Remodeling Market Index Dips in 1st Quarter

The National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index posted a reading of 54 in the first quarter of 2016, dipping four points below the previous quarter but remaining in positive territory.

An Remodeling Market Index above 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter) than those who report it is lower. The overall Remodeling Market Index averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future remodeling activity.

“Remodelers were solidly booked for jobs in the first quarter of 2016 but calls and appointments for work slowed down in comparison to the end of 2015,” said 2016 National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Chair Tim Shigley, CAPS, CGP, GMB, GMR, a remodeler from Wichita, Kansas. “Volatility in the financial markets during the first quarter may have impacted consumers’ readiness to commit to projects.”

The Remodeling Market Index’s current market conditions index stands at 55, down a point from the previous quarter. Among its components, major additions and alterations continued gains from the previous quarter, rising to 55 from 54. The smaller remodeling projects component decreased two points to 54, and the home maintenance and repair component of the Remodeling Market Index decreased two points to 56.

At 53, the Remodeling Market Index’s future market conditions index decreased six points: Calls for bids decreased to 51 from 58, the amount of work committed fell to 52 from 57 and appointments for proposals dropped to 52 from 60. Meanwhile, the backlog of remodeling jobs decreased only three points to 58 from the previous quarter’s reading — and high-water mark — of 61.

“Minor declines in the small additions and maintenance categories coupled with a slight uptick in major additions resulted in a flat outcome for current market conditions,” said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “While the future market conditions of the index dipped slightly, we still anticipate modest growth in the remodeling industry over the course of 2016.”

For data tables on the Remodeling Market Index, visit For more information about remodeling, visit

Judges Needed for Columbia Remodeling Awards

Judges Needed for Columbia Remodeling Awards

The Remodelers Council of the Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina needs professional remodelers, designers, and builders to help judge their 15th Annual Columbia Remodelers Awards. Judging will take place on Wednesday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Judges will be driven from site to site and treated to lunch.

Please contact Bin Wilcenski at (803) 256-6238 or if you are willing and able to help.

Remodeling Market Index Climbs For Second Quarter in a Row

The Remodeling Market Index (RMI) continued to climb at a modest pace in the third quarter of 2013 rising two points to 57, the highest reading since the first quarter of 2004, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

An RMI above 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter) than report it is lower. The overall RMI averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future remodeling activity. The RMI’s current market conditions index rose from 54 in the previous quarter to 58, the highest reading since the creation of the RMI in 2001, driven partly by rising existing home sales.

“The growth in home equity and home sales prompted home owners to remodel as they prepare to move or undertake upgrades that they put off during tough times,” said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Bill Shaw, GMR, GMB, CGP, a remodeler from Houston. “NAHB Remodelers looks forward to continuing our tradition of professional service and craftsmanship as the housing recovery makes progress.”

All three major components of the RMI’s current market conditions index increased in the third quarter. Major additions and alterations increased from 51 to 55, minor additions and repairs from 55 to 58 and maintenance and repair from 57 to 59. The future market indicators component of the RMI remained even with the previous quarter reading of 56.

Regionally, the RMI has registered two consecutive quarters of gains in the Northeast, Midwest and West. In the South, the RMI edged down slightly in the third quarter after a five point gain the previous quarter. All four regions were above 50 and higher in the third quarter than in the first quarter of 2013.

“In addition to existing home sales, which support remodeling activity as owners fix up their homes before and after a move, remodeling has benefitted from rising home values,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This boosts home equity that owners can tap to finance remodeling projects. We expect existing home sales and house prices to increase, but at a slower rate over the next year, so the demand for remodeling services should also increase, but more gradually over that period.”

For more information about remodeling, visit

Upcoming NAHB Webinars: Of Profits and Non-profits

Upcoming NAHB Webinars: Of Profits and Non-profits

With topics such as risk management and getting your projects involved in your community, September offers webinars that will provide profits to your business and conscious. Learn how managing risk, creating a successful business plan, getting involved in your community and getting rid of pests (figuratively and literally) can all lead to a more profitable business.

Doing Well by Doing Good: Building Strategic Partnerships Through Community Action
Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
Presented by NAHB National Sales and Marketing Council

Giving back solidifies your reputation in the community, but did you know that your charitable efforts can also be used to form strategic partnerships, gain positive public relations and increase your brand awareness? Our experts say yes and will show you how in this in this how-to webinar. Register for this webinar.

Builders Need Their Tools Back: Fixing the 2015 Codes
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Presented by NAHB Construction, Codes and Standards

Construction Codes and Standards staff will discuss important changes proposed for the 2015 editions of the International Code Council family of model building codes, including significant energy code changes that will fix the mistakes made during the 2012 code cycle. Register for this webinar.

Risk Management Fundamentals for Home Builders and Contractors
Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Presented by NAHB Business Management

Risk management is a critical part to every company and encompasses a wide variety of business practices. It’s more than looking at safety issues; it includes insurance, contracts, and regulatory compliance. This webinar is a discussion about the basics of risk management. Register for this webinar.

Planning for Profits in Your Remodeling Business
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Presented by NAHB Remodelers

Not making as much as you’d like? In this webinar, remodelers will learn how to create a successful business plan and annual operating budget for their business. Participants will get help troubleshooting common roadblocks on the road to profitability. Register for this webinar.

Keep Bedbugs from Infesting Your Company’s Bottom Line
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Presented by NAHB LIHTC and Multifamily

In this special Thursday webinar, an NAHB attorney will outline the legal obligations of owners and managers who find themselves in such situations, or who want to proactively avoid liability issues. Since prevention is the first line of defense, an experience entomologist will discuss strategies for keeping your buildings pest-free, and will describe the various approaches to recognizing and solving the problem once it appears. Register for this webinar.

Learn more about Webinar Wednesdays.

CDC moves the goal post on lead paint

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently changed its standard on which it bases its efforts for reducing childhood lead exposure.

Previously, the CDC used 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood as its standard for a “level of concern” for lead poisoning,  The agency replaced that standard with a focus on the 2.5 percent of the population most exposed to lead.  This change sets up a scenario in which industries like Remodeling will suffer through ever more expensive measures to mitigate a continuously decreasing risk of exposure.

Craig Webb, Editor-In-Chief of Remodeling, presents an effective argument against the CDC’s change in his “First Word” in this month’s Remodeling.  Below is Webb’s column, used with permission.

Add It Up
On the lead-paint rule, whose needs matter more?

Odd as it may seem, the debate over the lead-paint rule reminds me of the movie Saving Private Ryan. If you’ve seen the movie, no doubt you remember how director Steven Spielberg first shows in stomach-turning detail the carnage U.S. troops suffered on Normandy’s D-Day beaches and then juxtaposes that with a platoon’s search to find and safely bring home just one soldier.

Saving Private Ryan ostensibly is about the sacrifice by the many to make possible our concern for the one. The lead-paint fight echoes that notion, because at its heart lies this question: Is it worth spending millions of dollars and remodelers’ hours to protect a relatively small number of kids and pregnant women from lead exposure?

A recent letter to the editor illustrates this. In it, remodeler Mike Patterson of Gaithersburg, Md., takes issue with June’s First Word column in which I noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has decided to stop using 10 micrograms of lead in a deciliter of blood as its standard for a “level of concern” and instead will focus on the most exposed 2.5% of the population, no matter how low the number may be. I likened the CDC’s decision to what manufacturers do when they implement error-reduction programs to improve their assembly lines.

The CDC says it changed its tack because it can’t say how small an amount of lead in blood is safe. The problem, Patterson correctly points out, is that the CDC’s action removes the possibility that we’ll ever be able to declare victory on this issue, while simultaneously forcing us to commit ever-greater resources for an ever-smaller gain.

“The idea that nothing is ever good enough is a pervasive one, but it’s a pernicious and expensive one as well,” Patterson writes. “Pernicious in that it never allows one to feel that something worthy has been accomplished, and expensive, as it forces us all to shave our profit margins ever thinner, in the pursuit of … what? A goal? How is that possible, when the goal posts are moved every time we approach?”

America has done amazing work combating lead exposure. In the late 1970s, studies found that an estimated 88% of children aged 1 to 5 had 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. When similar tests were conducted between 2007 and 2010, just 0.8% of the kids had the same level.

Note that this improvement came before the lead-paint rule took effect, and at a price (largely from getting lead out of gasoline) that our society could afford. Tens of millions of kids are out of danger, and now a relatively few remain.

I never liked the premise of Saving Private Ryan, and I don’t like what the CDC did here. The rule’s cost doesn’t justify the benefit.

Craig Webb is editor-in-chief of REMODELING.