By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Supply Crucial

Adequate land supply is one of the greatest challenges to successfully implementing Maryland's smart growth program, said Chuck Ellison, a developer and home builder from McLean, Va., and the chair of the NAHB's Water Quality Effluent Limitation Guidelines Working Group.

Ellison, speaking at the 12th annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Baltimore on Oct. 12, noted that "it is becoming commonplace for builders in the D.C. area to look beyond Maryland and into Pennsylvania and West Virginia to find land."

Infill is another challenge. It allows for higher densities and thus more units on land parcels, "but local residents don't often like it," Ellison said.

Code Opposed

After participating in a multi-year effort to produce a single set of national model building codes that will ensure public health and safety while preserving housing affordability, the NAHB is urging regulators against adopting a competing code recently released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The NAHB recommended that its members and affiliated home builder associations oppose adoption of NFPA 5000 through a resolution ratified during its recent board of directors meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. NFPA 5000 competes directly with the international codes developed and maintained by the International Codes Council.

Condos Now?

California Governor Gray Davis signed landmark legislation overhauling construction dispute laws that had effectively lowered the number of attached housing units built. California legislators unanimously passed the bill.

Governor Gray Davis The bill, SB 800, puts in place building standards and procedures that should reduce construction defect lawsuits. It sets forth specific expectations on how new homes will be constructed, gives builders the right to fix any problems that develop before lawsuits can be filed, and protects homeowners by giving them recourse in the event real problems aren't addressed. The new legislation may prod builders back into building higher- density, attached housing, which could ease the state's chronic housing crisis, says John Firth of the California BIA.

Condo Rules

SB 800 includes the following key reforms:

  • Home builders have the right to repair a problem rather than just being the target of a lawsuit.

  • The statute defines how a newly built home should function, both setting a high standard of quality and guarding against frivolous lawsuits.

  • It assigns maintenance duties to homeowners and response and repair duties to home builders.

  • And, while it allows homeowners to take unresolved grievances to court, the bill creates opportunities for mediating disputes with home builders first as a way to limit lawsuits. Callback

    Last month we inadvertently misspelled acting president of the NAHB Research Center, Terre Belt's name. We apologize for the error.