CAHB Blog
Wednesday, 07 October 2020 17:39
The Colorado Association of Home Builders, through its Executive Committee, Government Affairs Committee, and Political Funding Committee, has released its 2020 Voting Guide. This guide was created by reviewing candidates and ballot issues and engaging on statewide politics to provide insight and direction for our industry. The 2020 CAHB Voting Guide summarizes that work and provides the CAHB’s official position on three statewide ballot questions and endorsements in U.S. Senate and House races, as well as General Assembly races in the state Senate and House.

How does the Colorado Association of Home Builders select candidates to support?

Given that our Association spends a lot of time and effort to raise money in support of Builder friendly candidates, this is a logical question. By the time we are deciding which candidates to support, we are well into the “political cycle of life.” The cycle includes raising money into our political entities, interviewing candidates, compiling incumbent records, possibly getting involved in campaigns, without coordinating with the campaigns, through independent expenditures and, ultimately, working with these lawmakers once they get elected. Then the cycle starts all over again two years later. So, let’s answer the endorsement question by explaining the process CAHB uses to decide which candidates will receive CAHB support at the federal and state level.

Federal Candidates

Let’s use U.S. Senator Cory Gardner as an example, since he is running for re-election this year. Gardner, opposed by John Hickenlooper, is the incumbent finishing his first term and Hickenlooper, our former governor, has never been in Congress. Gardner has an established voting record on Builder issues and Hickenlooper has no record at all in Congress. 

With incumbents running for re-election at the federal level, NAHB will review their voting record on important Builder issues and several other factors important to our industry, such as key committee votes, access by NAHB staff, etc. If the legislative record is good and NAHB believes the incumbent deserves our support, they work with CAHB and our local associations to review the record and make a joint recommendation for support to NAHB’s BUILD-PAC Trustees.

If NAHB and CAHB decide to support a challenger over the incumbent, it’s because the incumbent’s record on NAHB and CAHB issues is not very good. 

In either case, a decision to support or oppose a candidate is made with great attention paid to two important factors: for an incumbent, what is the candidate’s record; and for a new challenger, how would they likely vote on homebuilding and private property issues? The process to reach a decision is very thorough.

State Candidates

For the state legislative offices of Senate and House, the Political Funding Committee (PFC) has final authority. In legislative seats with no incumbent running (open seats), CAHB lobbyists and staff participate on candidate interview teams along with our business community allies and conducts a formal face-to-face candidate interview with most all candidates running in a specific district. Staff and lobbyists then make a recommendation to support candidates to the PFC. Often, the PFC will accept the recommendation.

With incumbents, it starts with their record but also considers other factors as well. If the incumbent has a record of support with CAHB, they receive Builder support using much the same criteria as NAHB’s BUILD-PAC Trustees consider. If the incumbent’s record is poor, we may set up discussions or interviews with the incumbent and any challengers to determine possible support.

The bottom line: at each level, the candidates, their records, their responses to specific questions, and their philosophy and approach to business and Builder issues are key. Candidates who deserve our support often receive it; those who don’t must look elsewhere for support.

Conclusion

While you may or may not always agree with the recommendations of your Association, the vetting process for candidate selection is both thorough and logical. Candidates, both Democrat and Republican, who support Builders are recommended for support. Vote for the candidate of your choice, but factor in the work of your Association when you decide. It’s not an arbitrary process. Your local, state and national associations care about your ability to succeed in business and that’s why they put in the time and effort to offer suggestions on which candidates are the most Builder friendly.





 

Monday, 05 October 2020 17:05

Building Jobs4Colorado will host a discussion on the Senate Bill 205, the state’s new paid sick leave law. The online meeting will be on Thursday, October 15, from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. It is open to all Colorado contractors. The discussion will be led by attorneys Kristin White and Todd Fredrickson with the law firm Fisher Phillips. To RSVP, please visit https://iec.flashpoint.xyz/Lite/Event/Profile/331275000.

Friday, 19 June 2020 14:56

The Colorado General Assembly adjourned on Monday after returning on May 26 to address unfinished business, including the state budget. The typical 120-day session only lasted 84 legislative days but spanned 160 days with a long pandemic recess and a two-day break caused by protests around the capitol.

The legislature’s primary task was to finalize the state budget and the school finance act. Legislators had to address a $3.3 billion shortfall, including a current year shortfall of $895.8 million and a 2020-21 fiscal year shortfall of $2.42 billion. The budget contraction for this downturn is expected to be twice the Great Recession (a -5.6 percent reduction versus a -2.5 percent reduction in 2009). Much of the budget reductions will be felt hardest by school districts, higher education and transportation.

The Government Affairs Committee took positions on 24 bills and reviewed dozens more. Over the next two weeks, we will provide wrap ups on legislation that impacts our industry and Colorado’s business climate. This update includes three bills that were killed that would have been significantly detrimental to homebuilding across Colorado, as well as the current Executive Order update from Governor Polis. Next week’s update will include additional bills impacting our industry.

The following bills were priorities for the CAHB’s lobbying team:

  • SB20-093 would have created the "Consumer and Employee Dispute Resolution Fairness Act” to limit the use of arbitration, including in a construction issue. Along with our partners in the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA), we worked with the bill’s sponsors to fix issues that would have harmed the Vallagio The bill was killed during the shortened session. This issue is certain to reemerge in 2021.
  • SB20-138 would have increased the statutory limitation period for construction defects from 6 years to 10 years, allowed tolling of the limitation period on any statutory or equitable basis, and required tolling of the limitation period until the claimant discovers not only some physical manifestation of a construction defect but also its cause; effectively removing any statute of limitations for defect claims. The bill was also killed during the shortened session.
  • SB20-216 would have changed workers’ compensation law to presume that essential workers, including those in construction, who work outside of the home and contract COVID-19 to be presumed to have contracted the disease through the course of employment, and contraction of COVID-19 will be considered a compensable accident, injury or occupational disease. This bill was postponed indefinitely in committee. 

In addition, two issues critical to the homebuilding industry were close to having legislation introduced during the session. Several legislators, possibly in response to the Denver Post’s reporting series, were preparing legislation on metro districts. That legislation was not introduced due to the COVID-19 recess, but the CAHB expects legislation on special districts during the next session.

CAHB worked through the Colorado Water Congress and with construction-industry partners to help stop introduction of dredge and fill legislation developed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The legislation would have created a permitting process for dredging and filling in state waters and was a reaction to new federal laws that will go into effect this summer as a replacement to WOTUS. CAHB will work with AGC of Colorado and the Colorado Contractors Association to work with CDPHE to address concerns on this issue.

To review a complete list of the CAHB’s legislative positions—including bills that the GAC supported, opposed and monitored—please visit https://statebillinfo.com/SBI/index.cfm?fuseaction=Public.Dossier&id=27390&pk=100&style=pinstripe.

Executive Order Updates:

Governor Polis has now issued 106 Executive Orders to date related to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, the governor announced the Protect our Neighbors phase of the state’s COVID response. A first step in this new phase will include a public health order to be released today to allow slightly larger indoors meetings, residential summer camps, spa services and limited bar openings (non-food) statewide.

CDPHE is developing a new set of guidance, likely to be finalized by the end of the month, to give local governments the ability to significantly loosen some restrictions locally, especially on meetings and gatherings in indoor and outdoor spaces. Details include:

The Protect Our Neighbors (PON) framework is a local control approach to managing COVID-19.  This framework will allow communities to demonstrate strong public health and health care systems, as well as low virus levels, and allow them to take on more control over their reopening plans.  The PON framework will allow local public health agencies to be the first line defense of containing outbreaks by doing things like site closures, testing, case investigation, and contact tracing.  PON will launch at the end of June. 

In order to enter PON communities must qualify by meeting scientifically established thresholds of:

  • Low disease transmission levels;
  • Local public health agency capacity for testing, case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak response;
  • Hospital ability to meet the needs of all patients and handle the surge in demand for intensive hospital care.

These standards will allow the local areas to permit all activities at 50 percent of pre-pandemic capacity, with social distancing and no more than 500 people in one setting at a time.  Over time the 50 percent threshold may be increased up to 60 percent or 75 percent if a region holds their transmission levels steady and continues to demonstrate capability of performance metrics around treatment, testing, case investigation, contact tracing and outbreak response. 

A committee of scientists is developing a set of measures to help understand how to move between phases.  The key questions they are considering to make these determinations are:

Transmission:

  • What is the level of transmission in the community?
  • What percentage of tests are positive for COVID-19:

Treatment:

  • Are hospitalization trends for COVID-19 increasing or decreasing?
  • Do hospitals have the surge capacity (staff, beds, equipment, supplies) to provide critical care for an increased number of people?
  • Do hospitals have sufficient protective equipment (PPE) to continue to provide care for an increased number of patients?

Test and Trace:

  • What percentage of cases are contacted and isolated within 24 hours of a positive test result?
  • What percentage of people exposed to an individual who tests positive are notified within 48 hours?  
  • What is the surge capacity to be able to do contact tracing, if a large number of people are exposed?
  • What is the level of testing in a community?
  • Is everyone exposed in an outbreak able to get a test?

Safer at Home:

Currently, the state is still under Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoor (D 2020 091), which was signed on June 1 and is in effect for 30 days. This was an extension of the original Safer at Home executive order that allowed for the slow reopening of Colorado after nearly two months of Stay-at-Home orders.

Key provisions on Safer at Home that impact homebuilders and the industry include:

  • Safer at Home establishes rules on non-critical office-based businesses, including symptom checking and reporting; cleaning protocols; limitations on meetings; social distancing and caps of 50 percent capacity in offices.
Tuesday, 09 June 2020 16:54
The Colorado Association of Home Builders is participating in a broad coalition of statewide civic and business organizations to oppose Gov. Polis’s efforts to change the way people and organizations can access the Colorado ballot through electronic and mail signature gathering. This coalition, led by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, includes rural, urban, suburban and mountain communities, our state’s smallest businesses to some of our largest employers, and a variety of industries, like agriculture, education, energy and construction.

At issue is Gov. Polis’s May 15 Executive Order D 2020 065, which suspends a number of laws related to signature collection and ballot qualification for elections and orders the Secretary of State’s Office to develop rules for electronic and mail signature gathering. This action, the coalition contends, violates the state’s constitution, which already has established fair and equitable ways for people to place ideas on the ballot for consideration by Colorado voters.

Additionally, the coalition expressed concerns that these changes could completely lock out people with limited access to technology and internet – including those who live in rural communities, older adults and people experiencing poverty.

Colorado Concern and former DU Chancellor Dan Ritchie filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the executive order, and our coalition filed an amicus brief in support of that lawsuit. A Denver District Court ruled against the suit; however, this past Friday the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal. We hope that a panel of justices will better understand the arguments against the executive order and will side with our state’s constitution, enforcing the laws and protections that are wisely in place to protect the ballot initiative process.  Our coalition will be filing an amicus brief for the appeal.

To learn more about the effort to protect Colorado’s Constitution and keep ballot access fair for all, please visit https://denverchamber.org/policy/protect-colorados-constitution.

CAHB Government Affairs

This association’s Government Affairs Committee met last Friday and took action on one bill:

SB20-216—Oppose—This bill would change workers compensation law to presume that essential workers, including those in construction, who work outside of the home and contract COVID-19 are presumed to have contracted the disease through the course of employment, and contraction of COVID-19 will be considered a compensable accident, injury or occupational disease for purposes of the Workers Compensation Act of Colorado. The GAC opposes this legislation because it will likely spike workers comp insurance rates and saddle businesses with more costs and regulations as potential claims increase due to COVID-19.

For more information:

To track the CAHB’s legislative positions—including bills that the GAC supports, opposes and monitors—please visit https://statebillinfo.com/SBI/index.cfm?fuseaction=Public.Dossier&id=27390&pk=100&style=pinstripe.

Colorado Water Congress weighs in on potential dredge and fill legislation

This past Friday, the GAC received an update on the Water of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule from Colorado water attorney Rick Fendel. He took questions from GAC members and explained how new federal laws to replace the Obama-era WOTUS, which take effect this summer, will impact water issues in the future.

In addition, the State Affairs Committee of the Colorado Water Congress, which includes Ted Leighty as a representative of CAHB and our industry, agreed last week to send a letter to House Speaker KC Becker, asking her to “delay consideration of the CDPHE’s proposed bill to ‘Establish State Dredge & Fill Water Permit Program.’”

The legislation, which is being developed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, seeks to create a permitting process for dredging and filling in state waters and is  a reaction to new federal laws that will go into effect this summer as a replacement to WOTUS. The draft legislation, which may be sponsored by Speaker Becker, has not been introduced yet during this legislative session. If the bill is introduced, the GAC will consider taking an official position.

The Colorado Water Congress letter stated that:

“We see no compelling reason to rush legislation at this time. In fact, there has always been a gap between the universe of State Waters and those receiving protection under the federal dredge and fill program because State Waters are defined far more broadly than are Waters of the United States. …
The issues raised by the bill are too numerous and complicated to simply work through in the very short time remaining in the legislative session, or in the context of a rulemaking. As part of the regulated community, CWC would be pleased to provide a forum for comprehensive stakeholder engagement to develop enabling legislation that would ensure an implementable, protective, and cost-effective program. We therefore respectfully request that you delay the CDPHE bill until next year.”  

The full letter is available by clicking here.

Tuesday, 02 June 2020 21:09
Last Friday, the Colorado Association of Home Builders co-hosted a webinar on COVID-19 Construction Guidelines, along with the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver, Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, Northern Colorado Homebuilders Association and AGC of Colorado.

The webinar included panelists EJ Olbright of CFC Construction, Dan Johnson of SFI Compliance, Todd Fredrickson of Fisher and Phillips, and Pat Miller of Sherman and Howard. The topics covered included CDPHE’s construction guidance; AGC’s protocols; best practices for residential construction sites; and a review of legal issues. The webinar also included Q&A from the attendees.

More than 125 industry professionals from across Colorado attended the webinar. It is available online for all members to review at: https://youtu.be/Vs-TjGSjQNA. Please take a few moments this week to check out this webinar to help ensure safe, healthy and compliant jobsites.

CAHB Government Affairs

The Colorado General Assembly returned to work last Tuesday—before adjourning on Friday because of protests and vandalism at the state Capitol. The legislature is faced with making $3.3 billion in cuts to this year and next year’s state budget.

The General Assembly was expected to kill several bills that either had fiscal notes or were no longer critical considering the state’s COVID response and budget cuts. Key bills that will be killed include:

HB20-1333 – This bill would have increased requirements for disclosure and transparency in the operations of HOAs in common-interest communities. Directly impacting our members, this bill would have made significant changes to how and on what timelines a developer of a subdivision (declarant) would have been required to transfer control of the HOA.

SB20-093—This legislation sought to create the "Consumer and Employee Dispute Resolution Fairness Act.” For consumer and employment arbitrations, Senate Bill 93 would have made significant changes to try to limit the use of arbitration, including in a construction issue. The CAHB, along with our partners in the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance (HOA), worked with the bill’s sponsors to fix issues that would harm the positive impacts of the Vallagio decision, as well as the institution of arbitration.  Thankfully, this legislation is due to be shelved later this week.

SB20-138—This bill would have increased the statutory limitation period for construction defects from 6 years to 10 years, allowed tolling of the limitation period on any statutory or equitable basis, and required tolling of the limitation period until the claimant discovers not only some physical  manifestation of a construction defect but also its cause; effectively removing any statute of limitations for defect claims. CAHB worked with industry partners to educate members of the Senate on the impact of this legislation to efforts to build affordable and attainable homes. Several Senate Democrats had already agreed to oppose SB138 since it would have harmed both affordable and attainable housing.

New Bills:

This association’s Government Affairs Committee met last Friday and took action on two bills:

SB20-205—Oppose—This bill creates the Healthy Families and Workplace Act, which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. The bill would require that beginning January 1, 2020, all employers in Colorado provide up to a 48 hours per year of paid sick leave to employees. Paid sick leave may be used for the employee's health care or a family member; absences related to domestic abuse; and when a public official has ordered the closure of the employee's workplace or the school or child care facility of the employee's child, due to a public health emergency. The bill also requires additional paid leave during a public health emergency. Employees may use this leave for up to a month after the end or suspension of a public health emergency. The CAHB opposes this bill because it creates another mandate on employers for a benefit that many companies already provide, and the additional sick leave requirements for a public-health emergency do not require employees to track or demonstrate a need to take leave.

SB20-207—Amend—This bill amends the Colorado Employment Security Act, which governs the state’s Unemployment Insurance program, to address public-health emergencies and to increase the amount a person can earn while receiving UI benefits.  It also requires a study of the feasibility of unemployment insurance for people in the gig economy. The GAC took an amend position because the bill currently has a provision that may impact how companies utilize independent contractors. The CAHB is working with several business groups to address this issue.

For more information:

To track the CAHB’s legislative positions—including bills that the GAC supports, opposes and monitors—please visit https://statebillinfo.com/SBI/index.cfm?fuseaction=Public.Dossier&id=27390&pk=100&style=pinstripe.

 

Governor Polis amends Safer at Home

Governor Polis on Monday revised the Safer at Home Order to transition to “Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors.” The new order,  Executive Order D 2020 091, implements a number of measures that will allow citizens to return to work and recreation while maintaining social distancing. Any business or activity not addressed in this EO or accompanying public-health order may operate in accordance with general guidance from CDPHE concerning group limitations, social distancing requirements and sanitation and cleaning protocols.

Construction jobsites should still operate under CDPHE’s Multi-Industry Construction Guidance document.

The revised order would allow people over 65 or with underlying health conditions “to also enjoy Colorado’s outdoor spaces at a safe social distance, in addition to staying at home as much as possible.” The order will allow swimming pools and playgrounds to open at limited capacities and directs CDPHE to create further guidelines for houses of worship, child care, team sports, summer camps, and outdoor and personal recreation. This order still limits gatherings to 10 or fewer people, accept if larger groups have been approved in a variance or industry-specific guidance, such as restaurants.

For a list of executive orders and other CAHB updates on COVID-19, be sure to follow our blog.

Friday, 22 May 2020 16:03
The Colorado Association of Home Builders, in conjunction with several industry partners, will be co-hosting a webinar next week. Please register now for this important webinar.

Date:
May 29, 2020
Time: 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM MDT
Register Here: https://business.hbadenver.com/events/details/covid-19-construction-guidelines-what-you-need-to-know-21972

Tuesday, 19 May 2020 23:01

Stating he does not want Coloradans’ rights to put initiatives on the November ballot to be limited by the coronavirus, Governor Polis on Friday issued an Executive Order instructing the Secretary of State to develop temporary rules for gathering petition signatures by mail or email. The governor suspended the order yesterday until June 24 to allow the Secretary of State to develop the rules first.

Currently, signatures must be gathered in face-to-face interactions and the petition pages must be notarized, testifying that they were collected in person and that certain rules were followed when a signature was gathered. Much of Colorado’s signature-gathering laws are in the state Constitution—and should not be circumvented by an executive order.

CAHB has partnered with business and nonprofit stakeholders to strengthen Colorado’s petition-gathering laws to limit special-interest ballot measures. Last week, we co-signed a letter with 35 other organizations to Gov. Polis, asking him not to take this step. In that letter, we noted that “electronic signature gathering would also be more susceptible to voter fraud, jeopardizing our state’s hard earned and well-managed election process.” That letter is available by clicking here.

On Monday, Colorado Concern and former University of Denver chancellor Daniel Ritchie filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court, stating the governor lacks the power to alter Colorado’s statewide signature-gathering process, even in a time of emergency, and that the governor cannot change the state Constitution. The complaint can be viewed by clicking here.

CAHB will be an active participant in the coalition efforts to stop any weakening of the ballot initiative and petition process. Even though Initiative 122, limited growth, has been withdrawn for 2020, there are still several harmful ballot measures pending, including a rewrite of state income taxes and paid family leave. And any changes to signature gathering now could create a precedent for changes  in future years, opening our industry for more attacks in 2022 and beyond.

We hope that Gov. Polis acknowledges our concerns and eventually works with us on this issue. Instead of drawing political battle lines and mustering resources to fight anti-business ballot measures, we should be focusing our energies, and limited financial resources, on economic recovery and addressing our common threat of COVID-19.

Initiative 122 Withdrawn:

As noted above, Initiative 122 was withdrawn last week, meaning that the limited-growth measure will not appear on the 2020 ballot. The withdrawal may have been prompted by a campaign-finance complaint filed last week by the Coloradans for Responsible Reform issue committee formed to defeat Initiative 122. The proponent’s issue committee, Sensible Growth, is more than 14 days delinquent on its first campaign-finance report and failed to file its second report due yesterday. CFRR will continue to work to ensure that Daniel Hayes is held accountable for not disclosing contributions and expenditures, including paid signature gathering.

State Budget Update:

The General Assembly will reconvene after Memorial Day to address the state budget. The Joint Budget Committee, the bipartisan group that writes the state budget, last week received an updated economic report. According to economists, state revenues have dropped further than previously reported and the state now faces a $3.3 billion shortfall. The current year shortfall is $895.8 million, and the shortfall for the 2020-21 fiscal year is $2.42 billion. The budget contraction for this downturn is expected to be twice the Great Recession (a -5.6% reduction versus a -2.5% reduction in 2009). The largest and hardest cuts to the budget will likely hit K-12 education, higher education and transportation.

In addition, the state will be grappling with the cost of unemployment. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (UITF) has received 10 times the filings than the previous recession and will likely need to borrow money from the federal government to remain solvent. Employers will then have to pay increased UI fees of $42.80 to $865.40 per worker next year to replenish the fund.

Face Coverings Extended:

Governor Polis on Sunday extended a previous Executive Order requiring critical and essential workers to wear non-medical face coverings. This extension is in effect until June 16.

Face coverings are part of the Multi-Industry Construction Guidance document released on April 1 that lays out the state’s safety requirements for construction jobsites. That document is available by clicking here. The guidance on face coverings includes: 

  • Use of personal protective equipment for hygiene and safety: employees should wear all standard worksite personal protective equipment (PPE), especially eye protection and gloves, as well as other standard safety equipment (e.g. reflective vests or jackets). In addition, workers should wear a mask or cloth face covering at other times if consistent with OSHA and other applicable safety requirements. PPE may not be shared between members of a work team.

If you have any questions about temperature checks, symptom monitoring or face coverings, please contact Ted Leighty at ted@hbacolorado.com. Thank you for your adherence to these regulations and guidelines.

Wednesday, 06 May 2020 20:08

Reminder: Continue Wearing Face Coverings on Jobsites

As the state transitioned last week to its "Safer At Home" regulations, there were critical inconsistencies between the guidance for construction firms as an essential industry and the new regulations. The most concerning was new guidance that appeared to require all employers take the temperature of all employees at each site. The Colorado Association of Home Builders worked with our construction-industry partners to communicate concerns with this guidance and was successful in getting changes made to allow more flexibility. In addition, CAHB has continued to work with several of our local HBAs and construction partners to track the different regulations and requirements issued through orders from the state and local governments.

Due to these efforts, the state updated its "Safer at Home" order yesterday to address face coverings, temperature checks and symptom checking policies for businesses.

The revised Public Health Order has a guidance document available by clicking here. The updated rules from the state includes specific guidance for construction on temperatures:

Construction firms should implement symptom monitoring protocols (including workplace temperature monitoring and symptom screening questions) where possible. Best practice is to implement a temperature check station at the entrance to the construction site. If this is not practicable, employees will check for symptoms at home and report symptoms either electronically or on paper per the system created by the construction firm. Resources are available on the CDPHE COVID-19 resources web page. Per the public health order, employers must retain the screening logs for at least 3 months and provide them to public health upon request.

A sample Employee Health Screening log is available from the state by clicking here.
 
The updated Public Health order has changed for critical businesses other than construction. This includes all offices.

For Critical Businesses, Critical Gov't Functions, Non-Critical Office-Based Businesses, Personal Services, Limited Healthcare Settings & Non-Critical Retail shall follow protocols:

  • Employers and sole proprietors shall take all of the following measures within the workplace to minimize disease transmission:
    • deputize a workplace coordinator(s) charged with addressing COVID-19 issues;
    • maintain 6 foot separation between employees and discourage shared spaces;
    • clean and disinfect all high touch areas;
    • post signage for employees and customers on good hygiene;
    • ensure proper ventilation;
    • avoid gatherings (meetings, waiting rooms, etc.) of more than 10 people;
    • implement symptom monitoring protocols, conduct daily temperature checks and monitor symptoms in employees at the worksite to the greatest extent possible, or if not practicable, through employee self-assessment at home prior to coming to the worksite. A sample form can be found here. If an employee reports any symptoms, refer symptomatic employees to the CDPHE Symptom Tracker and take all of the following steps:
      • send employee home immediately;
      • increase cleaning in your facility and require social distancing of staff at least 6 feet apart from one another; exclude employee until they are fever-free, without medication, for 72 hours and 7 days have passed since their first symptom; and
      • if multiple employees have these symptoms, contact your local health department; and
      • eliminate or regularly clean and disinfect any items in common spaces, such as break rooms, that are shared between individuals, such as condiments, coffee makers, vending machines.

Face Coverings:

The state of Colorado and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has advised our industry to continue to follow the Multi-Industry Construction Guidance document released on April 1.  That document is available by clicking here.

Please continue to follow this document on jobsites-and please pay attention to the guidance on face coverings, highlighted below. With individual jurisdictions, such as Denver, having their own face-covering rules, its important that our industry adhere to this guidance. The current guidance from the state on face coverings includes: 

  • Use of personal protective equipment for hygiene and safety: employees should wear all standard worksite personal protective equipment (PPE), especially eye protection and gloves, as well as other standard safety equipment (e.g. reflective vests or jackets). In addition, workers should wear a mask or cloth face covering at other times if consistent with OSHA and other applicable safety requirements. PPE may not be shared between members of a work team.
If you have any questions about temperature checks, symptom monitoring or face coverings, please contact Ted Leighty at ted@hbacolorado.com. Thank you for your adherence to these regulations and guidelines
Monday, 27 April 2020 23:16

Governor Polis today released the Safer at Home public health order, which takes effect today. To review the entire Safer at Home order, please click here. Key dates in this new order include:

  • April 27 - Curbside retail can begin as well as real estate showings, but no open houses
  • May 1 - Retail and some personal services can begin, with best social-distancing practices
  • May 4 - Offices can reopen at 50 percent capacity and social-distancing best practices

Specific to real estate, the order states that "Field Services, including real estate, may resume operations, in accordance with the requirements of this Order including Appendix B. Real estate includes in-person real estate showings and marketing services which must adhere to Social Distancing Requirements with cleaning and disinfection between each showing, but may not hold open houses." 

Click here for the state's Field Services and Real Estate guidance.

Under this order, Coloradans are asked to stay at home as much as possible and vulnerable individuals will continue to abide by the stay at home order. Key parts of the safer at home order include wearing masks, no public gatherings over 10, limited reopening of certain businesses and limited post-secondary instruction may resume. Normal in-person P-12 school is still suspended through the end of the school year.

Local jurisdictions will also have flexibility to go above and beyond the state guidelines or apply for a variance to loosen restrictions.  A county may apply for a variance to CDPHE if it meets certain criteria, including support from its local public health agency; demonstration that local hospitals can verify they have the capacity to serve all the people needing care; and county commissioners adopting the alternative plan in place of the statewide order. 

If local governments choose to ignore the options available to them they are breaking the law and jeopardizing their emergency preparedness grant. Businesses who willfully disregard the regulations in the public health order will be issued a Cease and Desist Order.  

 

Denver and Surrounding Counties:

Despite this order, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock last Thursday extended Denver's Stay at Home order until May 8. Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield and Jefferson counties also extended their orders to May 8 to be in line with Denver. Douglas County, which participates in Tri-County Health with Adams and Arapahoe, did not extend its order and is now under the state's Safer at Home rules.

If you live, work or operate a business in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield and Jefferson counties, you must follow the local health order. In addition, municipalities are beginning to pass their own health ordinances, with Wheat Ridge, for example, requiring facemasks for all employees and customers at retail locations.

 

Jobsite Safety Change:

The new Safer at Home order instructs employers to implement symptom-monitoring protocols at jobsites and offices. The state provided a sample form to check employees before and after the work day. According to the Safer at Home order, if an employee reports any symptoms to refer them to the CDPHE's Symptom Tracker and then take all of the following steps at your office or jobsite:

  • Send the employee home immediately;
  • Increase cleaning in your facility and require social distancing of staff at least 6 feet apart from one another;
  • Exclude the employee until they are fever-free, without medication, for 72 hours and 7 days have passed since their first symptom

If multiple employees have these symptoms, please contact your local health department. And then eliminate or regularly clean and disinfect any items in common spaces, such as break rooms, that are shared between individuals, such as condiments, coffee makers and vending machines.

The Safer at Home order still asks employees to where masks, and requires them if there is to be close contact between employees and customers. The state prepared a video to show how to set up your workplace or jobsite for temperature and health screenings.

We are working with our industry partners at AGC of Colorado, Colorado Contractors Association and the Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors to receive more specific guidance on this issue before it goes into effect on May 4.  We will update you as soon as we have more direction.

 

NAHB to Host Webinar with HUD Secretary Carson on Tuesday Morning

 
The National Association of Home Builders will host a webinar with Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The webinar is set for tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. MT. Registration is required. Click here to register (member log-in required) for this exceptional webinar.
 
Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery will join Secretary Carson to address HUD and FHA initiatives in response to the economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus.
 
From the NAHB:
 
Single-family and multifamily builders, remodelers and related companies are looking to HUD to ensure that critical housing and mortgage insurance programs are operating effectively during this challenging time. This webinar will give NAHB members an opportunity to hear about HUD's actions and plans from the nation's top housing policy officials.
 
Secretary Carson will talk about HUD's efforts to address the needs of housing market stakeholders - builders, developers, remodelers, homeowners, renters, and home buyers. Commissioner Montgomery will provide details and answer questions about HUD and FHA operations and policies developed or expanded in response to the current economic environment.
 
The two housing policy officials will address single-family and multifamily mortgage forbearance, rental assistance, and policies designed to support the housing market. They will discuss initiatives at FHA and Ginnie Mae, as well as grant programs, public housing and HUD's broad range of efforts to strengthen the housing industry.
Tuesday, 21 April 2020 17:32

Governor Polis on Monday announced his approach to reopening Colorado in May and moving into the next phase of living with COVID-19. He also announced that the statewide stay-at-home order will expire on Sunday, April 26. The governor’s announcement comes as several counties are also looking to relax their public-health orders, including Eagle County. That mountain county, which was hit early by coronavirus, submitted a request to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment last Friday to wave some of the statewide requirements in order for the county to begin reopening certain non-essential businesses and activities.

In laying the groundwork for his decision, the governor discussed new modeling that shows the state will not need to extend the statewide order. CDPHE has worked with the University of Colorado to create a model to guide these decisions. The model indicates that the actual number of Coloradans infected with COVID-19 is between 65,000 and 70,000 and also notes that social distancing alone is not enough to keep the amount of infections below the ICU bed capacity in Colorado. According to the state, an approach that includes a sustainable level of social distancing, guidance to older and at-risk citizens to do more than regular social distancing, promoting mask wearing, and pursuing aggressive case detection and containment will get Colorado to the goal of opening back up while also staying within the capacity of the healthcare system. 

When the statewide stay-at-home order lifts next Monday, Colorado will enter a “Safer at Home” phase, which will not be an order, but will be an “encouragement" to follow specific guidelines. The governor said that this phase will incrementally allow businesses and offices to reopen with smaller staffing levels, staggering shifts and strict precautions. Elective surgeries will be allowed again as well as personal services businesses—such as barbers and beauty salons—will be allowed to reopen. More importantly, individual real estate showings will be permitted to resume but open houses will still be prohibited.  School districts and postsecondary institutions will continue to suspend normal in-person instruction until the end of the school year.

Restaurants likely will not be allowed to fully open until around May 15, once data is available to evaluate the effectiveness of the easing of other restrictions. Specific guidance on this will be forthcoming, and local governments will be allowed to modify the statewide standards in order to address localized outbreaks or hot spots.

Finally, the governor noted that Colorado could return to another stay-at-home order if there is a significant increase in cases or spread of the virus. The governor calls this phase a marathon, not a sprint.

REMINDER: Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner:

The Colorado Association of Home Builders will host a Virtual Home Builder Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner today at 1 p.m. Senator Gardner will inform our members about the federal response to the health and economic challenges with COVID-19. Please remember this call is off the record. There will be an opportunity for a limited number of questions after the senator’s remarks.

Colorado Association of Home Builders’ Virtual Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner:

Today—1:00 p.m. MDT
PARTICIPANT LINE: (978) 990-5260
Access code: 8919618#
Please call in five minutes before the call so we can start on time.

CALL AGENDA:

  • Welcome from Colorado Association of Home Builders
  • Remarks from Senator Cory Gardner
  • Q&A
  • Closing Comments

 

COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down



Last week, the National Association of Home Builders hosted a national COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down. The Colorado Association of Home Builders, our local associations and many member companies participated in the event. The event include a short break on jobsites to review protections against the  coronavirus, including maintaining a distance of no less than six feet from others at all times, limiting the number of workers in groups to 10, wearing face covering, properly sanitizing frequently used tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces.

Even though Governor Polis has begun to lift the statewide stay-at-home order, and some counties are preparing to do the same, our industry must continue to safeguard the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities. The CAHB has several resources for jobsite safety available by clicking here. The NAHB’s jobsite safety toolkit is also available in English and Spanish to continue to address COVID-19 safety.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020 17:26

Last week, the National Association of Home Builders announced a COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down on Thursday, April 16. The Colorado Association of Home Builders has been working with our local HBAs, members, partner groups such as Associated General Contractors of Colorado (AGC), Colorado Contractors Association (CCA) and Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors (CAMPC) and state and local officials to ensure that construction remains an essential service—and that our jobsites remain safe and healthy and following all state and local health guidelines.

The CAHB is asking its members to host a Job Site Safety Stand Down this Thursday. Doing this will help educate our workers and show solidarity across our industry.

The NAHB has developed a COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down toolkit to educate residential construction workers on how to protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak. The stand down will focus on the steps needed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus on job sites. These include maintaining a distance of no less than six feet from others at all times, limiting the number of workers in groups to 10, and properly sanitizing frequently used tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces. NAHB has developed a blueprint for builders, available in English and Spanish, to conduct these COVID-19 safety stand downs.

According to the NAHB member alert: 

In areas where residential construction has been deemed essential, municipalities are starting to crack down on job sites that are not adhering to safety standards. This stand down is critical in the effort to maintain residential construction’s status as an essential business and sustain our livelihoods.  

We need every HBA and every NAHB member to take this Stand Down, and this pandemic, seriously. Our jobs and our industry could be at stake. All of us need to do our part. Click here for program details, and join me as we Stand Down for safety. Use #COVID-19SafetyStandDown to share photos and stories from your Stand Down.

NAHB is committed to worker health and safety and continuing to build homes needed by families across the country. We need you to take part in the Safety Stand Down on April 16 so we can continue to carry out our mission: Build Homes, Enrich Communities, and Change Lives. Through this Stand Down, we just might save lives. 

 

Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner:

You’re invited to join the Colorado Association of Home Builders (CAHB) for an upcoming Virtual Home Builder Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner on April 21 at 1 p.m. Senator Gardner will inform our members about the federal response to the health and economic challenges with COVID-19.

Please remember this call is off the record. There will be an opportunity for a limited number of questions after the senator’s remarks.

Colorado Association of Home Builders’ Virtual Town Hall with Senator Cory Gardner:

Tuesday, April 21—1:00 p.m. MDT
PARTICIPANT LINE: (978) 990-5260
Access code: 8919618#
Please call in five minutes prior to the call so we can start on time.

CALL AGENDA:

  • Welcome from Colorado Association of Home Builders
  • Remarks from Senator Cory Gardner
  • Q&A
  • Closing Comments

 

Multi-Family Call to Action:

URGENT: Ask Congress for Further Relief for Renters & Housing Providers from COVID-19 

Congress recently enacted the Coronavirus Aid and Economic Security Act, (CARES Act), the largest stimulus package in our country's history. NAHB has, and will continue to, work with Congress to voice our concerns and difficulties that be will placed on multifamily development and management.

While the CARES Act includes a number of helpful provisions for individuals and businesses, housing providers, employees and their residents will need additional economic relief to avoid a collapse of the housing sector. Specifically:

  • Providing direct rental payment assistance to multifamily properties on behalf of renters impacted by COVID-19
  • Expanding federal mortgage forbearance for multifamily properties
  • Limiting the eviction moratorium provisions to COVID-19
  • Expanding the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program so all housing firms are eligible for relief

NAHB has joined other real estate partners in sending a letter to Congressional leaders as part of a broad coalition of housing stakeholders. We now need you to take action.

We have joined forces with other real estate stakeholders to launch a coalition Call to Action campaign that aims to educate Congress about the need for additional relief for both renters and housing operators in future COVID-19 stimulus and recovery packages.

Click here to access a letter that outlines the rental housing industry's requests of Congress. We also request you please consider sharing this message and encourage others at your company to also take action. Messages like these really do make a difference.

 

GAC Update:

The Government Affairs Committee met last Friday to receive updates on the paused General Assembly session. Legislative leadership has tentatively set May 18 to resume the 2020 session—noting that a lot could change between now and then, according to House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver. The current plan is to reconvene to finalize all budget issues and then adjourn until a possible summer session.

The Joint Budget Committee will meet in early May to finalize the state’s $32 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. A March economic forecast estimated that the budget would need to be cut by at least $1.5 billion related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are expectations that the state’s revenue loss may get worse as a new forecast is planned for May. Governor Polis recently asked all state departments to start identifying at least 10 percent budget reductions.

The JBC aims to finalize the Long Bill (state budget), School Finance Act and any other budget-related bills by the end of May to allow state departments, local governments, school districts and others the time necessary to finalize their budgets by the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30. The timeline for the JBC to finalize the budget is:

  • Federal aid is expected by April 24 and federal guidance from the U.S. Treasury is expected prior to the receipt of federal aid.
  • Revised figure setting documents are to become publicly available around April 27.
  • JBC begin meeting on May 4.  
  • Legislative Council and OSPB will provide an updated revenue forecast on May 12.
  • JBC will make final budget balancing decisions prior to the Long Bill introduction.  
  • Introduce Long Bill and other budget-related bills in the House the week of May 18.
  • Introduce Long Bill and other budget-related bills in the Senate the week of May 25.

 

Executive Orders and Actions:

On Friday, Governor Polis provided an update from the Colorado Convention Center, which is being converted to a Tier 3 treatment center to be used to step down patients from critical care that will not be ready to go home. Polis said he does not expect that the Convention Center to be totally full, nor empty, during the COVID pandemic. The site will be able to accommodate 2,000 patients. The state is also establishing a similar alternate care site in Loveland at the Ranch fairgrounds complex.

The governor also pointed out that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing (DOH) awarded more than $1.9 million of emergency assistance to 19 agencies to serve low-income Coloradans in need of emergency rental and mortgage assistance due to economic hardship due to COVID-19. Two agencies will provide assistance to eligible Coloradans in all 64 counties:  Salvation Army and Colorado Housing Connects.  DOH has also developed an Eviction Resources Map that can be used with 211 to help renters avoid eviction.

On Thursday, the governor signed an Executive Order extending the disaster emergency declaration for an additional 30 days.  The new order expires May 8. The new order amends the previous order:

  • Transfers $23 million from the Controlled Maintenance Trust Fund to the Disaster Emergency Fund and encumbers $68 million from the Disaster Emergency Fund for COVID response.
  • Orders the Department of Personnel and Administration in cooperation with the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to enter into leases and contracts to provide and prepare facilities that are suitable for patient overflow.
  • Temporarily suspends the following provisions of the state procurement code:
    • The requirement that foreign entities file a statement of foreign entity authority and filing penalties associated with that.
    • Contract submissions and corresponding analysis submitted to the OSPB.
    • DPA’s performance of certain centralized functions and approval processes for the executive branch.
    • Certain threshold requirements for contracts for personal services.
    • Disclosure, notice, and penalty requirements for contractors and subcontractors performing work outside of the U.S. or Colorado.
    • Timeframe in which personal services contracts are to be added to the centralized contract management system.
    • Types of contracts that may be used to best meet the interests of the state.
    • Responsibilities and procedures for the acquisition of information technology.
  • Authorizes the Colorado Crisis Standards of Care Plan and clarifies that nothing in the supplants State or federal anti-discrimination laws, and demographic information such as race, age, disability status, citizenship, immigration status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity cannot be considered in triage or resource allocations decisions except as medically relevant to COVID.

The governor also signed Executive Order D 2020 033 which is a one-time extension of state severance taxes from April 15 to May 15, 2020.  

Finally, the Division of Real Estate within the Department of Regulatory Agencies has issued guidance on real estate transactions. Closings, inspections, and final walkthroughs are considered essential to closing a transaction. Open houses and showings are not permitted under the stay at home order.  

Wednesday, 08 April 2020 19:33

Governor Polis gave a rare televised address to the state of Colorado on Monday night. The governor stressed that the sacrifice of staying at home is not easy, but when it comes to the choice of temporarily shutting down the economy or catastrophic loss of life, then the choice is easy, he said.

The governor extended the statewide “stay at home” order, slated to expire on April 11, to Sunday, April 26. The governor referenced data that lead him to this decision: Before the stay-at-home order, Colorado’s infection rate was doubling every 1 to 2 days. Current data has the doubling rate at every 6 to 7 days. Governor Polis said these numbers demonstrated that statewide social distancing efforts were working. Finally, the Governor noted that the statewide order could be released earlier, if data continues to show that hospitals can handle COVID patients.

By extending the statewide order, it appears that construction and other essential services will be able to continue through April 26.

Also, on Monday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock extended the city’s “stay-at-home” order to April 30. By extending the Denver order, Mayor Hancock is also allowing construction and other essential services to continue through April 30.

On Tuesday, the Governor executed several items to correspond to the stay-at-home order extension to April 26, including:

  • Extended Executive Order D 2020 012 (extended order is D 2020 031) to limit evictions, foreclosures, and public utility disconnections and expediting unemployment insurance claim processing to April 30.  
  • Rescinded Executive Order D 2020 013 (rescind order is D 2020 025  requiring a 50% reduction in in-person workforce because it is now superseded by the extended stay at home order
  • Extended Executive Order D 2020 009 (extended order is D 2020 027) canceling all non-essential surgeries and procedures through April 26.
  • Extended Executive Orders D 2020 004 and D 2020 006 (extended order is D 2020 026) closing all downhill ski operations through April 30. 
  • Extended Executive Order D 2020 019 (extended order is D 2020 030  temporarily suspending the in-person notary requirement through April 30.  
  • Extended Executive Order D 2020 014 (extended order is D 2020 028) temporarily suspending the in-person marriage license requirement through April 30.
  • Extended Executive Order D 2020 011 (extended order is D 2020 029  temporarily suspending a variety of regulations including clarifications to alcohol delivery and takeout, requirements related to taxicab carriers, in-person processes for background checks, and driver’s license and identification card renewals until April 30.  

To review all of Governor Polis’s executive orders and other actions, please click here.

Worksite Safety:

With the current extensions, it’s important that our industry proactively works to ensure that all workers are following social distancing practices as much as possible. Working through these extended orders is a privilege. We need to demonstrate that we have responsible jobsites so the privilege isn’t revoked.

The CAHB has several resources to ensure that your jobsites have the proper signage and information to keep workers safe and healthy. The CAHB has an English and Spanish-language handout that can be distributed at worksites and posted in key locations. The handout is available by clicking here. Please take a moment to review the content and to ask all jobsite managers to distribute this handout.

In addition, the NAHB has developed a toolkit (available by clicking here) with COVID-19 prevention, preparedness and response plans.

Our goal is to follow the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment guidelines on jobsite safety—available by clicking here.

Initiative 122:

Daniel Hayes, the proponent of Initiative 122, was quoted Monday in a Colorado Sun, indicating that his petition drive for 122 is over due to the statewide “stay-at-home” order. From the Sun article:

Daniel Hayes, a Golden resident behind a ballot measure to limit housing growth in 11 Front Range counties, said his effort is doomed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hayes has until June 5 to turn in the necessary signatures, but he’s throwing in the towel. “It failed — there’s no way,” he said in an interview. “If it hadn’t been for the virus, we would have been there.”

The full article is available at the Colorado Sun: https://coloradosun.com/2020/04/06/ballot-initiatives-colorado-coronavirus/

In 2018, Hayes’ informed the media that he would not collect any signatures, but he never formally pulled the measure with the Secretary of State. The campaign against 122 will continue to monitor this closely until the June 5 signature deadline to ensure that 122 officially does not qualify for the ballot.

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Phone: 303-691-2242
Email: cahb@hbacolorado.com