Build ESL Skills The Home Builders Institute (HBI), the workforce development arm of the NAHB, has partnered with Retention Education to develop Sed de Saber—Home Builders Edition, an English as a second language (ESL) learning tool for the residential construction industry. The product costs $395 and is expected to ship in March 2007.

Sed de Saber features seven interactive books that use the world-renown LeapFrog Enterprises technology. At their own pace, and on their own time, users will learn more than 500 vocabulary words and more than 340 phrases specific to home building. The program takes about 16 weeks to complete and includes an assessment tool to gauge progression at set intervals. A team of home building industry subject matter experts is providing content to ensure the material is relevant, accurate, and true to the daily activities and interactions on the jobsite.

To learn more about Sed de Saber—Home Builders Edition, go to

Ditching a Rule The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to stop enforcing the so-called Philadelphia Ditch Rule, in which the Corps had asserted its jurisdiction to regulate common roadside ditches as “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. The NAHB, which filed suit in March to halt the practice, had argued that the Corps had issued the ditch rule without following appropriate administrative procedures for rule-making. In early August, at the Corps' request, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia entered an order sending the rule back to the agency for reconsideration.

Key Resource The NAHB has created a new, quarterly e-newsletter exclusively for consumers. NAHB HouseKeys will include helpful household hints and tips from builders, remodelers, and product manufacturers from across the country, as well as the latest in home building techniques, design concepts, and new ideas for houses, town-houses, condominiums, and apartments. There will also be industry news and trends from nationally syndicated columnists and noted authors.

In July's inaugural issue, the feature article is on how to choose a home builder and learning the pros and cons of the three main types of home builders: production, semicustom, and custom. Other articles cover kitchen makeovers, modular construction, and more.

For more information on NAHB HouseKeys, go to

Safe at Work Applications are now being accepted for a new award program—the Safety Award for Excellence (SAFE)—that recognizes home builders who develop outstanding jobsite safety programs. Fannie Mae is sponsoring the award in support of the NAHB's efforts to promote the use of best practices in the housing industry.

The SAFE program is open to all NAHB member companies in good standing that build residential homes or townhomes using light-construction methods. Specialty trade contractors, remodelers, and light-commercial and multifamily builders, as well as NAHB-affiliated associations and federal or state plan OSHA officials who have been nominated by an NAHB member or association, are all welcome to apply. Winners will be recognized during the 2007 International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Philadelphia, PA.