Construction Trades Academy open to area teens

The Herdina Academy for Construction Trades will be June 1 to 12 at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead. The two-week session runs 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and a certified instructor supervises activities. The Academy is open to North Dakota and Minnesota high school students ages 15 and older. Enrollment is limited! Students who successfully complete the Academy will earn three college credits from M State. The credits can be used for the carpentry, plumbing, refrigeration and air conditioning, or mechanical CAD programs at M State. Find out more by calling (701) 232-5846, emailing info@hbcfm.com, visiting www.hbcfm.com or visiting www.facebook.com/TradesAcademy.

Academy graduate Jose Chavez, Leonard, N.D., says, “The Academy opens up your eyes to what you want to do in the construction field, and what you don’t. You get to meet new kids, and it’s a blast.”

Students smile for a photo with a contractor volunteer during the 2014 Herdina Academy for the Construction Trades.

Students smile for a photo with a contractor volunteer during the 2014 Herdina Academy for the Construction Trades.

The Academy, now in its 18th year, will be held at M State for the ninth year. M State’s campus offers a myriad of opportunities to expose participants to the many specialty occupations within the construction industry including: blueprint reading, carpentry, casework, concrete, drywall, electrical, excavation, HVAC, refrigeration, landscaping, masonry, plumbing and more. Students will work side-by-side with industry and education professionals, learning about occupations, tools, safety requirements and skills required for satisfying and well-paying careers. They participate in classroom and hands-on learning, with the opportunity to experience first-hand how residential and commercial buildings are constructed.

Academy parent Connie Oschner, Glyndon, Minn., says, “I have nothing but good things to say about the Herdina Academy for the Construction Trades. It offers the students an insight to so many trades and exposes them to all the options available. I would recommend it to all students! The instructors and area contractors who participated in the program were excellent and very open to the students’ questions. The Academy paved the way for my son to enter M-State’s construction management program without hesitation as to whether or not it was something he would be interested in. He continues to draw on the things he learned at the Herdina Academy.”

Sponsorship of the Herdina Academy is provided by: M State, Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program Home Builders Association of F-M and its charitable organization, Home Builders Care of Fargo-Moorhead Foundation. A $500 scholarship from the Home Builders Care of Fargo-Moorhead Foundation will be awarded to an outstanding student who completes the Academy and plans to enroll in a construction-related field at M State-Moorhead or North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.

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.

Planning a yard project? One Call locates do not show ‘private’ utility lines

Now that spring is here, many of us are getting into the yard and taking on some do-it-yourself projects.

Planting a tree? Digging a hole for a mailbox? Installing a fence?

“One Call” utility locate requests do not include any lines you may have installed to your private facilities (i.e. gas grills, detached garages, wells, yard lights, etc.) If your home’s electric meter is located on the garage, please know that this means additional high-voltage wires are buried in the ground from the meter location on the garage to the point where the wires enter the basement to connect with the home’s electrical panel. Many home owners don’t know that they need to hire an electrician to locate other wires like these because they are considered private and not marked under the One Call system.

It is a better situation when meters are placed in the area at least 10 feet back from the front corner of the home (not considering the garage). This way, wiring can be pulled from the meter socket through the first floor framing and into the electrical panel and does not require secondary private high voltage wires to be buried in the yard.

In addition to your electric service and any private facilities, there are a number of utility lines buried on your property – telephone, gas or propane, water, sewer, cable TV… The first step to any project is safety!

No matter what you’re doing, remember that if you are planning to dig, you need to contact either North Dakota One Call or Minnesota Gopher State One Call at www.ndonecall.com or www.gopherstateonecall.org. They will contact the appropriate utility line owners to locate their lines and mark them on your property. If you are a home owner with a meter located on your garage, or have other private facilities, contact an electrician to locate those wires.

With home owner safety in mind, the Home Builders Association of F-M has been meeting with local utilities about changing their practices regarding electric meter locations on homes. We’re also discussing ways to streamline placement of various utility lines in new developments to allow for safer excavation when constructing new homes842_3829880.

Home builders post strong first-quarter F-M metro permit numbers

Housing activity is off to its fastest start since 2004, according to the Home Builders Association of F-M’s first-quarter building permit report. With 124 permits through the end of March, the F-M metro community encompassing Dilworth, Moorhead, Fargo and West Fargo experienced a 121 percent increase over last year’s 56 permits.

Single-family homes increased by ten permits community-wide, while twin-home construction saw a surge from six permits last year to 64 this spring. Row-house permits remained consistent at 12. Housing permit values also nearly doubled, from $13.5 million last year to $25.5 million through March.

“This open, dry spring has allowed the housing industry to start activity earlier than last year, which may be one reason why we’re seeing an uptick,” says Clay Dietrich, Dietrich Homes, Inc. “The HBA is preparing for the second-largest Spring Parade of Homes with 90 houses, which is representative of this permit report and the high housing activity.”

Click here to access the full 2015 first-quarter building permit report.

March comparisons (2).xlsx

Moorhead – This year is Moorhead’s strongest start for new housing. With 52 permits taken in the first quarter, the city’s residential new construction is over six times last year’s numbers. Twin-home construction accounted for over 85 percent of that increase.

“That can probably be attributed to builders applying for those permits early this year before Minnesota’s new fire-sprinkler code requirement for twin homes took effect,” Dietrich says. “Even so, the city’s single-family home permits went from eight to 14 compared to last year.”

Moorhead’s residential remodeling permits slipped, but value was up 33 percent

West Fargo – West Fargo’s housing and residential remodeling permits nearly doubled compared to first quarter last year. It had 49 housing starts: 25 single-family and 24 twin homes. After a dip to 15 single-family permits last spring, the city has once again exceeded its five-year average for single-family homes in the first quarter.

Dilworth – Last year at this time, Dilworth had no housing permits; this year it had three valued at over $800,000. 2015 is the first year since 2010 that Dilworth has experienced new housing activity in the first quarter.

Fargo – Fargo is the only community that saw a decrease in housing permits, going from 27 to 20 and value decreasing about 33 percent.

Dietrich points out that the reduction in Fargo’s home-building activity may be the result of buyers choosing one of the other three communities that have more robust flood control in place and that will not see the major flood insurance cost impacts that Fargo will. There are also additional flood-proofing costs involved with building a home in Fargo that may be pricing some buyers out of the market.

“Each of our communities rely on one another. Many people who work in Fargo, live in Moorhead, West Fargo or Dilworth, and vice versa. The F-M Diversion doesn’t only protect Fargo, it ensures economic vitality for our entire metro area and everyone who lives and works here,” he saysMarch comparisons (2).xlsx.

Overall – While total building permits are up 16 percent, total value across all communities through first quarter is down about 17 percent. At $78.2 million, total construction value still exceeds the five-year average of $71.4 million.

Total permits and values include housing, multi-family, new commercial, residential and commercial remodeling, public and miscellaneous categories.

“Last year overall was great for commercial construction and high-value projects which started out strong in the first quarter. Many of the large projects permitted last year are still under construction which affects when new projects will be permitted,” Dietrich says. “This year, both commercial remodeling and commercial new construction are down in value compared to last year, but the number of commercial remodeling permits is up. Public projects were also much stronger last year in the first quarter.

Spreadsheet comparison

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.

Home Builders, Realtors urge Fargo City Commission to maintain support of assessment district

Today, the Fargo City Commission is scheduled to reconsider its vote on a special assessment district to help pay for the F-M Diversion. The original vote outcome was 3-1 to support. The Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead and the F-M Area Association of Realtors® urge Fargo’s commissioners to maintain their support of the assessment district.

According to the HBA of F-M’s first-quarter permit report to be released in detail tomorrow, Fargo is the only community in the metro that saw a decrease in housing permits, going from 27 in 2014 to 20 in 2015 and value decreasing about 33 percent. Moorhead, Dilworth and West Fargo each saw substantial increases.

The reduction in Fargo’s home-building activity 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. There are also additional flood-proofing costs involved with building a home in Fargo that may be pricing some buyers out of the market.

HBA President Clay Dietrich, Dietrich Homes, Inc., says, “Our industry and our Associations have not arrived at this decision lightly. It’s our view that the Diversion Authority was looking out for the population at large in trying to design the financing package to access the lowest possible bond rates available. It’s extremely important that there’s solidarity behind this whole process of financing and supporting the Diversion. There should have been more education of Fargo’s and Cass County’s property owners, but the right decision is to vote yes.”

The HBA of F-M and the FMAAR® support a “yes” vote from local governments and from property owners in Fargo for the following reasons:

  • Fargo needs permanent flood protection. Compared to flood insurance rates, this assessment district is the most affordable way for our community to finance the Diversion project. Currently, flood insurance premiums in certain areas of Fargo range from $2,000 to $5,000. (Base-flood elevations can vary with each house, so there is no average.)
  • Every property owner gets a vote.
  • The HBA of F-M and FMAAR® support Fargo’s right to vote on this assessment district. As administrators of the sales tax revenues, Fargo’s leadership and opinion is needed.
  • From a real estate standpoint, it’s a good thing that the city of Fargo and Cass County are picking up the majority of the liability so the real estate market and our local economy isn’t unduly harmed.

Commissioner Mike Williams voted yes on the assessment earlier, but it has been reported in local media that he’s likely to vote “no” after reading the ballot. He wants to hear from constituents on the issue before making a final decision.

If Williams does change his vote and the other commissioners vote as they did earlier this month, the commission could have a tie vote. That could be enough to stop the city from casting any ballots on the assessment (according to Williams).

One of Williams’ points of contention is that the city of Fargo has nearly a quarter of the 725 million votes available, while Cass County has a third. Both have voted “yes,” which means that even if all other governments and property owners vote “no,” the assessment will pass.

The HBA of F-M and FMAAR® point out that:

  • Those who have the most to gain from the diversion project will also have the highest assessments and a correlating number of votes. Although this system of assigning votes is difficult for many to understand because we usually deal with one person/one vote, it is fair because we are dealing with insurance and financial risk assessments that are set by dollar value at risk that would be protected by the Diversion. The votes are set accordingly.
  • A favorable vote based on our desire as a community to be protected by the Diversion is very important to show Congress and our Congressional delegates that this community is in favor of the Diversion and is willing to back up our sales tax with assessment guarantees placed on our properties to ensure our part of the financial risk is secure. Because property assessments are the safest guarantee for the bonds sold to finance this project, it is the least expensive way to finance the project.

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HBA sets Spring Parade of Homes dates: April 30-May 3, May 7-10

This year’s cover features a home built by Kochmann Brothers Homes, Inc. It is a custom one-story lake home with a lower walk-out built in 2012. The front entry features custom Douglas Fir glue-lam beams, columns and decking. See houses like this on the 2015 Spring Parade of Homes! Darrick Guthmiller, part owner and chief business officer of Kochmann Brothers Homes, was given the Home Builders Association of F-M’s 2013 Builder of the Year award. This award is presented each fall to recognize one outstanding Builder member for effort and work expended in the interest of his or her fellow members, Association and community.

This year’s Parade of Homes magazine cover features a home built by Kochmann Brothers Homes, Inc. It is a custom one-story lake home with a lower walk-out built in 2012. The front entry features custom Douglas Fir glue-lam beams, columns and decking. See houses like this on the 2015 Spring Parade of Homes! Photo credit: Bluestem Media, LLC.

The Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead’s Spring Parade of Homes, sponsored in part by Marvin Windows & Doors, features more than 85 homes over two four-day weekends: April 30-May 3 and May 7-10. Hours are 4 – 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday and noon – 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. It will showcase newly constructed homes by local builders.

General admission is free, and the event will be a scattered-site tour of homes throughout the F-M area. Homes will cover all price ranges, including options for those age 55 and better, first-time buyers, people needing more space and those wanting to downsize.

Magazine Details

Parade of Homes magazines detailing each home entry will be available at all Hornbacher’s stores April 27-May 10. The magazine is a full-color, glossy publication with a half page dedicated to each home entry. Homes are represented in full color, with 3-D renderings. Builders also have an option to include a floor plan with home listings. The magazine includes a detailed map to each Parade entry, as well as a condensed listing of all homes entered in the event. An insert with home listings will be included in The Forum April 26.

Luxurious Featured Homes

Each year, HBA members volunteer Parade of Homes entries priced $750,000 and higher to be “featured” homes in a fundraising effort to support their industry, Association and charity. Look for more details in the event magazine or at www.hbafm.com. The cost is $5 to tour all featured homes. Money raised goes to Home Builders Care of Fargo-Moorhead Foundation, the HBA’s charitable foundation. It supports skill training, education and projects related to the housing industry.

Call the HBA of F-M at (701) 232-5846 or visit www.hbafm.com for more information on this event.

Spring_ParadeofHomes

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 Red River Valley Home & Garden Show, Spring Parade of Homes, Fall Parade of Homes and Remodeled Home Tour.

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.