Colorado Association of Home Builders (CAHB)

April 29, 2024

Colorado Association of Home Builders (CAHB)

Constructing the Right Path for its Members


Working towards attainable, quality housing for all Coloradans

Business View Magazine interviews Ted Leighty, CEO of the Colorado Association of Home Builders, to learn about their advocacy efforts and the realities of the Colorado construction market

In a state that is a great place to call home and a big draw for tourists, the home-building sector is always in full focus. Navigating the often complex regulatory path to new home construction for the many leading home builders in the state remains paramount, and this is where the Colorado Association of Home Builders (CAHB) role comes into play.

Founded in 1974 and proud to represent the interest of home builders, developers, and contractors throughout the state. They advocate for bills that positively affect the housing industry and oppose measures that impair it. The work that they do plays a crucial role in providing affordable and safe housing for Coloradans.

CAHB is an affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which is one of the largest trade associations in the country. On a smaller scale, CAHB has 10 local Home Builders Associations (HBA) across the state. Being a member of a local HBA also grants automatic membership to the CAHB and NAHB. Statewide, CAHB currently has a membership of around 2,000.

CAHB’s ultimate goal is to ensure all major issues are addressed on behalf of its valued members and that every home builder and affiliated organization in the state can become a member of CAHB and directly benefit from what it has to offer.

Already representing the leading Association for the sector, the CAHB is always striving to keep on top of regulatory affairs directly impacting its membership base and provide a ‘voice’ for the industry both locally and at the state level.

To incentivize new members, the association offers a variety of benefits. This includes assistance with marketing, special member rebates, sponsorship opportunities, and lots of discounts on related programs, insurance, equipment, and more.

Recent Colorado housing statistics say it all; home prices in Colorado are up 9% as of February 2024 compared to last year, and the number of homes sold is up 6.8%. This increase is significant, but there is still a lot that can be done to make homes more affordable to build and buy. Affordability is based on a wide variety of factors, and CAHB tries to tackle many of them.


Current Priorities

CAHB tries to align its priorities to the concerns of its members. Currently, members are dealing with a cross-section of workforce issues. An ongoing shortage of skilled tradespeople is one such challenge, which affects the industry drastically. To help address this, CAHB tries to fight for the rights of employees through laws around employee discrimination, arbitration, and misclassification, among others. They also want to enact measures to expand and train the construction workforce. The idea is to make it more attractive for young people to enter and stay in the trades.

Another concern from members is around new code adoptions since they always provide challenges. Sometimes codes are introduced with no consideration of the difficulty that goes into adopting those codes. CAHB tries to fight for the rights of developers so that new codes are fair and reasonably straightforward to adopt.

There’s also the concern of the lengthy timelines when it comes to the government processing permits and providing plan reviews. As Ted Leighty, CEO of CAHB tells us, these processes simply take way too long.

“That adds a lot of carrying costs and requires us then to bring to market a more expensive home,” he adds.

Another major ongoing challenge pertains to trade issues. Most of the lumber used by CAHB members is sourced from Canada, which carries high tariffs. So, the association is trying to advocate for more domestic exploration and/or production of lumber and other materials, or at least lower the taxes on their current trade partners.

Construction Litigation Reform

One overarching priority for CAHB in 2024 is to try and provide alternative avenues to resolve construction defect disputes between homeowners and construction professionals. As of now, the only means for dispute resolution is to bring these issues to court or litigation, which is costly and time-consuming.

A law enacted in 2007 made it very easy to create lawsuits on such disputes, which drove the cost of insurance way up. This led to the insurance market mostly leaving Colorado, meaning a lot less construction and new developments.

The law in question largely affected the condominium market. Before 2007, condos represented around 20-25% of new builds, and today that number is around 5%. For some time, it reached as low as 2%.

The idea behind CAHB’s efforts is to bring down the cost of insurance to incentivize more builders to get back into the condo market. The more condos there are, the more potential for home ownership.

“We’re trying to open up that market segment again because it’s traditionally the more inexpensive way to provide entry-level ownership opportunities,” Leighty explains.

CAHB is working within a coalition called the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance to try and tackle this construction defects issue.


Building Communities of Homebuilders

A wonderful benefit for CAHB members is having access to local events and networking opportunities.

The association’s signature event is a housing summit, which involves bringing together builders, developers, economists, and other members, as well as local government and state elected officials. The hope is to help these legislators understand the challenges faced by builders.

Other events include the Marketing and Merchandising Excellence Awards and the Test and Builder Awards. “These are big celebrations of the beautiful projects that our membership created in the previous year,” Leighty tells us.

Leighty also highlights the Parade of Homes, which is a well-attended consumer-facing event that runs for two weeks each year. For the Metro Denver HBA, their two-week event kicks off with Industry Night, a fabulous party that brings in over 500 members.

Leighty tells us that there are a ton of smaller networking and educational events that happen throughout the year through local councils and committees. From professional happy hours to builder round tables to lunch and learns, members have access to a lot of opportunities for professional development.

“Our councils and committees are really where we drive a lot of our value for folks to engage with other members and for them to learn from each other or learn together,” says Leighty.

A New Generation of Home Builders

Aside from networking, CAHB also provides a great amount of educational material to its members. They operate the Home Builders Association University, which offers different types of classes and certifications.

Leighty also draws attention to the Home Builders Stormwater Excellence Program. CAHB partners with the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment to certify members on stormwater management. “This is to ensure that we have clean waterways and to abide by federal and state stormwater guidelines,” Leighty explains.

Leighty points to another large program is the Master Builder Program, which involves a partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create master builders. This is an effort by CAHB’s job site safety committee.

“We are a master builder in safety if you will,” Leighty proudly exclaims. The Master Builder Program creates better, safer builders for the industry, which also provides a better relationship between the builders and OSHA.

In addition to all of these efforts, CAHB has also created Careers in Construction Colorado, which is aimed at attracting more young people to join the trades workforce. Currently, the program is in over 60 high schools across the state. They encourage their students to join SkillsUSA Competitions, where they can practice and show off the talents that they’ve learned throughout the semester.

CAHB also works with some local governments to help offset permit fees to better fund the Careers in Construction program and provide more resources to school districts. Their efforts help offer pre-apprenticeship certificates to qualifying students so they can be ready to work as they graduate from high school, or even before.

The shortage of skilled tradespeople is being seen across the country, so Careers in Construction is being implemented in many other states as well, with a lot of support from the NAHB.

All of these efforts show how dedicated CHAB is to creating and maintaining a positive business environment for the Colorado housing industry, with the ultimate goal of housing affordability for all.


Colorado Association of Home Builders (CAHB)

What: Founded in 1974, the Colorado Association of Home Builders is the unified voice of the Colorado Home Building Industry.

Where: Colorado


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