2015 Home & Garden Show welcomes HGTV’s Curb Appeal project manager to Fargo

Kimberly Lacy of HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block will appear at the Red River Valley Home & Garden Show Feb. 27-March 1.

The 54th annual Red River Valley Home & Garden Show, brought to you by Accent Kitchen & Bath, ushers in spring and welcomes HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block project manager Kimberly Lacy Feb. 27, 28 and March 1. She will present seminars on increasing your home’s attractiveness through simple curb appeal tips, planning a yard makeover and properly phasing renovation projects, determining which are do-it-yourself, and which require a professional.

Consumers will find the Fargodome overflowing with more than 330 exhibitors, including the largest selection of home and garden exhibits in the region. It is one-stop shopping!

Event details and conveniences

  • Show hours are 3-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday March 1.
  • Show guides will be inserted in The Forum Feb. 22 and become available at all Hornbacher’s Feb. 23.
  • Admission is $10
    • $1-off coupons will be available in the show guides and at www.hbafm.com (starting Feb. 23).
    • Two-for-one admission specials will be 3-5 p.m. Friday and Sunday (Cannot be combined with $1-off admission coupon).
  • Programs for children include:
    • a Lego competition for ages 5-13 on Saturday and
    • a workshop noon – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday organized by Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity.
  • Check www.hbafm.com as the show nears for a seminar schedule and event details.
  • Entrances on the east and west sides of the Fargodome will be open for consumer convenience.
  • More about Lacy: She also worked on HGTV productions “Designed to Sell D.C.” and “Designed to Sell Atlanta” before her stint on Curb Appeal. She operates an artisan paint and design company, Anatomy of Design, is a panelist for HomeTalk.com, and has been a featured contributor for Sister 2 Sister Magazine. Lacy also works as a celebrity wardrobe stylist, and has styled for national magazines such as Black Elegance and Essence. Learn more at www.kimberlylacy.com.
  • The show is sponsored by Accent Kitchen & Bath, Midwest Communications, Blue Cross Blue Shield of N.D., Design & Living Magazine, Karl’s T.V. & Appliance and Solution Design.

Visit www.hbafm.com for more details. Contact the HBA at (701) 232-5846 or lindsey@hbafm.com for more information on exhibiting. For sponsorship information, contact Allison Weckman at (701) 232-5846 or allisonw@hbafm.com.

2014 building permits set record value, housing at its highest since 2005

HBA of F-M President Clay Dietrich delivers a report on the 2014 building permit numbers for Dilworth, Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo today.

In terms of construction value, last year was record-breaking with Dilworth, Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo collectively bringing in nearly $1.4 billion through 4,436 building permits. The number of permits issued last year is the highest since 2008. Total permits and values include housing, multi-family, new commercial, residential and commercial remodeling, public and miscellaneous categories.

Click here to view the 2014 year-end building permit report.

Compared to 2013, total construction value more than doubled, total permits increased 8 percent and housing permits increased 2 percent. Compared to the 20-year average, total value more than tripled, total permits were up 12 percent and housing starts were up 33 percent.Housing starts for all communities combined hit 1,178, accounted for 27 percent of total permits issued, and reached their highest level since 2005.


HBA of F-M President Clay Dietrich, Dietrich Homes, Inc., says, “It’s an understatement to say our area’s construction sector is busy. With our community as a whole seeing increases last year in all categories, and more people moving here, it’s more important than ever to secure permanent flood protection.”

Dilworth, Moorhead and West Fargo surpassed last year’s total number of permits issued: Fargo was short of reaching last year’s number by just one permit, but had the largest increase in percentage of dollar volume. Moorhead saw the biggest jump in the total number of building permits with a 23-percent increase over last year. West Fargo was close behind with a 17-percent increase.

For housing starts, Moorhead had a strong year with 209 permits, a 57-percent increase over last year. However, it experienced decreases in its multi-family and commercial permits. Fargo saw a 28-percent decrease in housing starts, but experienced a 52-percent increase in multi-family activity and a 20-percent increase in commercial construction. West Fargo had an 83-percent increase in commercial permits, with strong increases in housing and multi-family permits, too. Dilworth’s housing-permit activity increased by 44 percent.

West Fargo was the leader in residential remodeling permits with a 17-percent increase; Moorhead followed with a 10-percent jump. Fargo experienced a slight decrease, and Dilworth’s decreased by 27 percent.

Dietrich points out that the reduction in Fargo’s home-building and remodeling activity last year may be the result of  buyers choosing one of the other three communities who have more robust flood control in place and that will not see the major flood insurance cost impacts that Fargo will.

“Each of our communities rely on one another. Many people who work in Fargo, live in Moorhead, West Fargo and Dilworth, and vice versa. The Diversion doesn’t only protect Fargo, it ensures economic vitality for our entire metro area and everyone who lives and works here,” he says.

 

Each quarter, the HBA contracts with Fiebiger, Swanson, West & Co. to compile the building permits from Dilworth, Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo into a uniform report for the industry’s and media’s use. It includes summaries for each city, types of construction, valuations and comparisons to the past four years, as well as comparisons to five-year and 20-year averages.

The HBA of F-M promotes an environment in which members and their businesses can prosper. It is a non-profit trade association of over 800 members that has been in existence since 1956. Its public events include the Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes, Remodeled Home Tour and Red River Valley Home & Garden Show.

HBA names Dietz as Builder of the Year, Swanson as Associate of the Year

The Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead announces Carlita Dietz, Jay Dietz Construction, Inc., as the recipient of its 2014 Builder of the Year award, and Robin Swanson, Superior Insurance as the recipient of its 2014 Associate of the Year award.

These honors are presented each fall to recognize one outstanding Builder member and one outstanding Associate member for effort and work expended in the interest of his or her fellow members, Association and community. As a recipient of the Fargo-Moorhead awards, both winners will advance to the state-wide competition judged by the North Dakota Association of Builders. Winners will be announced at NDAB’s annual meeting in November in Grand Forks.

2013 Builder of the Year Darrick Guthmiller, Kochmann Brothers Homes, Inc., presents Carlita Dietz, Jay Dietz Construction, Inc., with the 2014 Builder of the Year award.

Dietz is a confident, knowledgeable asset to the Home  Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead. Serving as the HBA’s president this year, she became active in 2003 shortly after she and her husband, Jay, began their contracting business.

Watch a video honoring Dietz here.

“We immediately saw the benefits of joining, making job contacts, accessing health insurance as well as the classes that are required for licensing,” she says. “I learned about the value of committee participation.”

Dietz never shies away from addressing tough industry issues and makes herself very accessible to the HBA staff and peer leaders. She has been active in legislative issues, traveling to both the North Dakota and Minnesota capitols to confront issues and build relationships with legislators. As HBA of F-M president, her calendar is full of meetings with city officials, press conferences and planning sessions with staff and her peers.

“HBA does a tremendous job preparing the up-coming leadership for their responsibilities,” Dietz says. “Learning these leadership skills will benefit me for years to come. Besides the invaluable business contacts, I have made friends that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

Dietz currently serves on the Parade of Homes Committee and the Health Plan Management Committee. She served as the HBA board’s liaison to Home Builders Care Foundation and has supported both of the Association’s Habitat for Humanity build projects. Dietz serves on boards for both the North Dakota Association of Builders and National Association of Home Builders and has supported workforce efforts by volunteering at the Health, Tech & Trades Career Expo.

A licensed Realtor in both North Dakota and Minnesota, Dietz also served as president of the Mapleton City Council. Away from the HBA, she is involved with her church as well as the F-M Area Association of Realtors and Girl Scouts.

HBA Executive Vice President Bryce Johnson says, “Carlita is a natural leader who has a passion for both the building and real estate industry. She is a quick learner and is not afraid to take on issues that could be detrimental to construction and home building. She has experienced first-hand what it’s like to become involved in the HBA, learning from her peers and building valuable relationships. We are lucky to have such a devoted volunteer who is also extremely busy with her family and personal life as well.”

2013 Associate of the Year Terry Lipp, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Showroom, presents the 2014 award to Robin Swanson, Superior Insurance.

Swanson has a passion for the construction industry that sparked when she began working with builders and energy efficiency in a former job. Today she is an independent agent with Superior Insurance.

Watch a video honoring Swanson here.

“Starting my business helped me relate to builders, contractors and other related professionals because I have an understanding of what it takes to make a small business work,” she says.

Swanson began a term on the Home Builders Association’s board of directors last year and has been active in committee work since 2007.

Her enthusiasm for industry issues has been noticed by her peers; she took an active role in helping educate builders on insurance-related issues during the HBA’s flood proof basement workshops held this spring and summer. Swanson has also become engaged with the HBA’s advocacy efforts by attending informational forums with city leaders and traveling to Bismarck when flood protection funding issues surfaced during the last session.

“Through my membership, I’ve met wonderful people and have formed friendships from what started out as business relationships,” she says. “I’ve learned a lot about legislative issues, both at the local and state level and have been informed and entertained at the member meetings.”

In addition to public affairs, Swanson supports the HBA by volunteering for events like the home shows and Parade of Homes. She also supports Home Builders Care Foundation and its projects. She believes in the importance of member recruitment and actively serves on both the Parade of Homes and Public Issues Committees.

HBA Executive Vice President Bryce Johnson says, “Robin’s positive attitude, willingness to volunteer and strong ties to her community are just a few of the reasons why she was named Associate of the Year. She is a quiet leader who doesn’t hesitate to jump in and help out when needed. Her smile and bright outlook is very refreshing and motivating to our association leaders and staff.”

Away from the HBA, Swanson is involved with Rotary, Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity, the F-M Area Association of Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce.

The HBA of F-M promotes an environment in which members and their businesses can prosper. It is a non-profit trade association of over 800 members that has been in existence since 1956. Its public events include the Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes, Remodeled Home Tour and Red River Valley Home & Garden Show. The North Dakota Association of Builders is made up of six local associations across the state with over 2,000 members, and is affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders. NAHB is a building trade association based in Washington, D.C., with over 140,000 members nationwide.

F-M area construction permit values exceed records

Housing starts at second-highest level through third quarter since 2006

At almost $907 million, the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead’s 2014 third-quarter building permit report for the Fargo-Moorhead metro area shows the highest overall permit values ever. This total is up over $383 million from last year and is nearly double that of the five-year average for construction activity through third quarter. Total permits and values include housing, multi-family, new commercial, residential and commercial remodeling, public, and miscellaneous categories.

Notably higher permit activity appears in the multi-family, row/town-house and new-commercial categories. Total housing starts and valuation remain on par with third quarter last year, and have posted the second-highest level since 2006.

For the F-M area as a whole, housing permits are down by 42 compared to third quarter last year, while row/town-house and multi-family construction have a record number of units. Row/town-house construction has more than doubled in units, and valuation has risen from $7 million to just under $18 million. Multi-family valuation has also seen a significant increase, up nearly $50 million. Though there were only nine more commercial construction permits taken out this year compared to 2013, the valuation of those permits has risen 150 percent, or by $168 million.


The Moorhead community has continued to see unprecedented growth since the recession, with single-family permits nearly doubled compared to this time last year. Moorhead experienced construction of its first row/town houses since 2011, with those 24 units adding $3.2 million to the overall valuation of construction in Moorhead. Overall housing numbers in Moorhead are up 49 percent and valuation is up over $11 million compared to third quarter last year.
At 20 permits, total housing starts in Dilworth are down a bit from last year, but remain higher than the five-year average. The value of new-commercial construction has doubled from third quarter 2013. Overall, total building is down in Dilworth, however valuation has nearly doubled.In Fargo, total housing starts are down from third quarter 2013, and are hovering right around the five-year average of 314. Multi-family building construction

continues to be strong, up 480 units with an 84 percent increase in valuation. New-commercial construction permit numbers are up by only four, however valuation of those projects has skyrocketed from $51.4 million to nearly $218 million. The building outlook remains strong in Fargo, with total permit numbers down just slightly, and valuation up 124 percent, or $350 million.

West Fargo’s total housing starts are up from third quarter last year in both permit numbers and valuation. Though single-family housing is down, twin-home and town-home construction saw significant increases. Multi-family housing construction values are up by over $11 million compared to this time last year. Overall building in West Fargo is strong, with a big bump in number of permits and a 30 percent increase in valuation.

HBA  of F-M President Carlita Dietz, Jay Dietz Construction, Inc., says “The F-M community continues to see steady growth in total housing numbers and valuation. We continue to be restricted by the lack of permanent flood protection for the area, but we thank our elected officials who are working to make this a reality. Our builders have seen a busy summer, after a rainy spring, trying to keep up with the high demand for housing in a community with a growing population. We’re hoping for a late freeze so we can continue to get foundations poured and houses up.”

Each quarter, the HBA contracts with Fiebiger, Swanson, West & Co. to compile the building permits from Dilworth, Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo into a uniform report for the industry’s and media’s use. It includes summaries for each city, types of construction, valuations and comparisons to the past four years, as well as comparisons to five-year and 20-year averages.

The HBA of F-M promotes an environment in which members and their businesses can prosper. It is a non-profit trade association of over 800 members that has been in existence since 1956. Its public events include the Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes, Remodeled Home Tour and Red River Valley Home & Garden Show.

Consumers: Consider copyright issues when developing home plans

by Krista Mund

Copyright infringement can happen unknowingly, in subtle ways. For instance, a couple may walk through a house during the Parade of Homes and love the way it looks and feels. Later, at their kitchen table, they sketch the layout on paper and decide to take the next step, ultimately working with a contractor different than the one who originally built the Parade house.

Is this copyright infringement? Probably.

It is the consumer’s responsibility to be forthcoming about his or her plan’s origins, just as the builder should ask questions about the drawing. But if the couple says nothing and the builder takes the sketch as original, everyone involved has just entered into a bad situation.

Some may ask, “How many changes do I have to make in someone else’s work before it becomes my own design and I am no longer in danger of being sued for copyright infringement?”

According to National Association of Home Builders Legal Research Director David N. Crump, Jr., the answer is simple.

“You are not entitled to create derivative works from another’s copyrighted plans, drawings or buildings without permission,” he says. “The copyright law does not permit usage of the design after a certain amount of changes has been made to another’s copyrighted work.”

Prior to Dec. 1, 1990, architectural structures (buildings) could not be copyrighted. Only architectural drawings received copyright protection. An amendment to the Copyright Act changed that situation. Now, any qualifying building constructed after Dec. 1, 1990, automatically is copyrighted to the person or company who “authored” the drawing or plan – for example, a builder, architect or lumberyard.

Before using any floor plan that you have seen on paper or experienced by touring a home (even a friend’s home), be certain to find out its origins. Many times a builder will consider selling rights to a plan. If you don’t know where the plan originated, the safest bet is to start from scratch.

Some common sense applies: owners cannot copyright standard configurations, such as placing a bathroom next to a master bedroom because they are not original. The author’s independent selection and arrangement of the parts into an original design is copyrightable.

“The level of originality need not be particularly high or particularly novel,” Crump says. “In fact, the design may be similar to countless others. However, if the work has a minimal degree of creativity and is honestly an original, independent creation, it will be afforded copyright protection.”

What if the plan is on the Internet or otherwise published?

Copyright owners have the right to give their property away, to release the design for general use, and to transfer it to the public domain. Consumers should look for a written release signed by the copyright owner to be certain he or she has placed the plans or drawings in the public domain.

“A user should not assume that an architectural work is in the public domain simply because the work is widely disseminated and used by others,” Crump says. “For example, putting an architectural plan or drawing on the Internet does not mean that the work has been placed in the public domain, nor does it mean that it may be used without specific permission to do so.”

What courts look for in copyright infringement cases

Courts recognize that proof of direct copying seldom exists, such as confession or eyewitness testimony. However, courts do not require direct evidence in order to find that an infringement has occurred through modifying a design. Courts will consider whether the alleged infringer has had access to the original plans or building, and if a substantial similarity exists between the original plans and alleged altered design.

Access and substantial similarity are defined as follows:
 Access: the mere opportunity to walk though a model home, or that the infringer obtained an advertising brochure depicting the copyrighted house.
 Substantial similarity: when an average lay observer recognizes the altered or modified design having been taken from the original copyrighted work.

Editor’s Note: Excerpts for this article were taken with the author’s permission from “Copyright Law for Home Builders” by David N. Crump, Jr. Crump is director of legal research for the Legal Affairs Area of the National Association of Home Builders Advocacy Group.

Fall Home Show features Wall Wizard at Scheels Arena Sept. 26-27

The Fall Home Show, organized by Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead’s Remodelers Council, is coming Sept. 26-27 to Scheels Arena, 5225 31st Ave. S., Fargo. Hours are noon – 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday. Now in its 25th year, the Fall Home Show will display a wide array of exhibits under one roof. The event’s sponsors include Budget Blinds of Fargo, Luxury Bath, CenturyLink and Midwest Communications.

Brian Santos, the Wall Wizard, will appear at the Fall Home Show and is a nationally recognized painting and wall coverings expert.

The featured speaker is Brian Santos, the “Wall Wizard,” a nationally recognized painting and wall coverings expert. With over 25 years of experience, Santos is a best-selling author, fourth-generation decorative artist and licensed contractor whose past clients include Clint Eastwood, Joe Montana and George Lucas. He has appeared on HGTV, TLC and the Discovery Channel. Santos uses household items to create professional painting results. He is a crowd favorite who has entertained, educated and empowered his audiences to decorate their homes using his easy, time-saving, cost-saving, do-it-yourself techniques.

See booths featuring building industry companies including general contractors, flooring, siding, spas, windows, water purification, decks, heating/air conditioning, interior decorating and design, kitchen and bath design, cabinetry, plumbing, garages, basements and more.

Check www.hbafm.com for a seminar schedule, or pick up the show guide in The Forum Sept. 21. They will be available at Hornbacher’s Sept. 22.

Admission is $3. Parking is free and convenient, provided by HBA of F-M. Children younger than age 14 will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

Look for a $1-off admission coupon in the show guide inserted Sept. 21 in The Forum. Starting Sept. 22, the coupon will be available at www.hbafm.com and show guides will be available at Hornbacher’s. The “Home Show Happy Hour,” providing 2-for-1 admission, will run 2 – 5 p.m. Friday. Scheels Arena vendors will also offer $1.50 off alcoholic drinks during this time. (Note: the $1-off admission coupon is not valid during the Home Show Happy Hour.)

Call (701) 232-5846 or visit www.hbafm.com for more information on exhibiting in the show.

The HBA of F-M promotes an environment in which members and their businesses can prosper. It is a non-profit trade association of over 800 members that has been in existence since 1956. Its public events include the Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes, Remodeled Home Tour, Red River Valley Home & Garden Show and Fall Home Show.

The HBA of F-M’s Remodelers Council deals with issues affecting the remodeling segment of the building industry. Its charitable projects include constructing handicap-accessible ramps. It is involved with organizing the Fall Home Show and Remodeled Home Tour. The Council was formed in 1990.

Second-quarter housing starts exceed 2013, permit valuations across all categories up significantly

The Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead’s 2014 second-quarter building permit report for the F-M metro area shows the results of a busy building industry. Dampened by a long, rainy spring and summer, housing starts in the F-M area are up slightly from 2013 with total valuation up nearly $9 million. Housing start totals increased by 13 permits compared to this time last year. With 500 total permits pulled through second quarter, housing, including single-family, twin homes, row houses and duplexes, is at its highest level since 2006.

 

Total construction value through second quarter is just shy of $630 million, which is up over $335 million; this includes housing, multi-family, new commercial, residential and commercial remodeling, public, and miscellaneous categories. Over half of that major difference ($171 million) is accounted for in Fargo’s new commercial permit category.

HBA President Carlita Dietz, Jay Dietz Construction, Inc., says, “Housing numbers are strong. This is great news considering that we’ve been dealing with challenging weather and a labor crunch this building season, both which have delayed many projects across the area.”

On the Minnesota side of the river, with 103 total housing starts, Moorhead’s numbers are the highest since 2008. There is a 150 percent increase in housing permits pulled and a 120 percent increase in total valuation. Dilworth’s housing and valuation numbers are down a bit from 2013, but are still ahead of those in 2012.

In Fargo, single-family and twin home starts are less than 2013, however, multi-family permits are up by 55 percent with a valuation increase from $22.5 to $43.8 million, or 95 percent. In West Fargo, total housing starts are up slightly, with total valuation up $4.3 million. Single-family permits are down a bit, but twin home/row house construction is up, as is multi-family and residential remodeling projects.

“The lack of permanent flood protection for the community continues to be an issue. It is on the minds of prospective home buyers/owners as well as the building and development community,” Dietz says. “With approximately 60 percent of Clay County’s eligible resident workforce employed in Cass County, permanent flood protection is necessary to protect all, whether they are businesses, employees or home owners. With the presidential authorization of Water Resources Reform & Development Act, we remain optimistic that flood protection is in the future for the F-M area.”

Each quarter, the HBA contracts with Fiebiger, Swanson, West & Co. to compile the building permits from Dilworth, Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo into a uniform report for the industry’s and media’s use. It includes summaries for each city, types of construction, valuations and comparisons to the past four years, as well as comparisons to five-year and 20-year averages.

 The HBA of F-M promotes an environment in which members and their businesses can prosper. It is a non-profit trade association of over 800 members that has been in existence since 1956. Its public events include the Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes, Remodeled Home Tour, Red River Valley Home & Garden Show and Fall Home Show.

Local mayors proclaim June as Homeownership Month

Mayors of Moorhead, Dilworth, Fargo and West Fargo signed a proclamation June 12 at a Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity build in Moorhead designating June as Homeownership Month for each city. This year’s theme, “Preserving the Dream,” highlights benefits of homeownership and the opportunity for consumers to take advantage of low interest rates and our stable local economy.

Pictured left to right: Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams; West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern; Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker; HBA of F-M President Carlita Dietz, Jay Dietz Construction, Inc.; Dilworth Mayor Chad Olson; and Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity Director Rob Rich.

Press conference attendees included: Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams; Dilworth Mayor Chad Olson; Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker; West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern; Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity Director Rob Rich and Home Builders Association of F-M President Carlita Dietz, Jay Dietz Construction, Inc.

The press conference site, at Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity’s first Veteran Build, will be home to a mother and her ten-year-old daughter. Sonia Greer is a veteran of the Air Force.

Rich said, “Sonia is working with Lake Agassiz Habitat for an opportunity to purchase a home so that she can provide her daughter with a stable and secure environment. She is working toward completing her 250 sweat equity hours as required by Habitat for partner families.”

Organizations involved in housing such as the F-M Area Association of Realtors, Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead, The Village Family Service Center, Habitat for Humanity and local city governments, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, coordinated the event.

The focus of National Homeownership Month is to recognize efforts to strengthen communities and to give countless American families the information necessary to achieve their dream of homeownership. With today’s continuing low interest rates, homeownership has never been more accessible to so many people. Contributing to a strong economy, home ownership enriches families and has come to symbolize the realization of the American Dream. Home equity accounts for more than half of the total net wealth of the typical home-owning family, making homeownership the primary source of a household’s net worth and the fundamental first step toward accumulating personal wealth.

The HBA of F-M promotes an environment in which members and their businesses can prosper. It is a non-profit trade association of over 800 members that has been in existence since 1956. Its public events include the Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes, Remodeled Home Tour, Red River Valley Home & Garden Show and Fall Home Show. For more details, visit www.hbafm.com.

HBA reminds consumers to use local, licensed contractors

As summer construction season kicks into high gear, Home Builders Association of F-M offers resources to help members of the public choose a qualified contractor. In general, local contractors have a history working in the area, have built a list of references, and will be around to service warranties or problems that may arise with projects. Here are our top ten suggestions:

  1. Always check to see if the contractor you are considering, local or transient, is licensed in the state in which work will be performed. Contact the appropriate governmental agency: North Dakota Secretary of State’s office (http://nd.gov/sos/licensing/) or the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (www.doli.state.mn.us) to verify the builder is currently licensed and to find out if he or she has a disciplinary history.
  2. Get more than one estimate and be wary of any contractor that requires full payment up front, uses high-pressure sales tactics or asks you to sign authorization paperwork or a contract that you don’t understand. Consider paying with a credit card since these companies have better methods of remedying disputes and dealing with fraudulent charges.
  3. Get a detailed contract including a summary of the work to be done, a description of materials, the total contract price or how the price will be calculated and specific timelines. Do not sign it until you are comfortable.
  4. Ask the contractor how long and where he or she has been in business.
  5. Ask the contractor about designations or certifications he or she has earned. These can include, for example, voluntary programs to further their professionalism, or lead certification required by the EPA to perform work in structures built in 1978 or earlier.
  6. Request references and check with former customers to see if they were satisfied with the work.
  7. Ask for a local business address, other than a post office box, and a local phone number where the contractor can be reached during normal business hours. Some transient companies will open a post office box or can easily acquire a cell phone with a local number to give the appearance of being a local company, when it is not.
  8. Ask about warranty work and the company’s service policies.
  9. Find out if the contractor has sufficient workers compensation and general liability insurance. If not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises.
  10. Lastly, make sure you can communicate with the contractor and feel comfortable with him or her. Misunderstandings during the course of the project can lead to cost overruns and delays.

Visit www.hbafm.com for additional information, plus a directory of local contractors categorized by what they do.

The HBA of F-M promotes an environment in which members and their businesses can prosper. It is a non-profit trade association of over 800 members that has been in existence since 1956. Its public events include the Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes, Remodeled Home Tour, Red River Valley Home & Garden Show and Fall Home Show.

Home Builders Care Foundation hosts celebration for first-ever Veteran Habitat build

Home Builders Care of Fargo-Moorhead Foundation hosted a celebration to kick off its Habitat for Humanity build June 3 at 3040 32nd Ave. S. in Moorhead, Minn. The “Home Builders Care Build with Habitat” is sponsored by Home Builders Care and Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead in conjunction with Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity. This is the area’s first-ever Veteran Build, and will benefit Sonia Greer and her daughter, Madison (age ten), who currently live in a trailer home in Fargo.

Home Builders Care Foundation President Mike Anderson, Bierschbach Equipment & Supply, Inc., and HBA of F-M President Carlita Dietz, Jay Dietz Construction, Inc., spoke at the celebration. LAHFH Executive Director Rob Rich and previous Habitat home owner April Nelson presented the Greer family with a symbolic hammer. Nelson and her children live in a home built in 2012 through Home Builders Care Build with Habitat.

Home Builders Care is organizing its “blitz build” week June 9-13. There are many opportunities to help by providing labor, materials or monetary donations. Contact Jenny Erickson at (701) 232-5846 or jenny@hbafm.com.

Home Builders Care Foundation President Mike Anderson (far left) and Home Builders Association of F-M President Carlita Dietz (far right) with April Nelson (second from left) and Sonia and Madison Greer.
Nelson and her children benefited from the HBA’s first Habitat build in 2012 in north Fargo; she is the family mentor for the Greers.

Greer currently works at North Dakota State University in the Memorial Union as a custodian. Madison enjoys being outside on nice days, doing her fourth-grade homework and watching television.

Greer’s first contact with Habitat for Humanity came while she was living in California. She volunteered on a build of a multi-family house. She also volunteered in North Carolina at a bike-a-thon fundraiser for Habitat. She applied for a Habitat home because she is currently living in a trailer built in the 1970s. It had been vacant for six years before she moved in with Madison.

Greer hoped to fix it up, but hasn’t been able to find the time or the funds. She plans to be on the build site volunteering on her new home.

Sonia Greer and her daughter, Madison, in front of the Home Builders Care Build with Habitat.

Greer says, “I am excited to raise Madi in a safer environment. I am also excited to help with the build and when we are in the house, next year I should be able to start a garden. I would just like to say thank you to Lake Agassiz Habitat for allowing me to be a partner family, and to HBA and VA for their help in making the dream of a home possible, and to all the people who will be helping with the build in any way to make all of this possible. Sounds corny, I know, but I feel truly grateful and blessed for this opportunity.”

Greer is an Air Force veteran and served at Beale Air Force Base in California, Osan Air Force Base in Korea, Kadena Air Force Base in Japan and Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina. Her daughter was born while stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Greer served as a communication/navigational specialist and technical order data assistant while in the Air Force.

Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity partners with new home owners to help them purchase their homes. Greer will have an interest-free loan to be repaid over the course of the mortgage. She is required to attend education classes to learn about the responsibilities of homeownership and will also have to contribute 250 “sweat equity” hours working on her home, the homes of others and the Habitat ReStore as a requirement for becoming a Habitat owner.

Home Builders Care of Fargo-Moorhead Foundation provides a positive outlet for the housing industry to give back to the community, building a framework for the future. Founded in 1993, it is the Home Builders Association of F-M’s charitable organization. For more details, visit www.hbcfm.com.

The HBA of F-M promotes an environment in which members and their businesses can prosper. It is a non-profit trade association of over 800 members that has been in existence since 1956. Its public events include the Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes, Remodeled Home Tour, Red River Valley Home & Garden Show and Fall Home Show. For more details, visit www.hbafm.com.