April 2018

State Updates

MassDEP Commissioner Extends Wetlands Emergency Declaration Through May 2

Due to significant coastal storm damage as a result of recent winter storms, the MassDEP Commissioner has extended the duration of the March 2, 2018 Emergency Declaration for an additional 30 days (i.e., through May 2, 2018) for coastal communities. The Declaration authorizes specific activities in wetland resource areas, subject to specific MassDEP notification requirements, including: the removal of objects and debris including clearing of roadways; repair, stabilizing, shoring up (but not expanding) any structure, building or foundation; repair (but not expansion or re-alignment) of a roadway; repair of culverts; removal of objects and debris blocking culverts, streams or channels; repair of water and wastewater treatment plants; replacement of utility lines, poles and pipes; repair of stormwater structures; installation of temporary diversion structures; and the discharge of non-contaminated water from flooded buildings. For more information, see the March 5, 2018 MassDEP Guidance here , as well as the March 30, 2018 Extension Declaration here. We thank members of the HBRACC for bringing this matter to our attention so that the HBRAMA and others could act quickly to request the extension from the MassDEP.  

Baker-Polito Administration Files Legislation Mandating Home Energy Scorecards
On April 3, Governor Baker filed legislation designed to provide homeowners and prospective homebuyers with information about the anticipated energy efficiency characteristics of residences and recommended cost-effective energy efficiency improvements for one- to four-unit family homes. The proposed legislation, An Act Relative to Consumer Access to Residential Energy Information , would require a home energy scorecard and energy rating (prepared by qualified home energy assessors) be provided to homeowners as part of free residential energy efficiency assessments. After January 1, 2021, the legislation would mandate that home energy performance ratings be made available to potential homebuyers when one to four unit family homes are publicly listed for sale.   Click to see the Governor’s Office Press Release , a Question and Answer Brochure , and a detailed explanation of the legislation .

While our Association has been implementing energy efficiency measures for many years, the Association is cautious about the costs and other impacts (i.e., potential delays and costs related to real estate transactions) of the mandates in this proposed legislation, and if adopted, what might be proposed in the future.
BBRS Meeting To Discuss Construction Control and Multifamily Fires at April 10 Meeting  

The monthly meeting of the Mass. Board of Building Regulations and Standards is scheduled for April 10 to discuss a number of issues, including recent construction fires and NFPA 241 construction control related issues, as well as a review\vote request for interpretation of sprinklers in large, renovated (enlarged) single- or two family homes, exceeding 14,400 square feet. See the BBRS Agenda, minutes from prior meetings and other information on the BBRS website here .
Other News of Note

From the NAHB: Tariffs on Lumber Hurt U.S. Home Buyers

Record high lumber prices are harming home builders and home buyers. Since January of last year, rising lumber prices have increased the price of an average single-family home by $6,388. Much of these unprecedented price hikes are due to tariffs averaging more than 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber shipments into the U.S. The tariffs are acting as a tax on American home builders and home buyers, making housing less affordable for American families. This is why it is absolutely imperative that the Trump administration resumes talks with Canada 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. You can help by contacting your U.S. Representative and Senators and asking them to urge President Trump to re-start softwood trade negotiations with Canada.

Send a letter to your lawmaker by logging on to capitolconnect.com/builderlink . While it is important to find an equitable solution to the trade dispute more needs to be done. Since the U.S. imports roughly one-third of its lumber from Canada and does not have the capacity to meet demand, NAHB is also working with Congress and the administration to take steps to increase domestic lumber production. The recent spending bill approved by Congress includes several reform measures that would reduce the red tape that inhibits our nation’s forestry professionals from harvesting timber from federally-owned lands. NAHB will continue working on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber imports into the U.S. at a competitive price. See also, the recent Commentary from NAHB President, Randy Noel, here .
We would like to thank our volunteer members who take the time to serve on a subcommittee, testify before legislative committee, meet with individual legislators, meet with agency leaders, or who otherwise contribute their time to the many issues facing our industry. We also welcome new volunteers who do not have to be an expert in any one area, but who might be willing to learn and participate in one of the many Association efforts.  To find out how you might participate, please contact our State Executive Officer, Joe Landers, at jlanders@hbrama.com, or by phone at 617-773-3305, or GAC Chair, John Smolak at jsmolak@ smolakvaughan.com.  Volunteers are the lifeblood of our Association, so we are counting on you for your continued support. 

Many thanks to our volunteers working for your Association. Without your efforts, much of the progress we have made this year would not have been possible. We look forward to seeing you at the next Governmental Affairs Committee meeting on April 24.

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Marlborough, MA

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Member Resources
We have a new address:

Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Massachusetts, Inc.

465 Waverley Oaks Rd
Suite 421
Waltham, MA 02452
P: 617-773-3305
F: 781-647-7222
April Save the Date!
11 & 18 Central Mass: Construction Supervisor License

19 & 20 Western Mass: Construction Supervisor License

19 & 20 Northeast:

24: Government Affairs Committee Meeting

24: HBRAMA State Board of Directors Meeting