At Home in Berks, April 2016

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Contents 2016 HBA Berks Board of Directors OFFICERS: President James E. Gavin, Esquire Masano Bradley, Attorneys At Law (Wyomissing)

1st Vice President Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP Hartman’s Home Improvements (Temple)

APRIL 2016

Features: 6

Common Fears of Building a Custom Home


Top 20 Tax Deductions for Small Business

11 Update: Court Allows PBA to Join

Fight Against Mandatory Sprinklers & Energy Codes Adoption

2nd Vice President

Angles: 20 A Profitable Alternative

to College: Apprenticeship

Larry Kehres L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)

12 Home Inspectors

What You Need to Know, Part 2


21 Deck Safety Month 22 Hiring a Reputable Contractor

Evan L. Hand, III BB&T (Wyomissing)

in Berks County

Immediate Past President Edward F. Anewalt IV, CLP

24 Have a Plan For Your Next

Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

Remodeling Project

BUILDER/REMODELER DIRECTORS Brian Bogert Advanced Construction Solutions, LLC (Newmanstown)

David Hallowell Heffleger Kitchen Center (Reading)

Diane Salks Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

Tom Watts Middle Creek Roofing, LLC (Newmanstown)

ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS Sherrie Hallowell Tompkins VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

33 Stormwater Management 14 Five Steps to Organizing

Your Finances

16 Air Conditioning Today

How it’s Changed—and Tips for More Efficient Cooling

26 Home Appliance Trends 28 Your New Threshold:

Doors that Make a Statement

32 Government Affairs in Action




From the President HBA of Berks County President Jim Gavin.

Membership Pages New and returning members, member to member discount programs, and an overview of all Association-related events for April–June 2016.

Jason Jenkins Bursich Associates, Inc. (Pottstown)

John Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company (Wyomissing)

Jim McCarthy McCarthy Engineering Associates, Inc. (Wyomissing)

HBA STAFF Janet Campis

Executive Officer & At Home in Berks Editor-in-Chief

For Advertising Opportunities: call 610.685.0914 Ext. 1 Read At Home In Berks Magazine Online at The written and visual contents of this magazine are protected by copyright. Reproduction of print or digital articles without written permission from Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc., and/or the Home Builders Association of Berks County is forbidden. The placement of paid advertisements does not imply endorsement by HBA of Berks County. Publisher: Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. 610.685.0914 2921 Windmill Road, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 Graphic Designer: Brittany Fry I 610.777.8889


Written By: James E. Gavin with Meghan Shepley

s I have told people before, my Grandmother was the most holy woman I have ever known. She lived her life the way she believed God wanted every single day. This was reflected in everything she did, including how she maintained her home. It was not so much a religious duty, as it her embodiment of warmth and love. My Grandmother lived in a row home in the City of Philadelphia, she and her husband purchased long before I was born and she stayed there until the day she died. Over the years, her neighborhood changed dramatically and not always for the better, but she remained because it was her home. She took care of her home as if it was something truly special, and to her it was. It was a part of her. It was where she raised her children, where she lived after her daughters got married. It was where she lived when she learned of her son’s death and where she stayed after her husband’s passing. Her home was an essential part of her life. For me, what I remember the most were the rose bushes in the front of her home. They were the most meticulously cared for flowers I have ever seen. To put it simply, they were beautiful. They 4

AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016

were a bright spot on an otherwise dirty street in Philadelphia.

being helped. Those people deserve a home. They deserve a home that fills their needs. They need a home that I guess there is a story in every house someday, their grandchildren will look and a great deal of humanity. As I think back on and remember it fondly and about it, it is not the house that mat- not as just one more problem. ters, it is the home. It is a reflection of the people and the lives inside. It is With the warmer weather approachthe place where memories are made. ing, I’d ask you to consider that there Memories of family and friends, joy- is somebody out there that may not be ous laughter and uncontrolled sobs. as lucky as you. One of those people So much of life is spent in the place is going to be helped by the Restoring called home. It is part of the people Hope Foundation. Perhaps 2016 is your who live within it and in turn, they make year to help give someone a home it their own. that will be a part of a fond memory. Anything you can give, be it your time, Perhaps that is why we are called your talent, or your treasure, will not the Home Builders Association and be forgotten. not the House Builders Association. Perhaps we are more than the thing My Grandmother left this world we build. We are people that give of when I was a much younger man. I ourselves to make something special will always remember her. I will always or fix something special for other peo- remember her home as a spot of beauple. Those other people are making a ty and warmth on an otherwise dirty life for themselves inside whatever it is Philadelphia street. that we are making for them. We are a small part of someone else’s life. By helping the Restoring Hope Foundation, you too can add beauty As spring approaches this year, the and warmth to this world. Restoring Hope Foundation of the HBA will begin the process of identifying and selecting a project to pursue in 2016. James E. Gavin, Esquire The focus, however, is not the project. Masano Bradley, Attorneys At Law, 2016 HBA of Berks County President The focus is always the people that are


COMMON FEARS of Building a Custom Home Leah Williams

ave you ever thought about building your own home but worried it wouldn’t be worth the hassle? Here are some reasons why you might want to reconsider.

Since buying a home is most likely the biggest investment of your life, you should be able to choose exactly what you want. Building a “custom” home may sound scary and expensive at first, but it has benefits that can save time and money in the long run. Kevin Kozo, owner and project supervisor of Turnberry Custom Homes in West Reading, Pennsylvania, has over fifteen years of experience working directly with homeowners throughout the entire process of building a custom home. Here’s how Kevin responded to some common fears of custom new construction.

1 Staying on Budget

get is and how much over budget they will be if they frequently make small changes. Kevin added that a good contractor will set a clear budget with homeowners based on their budget, wants and needs before building begins and leave a little wiggle room (about $20,000) in their client’s budget. For example, if a client has a budget of $500,000, a contractor should set the project budget around $480,000. This way, it will not be a problem when homeowners want to make a few minor changes.

How can new construction Why do homeowners save money in the long run? go over budget? In a new construction home, not only Do you know who influences the budget will the roof, plumbing and appliances be the most during a custom new construction? up to date, but the heating, cooling and According to Kevin, it’s the homeowners. utility bills will most likely be less expenWhile watching their homes being built, sive per month because newer homes are homeowners tend to want to spend a little built much more energy efficient than extra here and there which can slowly add older homes. Mortgage-data firm HSH up to a lot. It is important for homeowners Associates says that homeowners should to have a trustworthy contractor who will expect to spend 1% of their home’s value on consistently remind them what their bud- maintenance costs and plan to spend more 6

AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016

if the home is older. That’s at least $3,000 a year for a home that costs $300,000. New construction, on the other hand, will need very little maintenance. In addition to low maintenance costs, insurance for new homes is generally less expensive because a new home’s structure will be in better shape than that of an older home.

2 Time & Convenience Similar to budget, time is another common fear of building a new custom home. Custom home building does take longer than other new construction because the experience is “custom.” In custom home building, homeowners have much more freedom in designing their home and making changes throughout the process. Kevin is currently in the process of building a custom home for a family of three, the “G” family. The “G” family has had new homes built before by larger I 610.777.8889

construction companies and said it does not compare to custom new construction. They emphasized that custom home building does not limit them to a few samples to choose from as did larger construction companies. Having exactly what you want may be worth a slightly longer wait. How long does it take to build a custom home? In Kevin’s experience, a custom home takes an average of 5.5 months to complete, whereas non-custom new construction homes from larger companies take about three months. Do you know who influences the timeline most in a custom new construction? According to Kevin, homeowners tend to have the greatest influence on the timeline. Similar to giving reminders to stay on budget, a great contractor will stay on top of reminding homeowners to make decisions about their new construction on schedule without being pushy.

When you choose to build a custom new home, everything is completed before movein day, and it’s designed just for you. These are not “cookie-cutter homes,” and no one will have a home just like yours.

3 Quality Homes aren’t built the way they used to be… True, homes aren’t built the way they used to be. When I told Kevin this, he replied, “Thank God! We can replicate a lot of stuff. We can make ’em look just like the old ones, that’s not a problem. But it will be much more energy efficient, easier to own [and] a lot less money.” Today, homes have to meet tougher standards to pass inspections, are more energy efficient and have modern safety features. Although buying less-expensive homes and renovating can make interiors look updated, “every single thing throughout from insulation, energy consumption, inspections [and] quality control on new custom homes far exceeds older homes,” explained Kevin.

How do homeowners spend the waiting period while their home is being built? Most homeowners live in their current homes or rent an apartment during this time. At the end of the day, a house is a place But this waiting period is an EXCITING for shelter, warmth and family. A new time for homeowners! Kevin meets with construction may be the perfect choice for the “G” family once a week, and each time, one family’s lifestyle while buying an older they discover an exciting detail about their home and renovating could be a better fit home from new closet doors to fresh paint for another. Both are houses; family is what on the walls. makes them home. How can new construction save time in the long run? ABOUT THE AUTHOR Buying an older home has initial cost Leah Williams is a junior at benefits, but updating it can be expensive Albright College majoring and a long process. If you upgrade as you in English, Communications go to save money, it could take a long time and Spanish. until your home is “complete.”

April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs




Tax Deductions

for Small Business Barbara Weltman

n Wall Street, there’s a saying that past performance is no guarantee of 2 Salaries & Wages future results. When it comes to taxes, howWhile payments that sole proprietors, ever, past performance is a great indicator partners, and LLC members take from of the types of deductions that businesses the business are not salaries (they are typically take each year. nondeductible draws), payments to employees are deductible. Last winter the IRS released data on Schedule C filers. Here are some of the most popular tax deductions for small business that were claimed by sole propri- 3 Contract Labor etors as determined by the dollar amounts, Many small businesses use indepenstarting with the largest category. The same dent contractors to meet their labor types of deductions can be claimed by other needs. The cost of such contract labor entities—C corporations, S corporations, is deductible. Be sure that you issue partnerships, and limited liability compa- Form 1099-MISC to any such contracnies (LLCs) (although there may be slightly tor receiving $600 or more from you in different rules for some deductions). See 2015 (if payment is made to the contracwhich of these tax deductions for small tor via credit card or PayPal, it’s up to the business apply for your tax return. processor to issue them Form 1099-K, but you may want to send your own 1099-MISC for personal protection).

1 Car & Truck Expenses Most small businesses use a vehicle, such as a car, light truck or van. The cost of operating the vehicle for business is deductible only if there are required records to prove business usage. In deducting costs, the need to keep records of cost (e.g., gasoline, oil changes) is eliminated if you rely on the IRS standard mileage rate of 57.5 cents per mile in 2015 instead of deducting your actual outlays. 8

AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016

4 Rent on Business Property

The cost of renting space—an office, storefront, factory, or other type of facility—is fully deductible.

buying property for your business. It includes the Section 179 deduction for equipment purchases up to $500,000. It also includes 50 percent bonus depreciation.

6 Supplies

Items used in a business (e.g., cleaning supplies for a cleaning service) are fully deductible.

7 Utilities

Electricity for your facility is fully deductible. Other utility costs include your cell phone charges. If you claim a home office deduction, the cost of the first landline to your home is not deductible. If you have a second line, it is a deductible utility cost.

8 Taxes

Deduct state and local sales tax you charge on your goods and services; the amount you collect from your customers is part of your gross receipts, so this deduction is merely a wash. You can also deduct licenses and regulatory fees and taxes on real estate 5 Depreciation This tax deduction for small busi- and personal property. Your employer ness is an allowance for the cost of taxes, including the employer share of I 610.777.8889

FICA, FUTA, and state unemployment taxes, are fully deductible. However, for self-employed business owners, the deduction for half of your self-employment tax is not a business deduction; it is an adjustment to gross income on your personal income tax return.

claim a tax credit for up to 50% of the premiums (a better tax break than a deduction). In addition, the cost of health coverage for self-employed individuals and more-than-2% S corporation shareholders is not a business deduction. Instead, the premiums are deducted on the owner’s personal tax return.

9 Repairs

The cost of ordinary repairs and maintenance is fully deductible. However, costs that add to the property’s value must be capitalized and recovered through depreciation (although there are some exceptions).

10 Insurance

The cost of your business owner’s policy, malpractice coverage, and business continuation insurance is fully deductible. However, there are two rules to note for health coverage. A small business may qualify to

11 Commissions

They are fully deductible.

12 Advertising

Ordinary advertising costs are fully deductible.

fully deductible. You must meet substantiation requirements explained in IRS Publication 463 to claim any travel deduction. However, local commuting costs usually are nondeductible.

14 Home Office

A portion of personal expenses of a home are deductible as a business expense if the home is used regularly and exclusively as the principal place of business, a place to meet or deal with clients or customers, or as a separate structure used in the business. The deduction includes both direct costs (e.g., painting a home office) and indirect costs (e.g., the percentage of rent or mortgage interest and real estate taxes that reflect the percentage of business use of the residence).

13 Travel

If you or staff members travel out of town on business, the cost of transportation (e.g., airfare) and lodging is

Continued on page 10 April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

9 I 610.777.8889

15 Legal & Professional Fees

Legal and accounting fees are fully deductible.

16 Meals & Entertainment

These costs are deductible only up to 50%. Thus, a business lunch is half on you and half on Uncle Sam. And the deduction can only be claimed if you substantiate the expense (see IRS Publication 463).

17 Rent on Machinery & Equipment

Fees paid to lease or rent items used in your business are fully deductible.

18 Interest on Business Indebtedness

Interest on loans that the business takes usually is fully deductible as a


AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016

business expense (e.g., interest on a line of credit used in a construction business). However, it’s a different story for loans by owners. Distinguish business interest from an owner’s investment interest or passive activity interest, which is not a business deduction. For example, an individual who takes a personal loan to buy shares in an S corporation must allocate the debt proceeds to the business assets. If the assets are all used in the business, then the owner’s interest is deductible business interest. If some assets are investments, then a portion of the interest is investment interest. If some assets relate to a passive activity, such as rental realty, the allocable interest is passive activity interest.

and dependent care assistance, as well as contributions to employees’ qualified retirement plan accounts, is deductible. For self-employed individuals, contributions to their own qualified retirement plan accounts are personal deductions claimed on Form 1040.

0 Mortgage Interest 2

Businesses that own realty can fully deduct mortgage interest. Unlike interest on a personal residence, there is no cap on the size of loans on which interest can be claimed.

CONCLUSION 19 Employee Benefit Programs & Qualified Retirement Plans

The cost of employee benefit programs, such as education assistance

Determine which of the tax deductions for small business on the list you can take on your business return. Discuss your situation with your CPA or other tax advisor to make sure you have done all that is required to qualify for a specific deduction. I 610.777.8889



Court Allows PBA to Join Fight against Mandatory Sprinklers & Energy Codes Adoption

On October 9, 2015, the Clean Air Council (CAC), a group of environmental activists, filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth challenging the:  Constitutionality of Act 1 of 2011: Residential Sprinkler Repeal  Method used to adopt construction codes in PA  Rejection of the 2012 and 2015 ICC code provisions by the Department of Labor & Industry’s UCC Review and Advisory Council (RAC)

If the Clean Air Council is Successful:



PLUS the cost of Sprinklers!

 Sprinkler installation will be required in every new one- and two-family homes.  All new code provisions will be automatically updated, unless specifically rejected by the RAC.


 Over 3,000 new construction codes will be adopted from the 2012 and 2015 ICC code updates—including costly energy code provisions.

(per unit)

What Can We Do? On January 6, 2016, the Commonwealth Court granted the Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA) party status in the lawsuit. This means the litigation cannot be settled without the approval of PBA. However, the defense of Act 1 of 2011 will potentially cost PBA hundreds of thousands of dollars. PBA has long been the voice of the residential housing industry and is preparing to fight this battle, but we need your support now. Our goal is to raise $200,000 to continue the fight for reasonable construction code standards and not allow special interests to dictate what type of new homes are built in PA.

Support This Fight Now. Contribute to the Builders Legal Defense Fund today. • Make checks payable to “Industry Action Fund” • Write “Builders Legal Defense Fund” in the memo • Mail to: Pennsylvania Builders Association 2509 N. Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110

From 2015 Energy Code


for Direct Vent Furnace


for Direct Vent Water Heater

$214 – $878

to seal equipment rooms for combustion appliances that are not direct vented

$288 additional “box” nails required for all framing

Data from: NAHB Research Center, 2012 IECC Cost Effective Analysis; Home Innovations Research Labs, Estimated Costs of the 2015 IRC Code Changes

April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs



What You Need to Know, Part 2 Dave Wallace, East Penn Energy Solutions

’ve been asked on more than one occasion don’t know what, exactly, an inspection  about Home Inspections and Inspectors. entails—and some real estate agents, eager There are a few things to keep in mind. First, to make a sale, won’t do much to help a the person who inspects your deck or addition client understand what they should expect. when you build it is the Building Inspector. He or she inspects it for compliance to codes, In its simplest form, a home inspection not usually for a real-estate transaction. This is a visual assessment of the structure and is different than the Home Inspector we operational systems of a home. are talking about. The Building inspector is That includes an inspection of entryways employed by the local Municipality. A Home Inspector in employed by the Home buyer (all the doors, including garage doors), the for inspection for a real-estate transaction, home’s foundation, exterior (siding, brick, not code compliance. stone, etc.), porches, windows and roof. If you can find one, hire an inspector who is Recently I was called in on a case were willing to get up on the roof and inspect it the Home Inspector did miss some glaring for damage, or at the very least is experiissues. Some of them health and safety, some enced enough to check the roof from the code items. Upon numerous re-inspections ground using binoculars (though things by myself and others, including another can be missed this way). reputable Home Inspector, we documentIs the roofline sagging? Are there water ed items that should have been brought to the forefront. I would hope bringing this spots in the attic? (That’s a sign that there to light now can help you later when you is a leak, or that there may have been one are looking for your next home. in the past). How does the spouting and flashing look? If there are skylights, do they show signs of leaking? So, what should that Home

Inspector look for, you ask…

A thorough home inspection is one of the most important steps in the home-buying process. Yet many potential homeowners


AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016

or sagging? Is the foundation cracked, and if so, is it a flaw that affects the structural integrity of the home? Are there obvious signs that there are roots growing into, or near, the foundation or any power, water or sewer lines? In the basement or crawl space, is there rotted or soft wood, or insect damage where the house meets the foundation? An inspector will also look at balconies, fascias, soffits and eaves for damage or structural problems. A home inspector should also access the land around the house. Are there obvious drainage problems? What’s the condition of the sidewalks and the driveway?

Plumbing systems should be checked for pressure, leaks, age, and if the proper vents are installed and working. Septic systems should be checked as well: Do drains in the house empty slowly? Are there cracks in the siding, loose mortar Does sewage back up into between bricks, rotted wood? Is the porch the house? Are there sturdy? Is it pulling away from the house, wet, smelly spots into I 610.777.8889

the yard or foliage? Does the dishwasher or laundry drain into the yard? Does the entire system drain somewhere else, like a ditch? Inspectors will often run three faucets simultaneously for about 45 minutes to test for slow drains, leaks, backups and more. The inspector should also check the electrical system. Is everything properly grounded? Is the breaker box adequate? What kind of wiring is in use? Is it a fire hazard, such as knob-and-spool or aluminum? Switches and outlets should be checked to ensure they work, and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors should be inspected, too. Are there ground fault circuit interrupters installed in the bathrooms and kitchens? If the garage doors have an electric opener, does it meet the current safety codes? Inside the home, the inspector should look for uneven floors, walls or ceilings. Are there cracks? Signs of leaks? Do the windows open and close properly? Are there any visible signs of mold or rot? The inspector should also check the basement, examining any exposed plumbing or wiring, and checking any exposed insulation and vapor barriers. An often-overlooked area of the home is its ventilation system. Is there an adequate vent in the kitchen or bath (not just a fan, which blows things around but not out)? Can moisture build up inside the home, causing problems with mold and rot? Appliances need to be checked, too. Dishwashers should be run through a cycle, and any other appliances that are to be included, such as stoves or refrigerators, should be tested as well.

The exterior inspection is not expected to inspection checklist here: http://epenergysinclude outbuildings or fences, or any eval- uation of hydraulic or geologic conditions. Home Inspectors may find issues that are The number of things an inspector should not within their realm of specialty, i.e. a struccheck may seem overwhelming, but keep tural issue. At that point, they should indicate Finally, heating and air conditioning in mind that you’re making what could be that you might want a engineer, termite or systems should be checked. Do they work the biggest investment in your life. You HVAC technician for further evaluation. properly? How old are the systems, and are don’t want to buy a home based on emotion, they gas, electric, oil, and geothermal? If it’s only to find out when it’s too late that it’s a I hope that with this as a starting point oil or gas, is the furnace working properly, money pit, not a dream home. Choose your it can help alleviate stress down the road and are any leaks, cracks or other concerns inspector wisely, and don’t be afraid to ask and help circumvent heartache and buyabout tanks or lines? questions. You can also print out a home ers’ remorse!

Ensure your inspector also takes a look at any wood stoves or fireplaces in the home. They need to ensure the chimney and flue are intact, clear and in working order.

April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs



to s p e t S e v Fi ur o Y g n i z Organi


Trish Shermot, CME

o you know your net worth? Or how much you spend each month, and on what? Or how much you can expect from your pension plan or Social Security in retirement? A “no” to most of these questions puts you with the majority of the population who have been too busy with life to get a handle on their finances.

file folder. There are also many online apps that will allow you to do all of this electronically.

2. Gather records.

Look through your records to identify missing information. For example, you need an estimate of your Social Security retirement benefits. To request one, visit or call 800-772-1213. Gather Fortunately, there’s a five-step action plan to help you take con- copies of your health, disability, life, homeowners, and vehicle trol of your money. insurance policies, and get a copy of your credit report.

1. Set up a financial filing system either manually or online. Create a personalized filing system by labeling accordion file pockets with broad financial categories. Then label regular file folders with subcategories that fit your situation and file them into the accordion pockets. For example, create a Property & Casualty Insurance accordion file and fill it with a Vehicle Insurance regular 14

AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016

You can check your credit report—the summary of your credit activity that generates your credit score—from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies once a year for free. Always make your requests from the website, the only site sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission. Or, you can call 877-322-8228. Make one request every four months in rotation among the three credit agencies so you can monitor your credit report year round. I 610.777.8889

3. Size up your situation. Add the estimated current value of all assets, including your home, car, personal property, savings, investments, and retirement accounts. Next, add all liabilities, including mortgage, credit card balances, and any other outstanding debt. Then subtract liabilities from assets to figure net worth. Then, make a list of income and expenses by reviewing paycheck stubs, online checking account information or your checkbook register, and credit card statements from the past year. Finally, track spending for a month by saving all receipts or recording cash purchases in a notebook. You also can find a spending plan or money management software program that can help organize spending by category.

4. Chart a course. Set financial goals—long term and short term—and figure how much money you’ll need for each. Create a target saving and spending plan that meets needs using your list of income expenses. For a month or more, track actual spending to see how you’re doing, making changes as necessary.

5. Brush up on money management basics. There are many free online resources that can help individuals with templates and educational articles to build a foundation for money management. A good example is This website offers tutorials and information on over a dozen topics that can assist consumers in learning more on identity theft, budgeting, home buying and more. Lastly, set up some basic steps to financial fitness. Your finances and the decisions you make about them change over time and are different from your neighbor’s, your boss’, or your parents’. Still, some broad guidelines may help you get a handle on your financial plans. mortgages, lenders expect your payments * For to amount to no more than 28% of your monthly

gross income (income before taxes, Social Security, and other deductions). Another method says that your PITI—the phrase for principal, interest, property taxes and insurance—plus your total long-term debt (say, for car payments, college loans, and installment payments) should not exceed 36% of your gross income.

much should you be saving? The conventional * How wisdom is to accumulate three to six months’ take-

home pay (income after taxes, Social Security, and other deductions) in a liquid savings vehicle. That can take time to build up, and you may need to raid your account even while you’re adding to it. Still, if you consistently put aside 5% of your take-home pay, using payroll deduction, you’ll reach your goal. long-term retirement savings, at minimum * For put a percentage into your 401(k) that equals

what your employer will match. Anything less and you’re actually giving up free money. Ideally, contribute the maximum your employer allows, typically 15%, into your 401(k). Can’t swing that much while you’re saving for your child’s future education expenses? Keep this in mind: You can borrow to meet higher education expenses, but you can’t borrow for retirement expenses.

Talk to a professional, and planning today might help you save in the long run. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patricia “Trish” Shermot, CME, is a Business Development and Government Affairs Officer of Visions Federal Credit Union. Find them on the web at www. For more information about financial tips and topics please contact Trish directly by email at or by phone at (610) 376-1301. April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs



How it’s changed — and tips for more efficient cooling

Michael DeBerdine, III

efore long, we’ll be back to those warm, humid days of summer—air conditioning season. Anyone who owns a home or business can benefit from an understanding of how central A/C systems work—and save money by understanding efficiency and maintenance.

so much more efficient that homeowners can save hundreds of dollars in operating costs over an older, outdated system. Other warning signs that an air conditioning system is in decline: equipment that does not properly cool specific areas of the home or a system that makes unusual noises while running.

In our region, most residential cooling systems are either air conditioners or heat pumps. An air conditioning system transfers the hotter air from inside your home to the outdoors, replacing it with cooler air. In simple terms, the air conditioner achieves this by forcing that hotter air across cooling coils filled with refrigerants.

When it comes to cooling your home, a little knowledge goes a long way toward comfort and savings. Here are a few common misconceptions about air conditioning—and some corresponding realities:

While air conditioners only replace warm air with cool air, a heat pump works both ways. In the cooling mode, the heat pump removes heat from the internal air of the home and pumps it to the outdoors. In heating mode, it reverses that process.

afford—it’ll provide more comfort, faster.

Whichever type of system you have, it pays to know 1) how efficient your system is, and 2) how old it is. Today’s systems are 16

AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016

Myth: Get the biggest system you can

Reality: Actually, too much capacity can make your A/C less efficient. An oversized system will cycle on and off frequently, making it difficult to reach peak operating temperatures and generating unnecessary wear and tear. That’s why it’s critical to have an HVAC professional size your unit. I 610.777.8889

Myth: When an A/C system seems to be working fine, there’s no need for annual maintenance.

Reality: Routine maintenance carries huge benefits…for every system. Thorough annual service boosts efficiency, which lowers your cooling bills. It also prevents about 70% of all A/C outages and increases system life span by up to 50%. Myth: If your central air system is under

warranty, you’re covered if there’s a problem.

Reality: The length of a warranty—and what exactly it covers—can vary dramatically from manufacturer to manufacturer. Understanding your warranty will help you make wise decisions when it’s time to purchase or renew a service contract. Myth: If your central air is running, it’s a waste of electricity to use ceiling fans.

Reality: Fans create a wind chill effect that will make you more comfortable in your home. In fact, if you cool with an air conditioning system, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort, according to

A well-maintained system can lower your cooling bills, extend the life of your system and help you avoid a costly A/C outage. The do-it-yourself steps include changing the filter every month during cooling season, clearing debris away from your outside unit, and managing your thermostat. Other maintenance tasks are best left to professionals: Fixing Frozen Coils Iced-up coils can happen

for a number of reasons, including a clogged filter, low refrigerant or faulty thermostat. Turn the system off and call your service professional.

Repairing Limited Airflow If it seems like not much air is moving through your vents, or if you notice an area of your home is noticeably warmer than the rest of the house, you may have leaks or clogs somewhere in your ductwork. Contact a professional to zero in on the problem.

Performing Annual Maintenance A yearly

check up should include lubrication of all moving parts and thorough system check of refrigerant, condenser coil, belts and wiring. Annual service boosts efficiency, which lowers your cooling bills, and can increase a system’s life span by up to 50%.

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17 I 610.777.8889

Another tip: When you need help, be sure to ask your cooling company about their technicians. The HVAC teams at E.G. Smith and Boyertown Oil and Propane receive ongoing training on cooling systems and have installed and maintained hundreds of systems in the region. You’ll want a technician with the proper and most up-to-date knowledge and experience to handle your job.

Smart Thermostats Proper use of pre-programmed

settings with a programmable thermostat can save an average homeowner $180 every year in energy costs. At E.G. Smith and Boyertown Oil and Propane, our technicians have been installing Wi-Fi thermostats, which enable the homeowner to program or manage the thermostat from any computer, tablet or smart phone.

Today’s air conditioning systems are much different than those installed 20 or even 10 years ago—they are more efficient, making them much less costly to operate. Here are a few key advances that homeowners should know about: Higher SEER Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

(SEER) is a measure of an A/C system’s efficiency; the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient it is. In 2015, new federal guidelines set a higher minimum SEER for all types of air conditioning systems, which pushed manufacturers to develop more efficient systems. Now, a homeowner can buy a system with a SEER rating of 16, 17 or even 20—systems that are nearly twice as efficient as those sold just 15 years ago that can trim household cooling costs by 30-50%, according to

Ductless Systems Our region is full of older homes

that offer charming features, but no ductwork. In the past, that’s been a drawback for cooling. But now, ductless AC systems are available that offer greater efficiency than window units and cool your home more evenly. With ductless AC, you don’t have to pay for costly renovations that rob your home of living space. Our cooling professionals at both E.G. Smith and Boyertown Oil and Propane have reported an increase in homeowners in Berks County considering ductless systems.

These and other advances are making a big difference. Twenty years ago, an A/C system might use 6,000 watts of electricity per hour to cool a home, according to This Old House magazine. Now, that number is about 1,700 watts per hour—a 250% increase in operating efficiency, which translates to lower operating costs for homeowners. Of course, to enjoy that kind of savings, a homeowner must be using the newer technology found in today’s systems. If you think it may be time for an upgrade, contact a cooling professional who can provide you with details on today’s air conditioning systems, rebate information and financing options.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael DeBerdine, III, is president and CEO of the Rhoads Energy family of companies, including Boyertown Oil & Propane and E.G. Smith Inc., in Berks County. Additional information is available at www.boyertownoil. com and 18

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ANGLES ability to “earn while they learn,” given that they are literally employed as they gain experience on the job and in a classroom setting. ABC Keystone has recently tripled its footprint at the Chapter headquarters. The sprawling, state-of-the-art facility features classrooms and a shop area that houses the ABC apprenticeship program, The Keystone Center for Construction Careers. One of the main goals of the expansion was to provide training for every facet of the construction industry from safety, to blueprint reading, to healthcare construction, and even management education.

A PROFITABLE Alternative to College:

APPRENTICESHIP Patrick Dolan, Dolan Construction, Inc., Long Time Member & Past President of the HBA of Berks County

he U.S. Department of Labor describes apprenticeship as a win-win for both employers and workers, as high-demand careers increasingly require a skilled workforce in the construction industry. With skyrocketing tuition costs, scarcer job opportunities, and below-living wages for many college graduates, American students and their parents are increasingly turning to apprenticeship as the key to a rewarding and lucrative career path. Apprenticeship is simply an approach to job training that combines classroom study 20

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As an alternative to college or entering the workforce directly following secondary school, apprenticeship poses many benefits—among them, far greater job security than in most of today’s markets. “I was a part of an apprenticeship program at ABC after I got out of high school,” said Barry Miller, local business owner who has worked in the electrical field since 1974. “I was eventually involved in founding an electronic security firm as well as buying an electrical contracting firm.” Another success story comes from Manheim. “Out of high school, I decided to work a year as a laborer for Garden Spot Electric,” Chad Fernald said. “It turned out to be a great fit for me. After a year, they signed me up for the apprenticeship program at ABC. Today, I’m a project manager for Garden Spot Electric.”

The need for technicians in the carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, sheet metal, and welding fields—plus other skilled with on-the-job training under the men- crafts—creates the perfect opportunity torship of an industry expert. The goal of for intelligent and curious students who apprenticeship is to prepare the apprentice love working with their hands. With 95% for a career as a skilled craftsperson with of students at ABC’s Keystone Center for career options and upward mobility, while Construction Careers graduating debt-free adding to a workforce that will require more (and many already having built their savings than a million new workers over the next accounts during their training), it’s time decade. Because the market covets these that parents and students begin giving this types of craftspeople, employees in the field alternative to college a close look. are highly sought after—and their jobs are highly profitable. After all, the American Dream is still here—to be captured by those enterprising The Associated Builders and Contractors’ few who have the desire and work ethic to Keystone Chapter offers apprentices the make it a reality. I 610.777.8889


Deck Safety Month Matt Breyer

May is Deck Safety Month…and with warm, sunny days begging for families to enjoy those outdoor living spaces neglected over winter, now is the perfect time to make sure your deck is safe, secure, and ready for that first party! Each year thousands of deck-related injuries increase due to shoddy construction practices, improper materials, or lack of proper maintenance. Think of it this way: as an outdoor structure, deck surfaces, railings, steps, and even the substructure are exposed to a multitude of harsh elements and as a result, will not last forever. (The industry generally anticipates an average deck to last 10–20 years, depending on installation, materials, maintenance, and location.) Scheduling a yearly deck inspection, done by a qualified and reputable professional, is a great way to extend the life expectancy of your deck. He or she can provide insight on your deck’s capacity limits, and identify any existing or possible future areas of concern that should be addressed. When choosing a company, find one that has certified professionals that are knowledgeable on current codes, and has received deck-specific training from an industry association such as ASHI or NADRA. You can find a detailed Consumer Safety Checklist free on NADRA’s website,, which is an excellent “starting point” when evaluating your deck. If you are considering a new deck, choose high-quality materials to prolong the life of your deck and cut down on maintenance, thus saving you money in the long run while enhancing the value of your home. Hiring a design professional to review your ideas and create a custom set of plans will help maximize the usefulness of this new space. And of course, whenever you build a new deck or make structural repairs to an existing deck, it is important to not only obtain any required permits, but make sure you or your contractor follow any manufacturer guidelines and industry “Best Practices” to ensure warranty coverage and the greatest return on your investment! Best wishes for a wonderful year outside on your deck, from all of us here at Breyer Construction & Landscape!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Breyer is president of Breyer Construction & Landscape, LLC. A family-owned residential remodeling business that specializes in designing and building custom decks. For more information, call 610-376-8086. April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs



Hiring a Reputable

Contractor in Berks County HBA Staff

If you’re planning a home project or remodel, hire a professional with excellent credentials. The best results are achieved when professionals do the work. Doing your research upfront is the single biggest step to making sure that the job gets done right. Contractors are only as good as their reputation. Most companies are in business to stay and they can only do so to the extent that they have satisfied customers. 22

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Use this checklist to help you select the right contractor for the job:  Do they belong to the builders association? HBA & PBA members are respected professionals in their communities and have access to the latest industry information and training. They are invested in their profession and are committed to service, integrity and stability.

 How long have they been in business? It typically takes 3–5 years to establish a financially sound business. Will they be around after the construction is complete to service any warranties? Do they have a permanent address?

 Will they provide you with references? Great references should not be hard to find for a reputable remodeler who is established. Ask those references if they would hire the contractor again.

 Have you seen their work? Both completed and in progress?

 Are they accessible? Remember, you will need to be in contact with them throughout your project and possibly afterward.

 Will they provide a clearly written contract?  Be cautious of unusually low priced bids and always get more than one bid.

 Ask if your contractor builds to Pennsylvania’s statewide building code. If they use sub-contractors, do they also build to code?

 Home improvement contractors in Pennsylvania MUST be registered with the Attorney General’s office. Although this registration is not an endorsement of the quality of their work, it is the law.

 Ask for an insurance certificate to verify current workers’ compensation and general liability insurance.

We are making it easy for the Berks Community to find reputable contractors. Just use the checklist we have provided for you. This list will help in your search for a reputable contractor, one that you can trust. When you call the Home Builders Association of Berks County, we will provide you with a list of reputable contractors from which to choose. We have over 200 members in various trades and our membership includes local suppliers for your shopping convenience. For a membership directory call 610-777-8889. April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs




rojec P g n i l e d o m ext Re

For Your N ith any remodeling project, the secret of success lies in careful planning. This means having a solid objective on what you want to achieve, what must-haves should be included, as well as any other nice-to-haves if your budget allows.

The focus you put on your planning can make a difference in terms of the success of your project, your ability to clearly communicate it to contractors and your ability to stay within budget.

Living With Your Project

Doing a home remodel or major renovaIn many cases, the final design and specs tion is much different than building a new will be worked out with the help of your home. Your HOME becomes the worksite. contractor, designer or architect. However, You live side-by-side with the project from the more information you can give them, start to finish. Once construction begins, you the better they are able to provide you with will probably long for the simple pleasures good advice and cost estimates. of a dust-free home or a fully functioning kitchen or bath. However, it will all be Here’s the info you should include worth it in the end! in your plan: Here are a few things to keep in mind FF A clear description of what and ensure the success of your project: you want to change and why. What is the purpose? COMMUNICATION: Consistent and open communication with your contractor will FF Your specific goals for the project. enhance your understanding of things, provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and FF A list of future changes you make the experience more positive all around. anticipate that may not be a part of the current project or estimate. Make sure you know who to contact for daily decisions or after-hours emergencies. FF Prioritization of goals. Which are the Is there a project manager; is it the lead must-haves and which ones would carpenter or the contractor’s spouse? Ask be nice but are not essential? questions. If you are uncertain about any 24

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aspect of your project, be sure to let your contact know. It’s also a good idea to designate a certain area for messages—maybe a certain countertop in your home where you and the contact person can leave notes for each other. A PRE-CONSTRUCTION MEETING: One way to make sure that everyone is on the same page is to schedule a pre-construction meeting. This will allow your contractor to clarify procedures and explain how the job will progress. It also offers both of you an opportunity to prepare for those issues that may pop up. Things to consider during the meeting:  Will there be a sign on your property? When deciding whether or not you will allow it—consider that in addition to being a great marketing tool, signs help contractors and suppliers locate your home.  Are there areas of your home that will be off-limits to workers?  Does your home have an alarm system? Will workers need a key or will someone always be there to let them in? I 610.777.8889

 How will you ensure that children and pets stay out of the work space?

 Is there a policy regarding smoking on the jobsite?

 How will trash removal be handled? Where will the dumpster be on your property?

PREVENT FRUSTRATION AND PREPARE FOR SOME INCONVENIENCE: If you are doing a major project, you can expect disrupted routines and loss of personal space. Try to focus on the progress being made. Some other suggestions that may help:

 Does the contractor anticipate any utility interruptions? Will you need to vacate the house at any time?  What are you expectations during clean up?  What time will work begin and end each day? Be sure to consider your neighbors as well as members of your household.  Where can workers park?

 A kitchen remodel will affect meal planning. Set up a temporary cooking space by moving the refrigerator, toaster oven, microwave, etc., to another room. Arrange a dishwashing station in your laundry room. If the weather is warm, plan your meals around grill-able items.  Designate a safe haven where you can escape from commotion.

 Guard against dust. Seal off doorways and stairs. Turn off central air or heat when workers are sanding and stock up on extra filters so you can change them often. Have deliveries made through a designated entrance. Use doormats and temporary floor coverings where appropriate. Remove anything that might get damaged by the dust or at least cover it with plastic drop cloths that are taped shut.  Maintain a sense of humor. Remember that certain things are out of your control and it’s best to laugh rather than stress yourself out over things like weather set-backs or delayed delivery of materials.  See the process as an adventure!

 Will you allow workers to use your bathroom, phone, etc.?

April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs



Home Appliance Trends Article submitted by HBA Member: Maiden Creek Appliances

f you are considering remodeling your home in the near future  you picked a great time to do it. Over the past few years advancements in technology and competition among manufacturers has resulted in a host of exciting products to make your home uniquely yours at an affordable price. Whether you are remodeling a kitchen, adding an outdoor kitchen and patio, a basement bar or an updated laundry room, these advancements mean if you can dream it there is probably a product to fit that dream.

Speaking of colors, slate from General Electric and a new color, Black Stainless Steel, have added refined hues to kitchen appliances giving you the elegance of stainless steel but with a different twist. Panel-ready options for refrigerators and dishwashers have also become mainstream, allowing you to seamlessly blend these appliances into your custom cabinetry.

If coffee is your thing, there is a broad range of built-in coffee machines to give you your favorite coffee house drink right in the Let’s start in the kitchen. Professional, restaurant quality cook- comfort of your own home. These machines have existed for many ing stoves have never been more available or more affordable. The years but the current models have improved the ease of operalevel of customization of these professional ranges has never been tion and cleanup to make them more enjoyable than ever to own. higher. Sizes can range from 24", 30", 36", 48", 60" or even 66" wide. Many brands offer multiple color finishes so if you want to Outdoor kitchens have also been increasing in popularity. There break away from the standard of stainless steel you have plenty of was a time not long ago that an American-made built-in grill options. BlueStar ranges, manufacturer right here in Berks County, would cost you over $4,000. They are now available from a variety offer most of their commercially inspired products in over 1,500 of brands for less than half of that cost, meaning you don’t need color options. There has also been a huge increase in European to settle for an imported grill. Other fun things to add to your brands offering their unique cooking products. Old World looks outdoor kitchen can include pizza ovens, refrigerators, beverage can be achieved with Italian brands like Viking Tuscany, Bertazzoni dispensers, cocktail stations, griddles and a variety of storage cabHeritage, Tecnogas and Ilve. inets including sealed pantries to protect whatever you are storing 26

AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016 I 610.777.8889

from the elements. You can even ad a patio heater to extend your use of this open air space to almost year around. Rec rooms can be more complete with conveniences like bar-style ice machines, wine storage units and compact cooking appliances like countertop induction units or convection microwaves. Laundry rooms can be made even more useful with large capacity front load washers and dryers with steam assist to remove some of the toughest stains or simply refresh or reduce wrinkles in clean clothing. Whirlpool has introduced a product called Swash to provide fine-tuned refreshment to your garments and reduce the number of trips to the dry cleaner. So if you are in that dreaming stage it is worth investing your time to visit an appliance specialist who can show you this wide range of unique products that may have not existed 10 years ago and can add that personal touch to make your project uniquely yours. Dream big, consult with the many local, talented members of the HBA of Berks County and allow them to help you make your dreams a reality. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: For more information on Home Appliance Trends contact Maiden Creek TV & Appliance, Inc. at (610) 374-7524.

April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs



Your New Threshold: Doors that Make a Statement Deb Kearse, VP Marketing, Kohl Building Products

Sixty years ago, doors weren’t selected to raise the value of the home or to reduce heating costs. Times have evolved…


AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016 I 610.777.8889

heavy, richly grained chestnut door welcomed me into my grandparent’s brick row home. The intricate design of the true leaded glass made rainbows on the carpet when sunlight hit it at just the right angle. It was a treat to operate the brass rod and lever assembly to open the perfectly matched transom. When it closed, you felt safe. Sixty years ago, doors weren’t selected to raise the value of the home or to reduce heating costs. Times have evolved. In 2002, an independent research firm determined that an enhanced Therma-Tru entryway could add up to five times the value of the door system to the perceived value of the home. You can dramatically impact your investment while enhancing your curb appeal by taking a basic steel door and:  Upgrading to fiberglass  Adding sidelites to one or both sides of the door  Topping it off with a transom above

The Fiberglass Advantage

In 2014, 10.6 million entry doors were sold, a 13% increase over previous year. Steel door sales were double the fiberglass purchases. Yet steel doors, while cost-effective, can dent and rust, and paint is prone to peeling. Heat and cold are easily transferred through the door. Fiberglass doors, on the other hand, guarantee homeowners an R-value, reducing energy costs. They won’t rust or warp. Their woodgrain surface may be painted or stained, resulting in more attractive interior and exterior that requires very little maintenance.

Some factors to consider when selecting an entry door include:  What size is the doorway?  What style is the home?  Do you want a painted or stained door?  What is the desired amount of light or privacy?  Is the door directly exposed to weather conditions?  What are your budget considerations?

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Many people take a practical approach around with door styles, colors, and stains, to selecting a door. Key factors are price, while adding sidelites and transoms. reducing energy costs, and whether the door will need to be painted. Others gravitate to Therma-Tru Doors offers you the the style, eye-catching glass options, and opportunity to “Build Your Door” at www. how they can create a wow-factor as you, all from the convenience enter their home. The only limitations are of your home computer. Or create the perthe size of your opening and your budget. fect entrance with the DoorWays™ App at

See for Yourself

A great starting point is at your finger- Is It Real? tips—online. ProVia Door’s Visualizer Door manufacturers have taken the look at and feel of fiberglass doors beyond your allows you to browse through home styles imagination. They have accurately replicated or upload a photo of your home and play the exact grain and wood characteristics of


AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016

oak, mahogany, cherry, fir, and even the rustic knots in knotty alder. The architecturally correct details and proportions of fiberglass doors have been known to make the best craftsmen in the industry do a double take.

Let (only) the Sun Shine In

Glass options are endless. Designs to accent styles from modern to traditional and the Old World feel are easily available. Privacy glass is rated on levels of visibility and light passing through to suit the needs II 610.777.8889 610.777.8889

Build Your Own Door! Visit or download the app at OR, visit ProVia’s Door Visualizer at

of the homeowner. Choices range from something called grained rain glass (a rivulet pattern on the glass) to the extreme privacy obscure glass offers, plus levels in between. In some styles, you can even choose blinds that can be opened and closed, located between the panes of glass. Low-E energy-saving insulated glass options are also available. Caming, the defining metal strips between cut glass to accent glass designs, is available in brass, brushed nickel, zinc, and wrought iron. Door manufacturers offer a variety of inspiration glass patterns, ranging from the Frank Lloyd Wright motif to flowers and lighthouses. Simulated divided lites, fixed grilles or grids, removable grilles, as well as grilles sandwiched between the glass panes are options in specific door styles.

Practicalities…and Memories

These elements touch on the initial decisions in your door selection. Additional details may include the type of door sill or threshold that will best fit your application and weather-stripping to best protect your home from the elements. Security is a major feature to consider.

As I review all of the options that are available, I see many that I like. Still, I will always remember my small hand on the classic latch that opened the door to my Nana and PopPop. Who knows what memories your new door will create? ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kohl Building Products, headquartered in Leesport, PA, is a supplier of Building Materials to Professional Remodelers, Builders & Homeowners throughout Pennsylvania & Maryland. Deb can be reached at 610-926-8800.

PAR Testifies Before Senate Committee From the PA. Association of Realtors

Realtor® Bob Wood from the North Central Penn Association of Realtors® presented testimony before the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on behalf of PAR. Wood has served on the Sewage Advisory Committee (SAC) as the PAR appointee for nearly 20 years. PAR is requesting that the Senate urge the Department of Environmental Protection to move “Alternate Systems” to the approved list for planning purposes to create new lots and/or to be used on existing lots of record or for repairs. By not allowing the use of “Alternate Sewage Systems” for planning purposes, current and future homeowners are being hindered from building a new home. Also testifying during the hearing were: the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Sewage Advisory Committee (SAC), the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors, the Pennsylvania Sewage Enforcement Officers Association, the Pennsylvania Association of Professional Soil Scientists, the Associated Builders and Contractors, Keystone Chapter; and the Citizens Advisory Council.

April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs



Government Affairs IN ACTION

The Government Affairs team at PBA is proud of our 2015 legislative successes. We will continue to fight harmful regulations and promote beneficial legislation for builders and consumers. House Bill 1071 (Act 31 of 2015) Permit Extension House Bill 1071 amends the Development Permit Extension Act to clarify outstanding issues regarding the extension of certain building and construction permits. Specifically, House Bill 1071 states that all permits granted between December 31, 2008 and July 2, 2013 are “tolled until July 2, 2016.� Further, House Bill 1071 spells out the original intent of the Act to include the right to convert or withdraw real estate in the approvals that are suspended by the Act.

industry from having to go through the needless and unnecessary step of applying for and awaiting new permits for projects that have previously been permitted.

House Bill 874 (Act 59 of 2015) Union Intimidation Loophole Amendment

House Bill 874 amends the Crimes and Offenses Code to eliminate legal loopholes which provided exceptions to the crimes of harassment, stalking, and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction if the perpetrator is As a result of the economic downturn in recent years, builders and contrac- involved in a labor dispute. tors may have been unable to secure funding for permitted jobs prior to the expiration of their permits. This legislation prevents members of our The bill provides an overdue and necessary fix to the Crimes and Offenses Code, and helps ensure equal protection for all parties involved in labor disputes.

Senate Bills 687 and 688

(Acts 37 and 38 of 2015) Senate Bills 687 and 688 clarify oversights made by the judiciary with respect to the Uniform Planned Community Act and Uniform Condominium Act. Specifically, Senate Bills 687 and 688 state that the creation of planned communities and condominium associations out of existing land or facilities would not require municipal approval unless and until the planned community or condominium association constructed new structures or buildings.

House Bill 792 (Act 58 of 2015) House Bill 792 provides funding for the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE). PHARE will receive 40% of the difference between revenue projections from the Realty Transfer Tax (RTT) and actual funds collected from the RTT. The amount that can be allocated the PHARE is capped at $25 million, and the RTT rate will not increase as a result. Funds from PHARE will be used to remediate blighted and abandoned properties. FIND OUT MORE AT:


AT HOME IN BERKs April 2016 I 610.777.8889




tormwater is rainwater and melted flows, infrastructure damage, sinkholes, snow that runs off streets, driveways, premature deterioration of roadways, parking lots, sidewalks, lawns, and other contaminated water bodies, and flooding. sites. When stormwater is absorbed into The purpose of stormwater management the ground, it is filtered and untimely is to protect property, infrastructure, and replenishes aquifers or flows into streams streams from destructive stormwater and rivers. In developed areas, however, impacts by ensuring precipitation can be impervious surfaces such as pavement absorbed close to where it falls, thereand roofs prevent precipitation from nat- by reducing the volume of runoff. By urally soaking into the ground. Instead, controlling stormwater runoff from new the water runs rapidly into storm drains, impervious and disturbed surfaces on sewer systems, and drainage ditches and properties, we can protect downstream can cause stream bank erosion, increased properties, roads, and infrastructure from muddiness, habitat destruction, changes erosion and flooding and protect water in stream flow, combined sewer over- quality in our streams and reservoirs to

provide clean water for drinking, business, farming, swimming, and fish/aquatic life. Without effective stormwater management, problems caused by too much runoff, erosion and pollutants become very difficult and costly for property owners and communities to fix.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melissa Landrigan is the Project Facilitator at Bogia Engineering. For questions or more information on Stormwater Management, contact Melissa by phone, (610) 678-30371.

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Membership happenings 2016 Upcoming Events…

APR 14

APR 16

MAY 16

Membership Drive

Crowne Plaza, Wyomissing 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

HBA Spring Clean Up Day

Sponsor: Aluminum Associates

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

McCarthy Engineering Associates, Inc.

HBA Golf Tournament Berkleigh Golf Course 11:30 am – 6:30 pm

Jim McCarthy 555 Van Reed Road, Ste. 2, Wyomissing, PA 19610 PH: 610-333-8001 x225 Email:


Parade Home Judging


Parade Gala


Terry Hinkle 8261 Allentown Pike, Reading, PA 19605

HBA Business Campus

HBA – What We’re All About


Maidencreek TV & Appliance, Inc.

PH: 610-926-1911 Email:

MAY 19

welcome new members

HBA Conference Room

Sponsor: James E. Gavin, Esquire

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Berks County All Day

Folino Estates

6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Member 2 Member Discount Program As one of the many benefits of membership in the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), the following members are offering the discounts listed to HBA members only.

Geoff Penske Buick GMC

Contact: Victor Popescu 610.777.1300

GM AFFINITY PROGRAM & PARTNERSHIP WITH HBA (Call Victor for more details on how you can save)

JUN 4-5


JUN 15

JUN 22


Parade of Homes (also held June 11-12) Berks County

12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

FREE Networking Event Kieffer’s Appliance 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

RHF Candidate Announcement TBD

6:00 pm

Berks Transfer

Contact: Bob Quinn 610.926.7626

$50 OFF 1ST CAN ORDER TO NEW CUSTOMERS Aluminum Associates / Sloan Corporation Contact: Kert E. Sloan 610.921.2201

5% DISCOUNT ON ALL SERVICES Martin’s Flooring, Inc.

Contact: Richie Zook 877.445.7799

FREE INTERIOR DESIGN & SPECIAL HBA CONTRACTOR PRICING (Ask about our contractor referral program)

Southeast Regional Meeting (All Members are Welcome)

HBA of Bucks Montgomery 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

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If you would like to join the HBA or offer a Member 2 Member Discount, contact the HBA office: 610.777.8889. I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings 2016 Foundation Club Members:

Thank you for the continued support of the HBA of Berks County legislative efforts! Bruce Radar Berks Surveying & Engineering

Joseph J. Witkowski, Jr. Herbein & Company

James E. Gavin, Esquire Masano Bradley

Walter Greth Greth Homes

Larry Kehres L A Kehres Building & Remodeling

Steve Bright EJB Paving & Materials Co.

Brad Kehres L A Kehres Building & Remodeling

Gregory R. Eshbach Malsnee Tile & Stone

Kert Sloan Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corp.

Patrick J. Dolan Dolan Construction, Inc.

Cathy Sloan Hartman’s Home Improvement

John Newton Greth Homes

Deborah Kearse Kohl Building Products

Kevin Kozo Turnberry Custom Homes

Tom Kearse Kohl Building Products

John & Julie Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company

Bryan Moll B&G Glass

Call the HBA office at 610.777.8889 to learn how to become a member of the FOUNDATION CLUB.

Bob Holt Holt’s Remodeling

These members understand the important role legislation plays in their businesses and the importance of electing and supporting legislators who are sensitive to the issues affecting the building industry.

Thank You to these Renewing Members of the HBA of Berks County! 31+ Years

6-10 Years

 Fronheiser Pools  Shank Door Company  Keystone Interior Systems, Inc.

 Kohl Building Products (Erik Seuring, Affiliate)  Masano Architects Group, Inc.  Berks Concrete Restorations, Inc.  Greth Homes (John Newton, Affiliate)

26-30 Years  Trade Masters, Inc.  Quality Roofing Supply Co., Inc. 21-25 Years  ML Construction  Rolling Rock Building Stone, Inc.  D&B Elite  Gentile Homes, Inc.

16-20 Years  Whitegate Contracting  J&L Building Materials, Inc.  Baker Tilly  Environmental Design Service, Inc.  Sherwin-Williams  Blatt Construction, Inc.

11-15 Years  Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc.  Fromm Electric Supply  Comfort Pro, Inc.  MRD Lumber Co., Inc.  Snyder’s Construction LLC  TA Kozlowski, Inc.  McElderry Drywall, Inc.

2-5 Years  Bechtel Kitchens LLC  Masano Bradley (Heidi Masano, Affiliate)  Basement Waterproofing Specialists  D&S Elite Construction, Inc.  East Penn Energy Solutions  Eisenhauer Nissan  Taylor Wiseman & Taylor  Advanced Construction Solutions, LLC  Esterly Concrete Co., Inc.  Decorating Den Interiors  Jonathan P. Brightbill Construction

1st Year Anniversary  Berks Transfer  Imperial Contracting Group LLC  Kohl Building Products (Tom Kearse, Affiliate)

April 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs


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