News and Updates


Legislative Summer Hiatus Does Not Result in Rest for Governmental Affairs

It is that time of year, the beginning of summer break when members often ask what are the Governmental Affairs activities since the legislature in on its summer hiatus? Well, let me summarize this past week:

Building Commission Activities: FHBA Director of Governmental Affairs, Doug Buck, and Code Consultant, Joe Belcher, began a two week stint meeting with the Florida Building Commission (FBC) as they began work this week on what will become the 7th addition of the code. Not to worry, the new code will not take effect for at least 2 and 1/2 years. Because of changes to the code process adopted by the legislature in 2017, the process will take longer. But, there are no more automatic massive changes from the ICC. There will still be some changes, but the new process should allow us to more thoroughly evaluate the proposed changes.

You can find additional information on FHBA web site or attend the Code Committee meeting at the SEBC.

Rubio Tweets: You may be aware of a late last week by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in which he indicates that he does not understand the severity of the construction work force shortage. He tweeted the following:

#EVerify is a very important reform. And while it is true that we struggle to find U.S. workers for many agriculture jobs, that is NOT true of construction. Americans can & want to do construction work.

FHBA worked in concert with NAHB and tweeted the following response:

Senator @marcorubio, @FHBAOfficial would be happy to meet with you to discuss construction workforce challenges in Florida. It’s one of the top headwinds facing the industry and slowing down economic growth.

In addition, Chuck Fowke (FHBA Member and NAHB Third Vice Chair) sent an e-mail to Senator Rubio’s staff reminding them that he met with them less than one month ago to discuss this very issue. NAHB lobbyists converges on Senator Rubio’s staff as well.

State Legislative Candidate Interviews: The FHBA is an active member of the State Chamber Political Institute. The institute is a non-profit political research organization. Amongst the research activities for members is the opportunity to interview legislative candidates. FHBA CEO, Rusty Payton attended two days of candidate interviews in Fort Lauderdale, interviewing 25 candidates. Much of the information gleemed at this interview and from the other sessions (which were attended by Rusty, FHBA Consultant Lobbyist Kari Hebrank and GOBA Governmental Affairs Director Lee Steinhauer) will be discussed at the July 11th PAC Board meeting being held at Rosen Shingle Creek.

Earlier last week, a joint delegation from FHBA and the Builders Association of South Florida (BASF) met with Speaker Designate, Jose Oliva in Miami Lakes. Significant policy discussions included property rights, tree ordinances and the need to reign in impact fees and what they for what they can fund. Attending for FHBA were First Vice President Bill Truex, Consultant Lobbyist Kari Hebrank and CEO Rusty Payton. From BASF were Ben Solomon, Chair of BASF; Carolina Herrera, President of BASF; Astrin Martin BASF Board member; and Truly Burton, BASF Executive Officer.

Public Service Commission: On rare occasion, FHBA interacts with the Public Service Commission (PSC) regarding issues affecting our industry. The FHBA filed public comments in support of underground distribution lines in new residential developments, because undergrounding appears to be the most cost-effect solution to preventing outages and optimizing the electric grid. Although the upfront cost to undergrounding may be higher, undergrounding saves the general body of rate-payers money by reducing physical damage to local electrical infrastructure, as well as, reducing utility’s operation and maintenance while optimizing revenue for the electrical utility by keeping the lights on. These savings should be accurately reflected in the formula used to allocate costs to developers. Our comments were developed by member of the FHBA Volume Builders Council and other large builders from around the state. To view a copy of the letter, click here.

Even though official legislative business has taken a summer hiatus, the FHBA’s Governmental Affairs program is fully engaged with political, regulatory and future legislative priorities.

Original Article Here

Small Gain for Custom Building in 2017

NAHB’s analysis of Census Data from the Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design survey indicates that with a small gain for the year, 2017 set a post-recession peak for custom home building starts (homes built on an owner’s land, with either the owner or a builder acting as the general contractor).

There were 40,000 total custom starts for the final quarter of the year. Over the course of 2017, there were 172,000 custom single-family home starts, an increase of approximately 2% over the 2016 total. Note that this definition of custom home building does not include homes intended for sale, so the analysis uses a narrow definition of the sector.

As measured on a one-year moving average, the market share of custom home building in terms of total single-family starts is now 20%, down from a cycle high of 31.5% set during the second quarter of 2009.

The onset of the housing crisis and the Great Recession interrupted a 15-year long trend away from homes built on the eventual owner’s land. As housing production slowed in 2006 and 2007, the market share of this not-for-sale new housing increased as the number of single-family starts declined. The share increased because the credit crunch made it more difficult for builders to obtain AD&C credit, thus producing relatively greater production declines of for-sale single-family housing.

The market share for custom home building will likely experience ups and downs in the quarters ahead as the overall single-family construction market expands. Recent declines in market share are due to an acceleration in overall single-family construction, especially in spec home building.

For a look at the geography of custom home building, read this recent review of 2016 annual data.

Jay Carlson Appointed as Chairman of the Florida Building Commission

via Charlotte-DeSoto BIA

On Wednesday, February 21st, the office of Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Jay Carlson as the Chairman of the Florida Building Commission.

Jay Carlson, a Port Charlotte resident since 1975 and president of carlson & soforth, comes from a long line of construction professionals. His father, Robert W. Carlson, was the first Chairman of the Punta Gorda Building Commission and among other high profile projects, built iconic Fisherman’s Village in 1980. “My dad had an exceptional construction mind and he, along with my brother Randy, inspired me early on to pursue a construction career and volunteer to pay back the industry we love so much” Carlson said.

As a charter member of Charlotte Desoto Building Industry Association (CDBIA) he has dedicated his life to help make improvements in the building industry for over 40 years. “I am blessed with my wife, Gina, who supports my volunteer efforts. We have two wonderful sons, Jacob and John, and they both have careers in construction and live here in Charlotte County”, Carlson said.

“I am a high school graduate. I knew college wasn’t for me. I worked hard at every job I had and learned from the professionals in the industry. It has been very rewarding and most of all – fun. We have an awesome responsibility to provide safe and affordable housing, public facilities and commercial structures. Those of us who are properly trained and licensed take that responsibility very seriously”, Carlson said. “So, to all those wondering what to do after high school, consider a career in the construction industry where opportunities abound”.

Having a local member of our community be able to serve our state in this capacity is great honor for our local industry “ stated CDBIA President John Kapper, Kapper Contracting. “Jay is the perfect person for this appointment. His passion to help others combined with his wealth of knowledge and dedication to our industry, makes him the best choice for the appointment of Chair of the Florida Building Commission” Kapper added.

The Florida Building Commission’s primary responsibility is to adopt and update the Florida Building Code or amendments thereto and make a continual study of its operation. In addition, the FBC determines the types of products which may be approved by the commission for statewide use.

The Commission meets a minimum of 6 times a year at different venues across the state. The sixth edition (2017) of the Florida Building Code was just adopted with an effective date of December 31, 2017 and work begins on the seventh edition (2020) in April. More information can be found on the website at

In Spite of Harassment Headlines, Session Issues Emerge

Most of us in Tallahassee review daily legislative clips to glean up-to-the-minute news from the Capitol. Lately, editorial space meant for legislation updates is being held for the latest broadcast of politicians facing sexual harassment or ethical complaints. As intriguing as all that can be, we cannot lose sight of the fact the 2018 Legislative Session is just around the corner.

Several of FHBA Key Officers and Committee Chairs trekked to Tallahassee a few weeks ago to push our Legislative Agenda. Attending were FHBA President, Greg Matovina; FHBA Second Vice President, Shelley Stewart; FHBA Immediate Past President, Jeremy Stewart; FHBA Governmental Affairs Chair, Frank Severino; and FHBA Volume Builders Council Chair, Richard Arkin.

Key topics discussed included FHBA proposed legislation to exempt punch list items and warranty services from being considered as completion of contract – a bill that ensures homeowner participation in the State’s Right to Cure Process, and the FHBA proposal to stop local governments from driving up the cost of housing by collecting impact fees at the time of platting.

We also used the opportunity to express concerns on issues such as SB 446 and HB 295, which would require an Electrical Journeyman on any commercial construction site, including neighborhood common areas, pool houses, etc. Additionally, bills to overregulate Home Owner Associations are once again appearing (SB 734 and HB 377). FHBA Leaders met with the Senate sponsor, who attentively listened to our concerns. Sponsors of both the Electrical Journeyman Bill and the Home Owners Association Bills understand our opposition and should the bills be considered by a committee, we will have the opportunity to make extensive changes.

Other key meetings included House Careers and Competition Sub-committee Chair, Halsey Beshears; Senate Appropriations Chair, Rob Bradley; Speaker of the House, Richard Corcoran and Senate President, Joe Negron. A sincere thank you to Greg, Shelley, Jeremy, Frank, and Richard for making the time and effort to travel to Tallahassee.

The Bottom Line: Though much of the Tallahassee headlines focus on sex scandals and politician’s ethical lapses, the process of law making continues. FHBA staff and volunteer leaders remain laser focused on what matters to our members, posturing our priorities for success in the 2018 session.

Upcoming Florida Building Code Changes to Flood Provisions

Building officials, developers, engineers, architects, and others are anticipating the next edition of the Florida Building Code, 5th Edition, effective December 31, 2017. Many projects to repair flood damage or to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma and other flooding events may be subject to this edition of the Code.

Nearly all of Florida’s flood -prone local jurisdictions participate in the National Flood Insurance Program and, along with the FBC, enforce local floodplain management regulations that must be coordinated with the FBC. Any community that has not yet adopted a flood ordinance coordinated with the FBC or has adopted an ordinance not reviewed by DEM is asked to follow up with us as soon as possible.

The State Floodplain Management Office, a unit of DEM, supports local officials, design professionals and others with excerpts of the flood provisions in the FBC (including a summary of the changes between the 5th and 5th editions) and a summary of the flood design standards referenced by the FBC. Please go to, State Floodplain Management Office webpage to access the above information.

The webpage also directs readers to two fact sheets prepared by Building A Safer Florida. One fact sheet describes the flood provisions in the FBC, key elements of flood resistant construction, flood hazard areas and flood conditions, and highlights the changes. The other fact sheet describes revisions to the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) provisions in the FBC that more closely align with the existing coastal high hazard areas requirements.

To access a primer on flood resistant construction, view or download the Florida Quick Guide for Floodplain Management, visit the State Floodplain Management Office page at

For more information, contact: • 850-815-4555

Click here to view official notice.

Emergency Order – Contractors to Repair and Install Roofs

An executed emergency order by Governor Scott and DBPR Secretary, Johnathan Zachem, has been released allowing general, residential or building contractors to repair and install roofs.

This temporary order provides that certified or registered general, building or residential contractors are not required to subcontract roofing repairs or installation. It further provides that local jurisdictions may provide for a specialty licensure to repair or install roofs without adopting further ordinances.

Click here to learn more.

SEBC, The Original Regional Industry Trade Show Continues To Grow

With over 20% more of everything – exhibitors, attendees, educational offerings, and networking events – this year’s Southeast Building Conference (SEBC), held on July 27-28, 2017 in Kissimmee, Florida continues to be the place to grow the building industry.

“This year’s show has been sold out with an exhibitor waiting list since the beginning of July,” says Bill Smock, SEBC Committee Chairman and Owner of Gator Plumbing in Bradenton, Florida. “SEBC’s growth is indicative of its ability to gauge the industry; anticipating and capitalizing on the shifts in trends and interests among builders and trade partners.”

During the two-day expo, builders and members of the industry experienced a sold-out trade show that showcased regional and international distributors such as Bosch, PGT Industries, JELD-WEN, Panda Kitchen and Bath, Boral Roofing, and more. Attendees had access to a higher quantity of exhibitors and exceptional quality of engagement.

“There is a reason why SEBC is one of the longest running industry trade shows in the nation,” says Kimberly Scott, SEBC Director. “We remain laser focused on what builders, trade partners, and exhibitors need to make their businesses successful.”

In addition to a sold out expo hall, attendees had access to over 60 hours of education provided by industry leaders. Students learned the latest in design trends, innovative building technology, and marketing developments. Keynote speakers hailed from Builders Design, MetroStudy of Hanley Wood, The Wall Street Journal, and Products Magazine/Professional Builder Magazine (SGC Horizon).

In 2018, SEBC will celebrate 40 years of being the original regional trade show on August 16-17, returning to the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee. For more information on SEBC go to

Mortgage Tax Breaks are Gateway to Owning Homes for Middle-Income Families

As Congress works to advance tax reform, lawmakers should think twice before taking action to undermine the nation’s existing and longstanding support for homeownership by eliminating or diminishing the effectiveness of the mortgage-interest deduction.

Going down this path would harm the interests of tens of millions of homeowners and those who aspire to own a home. It would also result in severe economic repercussions by reducing the value of the largest asset held by most American families. According to the latest Federal Reserve data, household ownership in real estate currently stands at $23.1 trillion. It only takes a 5 percent drop in home values to wipe out $1 trillion in household wealth. The housing sector is still recovering from the devastation brought about when home values plummeted less than a decade ago and the economy teetered on the edge of a second Depression…read more

Blower Door Testing FAQs!

Starting July 1, 2017, new home construction will be required to adhere to the recent Blower Door Testing requirements. Thankfully, SkyeTec, FHBA’s Preferred Energy Service Provider, can get you ready now. Click here to check out their helpful FAQs. If you have further questions on the new Blower Door Testing requirements, contact SkyeTec at 866.759.3832.

Reply to unfortunate comment by CFO Candidate

Local Presidents, Area VP’s and Local EO’s:

In today’s Tampa Bay Times, former State Senator and Announced CFO candidate Jeremy Ring made a statement which can arguably be interpreted to discourage the inclusion of home building trades education in schools. To put the statements in context, he was speaking about the need to invest in education which spurs innovation. Unfortunately, he also included a statement advocating for  “…a school system that builds a future where our kids don’t grow up wanting to be a home builder or a land-use attorney, but the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg like the kids growing up in Silicon Valley.” To read the article containing the quote in full context, click here.

Given the construction workforce crisis in Florida, we could not let such a statement to unchallenged. As such, the following reply by me was issued to the Tampa Bay Times on behalf of the Florida Home Builders Association.

The Florida Home Builders Association applauds former state Sen. Jeremy Ring for the ten years he served in the Florida Senate, where he supported and voted for legislation that provided education and training opportunities for the construction industry.  However, his recent comments in the Tampa Bay Times that “…a school system that builds a future where our kids don’t grow up wanting to be a home builder or a land-use attorney, but the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg like the kids growing up in Silicon Valley,” are regretful.

Considering that Florida’s population is expected to grow an average of 1.52% annually between 2015 and 2020, according to the 2017 Economic Overview by the Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, we would be remiss not to encourage career paths of home builders.  With the rate of our growth, where Florida is the third most populous state, the construction industry is currently plagued by a significant workforce shortage. Costs overruns and significant delays often result from the inability to find craftsmen to lay block, run electric wiring, install an HVAC unit or lay plumbing in a house.

FHBA agrees with former Senator Ring, where focusing on an innovative economy is good for Florida. In fact, innovation like 3-D printing technology and robotics may one day alleviate the construction workforce shortage. However, to suggest that schools not focus on trade education is shortsighted. Home building and its associated trades are honorable, worthwhile, and in-demand careers.

In our zeal to prepare the next generation for success, let’s not overlook the value and necessity of home building and its associated trades.

Feel free to post and/or distribute to membership. Thanks!

Rusty Payton, Florida Home Builders Association

CEO/Chief Lobbyist


Office Number: (850) 402-1841

Cell Number: (850) 567-1073