Home Built for the Future Will Save Energy, Withstand Climate Change and be Healthier

On a small plot of land near Long Island Sound, construction of The Next Great American Home is nearing completion, featuring energy-efficient and cost-effective construction that is meant to serve as a model for the future of home building in the United States.

Architect Leigh Overland designed the project, where he and his wife will live, to showcase the newest and most consumer-friendly construction techniques.

Progress on the house can be seen online, along with descriptions of methods and materials, and now you are invited to tour the site and view all details before sheetrock is installed.

The most obvious break from traditional construction is Overland’s use of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) instead of wood framing. In fact, now is the time for builders and architects to explore ICF construction. There is still a national lumber shortage for a variety of reasons: new safety protocols that slowed mill production, a spike in home remodeling, and a massive wildfire season.

ICF consists of hard-foam forms filled with concrete to create the exterior walls of the house. ICF cuts energy bills by up to 75%, and the accompanying air regulation system makes the building healthier by preventing entry to pollen and mold. The concrete walls make it stronger and quieter than a wood-frame home, as well as rot proof and much more fire resistant.

The home is located on Ash Creek in Fairfield, Connecticut, on a piece of property that would be unbuildable without the techniques being employed. The foundation is bound to the land with Helical anchors, with the first floor elevated above the flood plain to withstand even the most dangerous storms.

Overland, who has incorporated ICF into his work for the past nine years, was the architect for a Connecticut house featured in ABC’s “Extreme Home Makeover — Home Addition” in 2007.

He designed the Ash Creek home with many features to improve sustainability, including triple-paned tilt-turn windows from Europe and elements that withstand all types of weather.

Construction includes:

·         Lite Deck concrete floors

·         SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) roofing

·         Factory-made metal stud interior walls

·         In-floor radiant heat and cooling

Overland has created a community barn-raising atmosphere similar to his Makeover experience. More than 50 contractors and consultants agreed to work with him to construct the house and provide customized finishes and features. The goal for the team is to change the way homes are built by making replicable innovations available to the home-buying public and the construction industry.

“This project will offer a multilayered, sensory experience for everyone who visits the building site,” Overland said. “Every sense will be engaged, and it will enhance the experience of architecture that most buildings don’t have. We will demonstrate that thanks to its progressive preservation approach, this home will transform the way we build and interact with the environment.”

The Next Great American Home will be completed by May 2021.  To see the future of homebuilding, the media can schedule a private tour of the property.

To interview Leigh Overland, email him at Leigh@ldoverland.com, call him at 203-313-2943, or visit https://nextgreatamericanhomes.com/ or www.ldoverland.com.

New Home Sales Surge in July

New Home Sales Surge in July


New single-family home sales surged in July, as housing demand was supported by low interest rates, a renewed consumer focus on the importance of housing, and rising demand in lower-density markets like suburbs and exurbs.

Census and HUD estimated new home sales in July at a 901,000 seasonally adjusted annual pace, an approximate 14% gain over June and the strongest seasonally adjusted annual rate since the end of 2006. The April data (570,000 annualized pace) marks the low point of sales for the current recession. The April rate was 26% lower than the prior peak, pre-recession rate set in January.

The gains for new home sales are consistent with the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI, which equaled a data series high in August, demonstrating that housing is the leading sector for the economy. Consider that despite double-digit unemployment, new home sales are estimated to be 8% higher for the first seven months of 2020 compared to the first seven months of 2019.

Sales-adjusted inventory levels declined again, falling to a just a 4 months’ supply in July, the lowest since 2013. This factor points to additional construction gains ahead. The count of completed, ready-to-occupy new homes is just 61,000 homes nationwide. Total inventory declined almost 9% year-over-year, with inventory down to 299,000.

Moreover, sales are increasingly coming from homes that have not started construction, with that count up 34% year-over-year. In contrast, sales of completed, ready-to-occupy homes are down almost 24%. These measures point to continued gains for single-family construction ahead.

Thus far in 2020, new home sales are higher in all regions. Sales on a year-to-date basis are 5% higher in the South, 9% in the West, 20% in the Midwest, and 22% higher in the Northeast.

Read More

The Time Thieves

The Time Thieves By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

You have 24 hours in every day, seven days a week for a total of 168 hours to accomplish what needs to be done in your life. And every day, eleven time thieves gang up on you and work to take some of that precious time away from productive use. Let me introduce you to this inconsiderate troupe.

  1. Poor planning. People don’t plan to fail but a lot of people fail to plan. Without a plan of action set up before your day begins you are likely to get caught up in “stuff”, responding the loudest voice that gets your time and attention. Will you have been productive for the day? Sure, but not as productive as you might have been.
  2. Crisis management. When a deadline sneaks up on you it robs you of all choice and you are controlled by the clock. Crisis management, for the most part, is poor time management because you’re rushed and stressed, letting things slip through the cracks and often having to go back and redo what was not done well in the first place. Most of what puts you into crisis management is within your control, you probably could have seen it coming.
  3. Procrastination. All the planning in the world does not substitute for the doing. Many find that they just can’t get going on the things that will make a big difference in their success. They have “permanent potential”. First thing in your day, get going on the most difficult tasks and get them out of the way.
  4. Interruptions. Unanticipated events coming your way, in person or electronically, can steal your time away. Many interruptions are necessary and part of what you get paid for. However, many are unnecessary thieves of your time. Be less willing to automatically give away your time just because they demand it. Rather, determine whether or not they deserve it in the context of what you need to accomplish.
  5. Not delegating. “If you want a job done well you better do it yourself.” What a thief! Look at everything you have to do and ask, “Is this the best use of my time?” If it is, do it. If not, delegate it. There’s a world of difference between “I do it” and “It gets done.” Leverage your time through others and don’t allow the things that can be delegated to steal your time.
  6. Unnecessary meetings. If two or more people get together and nothing productive comes of the time spent together, that meeting was unnecessary and, sadly, most meetings are time thieves. Before meeting ask, “Is it really necessary?” If it is, then meet but take action as a result of the meeting and not let it be a time bandit.
  7. The “shuffling blues”. Many people manage their time through piles. Piles of paper on their desk. Piles of “to be read” emails on their computer and lots of “to be heard” voicemails stored away. The piles require frequent review creating the shuffling blues which surrenders valuable time. Keep a clean work environment. When encountering something new, schedule it to your day planner under the day you plan to tackle it and then put it away so you are out of piling up the shuffling blues.
  8. Poor physical setup. Not having the things you need the most often within arm’s reach can cause you to waste a lot of time wearing out the carpet retrieving what you frequently need. And of course, as you pass others they will often pull you aside to steal some of your time. Have the most needed stuff near by, within arm’s reach and save that stolen time.
  9. Poor networking. Quality relationships with others can be a huge time saver as they open doors for you with all kinds of opportunities. Failing to develop a good network base will cause you to waste time creating what you might have had through your network of contacts. Be a good networker. Help them whenever possible. You want a friend? You have to be a friend.
  10. Bad attitude. Nothing sinks a day more effectively than having a poor attitude. It causes you to dwell on the problems and not the solutions and makes it possible to throw the day away. When you are burdening others with your problems and complaints you are stealing your time and theirs. And the truth is that when you complain to others, 85% of them generally don’t care and the other 15% may actually be glad it’s happening to you.
  11. Negative people. Some people are the life of the party and some people are the death of the party. The problem with having negative people around you is you wind up spending a lot of your time listening to their complaints rather than focusing on your success.

Arrest each of these time thieves. Sentence them to solitary confinement and re-claim your productive time. You deserve it.

Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

Certified Executive Coach
Author, "Organizing Your Life" and "The Productivity Handbook"
Productivity Institute
Time Management Seminars
127 Jefferson St.
Stratford, CT 06615
(203) 386-8062
(800) 969-3773
Follow me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/timemanagement
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/timeguy


By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

As a full-time Certified Contractor Business Coach for the last twenty-five years, I have been asked so many times, “How much does your training cost?” I have learned to reply, “Would “no charge” be too much?”

Training is not a cost. It’s an investment. It really doesn’t matter what we pay for an investment. What’s relevant is what we get in return. One of the best ways to jeopardize a company’s future in today’s world and increase the probability of troubled times is to look at training as a cost and pay the price of not training or provide substandard training that operates only as a Band-Aid for the training requirements. The most expensive training is often for the lowest bidder that does not deliver training that helps people to make changes to give an adequate return on the training dollars spent. Ineffective, inexperienced training at any cost is not a bargain.

It’s a simple principle. An organization’s staff is where they are currently, in terms of competence and success, in direct relationship to what they know and how well they apply what they know. The more we learn and the more we apply what we learn, the greater our success and thereby, the company’s success will been.

Some like to quantify the results from training. Here’s a good example. A person being paid $50,000 per year who is wasting just one hour per day is costing the company $6,250 per year (excluding benefits, overhead, opportunity costs, etc.). If that person can learn how to re-capture just one productive hour per day, that translates into a payback to the organization of $6,250 per year. If there is a crew of 25 people involved in the same training and they all receive a similar benefit, the return to the organization is $156,250 per year. (And this does not include other benefits to the organization such as profitability, reduced turnover, improved morale, enhanced teamwork, better customer service, greater creativity, etc.) Over five years, the payback is $781,250. What should an organization invest to achieve that return and payback?

Many find it difficult to get the time for training. This is another false economy. (They are so busy doing it the wrong way that they cannot take out a little time to figure out how to do it the right way.) When someone says they cannot afford to take time to go to training I know they are looking at that training as an “expense” and not as an “investment”.

Not so many years ago, training, beyond showing employees the basics of doing their job, was an option for most organizations. Today it is no longer an option. If any of us continues to do what we do the same way, without improvement, within five years many of us and our companies might become obsolete. Why? Because our competitors are helping their people to become more effective through training. If we look closely at the GC’s and Subs that are doing well in the long run, they almost always have in place a well thought out and executed training program for their people. They understand that the price for not training is the real expense of training.

Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
Certified Contractor Business Coach
Productivity Institute
127 Jefferson St.
Stratford, CT 06615
(203) 386-8062
(800) 969-3773

Email: ctsem@msn.com

Visit Our Time Management Supersite: http://www.balancetime.com

Follow me on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/timeguy

Follow me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/timemanagement Copyright 2019

One More Hour Per Day

One More Hour Per Day

By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

We all have 24 hours in our day, 7 days per week. And if you multiply that out, and my math is correct (I think it is because I’ve done the calculation a few times before!), that totals 168 hours per week.

No more. No less.

And the truth about time is that it can only be spent. It cannot be saved. (Did you ever have any time left over on a Sunday that you were able to use the following week?) And there’s only two ways to spend our time; wisely, or, not so wisely.

Our time is spent on “have to’s” and “want to’s.” Our time, like our money, can either be “spent” and it’s gone, or “invested,” and like seeds in the ground, will return abundance back to us in the future. Good Time Management is budgeting some of our time for “investing,” learning how to do it better and more effectively. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.”

It’s a good goal to improve on the entire twenty-four hours in our day, but just for now, think about improving on just one hour per day. If we can gain one additional hour per day either by doing what we already do, but do it more effectively or do something new, the payback will be enormous as we enjoy the “multiplier effect” of that savings.

A person making $50,000 per year who is wasting just one hour per day, five hours per week, or 250 hours per year, is creating a minimum loss of productivity valued at $6,250 per year. To be able to recapture that time and use it more effectively creates an annual return of 250 more productive hours or over 6 “free” workweeks during the next year.

“A problem well defined is 95% solved.” To recover some of your lost time, you need to know where your time is going. I recommend preparing a Time Log. Nothing fancy about this, just take a pad of paper and make a heading, “Time Log.” As you complete each major task or spend a chunk of time, log it in on your list. Note the date and time, what you did, the length of time it took, and the rating: A=Crucial, B=Important, C=Little Value and D=No Value.

Run this for 3-5 days, as a shorter period may give you a distorted sense of what is really happening. Then analyze the results and almost always we will find chunks of time wasters that you can control and reduce. Your savings may come from reducing unnecessary meetings, delegating more effectively, reducing interruptions, planning better, etc.

Would you like to receive free Timely Time Management Tips on a regular basis to increase your personal productivity and get more out of every day? Sign up for your free “Timely Time Management Tips” newsletter at our website: https://www.balancetime.com

Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

Certified Executive Coach, Consultant and Trainer
Author, “Organizing Your Life” and “The Productivity Handbook”
Productivity Institute
Personal Productivity Solutions to Leverage Your Impact
127 Jefferson St.
Stratford, CT 06615
(203) 386-8062
(800) 969-3773
Follow me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/timemanagement
Follow me on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/timeguy

Copyright 2018

HBRA Legislative Alerts

Legislative News and Alerts

If you don’t know who your State Representative or State Senator are, please click the link above.

For the latest in Connecticut news visit Capitol Report

News About Pending Legislation


SB 904: An Act Requiring the Commissioner of Revenue Services to Establish a First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Program and Establishing a Tax Deduction for Contributions to First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account

To require the Commissioner of Revenue Services to establish a first-time homebuyer savings account program and establish a tax deduction for contributions to first-time homebuyer savings accounts.

HB 5254: An Act Establishing A Pilot Program Authorizing Municipalities to Impose A Buyer’s Conveyance Fee on Real Property to Fund the Purchase and Stewardship of Open Space

To enable municipalities such as Bolton, Bozrah, Bloomfield, Bethany, Coventry, Hartford, Lyme, New London, Norfolk, North Stonington and Warren to impose a conveyance tax on certain real property sales in order to generate funds for the preservation of open space.

HB 7369: An Act Concerning Affordable Housing Technical Assistance for Towns

To require regional councils of government to develop guidelines for their member municipality regarding affordable housing and identify resources available to municipalities in the adoption of their individual affordable housing plans.

HB 7366: Incentives for Energy Efficient Construction

To provide a state income tax credit for purchasers of certain energy-efficient homes.

SB 1071: Age in Place Incentives

To provide a state income tax credit to taxpayers who incur costs retrofitting a residence for purposes of allowing an individual to age in place.

HB 6749: An Act to Reorganize the Zoning Enabling Act and to Promote Municipal Compliance

To enable zoning commissions and lay people to more easily understand the requirements of section 8-2 of the general statutes and provide an administrative mechanism to promote municipal compliance with said section.

HB 6646: An Act Establishing An Infrastructure Bank

Lawmakers must hear directly from you. Tell them Connecticut small businesses simply cannot afford paid FMLA and ask them to support exempting the state’s small businesses from these bills.

If enacted, this bill would create a surcharge of not less than one mill per kilowatt hour on each end user of electric services in this state to be used to fund a new Environmental Infrastructure Bank

SB 1062: An Act Authorizing Municipal Climate Change and Coastal Resiliency

If enacted, this bill would allow municipalities to institute a new tax for the purpose of establishing and funding a climate change and coastal resiliency reserve that can be used to fund payments for property losses and land acquisitions due to climate change

SB 1071: An Act Concerning Aging In Place Incentives

This bill which was developed by the HBRACT would provide for a $5000 income tax credit to qualified individuals who retrofit their homes for the purposes of aging in place

HB 7277: An Act Concerning the Creation of Land Bank Authoritie

If enacted, this bill would allow municipalities to establish land banks for the purpose of acquiring, maintaining or disposing of blighted and/or abandoned properties

HB 7366: An Act Concerning Incentives for Energy Efficient Construction

If passed, this bill will allow for a one-time income tax credit of up to $5000 for the purchase of a newly constructed home with a HERS rating of 60 or better.

SB 1070: An Act Concerning Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship

If enacted, this bill would provide for court-appointed conservators to bring blighted and abandoned residential, commercial and industrial buildings into municipal code compliance when owners fail to comply.

Senate Bill 1013: An Act Concerning Sewage Disposal Systems and Alternative Sewage Treatment Systems

To (1) increase, from a maximum capacity of seven thousand five hundred gallons per day to a maximum capacity of ten thousand gallons per day, the size of certain subsurface sewage disposal systems and alternative on-site sewage treatment systems over which the Department of Public Health has jurisdiction, and (2) no longer constrain by available appropriations the duty of the Commissioner of Public Health to regulate certain aspects of alternative on-site sewage treatment systems.

HBRA submitted testimony in favor of this bill. Read more here.

HB 7366- Incentives for Energy-Efficient Construction

If enacted, this bill would provide a one time tax credit of $2500 (single filers) or $5000 (joint filers) to Connecticut residents that purchase a newly constructed home with a Home Energy Rating (HERS) of 60 or better, for taxable years starting 2019 through 2022.

Testimony submitted by the HBRA and several builders. Read more here.

Testimony in Opposition to Senate Bill No. 877: An Act Concerning Revenue Items to Implement the Governor’s Budget

March 15, 2019 Specifically, the HBRA-CT finds the following provisions to be particularly onerous and asks they be rejected by the Finance Committee:

• Expansion of the sales tax to include services to buildings and dwellings including, but not limited to, maintenance, repair, renovation, exterior cleaning, chimney cleaning, driveway cleaning, duct cleaning, drain or gutter cleaning, refuse collection, snow plowing and all other such services.

• Expansion of the sales tax to also encompass estate and broker services, legal services, architectural services, engineering services, interior design services, waste management and remediation services and more.

• Lastly, the increase of existing conveyance tax on real property from 1.25% to 1.50% on the cost of a home in excess of $800,000.00.

Expansion of the sales tax on services pertaining to home renovation and repair is bad public policy. Read the entire testimony here.

SB 1071: An Act Concerning Aging In Place Incentives

If passed, this bill would provide a tax credit to any individual with a household income of no more than $150,000. It would provide a tax credit against personal income for the cost to retrofit a home or up to $5000, which ever is less. This credit is made available for taxable years 2020 through 2025. And retrofit is defined as any of the following:

  • any change the health, safety and welfare of a qualified individual
  • increases the visitability of a residence
  • increases greater access and independence
  • is required due to illness, impairment or disability
  • allows an individual to age in place

SB 771: An Act Adding Requirements for Electric Vehicle Charging Parking Space to the State Building Code.

February 14, 2019

Jim Perras testifies against SB 771

"While the HBRA-CT applauds and the intention of this legislation to encourage energy conservation through the use of electric vehicles, we respectfully request that the Public Safety Committee oppose SB 771 as its unintended negative consequence would far outweigh its benefit..." Read the rest of his testimony here. 

This legislation was proposed by Senator Gary Winfield of New Haven and West Haven.

HB 6756: An Act Concerning Open Space Preservation in Cluster Developments

February 13, 2019

CT State HBRA Board Member & Builder, Tony Denorfia, testifies in opposition to HB 6756

"My opposition is based on my experience as a builder developer since 1981 having constructed numerous projects in the Central Connecticut area, and also being a practicing attorney since 1978 primarily in the area of land use and real estate... " Read his testimony here.

Read Jim Perras testimony here.

This legislation was proposed by Rep. David Michel, Rep. Josh Elliott, and Rep Tom Arnone.

HB 5254 : An Act Establishing A Pilot Program Authorizing Municipalities to Impose A Buyer’s Conveyance Fee on Real Property to Fund the Purchase and Stewardship of Open Space

February 5, 2019

CT CEO Jim Perras testimony: "Land conservation is a laudable goal. The benefits of which are enjoyed by our entire state. Therefore, it is only appropriate that the cost of such benefit be spread evenly across our state as well. Municipal or state bonding is a much more fair and equitable method by which to acquire open space. A small minority of land owners should not be made to shoulder the cost of preservation to the benefit of everyone else." Read the rest of his testimony here.

Hartford Courant: New real estate fee proposed to fund open space

This legislation was proposed by Rep. Josh Hampton of Simsbury, Rep. Joseph Gresko of Stratford and Rep. Josh Elliott of Hamden.

Industry News from the Capitol


A Message from CT REALTORS® and the CT Homebuilders & Remodelers on the “Mansion Tax”

Dear Legislator:

Recent media reports have indicated the tentative framework of the proposed budget includes a so-called “mansion
tax”, an additional statewide conveyance tax on homes selling at or over $2.5 million.
Connecticut’s real estate market remains extremely fragile with exceedingly slow sales at the upper end of the
market. Many selling their homes have little to no equity so any additional burden will make it more difficult for
sellers to be able to afford to sell their homes.

Reports from OPM confirm that Connecticut is experiencing the lowest home price appreciation in the country – with
less than 1% growth over more than a decade.

The proposal will add to the crush on our home values as increases in real estate transactional costs drive down sales,
prices and home equity.

Those who may otherwise consider moving up or moving down to other properties in Connecticut may find those
added costs are the last straw in their consideration of a move. Every move in real estate generates money
throughout the Connecticut economy – and every move that doesn’t occur further slows economic growth.
Connecticut REALTORS® (CTR) conducted a survey of the public in February 2019 which indicated nearly half of
Connecticut residents plan to leave the state. The top reasons for plans to move included high property taxes (33%),
high income taxes (29%) and high estate taxes (9%).

CTR President Dan Keune relays, “We appreciate the efforts being made to keep wealth in our state and balance our
state budget. The State needs to minimize the impact that out-migration has been having on everything from payroll
income to charitable giving, to property taxes, to local spending. A ‘mansion tax’ sends another negative message
about living, buying and working in Connecticut.”

The Home Builders & Remodelers of CT share similar concerns. HBRA of CT President Chris Nelson explains,
"The Connecticut residential construction industry has never recovered from the Great Recession and a ‘mansion tax’
will only serve to exacerbate this trend, especially for our developers in Fairfield County and shoreline communities
who may only build one or two of these high-end homes a year. The Home Builders & Remodelers Association of
Connecticut urges the legislature to please consider spending cuts, the use of the Rainy Day Fund or a combination
thereof, in lieu of a conveyance tax that would negatively impact our already distressed industry."
Thank you for your consideration in not including any new or expanded real estate taxes in the budget, including an
expanded “mansion tax”.

Read More 

CBIA Legislative Alert

Lawmakers could vote at any time on a new state budget and tax package that reportedly includes a $53 million income tax hike on most small businesses.

Last year, the legislature implemented a new tax on pass-through entities (LLCs, LLPs, partnerships, sole proprietorships, S Corps) with an offsetting income tax credit to mitigate federal caps on state and local tax deductions.

However, that program—meant to support Connecticut small businesses—is now being targeted as a new source of revenue to help fund ever increasing state spending.

Please contact your state legislators immediately.

Ask them—where are the spending cuts? Why are they targeting Connecticut small businesses?

And tell them to oppose any additional burdens on small businesses, the engine for job growth in Connecticut.

Not all Builder & Trade Associations Endorse Tolls: an op-ed by Chris Nelson, President of the HBRA of CT

Paid Family Medical Leave Act – Make Your Voice Heard

State lawmakers will soon act on legislation mandating 12-14 weeks annual paid leave at 100% of salary, capped at $1,000 weekly, for all private sector workers in Connecticut. Employers will shoulder additional administrative burdens involved with juggling new workforce demands to accommodate employees on leave while continuing to provide non-wage benefits for employees absent for up to three months annually. Connecticut’s proposed leave benefits are far richer than those in neighboring states, while the eligibility threshold is low.

Act now and make your voice heard!

New Laws Go Into Effect January 1

December 27, 2018

Several new state laws go into effect Jan. 1, including one that affects all employers with regard to hiring practices.

Under Public Act No. 18-8, employers are prohibited from inquiring, or directing a third party to inquire, about a prospective employee’s wage or salary history beginning Jan. 1. A prospective employee may, however, volunteer to provide such information.

Nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

August 30, 2018

NAHB supports President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court because of his extensive record as a highly qualified, principled and fair jurist. In the past 12 years serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh established a strong record of curbing regulatory overreach. During this time, he was involved in eight cases in which NAHB was a petitioner, appellant or amicus. While not always siding with NAHB’s position, Kavanaugh has consistently viewed agency rulemakings with a healthy dose of skepticism. For example, NAHB was a petitioner in Coalition for Responsible Regulation et al v. EPA, challenging EPA’s attempt to apply an onerous Clean Air Act permitting program to millions of new sources, including some multifamily buildings. A three-judge panel at the D.C. Circuit upheld EPA’s regulation, and the full D.C. Circuit did as well – except for Judge Kavanaugh. Ultimately, NAHB and its industry coalition took this case to the Supreme Court, which overturned EPA’s regulation for exceeding its statutory authority, just as Kavanaugh had forecast when he declined to go along with the D.C. Circuit’s full court ruling.

Learn more about Kavanaugh’s experience on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in the Senate is set to begin on Sept. 4. Contact your senators now and urge them to support his nomination.

Click here to contact your Senators!

CT Housing Starts

August 20, 2018

While the rest of the nation sees economic recovery and housing booms, Connecticut continues to struggle evidenced by the charts below. Fairfield County’s 23 towns seem to fair well compared to the rest of the state but while other states are seeing record high permit numbers Connecticut has yet to bounce back. Connecticut’s taxes keep going up, the budget deficit is growing and each year it gets harder to do business here, more expensive to live here and exceedingly difficult to retire here.

For many people, owning a home is part of their American Dream.  Homeownership builds stronger communities, provides a solid foundation for family and improves the quality of life for millions of people. It is truly the cornerstone of the American way of life. A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger economy. Home building increases the property tax base that supports local schools and communities.

Fully 15 percent of the U.S. economy relies on housing. Constructing 100 new single-family homes creates 297 full-time jobs, $28 million in wage and business income and $11.1 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. We must continue to advocate for pro-business candidates in Hartford to help get our state back on track.

  • 1,423 permits have been pulled in Connecticut through April 2018 (data not yet available through June)
  • Fairfield County towns report 514 permits through June of 2018
    • Greenwich shows the strongest activity with 83 permits followed by Westport with 65 and Stamford with 5

July 26, 2018

House GOP petitions to keep tolls debate going strong, CT Mirror

Minority Republicans in the House of Representatives are trying to petition the legislature into special session to block a planned study of electronic tolling — a move that may have greater implications for the fall election season than for the tolls analysis. Read more…

July 25, 2018

Bond Commission Approves $10 million for Electronic Tolls Study, CT Mirror

The State Bond Commission approved $10 million in financing Wednesday for an analysis of establishing electronic tolling on most Connecticut highways.  After a nearly hour-long debate, the 10-member commission voted 6-3, with one abstention, to approve the funding proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.  Read more…

May 22, 2018

Great news! The proposed mandate to include fire sprinklers in townhomes was unanimously rejected this morning. The Regulations Review Committee adopted new codes without this extra burden on home builders.

Thanks to the lobbying efforts of our CT HBRA CEO, Bill Ethier, and the countless members statewide who made phone calls, sent emails and showed up in person, we were successful in defeating this costly mandate which was expected to add $10,000 to the cost of a new town home.

Keep in mind that when you become a member of the HBRA of Fairfield County, you also become a member of the state HBRA, which lobbies on your behalf, as well as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

We are lucky to have Greg Ugalde, a Connecticut Builder and member of Central CT HBRA, serving as the 1st Vice President of the NAHB Board. Today, he and past CT HBRA President, Norton Wheeler, and Chairman of the NAHB Board, Randy Noel, among others, met with Vice President Pence to discuss issues of importance: lumber tariffs, labor and land use regulations.

Nort reported that the Vice President is very appreciative of our industry and understands the impact building has on our nation’s economy. The lumber tariff and rewrite of NAFTA is going to take some time but it is a priority for this administration.

They also heard from White House staff on workforce development as well as the continued success of the administration to roll back overreaching regulations. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the Dodd Frank Regulatory Relief Act today. It does not repeal the act but it does loosen the regulations on community banks which should help builders gain project funding the old fashioned way, through our community banks.

It’s critical we remain in contact with our legislators at the local, state and federal level to ensure the voice of our industry is heard.

April 24, 2018

Aresimowicz promises House vote on tolls:

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said Tuesday he intends to call a vote next week on legislation making an initial commitment to implementing electronic highway tolls, despite Republican opposition that could brand Democrats as the party of tolls. Read more

April 19, 2018

How was your drive into work this morning? Are you sending crews out to job sites or to client’s offices? What if it cost you to get to and from work every day, never mind the driving you and your employees do in-between?

You may have heard that the Connecticut Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee passed a bill in support of the implementation of tolls in Connecticut. The vote tally can be viewed here. Now that they have voted it out of committee, the Speaker of the House indicated he would call it for a vote on the House floor before the legislative session ends on May 9th. What does this mean for you?

The bill would give the Department of Transportation the authority to install tolls throughout the state. Contrary to public perception, it is illegal in Connecticut to place tolls only on the borders.

One study suggested putting up electronic toll gantries at 12 places along I-95 between New Haven and the New York line, with ten tolling spots along the Merritt Parkway. At 50 cents per station on I-95, a one-way, peak hour trip from New Haven to New York would cost a driver $6.

The Connecticut Transportation Finance Panel estimates it will cost $373 million to install the tolls, and that does not include the environmental impact studies, and studies of traffic diversion and economic impacts.

Another study said that 71% of the toll revenue would come from residents while only 29% would come from out of state drivers. Undoubtedly, the cost of doing business will go up and this legislation will have a direct impact on Fairfield County. It’s unclear the final package the legislature will be voting on at this time, but it’s imperative lawmakers understand how their constituents feel.

Call or write your legislator and let them know how you feel about tolls. It is critical they hear from you now before they cast a vote.

April 9, 2018

“The Appropriations Committee failed to meet its deadline to recommend spending adjustments. The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee offered a host of ideas that collectively would deepen the hole in the next budget — already at $265 million — by at least another $130 million. Malloy also has been waiting since early December for legislators to close a deficit hovering near $200 million in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.”  Read more here. 

The Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee passed a bill in support of implementing tolls in Connecticut. The vote tally can be viewed here. A State Representative from Trumbull & Fairfield articulates the very real and negative impact it would have on Fairfield County. Click to watch her remarks. 

April 2, 2018:

Tuesday, April 3 is Industry Day at the Capitol. Bill Ethier, the State HBRA Executive Officer will provide a briefing on important legislation impacting our industry. Information on these important issues are below. We hope if you cannot attend on April 3, you will reach out to your legislators. For help contacting them, please email or call us!


Support SB 274 : To Prevent Increased Assessments on Homes Under Construction

Support HB 5045: Accountability for Fair & Affordable Housing Through Zoning

Oppose the Inclusionary Zoning Mandate on Multifamily Builders

Oppose SB 342: Severe Restrictions on AT Wastewater Systems

March 4, 2018 Update:

CT Housing Permits Issued 1980-2017: This graph clearly shows how we have yet to climb out of our decades-long housing recession.

It’s more important now than ever before to develop relationships with your legislators and explain how certain laws and regulations are negatively impacting our industry. See below for more information.

The Connecticut legislative session is underway and there are many major issues going through the committee process. We need your help contacting your legislators on issues that affect our industry and your businesses. It will only take a few minutes of your time.

Click here to read about our major bills.  


SB 274: An act concerning the assessment of municipal taxes on certain residential dwellings

Monday, March 5, there will be a public hearing on SB 274, our proposal to exempt homes under construction from higher tax assessments and the local property tax.

Under the bill, higher assessments would occur at the earliest of three triggers:
1) Issuance of a C.O.
2) Transfer of a deed to a buyer, or
3) Actual use as a residence

How can your input be heard? Your voice WILL make a difference and it only takes a few moments. Make phone calls and/or send emails today!

To take action on our proposal to exempt homes, under construction from higher tax assessments and the local property tax, contact the legislators who serve on the Planning & Development Committee.

The contact list with phone and emails for the committee is here. 

For more information on why we support the bill, read our talking points.


Governor Malloy’s budget proposal earlier this month included a series of new taxes and fees as a means of closing Connecticut’s $245 million budget deficit.

The governor’s proposed taxes and fees were submitted to the General Assembly in a bill titled SB 10. The bill includes:

  1. A hike in the tax on real estate conveyances from .75 to .85, and 1.25 to 1.4 percent.
  2. Installing tolls on Connecticut highways. Contrary to popular belief, these will not be installed on the borders, but rather throughout the state.  Read why here.
  3. A new tax on nonprescription drugs and medicines.
  4. A new CT Tire Tax of $3 per tire.
  5. 7 cent increase in the gas tax to be phased in between 2019-2022. Unfortunately Connecticut already has the 6th highest gas taxes in the nation
  6. A penalty on businesses by maintaining a temporary surcharge on the corporation tax that was due to expire June 30.
  7. The elimination of the $500 credit on the income tax for recent college graduates who earn a degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math field.

Write an email to: FINtestimony@cga.ct.gov with a subject line “SB10” and CC: your legislator on the email. (Look up your legislator here).

  1. Your testimony can be 1 sentence or multiple paragraphs
  2. Speak from your experiences
  3. Sign your name, town of residence and we encourage you to mention you are a member of the HBRA of Fairfield County

Thank you for taking a few minutes to advocate on behalf of our industry. Any questions or concerns call Jackie at 203.335.7008 or email at Jackie@buildfairfieldcounty.com.

Rising Incomes Boost Housing Affordability in First Quarter of 2018

Strong wage growth more than offset an increase in mortgage interest rates to boost nationwide housing affordability in the first quarter of 2018, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today.

In all, 61.6 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $71,900. This is up from the 59.6 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.

Read More

Connecticut’s Home Building Industry Lost Ground Again In 2017

Connecticut’s home-building industry — still struggling to recover from the last recession — lost more ground in 2017, a new report shows, logging a double-digit, year-over-year decline in new construction.

The number of permits issued by towns and cities for single-family houses, condominiums and apartment units fell 17.4 percent in 2017, to 4,547, compared with 5,504 the previous year, according to U.S. Census data released by the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

Read More

International Builders’ Show Diversifying the Industry’s Workforce to Address the Labor Shortage

As the residential construction industry continues to grapple with a severe labor shortage, one solution is clear to many industry leaders.

“You have a potential labor force that is underutilized – women,” said NAHB’s former Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council Chair Juli Bacon during a roundtable discussion at the 2018 International Builders’ Show in Orlando.

Diversifying the Industry’s Workforce to Address the Labor Shortage