ADA Compliance: Model Homes and Model Homes with Sales Offices

ADA=Americans with Disabilities Act

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s purpose is to ensure places of public accommodation provide the same level of access to people with various disabilities.  Like other business where people with disabilities may visit, Home Builders are not exempt.

Two key places where Home Builders may be impacted by the ADA are model homes and model homes with sales offices.

Model Homes

If a Home Builder offers a model home without a sales office, the model home is exempt from the ADA because residential dwellings are exempt from the ADA even when it is used as a model or example of the Home Builder’s product.  However, to protect this exemption, the Home Builder must refrain from doing any form of business in the model other than using it as an example of their work.  Material samples, sales documents, and other business materials should not be used in the model.  Instead, these types of materials and documents should only be used in a sales office or other ADA-accessible location.

Model Homes with Sales Offices

If a builder decides to include a sales office in one of the model homes, the section used for the sales office must be accessible because it is a place of public accommodation.  Often builders will put the sales office in the garage area, which is acceptable so long as it can be accessed by people with disabilities.  The rest of the model home would still be exempt provided it is not being used for any other purpose except as a demonstration of the Home Builders work.

These are some examples of strategies that may need to be taken to ensure that the Sales Office in the Model Home complies with the ADA:

  1. No part of the model home may be used for any business other than demonstration of the Home Builder’s work.  Therefore, a bathroom in the model home may not be used by anyone, including company staff, unless it meets ADA guidelines.  As an alternative, many Home Builders install a temporary accessible lavatory outside the model home that is used by everyone working at or visiting the sales office and model.
  2. The entry into the sales office must meet ADA guidelines.  If you use the garage for the sales office, which is common, you must choose a site where the slope of the driveway does not exceed ADA guidelines.  And the entry into the sales office must be wide enough to allow access along with an accessible path into and through the sales office.
  3. Even though the model itself may not be accessible, it is still a good idea to provide a means of viewing the areas of the model that are not accessible.  Offering standard industry videos of the model, or photo boards showing the model and features, are a good idea.

Consequences

ADA advocates and advocacy groups are actively visiting Home Builders’ developments, particularly those with sales offices and model homes.  They also are viewing your websites for accessibility.

As a Home Builder, you should take steps to ensure that you are meeting the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law in 1990.  If you fail to do so, and you get on the radar of an ADA advocate or the U.S. Department of Justice, you could become the subject of litigation not just for current developments but projects dating back many years.  Settlements usually involve payments of attorney fees, damages (under state law claims), corrections to your business operations, and training of your staff by the very advocates by whom you were sued, paid for by you.

Do you want to serve on a local government board or commission?

Do you want to serve on a local government board or commission?

Serving on a local government board or commission is a great way to give back to your community, plug into what is happening, and maybe even benefit personally and professionally by building new relationships. It also doesn’t hurt that you will learn more about how government operates as well.

Both Greenville County and the City of Greenville have opened applications for several boards and commissions.

Greenville County

The Application period to serve on a board or commission at Greenville County closes July 31.  To apply, click here to access the Boards and Commissions website and download the application.

  • Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee: 5 vacancies
  • Airport Commission (downtown airport): 1 vacancy
  • Airport Environs Planning Commission: 2 vacancies
  • Board of Tax Assessment Appeals: 9 vacancies
  • Construction Board of Appeals: 1 vacancy
  • Greater Greenville Sanitation District Commission: 1 vacancy
  • Historic Preservation Commission: 5 vacancies
  • Human Relations Commission: 4 vacancies
  • Library Board of Trustees: 6 vacancies
  • Metropolitan Sewer Subdistrict: 1 vacancy
  • Museum Commission (Upcountry History Museum): 2 vacancies
  • Redevelopment Authority (affordable housing): 4 vacancies
  • Thrive Upstate (Disabilities and Special Needs): 2 vacancies
  • Zoning Board of Appeals: 1 vacancy
  • Ashwicke Special Tax District: 2 vacancies
  • Canebrake Fire District Board: 2 vacancies
  • Clear Spring Fire and Rescue District: 2 vacancies
  • Devenger Pointe Special Tax District: 2 vacancies
  • Donaldson Fire Service Area: 1 vacancy
  • Lake Forest Special Tax District: 2 vacancies
  • Old Mill Estates Tax District Commission: 2 vacancies
  • Sterling Community Special Tax District: 2 vacancies
  • Terra Pines Estates Special Tax District: 1 vacancy

City of Greenville

The application period to serve on a board or commission at the City of Greenville closes August 1.  To apply, click here to access the city boards and commissions page and download the application.

  • Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee: 2 vacancies
  • Board of Zoning of Appeals: 2 vacancies
  • Community Development Advisory Committee (affordable housing): 2 vacancies
  • Firefighters’ Pension Fund Board of Trustees: 1 vacancy
  • Green Ribbon Advisory Committee (sustainability): 3 vacancies
  • Greenville Housing Authority: 3 vacancies
  • Greenville Transit Authority (Greenlinks): 1 vacancy
  • Municipal Election Commission: 1 vacancy
  • Public Safety Citizen Review Board (police): 1 vacancy
  • Richland Cemetery Advisory Committee: 4 vacancies
  • SCTAC board: 1 vacancy

Elected Boards

Did you know there are 23 boards whose members run for election.  Turn out for most of them is very low.  Are you interested in running for office, but not necessarily for a high-profile office?  Check out the elected boards by clicking here.

If you decide to apply, or run, please let us know by emailing (mdey@HBAofGreenville.com) or calling (864-254-0133) Michael Dey.

Dr. Robert Dietz

The decline, rebound and growth of home construction in 2020 has been dramatic. After a significant decline in the spring, home building has seen notable gains supported by historically low interest rates, favorable demographics, an evolving geography of housing demand, and a significant inventory deficit.

New home sales have led the way: Sales of new single-family homes are up almost 17% on a year-to-date basis, with a growing number of sales contracts attributable to homes not yet under construction. In fact, such sales are up 47% as of September. A recent NAHB analysis found that the current gap between new home sales and for-sale single-family starts was at historic levels.

The housing market is already beginning to adjust to this notable gap between sales and construction, as the growth rate for new home sales saw a 3.5% decline from August to September. But to be clear, the pace of sales in September (959,000 annual rate) is still strong, with a 32% year-over-year increase. Combined with the low level of inventory at a 3.6-month supply, the September data indicate growth opportunities for home building.

For these reasons, builder confidence in October reached a new, all-time high. The rising optimism is a reflection of the gains in September’s home construction data, which show single-family starts up 6.2% on a year-to-date basis and permits up almost 10%. In contrast, multifamily building is weakening, with 5-plus unit apartment permits down 8.4% thus far in 2020.

–NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz

HBA Elections and Annual Meeting is November 12

To: Home Builders Association Members
From: Bill Kane, APB, President and Vice Chairman, Leadership Development Committee
Matt Shouse, APB, Immediate Past President and Chairman, Leadership Development Committee

As we approach the end of another year, your association will hold elections for our 2021 Board of Directors. Our Annual Meeting is set for Thursday, Thursday, November 12, 2020, 5:30 p.m., at the newly remodeled HBA of Greenville offices. The Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual Chili Cook Off and Oyster Roast sponsored by GBS Building Supply, Clarks Termite and Pest Control and Jeff Lynch TV and Appliance Center.

The Annual Meeting agenda will consist of election of the 2021 Board of Directors. We expect to convene the Annual Meeting at approximately 6:45 p.m., after the winners of the Chili Cook Off contest are announced.

As a member of your Home Builders Association, you are encouraged to exercise your privilege of voting on the slate of officers and directors who have agreed to lead your association in 2021. To do that, you can attend the annual meeting on November 12, or you can submit a proxy form to our Secretary-Treasurer, Chuck Childress, who will cast your vote for you if you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting.

A Report of Nominations and proxy card have been mailed to each member in good standing at the mailing address we have on file for you. Or you may cast a proxy online.

Voting Online
The Report of Nominations is included below. To vote online, click this link and follow the instructions.

If you attend the annual meeting, the vote you cast there will be the vote that is counted. If you are not able to attend the Annual Meeting, please vote by proxy.

Report of Nominations

      Position                               Member                                               Term Ends

  1. President                         Ben Mosely                                       12/31/2021

The Heirloom Companies

  1. President Elect                 Steve Carson, APB                           12/31/2021

Carson Speer Builders

  1. Vice President                   Dave Hagan                                       12/31/2021

Ryan Homes

  1. Associate Vice President   Alan Wilson                                       12/31/2021

Clark’s Termite and Pest Control

  1. Immediate Past President  Bill Kane, APB                                  12/31/2021

Ryan Homes

  1. Secretary-Treasurer            Chuck Childress                                12/31/2022

Truist Bank

  1. Director                                 Dustin Hughes                                  12/31/2023

Jeff Lynch TV and Appliance Center

  1. Director                                Drew Hamblen, APB                         12/31/2023

D.R. Horton

  1. Director/SMC Chairman      Bryn Brutoski, APB                         12/31/2021

Ryan Homes

  1. Director/PWB Chairman      Tonya Lambrecht                             12/31/2021

Ryan Homes

  1. Director                                Emily Raines, APB                           12/31/2022

Dan Ryan Builders

Voting rules from the Bylaws:
The Designated Member of each member company, and Affiliate Members of each member company, are entitled to one vote each. Members may vote in one of the following ways:
In person at the Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 12, 4:30 p.m., at the HBA of Greenville offices at 5 Creekside Park Court, Suite H, Greenville, SC, 29615.  Authorize Secretary-Treasurer Chuck Childress to cast your vote for you by executing a proxy. The deadline to submit a proxy card is Wednesday, November 11, 5 p.m.  A quorum is 10 percent of the members in each membership category (Builder, Associate, and Affiliate).

BEA: SC Gross Domestic Product Falls 4.8% in 1Q2020

BEA: SC Gross Domestic Product Falls 4.8% in 1Q2020

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said today that the Gross Domestic Product fell 4.8 percent in South Carolina in the first quarter of 2020.  In fact, it fell in every state and for the national as a whole, GDP fell 5%.

The largest drop was in New York: 8.2 percent.  The smallest drop was in Nebraska: 1.3 percent.

By industry, construction fell by just .8 percent, and real estate and rental and leasing fell by just 1.1 percent.  But GDP also showed some interesting results as a result of a pandemic, and large government spending in response:

  • Accommodation and food services fell 26.8 percent, the leading contributor to negative GDP in 29 states.
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation fell by 34.7 percent, a contributor to GDP drop in every state.
  • Healthcare and social assistance fell 7.8 percent, largely the result of suspension of profitable discretionary procedures.
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting increased 15.5 percent, which moderated GDP decreases in 17 states.

The Federal government’s contribution to GDP rose by 2.2 percent, a function of $6 trillion in stimulus spending.  But state and local government’s contribution to GDP fell by 4.9 percent.

Our take?  High unemployment, coupled with the inherent conflict of social distancing and dining out or attending a ball game is a major factor in a struggling economy.  However, with likely home buyers among the least impacted by the rise in unemployment, construction, especially residential construction, and real estate are bright spots.  And if you have the time, and the means, why not go fishing?