, please contact Damien Golden 302-727-0071 or visit the new website at www.ikande.com

Photo: Damien Golden with client Susan Gardner, ESQ., Law Office of Susan Pittard Weidman

iKANDEinfographic

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