Texas Builder Magazine, Mar-Apr 2015 - page 18

Texas Association of Builders
March/April 2015
On Council
away from teaching students career and
technical skills over the last few decades,
the pipeline of skilled construction
workers has virtually dried up.
Not only does a tight labor market
increase costs by delaying projects,
costs of construction materials and land
continue to rise. Nationally, lumber and
plywood costs are up 11 percent, gypsum
8 percent, concrete and steel 4 percent.
While we are fortunate to be building
housing in Texas, a red-hot market gives
suppliers an opportunity to raise prices.
And, of course, there’s the issue of water
for many of us across the state.
The good news for Texas builders is that
in 2013 the Texas Legislature passed
comprehensive school reform legislation
that allows high schools to offer more
career and technical education, including
construction-related courses. And, as
Texas oil production levels out, those
workers may become available to the
construction industry. Supply and
demand, however, will continue to drive
the cost of goods.
The Multifamily Council and industry
do have issues that are unique to our
business, most of them related to taxes. For
example, we must work to better educate
tax assessors on Committed Affordable
Units (CAFs) vs. Market Rate Affordable
Units (MARKs). CAFs are guaranteed by
agreement with federal, state or county
governments, or through mechanisms
such as tax-exempt financing, to remain
affordable to low and moderate income
households for a specific period of time.
MARKs are owned by the private market
and tend to have higher monthly rents
than CAFs based on the market in which
the units reside.
Another challenge that faces multifamily
especially in rural areas. Many rural
communities are isolated and lack the
population and infrastructure to support
development. Public transportation is often
non-existent. And, there is the nostalgia
that residents of rural areas have for “the
good old days.” The term NIMBY (not in
my back yard) is often used. Educating these
residents about the management of and the
quality of the proposed development is
paramount to success.
The Multifamily Council wants to hear
from the members of the Texas Association
of Builders. We are happy to answer your
questions about affordable housing and
multifamily development. And, we want
to learn from you how the Council can
better serve the membership. Your input
and an exchange of ideas and information
is important to all of us as members of the
residential building industry.
I look forward to hearing from and
working with you.
Mike Sugrue serves as the volunteer chair of
the TAB Multifamily Council. Mike and his
wife, Victoria, are principles of StoneLeaf
Companies based in Mabank, Texas, a
builder of large custom homes and smaller
affordable rental apartment homes.
Multifamily Challenges
The Texas Association of Builders
Multifamily Council is a professional
organization of multifamily owners,
developers, builders and associates
who are active in the multifamily
building industry. The Council’s goal
is to be the authority on multifamily
housing issues in Texas and to
improve the industry by raising the
level of professional multifamily
development, construction,
and operations.
By Mike Sugrue,
Multifamily Council Chairman
t is an honor to serve as your
Multifamily Council Chairman, and I
am pleased to have this opportunity
to share with you the goals of the
Council, and to extend to all members
of the Texas Association of Builders an
invitation to learn more about multifamily
building and development and to attend
Council meetings.
The issues that face single family builders
and remodelers and multifamily builders
are similar, and I look forward to working
with TAB’s members and staff throughout
my tenure as chairman to be a resource
to the membership, consumers and the
Legislature on the Multifamily Council’s
issues and objectives.
The shortage of skilled labor affects all
of us in the building industry. A recent
survey of construction companies in Texas
found that almost 90 percent are having
a tough time finding carpenters, roofers,
bricklayers and plumbers. We lost skilled
workers to other industries and to the
oilfields during the economic downturn,
and because our educational focus moved
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