Home Builders Association of Hickory-Catawba Valley
HOME BUI LDERS ASSOC I AT ION OF HI CKORY-CATAWBA VALLEY which is unusual because in other parts of the state, the bigger cities, they have some of the national builders with over 1000 employees. Here, a good number of our builders have no employees. They subcontract all the work. And that labor force is hard to come by.” The HBA has been looking at solving the problem with the help of Catawba Valley Community College’s Construction Careers Academy, an industry-driven training program designed to prepare students for skilled positions that are regionally in high demand. “Graduates go directly to work for one of the local building sponsors of the program,” Kamp explains. “But that’s turning out a maximum of 20 students per year, whereas we could probably use 200.” As far as why industry professionals should join the Hickory-Catawba Valley HBA, benefits range from Builders Mutual Insurance rates and other membership discounts (Ticket Monster, UPS, Dell) to educational opportunities (Lunch & Learns, General Contractor CEU classes, scholarships) and lobbying at the local, state, and national levels. “In 2017, there were 31 bills considered by the House and Senate in North Carolina that were somehow related to the building industry,” Crouch says. “If those bills all got passed, it would’ve added, on average, $20 per square foot to the cost of a home. And so, the HBA filed them back. All of them were reduced or changed or thrown out, down the road. One was a tax on labor. It’s a big deal when you think you might get charged 7% tax on labor. When we buy materials – the carpet, or the lumber – we pay taxes on it. We’re not tax exempt. What they were trying to get at was basically double taxation. Well, the HBA lobbied for us, fought the good, the bad, and the ugly, to where we don’t have to pay taxes on labor. If it’s considered a capital improvement, it isn’t taxed. That’s significant on a house build, it kills affordable housing if you Union Square - Courtesy of Neill Grading & Construction Co.