As my term as NAHB’s Chairman of the Board draws to a close, I’m proud to report that we made great progress in 2014 with significant legislative, regulatory, and legal victories that will help strengthen the housing market in the year ahead.
At all levels of the federation, we fought for two key pieces of legislation that ultimately became law. The Farm Bill allowed more than 900 communities nationwide to retain their status as “rural” areas where residents have access to important rural housing programs; the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act rolled back the costly consequences of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Members at the local and state levels initially brought both of these issues to our attention, and then worked closely with the national office to shepherd the bills through Congress.
Our members also engaged in coordinated grassroots efforts to support housing finance reform legislation and a bill to prevent expansion of federal authority under the Clean Water Act. Both bills gained traction and likely will be debated again in the 114th Congress.
In a victory for the NAHB, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA does not have the authority to require multifamily and commercial builders to obtain costly pre-construction permits for greenhouse gasses emitted from the buildings they construct.
The NAHB introduced new programs and services and improved existing ones in 2014. In March, we held our first in-district legislative conference, “Bringing Housing Home.” Because the House of Representatives was in recess during the spring board meeting, members met with their representatives in their home districts. It was a great success and laid the foundation for similar events in the future.
Our new website will be unveiled at the International Builders’ Show (IBS) this month and will provide current, relevant content on housing and the association. We also launched a news blog, NAHBNow.com, and a news digest, Housing Headlines, to give members the latest industry information.
Another item on deck is our new Field Representative Program, which will place staff experts in five regions across the U.S. to help HBAs and members better leverage NAHB’s offerings. We also implemented an orientation program for new association Executive Officers to familiarize them with NAHB’s many products and resources to help ensure members get full value from their membership.
The NAHB Board of Directors also voted to require only two board meetings per year starting in 2016, which will save the NAHB $1 million or more annually in the future.
2014 also marked the first time we co-located IBS with the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). Building on that success, we are now partnering with four shows: KBIS; Las Vegas Market; the International Surface Event; and the International Window Coverings Expo.
These are some examples of how NAHB members work together—and how the federation works for members—to create the best business environment for housing. I’ve enjoyed leading the NAHB through such an eventful, productive year. I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your chairman.