Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Modular Home Builders Association Has Your Back

While you are busy building homes, the Modular Home Builders Association (MHBA) has been plowing through countless pages of proposed new rules and regulations.  According to a recent survey by the National Small Business Association, the cost of dealing with federal regulations alone exceeds $12,000 annually for small business owners.  This includes time spent reviewing and understand the tax code, Affordable Health Care Act, and proposed overtime rules.  In addition to federal regulations, many modular homes builders and manufacturers find themselves spending even more time and money addressing state and local issues.  
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Did you know that just in the last thirty days while you were enjoying time with your family (at least we hope you were enjoying your time), there were over 10,000 bills introduced at the state level, 6,770 state level regulations introduced, 2,461 federal regulations introduced, and 516 new federal bills introduced – that’s nearly 20,000 new laws and rules proposed in thirty days alone!
In an effort to save modular companies time and money, MHBA has been reviewing these bills and regulations to determine the potential industry impact.   MHBA Director Tom Hardiman recently hosted a call with members to talk about those issues.  Here’s a summary of what was discussed:
California – A recent housing report posted on the Department of Housing and Community Development page shows a shortfall in the supply of homes of 100,000 annually for the next decade.  This shortfall, coupled with California’s requirement for net zero energy homes by 2020 will help drive market share growth and acceptance of modular homes.
Connecticut – 1,005 bills introduced so far.  67 pertaining to “transportation” but none of those are specific to expanding oversize shipment permits yet.  MHBA is working with lawmakers on a more comprehensive transportation bill this session.    
Florida – Florida is working on their 6th edition of Florida Building Code which is open for public comments now.  The Florida Building Commission meets on 2/7/17 to discuss proposed changes.
Georgia – Georgia Industrialized Building program meets in April to discuss containers and tiny homes. MHBA plans on attending.
Indiana – 1,172 bills introduced.  104 regulations introduced.  HB 1124 – requires disclosure of engineered lumber on building permit application.  MHBA will monitor this bill but does not think it will progress due to the added burden it imposes on local building officials.
Maryland – 207 bills introduced so far.  None impactful to industry.  157 regulations in last 30 days. None impactful.  MHBA is working with the Department on changes to their administrative processes to try to streamline the program and reduce time and money.
Massachusetts – 51 bills introduced so far.   107 regulations in the last 30 days.  None seem relevant. The 9th Edition of the building code will soon be available for public comment with complete re-write of modular program.  Draft available for review soon. Public hearings are tentatively set for March.  Several key changes are being considered to the program.  
New York – 4,591 bills introduced!  These include two companion bills similar to last year, establishing a mobile and manufactured home replacement program and providing state funding to replace dilapidated mobile homes with new mobile and modular homes. SB 1378 & AB 1124.  
Pennsylvania – 96 bills introduced.  118 state regulations in last 30 days.  None seem relevant.  The commercial modular program moving under the Department Community and Economic Development (DCED) in 2017.
Tiny Homes continue to gain in popularity and acceptance – a recent new California law applying to accessory dwelling units changes the requirement for tiny homes and should open the door for much greater acceptance.  AB 2299 eliminated many of the requirements for accessory dwelling units that prohibited greater use of tiny homes.  Several other cities and states are currently considering similar changes.

For more information or updates on these issues or in other states, email tom@modular.org

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