July 2014

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24 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | July 2014 A Closer Look Homebuilders and the construction industry in general are battling government overregulation at every level, unrealistic environmen- tal demands, and a genuine work- force crisis, says Kevin Kelly, 2014 chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. In a wide-ranging interview last month, Kelly said he is optimistic about the growth of the housing market this year and next, a confi- dence reflected in the latest survey of the housing industry. Yet Kelly says the "depression" the industry expe- rienced in the last few years left its mark on surviving companies, includ- ing Leon N. Weiner & Associates. Kelly is president of the Delaware contracting firm. He was interviewed the day after testifying before a House of Representatives committee on water resources and environment. A proposed rule would expand the authority of the EPA and the U.S. Corps of Engineers and, Kelly testified, "lead to increased litigation, permit requirements and lengthy delays for any business trying to comply." CED: At the end of the day, did you feel like anyone was really listening? Kelly: I will tell you that the very, very strong sentiment expressed on a bipartisan basis was that the proposed rule really needs to be scrapped. The overwhelming senti- ment from both sides of the aisle was that there are significant reservations about it. We support the principle and the premise articulated in the Clean Water Act. It served to improve the water quality throughout the country. But this rule goes so far beyond the pale of congressional intent that quite frankly we are at a loss to understand what the heck they were thinking. We were shocked, to put it simply. CED: Regarding the housing market, have we returned to a period of steady growth? Kelly: We have made progress. It is moderate, but we are moving forward. I keep reminding people where we were a couple of years back. We are projecting to go north of a million housing units this year, with 2015 significantly better than that. The first quarter of the year was a struggle because of winter weather. Some of us are not accustomed to 'As Housing Goes, So Goes the Nation' One-on-one with homebuilder Kevin Kelly, 2014 Chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders, who says level-headed and context-based policy on areas of mortgage, immigration and regulation is what will keep homebuild- ing strong and homes affordable. BY GILES LAMBERTSON

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