(Note: The most important thing to remember over the next several weeks is that the information I’m sharing with you is not mine. It belongs to the countless members I have watched over the years be very successful with their own HBA involvement. Association Maximization will only help you if you understand and believe in what I’’m sharing with you in these series of posts. In the beginning my reasons for joining were different from what I’m asking you to have faith in now. Know that I’m speaking with you from the collected knowledge that 25 plus years as a member has given me. That is an extreme advantage if we were having a debate. In this case it is you who will have an extreme advantage because you will learn to maximize your investment in the HBA and this will help you with business opportunities that you would not normally have if you weren’t a member. The first part to Association Maximization is really a refresher. Most members tend to forget the real reason for being a member. While there are other reasons that might seem more important to different individuals, and those other reasons have benefits as well, the core mission of the home builders association is the following in Part 1.)

To understand why you’re a member of the Home Builders Association (HBA) I first have to begin with the question “what is the HBA and why is it important?” In the simplest of statements the HBA is an organization that has two types of memberships; builder and associate. The builder member is made up of multiple disciplines; Single family home builder, multi-family home builder (i.e. apartments), mixed use builder, commercial builder and remodeler. The associate member likewise has many disciplines that fall under three categories; Supplier, service provider and trade contractor. The staff of the HBA is an executive officer (possibly one or more staff members as well) with the volunteer leadership consisting of a board of directors and a group of officers, with a president as the lead, all of whom are members of the HBA. There are bylaws that dictate the make up of the board of directors and officers with the majority of both groups consisting of builder members. The president, and the officer positions that form the leadership ladder, are builders. What is the reason for the majority being builders? This is a builders association. The builders are the ones who are actually building. Builders are the ones who are dealing with all the “red tape” that comes with construction projects. Associates are individuals or companies that take part in the construction or renovation process.

The leading purpose of any HBA is for the organization to protect the interests of the building industry through the efforts of staff and engaged members. What are the threats that the HBA is protecting us from? The list is too long and too confusing (government is involved after all) but, through legislation and regulatory mandates, the efforts of the HBA help keep the members’ business doors open. Ask your executive officer for a list of HBA led initiatives and how each could impact building. Builders have a great understanding of the regulations and legislation that could impact their business. Associates understand to a certain degree but the most important point for an associate to understand; if ‘it’ affects builders ‘it’ will affect associates.

That is the “what and why.” It’s very important for all to understand that, while there are other reasons for joining the HBA, the pure benefit is for the opportunity to keep working as a builder which provides the associate opportunities to sell. “If ‘it’ affects builders ‘it’ will affect associates” is just not a catch phrase it is reality. That is why, when you write your check or have it charged to a credit card, the money you spend for a membership should be viewed as an investment. If you plan on continuing your career in the building industry, or if any of part of your business is connected to the building industry, you need the support of an HBA.

When you join the HBA you gain access to your state home builders association and The National Association of Home Builders. Your membership investment is a three-in-one investment. The state HBA and NAHB both have the same core mission as the local HBA. The power of state and NAHB comes from the local HBAs because all memberships are local. You can’t be just a member of NAHB and you can’t go solo outside NAHB and the local HBA with a direct state membership. You join a local HBA first, the rest are part of your membership investment.

Next week we will talk about the local HBA and its interaction with the state HBA and NAHB. Most states have a state association, but for those of you who might not have one, don’t worry; this doesn’t affect your membership with NAHB.

Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman
Director of Trade Association Relations, ProBuild

Editor’s Note: reprinted with the author’s permission