Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/340625
July 2014 | Construction Equipment Distribution | www.cedmag.com | 25 Sector Point of View 15 inches of snow and wind chills in the minus numbers. That had a very significant impact on both the psyche and the market, which translated into fewer permits and starts for our members. All in all, we are optimistic. But there is no question that we face headwinds, such as the availability of lots for our builders. As housing production dropped 80 percent from the highs of 2006, things weren't taken through the pipeline. No one was moving projects ahead through the land approval process. Now lots are a scarce commodity and it is a long process to secure those land entitlements. That is a head wind. CED: How about loans? Are banks opening their coffers to small (continued on next page) Constantly Monitoring What Burdens Small Business Giving back to his industry is why Kevin Kelly accepted the NAHB chairmanship; he's glad to be actively contributing to a trade association, which, like AED, serves as watchdog over regulatory and policy issues affecting many in the construction industry. In 1979, when Kevin Kelly joined Leon N. Weiner & Associates, which develops land and builds single and multifamily housing in Delaware, he soon learned about being a contributing member of the industry. "Leon hired me when I was in my 20s – a long time ago – and I quickly was infected with the notion that you have a responsibility to give back to the industry," he said. "That is a credo we follow. Leon was an NAHB president in 1967 and is regarded by some as one of the most influential, if not the most influential, homebuild- ers in the country. There is a bust of him in the NAHB center in Washington." Six past presidents of the Delaware Home Builders Association are present or former Weiner executives. So when it appeared he was in the running to become national NAHB chair- man, Kelly sat down with his Wiener associates before accepting the challenge. "I am very fortunate to have partners who said, yes, you ought to do this," he said. "We discussed what it would take to do this properly." It turns out that properly executing his NAHB responsibilities this year takes about 80 percent of Kelly's day. What is it the NAHB does that is significant for housing industry members? "Advocacy, certainly," he said. "Information we provide is invaluable on the regulatory front. We as an industry are touched every day at the local level, as well as in state and federal overlays. Since we are impacted at every step, it is necessary to protect and defend the industry at all those levels. "We estimate that last year we saved members some $6,300 per housing start by helping modify certain regulations and proposed codes, and defeating onerous regulatory or legal initiatives that would have added dramatically to the cost of a house. Those are the kinds of things we do on an ongoing basis." In the current session of Congress, NAHB testimony helped modify a flood insurance bill so that flood insurance rates rise at a reasonable rate rather than swamp homeowners. "I have friends who lost home sales because a home buyer would sign a contract indicating a flood insurance estimate of hundreds of dollars, and when the premium came in at $12,000, the home buyer just got up and walked away," Kelly said. "Helping modify that bill was an enormous victory for us." The flood insurance component is especially important to homeowners whose property is in the Midwest and other locales away from obvious river and coastal flood plains. Kelly was asked if there is anything NAHB is working on at present that is of special interest to construction equip- ment dealers. He suggested that many NAHB issues overlap the industry segments. "A lot of our members are developers who utilize heavy equipment on a daily basis," Kelly said. "We want to make them even busier than they want to be. To that end, we constantly strive for balanced economic and tax policies that will foster a sounder housing market. I suspect equipment dealers, like our members, typically are small businesses, and we are constantly monitoring laws and regulations that burden small businesses. "We were very outspoken about some requirements of the health care law," he says. "We were part of the coalition that limited participation to businesses with 50 or more employees. And we seek to have a regulatory structure and tax policies that will foster a strong and vibrant economy that cuts across all groups."