As members of the BIA www.BIASC.org, we do our best to stay up to speed on the various challenges our builder clients face when it comes to developing attainable, desirable, and sustainable communities in the regions we operate. One of the greatest and most consistent challenges they seem to face is the habit that some state and local officials have with regard to adding new costs to their operating budgets and finding creative ways to pass those costs on to home builders. What many of these officials fail to realize, is that when they impose new fees on a builder, at some point the builder can no longer absorb those costs which leads to it ultimately being passed on to who? The buyer. That’s me. That’s you. That’s your friend, your son, your daughter, mom, dad, aging grandparents etc. The cumulative effect of these fees can become so high, that many potential buyers are simply priced out of the market altogether. Take California for instance where our office is located. Here, only 31% of our states population can afford to buy a home. For those of us who can still afford to buy a home, we see more of our hard earned income going toward the cost of housing, leaving less available for all the other things we want to enjoy. Less available for retirement accounts, personal savings, kids college funds, weekend activities, and the more basic needs of food, clothing and transportation.
From our experience, home builders recognize the need to pay their fair share in fees to help provide funds for new infrastructure and parks that help support the population growth from their new communities. Unfortunately, in many cases, our industry is seeing additional costs outside of this reasonable scope. These costs are often generated by well meaning, government officials who simply lack the expertise and knowledge of the building industry to fully analyze the extent of the implications their propositions have on both the collective economic condition of our region and the individual citizens they are elected to serve.
To find the best solutions, it is always wise to engage those who are most closely integrated with the problem. As engineers, if we see a problem with a proposed window opening for instance, we don’t just arbitrarily make a decision to move that window. We have to consult with the architect, the framer, the builder and so on. What we see, may be limited due to our perspective. When we engage all stakeholders in the process, we can fully understand the situation and collectively come up with the most effective solution. Collaboration is key in the design and construction processes and it is key in government as well. The more our government officials are willing to engage with the building industry to find common ground and deliver sustainable resolutions, the better off we all will be.
It is with this in mind that CARE About Housing was established. In order to get more government officials to engage with us when they are looking to propose any new bill that will effect housing, we need their constituents to demand that collaboration. In order for those constituents to do so, they need to see how these policies affect them and their loved ones personally. There are few things more personal than your home and your finances. Please join us in spreading the word by sharing the link to CARE About Housing www.careabouthousing.org with your loved ones on social media and simply ask that they do the same. You can also like and follow them on Facebook by searching for @careabouthousing.
Remember, an informed public, is a protected public.
Landon Boucher | Innovative Structural Engineering | www.ISEengineers.com