Home Building Issues Highlighted at Capital

Home Building Issues Highlighted at Capital

Not only are we in “pre-session” mode – analyzing bills for impact on the construction industry, working to get our priorities sponsored and filed, and meeting policymakers with construction concerns – home building issues are being highlighted at multiple venues. Here are three examples:

House Commerce Committee Tackles Root Causes of the Affordability Crisis

The House Commerce Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Mike La Rosa, conducted a panel discussion focusing on lowering the costs of construction through efficient and uniform building code enforcement. Of the ten panelists presenting at to the House Committee, three were active FHBA Members:

  • Brian Walsh, a member of the Polk County Builders Association and an active member of the FHBA Volume Builders Council;
  • Jeff Schnellman, a member of the Greater Orlando Builders Association and Chair of the FHBA Governmental Affairs Committee; and
  • Bill Truex, a member of the Charlotte Desoto Building Industry Association and FHBA President.

Some of the takeaways for policymakers included:

  • The use of private inspectors work in terms of efficiencies. However, in some cases costs escalate due to local governments requiring many privately inspected sites to be audited, local governments charge the full amount even though they are conducting less work on the site, and they employ other methods making the use of private providers less attractive;
  • Different jurisdictions interpret codes differently, which may result in construction delays and increasing the costs of homes;
  • Information required for permitting differs across jurisdictional lines as do the permit application forms, which results in increasing costs and time delays;
  • Impact fees, excessive permit fees, construction delays, workforce challenges, and local regulations create an environment hostile to the concept of affordable housing.

FHBA lobbyists continue working with Chair La Rosa encouraging the development of legislation addressing some of these topics. Stay tuned for more details as they become available. Thanks to all three FHBA members for traveling to Tallahassee and educating the Committee.

The CILB Explores Deregulation Options

Governor Ron DeSantis hosted an all-day “Florida Deregathon” on January 31, 2019, at Valencia College in Orlando. Each professional licensing board was tasked with recommending change to licensing laws that could reduce unnecessary barriers and create more employment opportunities. The Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) participated in the exercise and proffered the following recommendations:

  • Revise the contractor application to remove unnecessary questions;
  • Reduce the size of the licensing board;
  • Work on license reciprocity with other states;
  • Work to refine all contractor application requirements to reduce experience requirements while maintaining financial requirements;
  • Reduce costs of exam prep by eliminating some of the required textbooks for the licensing exam. Provide online resources or reduce required books;
  • Allow BCN graduates to apply for Division 1 licensure without passing the certified examination. Determine additional degrees that could qualify this exemption for all license types; and
  • Allow Division 2 to subcontract out work as long as they supervise contractors, i.e., eliminate Swimming Pool subcontractor specialty licensure.

These are just recommendations by the CLIB that will now go to DBPR and through additional processes to determine which, if any, of these recommendations will find their way into a legislative proposal. FHBA lobbyists will monitor the progress of these recommendations and work with FHBA Leadership to develop further where appropriate.

Governor DeSantis Recommends Full Funding for Sadowski

On Friday afternoon, February 1, 2019 Governor DeSantis released his first budget, delivering a campaign promise. Those of you who attended the FHB PAC Statewide Candidate Interviews recall when then Candidate DeSantis expressed support for Sadowski funding and his desire to fully fund the program. FHBA is pleased to report that Governor DeSantis translated support into action. His proposed budget fully funds the Sadowski affordable housing trust. Thank you Governor DeSantis!