WASHINGTON, D.C. – Each spring the NAHB conducts its board of directors meetings here, where committee and sub-committee work gets done. I’ve been attending these meetings for 15 years. My focus is the NAHB Remodelers but occasionally I will venture into the activities of the larger association. This time, I poured a strong cup and plunked down in the Federal Government Affairs committee, hoping to glean news that might affect remodelers.

Instead of one or two relevant topics, I was met with a torrent of updates from their policy and lobbying staff that could and will adversely impact remodelers. In the committee, they call it the Lightening Round – quick updates on the ever-changing legislative and regulatory world. The topics ranged from worker-reclassification enforcement and new rules on overtime thresholds (see In Brief, page 8) to new health-care insurance burdens on employers and stepped up patent enforcement on home designs. Remodelers tend to be optimistic, but 90 minutes in this meeting would certainly leave most concerned, if not worried.

Incidentally, NARI officials also do a crack job of staying on top of these issues and deploying their lobbyist in Washington. The point is you really need an army of lobbyists these days to stay on top of the legislative and regulatory activities affecting small businesses. Lately we’ve been talking a lot about how best to comply with the RRP ‘Lead Paint’ rule. Also, as an industry, worker safety is a high priority. Yet violations are reported every day throughout the country.  It seems that OSHA, EPA and a number of other government agencies are stepping up their enforcement efforts. Regulatory enforcement is indeed a priority in Washington. The Obama Administration recently earmarked another $10 million in grants from unemployment insurance funds to increase enforcement of worker misclassification violations. 

In the end, enforcement of rules and regulations is a boost for qualified remodelers who play by the rules and who raised the level of professionalism in the industry. At the same time, it is the true remodeling professional who often bears the yoke of new regulatory schemes. Trunk slammers don’t care. They are on to the next job and the next town.

Qualified Remodeler editors are already at work on a package of stories for the October issue of the magazine that will assist remodelers in their efforts to comply with federal, state and local regulations. It is our answer to the reality of the ‘lightening round.’ The easier we help make it for you to deal with compliance, the more time you have for selling jobs, satisfying customers and delivering a quality experience and work product.

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