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The official magazine of the Home Builders Association of Virginia

VIRGINIA builder

Celebrating more than 50 years of service to housing in Virginia

Vol. 22, No. 3 April 2009

2009 Convention: A day’s drive away

Green wide open Membership pays


At ,A mOment like this,

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VIRGINIA builder

2009 HBAV officers E. Rand Sompayrac, president Michael D. Newsom, first vice president  treasurer C. Richard Bogese Jr., second vice president Kevin DeChristopher, associate vice president Robin S. Newhouse, vice president-secretary Regional vice presidents Region I: Robert J. Flynn Region II: Hugh Mitchell Region III: Chip Hudnall Region IV: David Blalock Region V: Richard Coleman Region VI: David Hepler State representative John D. Stokely Jr. (Northern Virginia) HBAV staff Michael L. Toalson, executive vice president Barrett Hardiman, vice president/director of regulatory affairs Kathy M. Harley, director of administration and finance/education director James D. Bonnell, director of member benefits services Barb Preddy, administrative assistant Rhonda Allison, legislative assistant 707 E. Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23219 (804) 643-2797 www.hbav.com Editorial inquiries can be directed to: Stacey Enesey Klemenc E-mail: staceyklemenc@cox.net 2112 Flowerdew Ct. Virginia Beach, Va. 23454, (757) 427-6355 Advertising inquiries can be directed to: Lisa Nixon E-mail: vabuilderads@yahoo.com  2213 South Brook Drive, Orange Park, FL 32003, (877) 449-2535 Published by Association Publishing Inc. www.associationpublishinginc.com Sandra K. Amidon, Joyce F. Hearn APR   2117 Smith Ave., Chesapeake, Va. 23320   (757) 420-2434 Advertising sales assistant Valerie Myers Graphic designer Paige Takach To change your address (804) 643-2797 Virginia Builder mails copies of the magazine to names supplied by the Home Builders Association of Virginia. To correct your address, please contact HBAV at the number above. Nonmember subscriptions are available from the publisher for $27 a year.   Virginia Builder (ISSN 1552-8715) is published nine times a year for members of the Home Builders Association of Virginia and is edited according to AP style. Acceptance of advertising in Virginia Builder does not imply endorsement of the product or service by the Home Builders Association of Virginia. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors and people quoted and not necessarily those of the Home Builders Association of Virginia. Mention of specific products or services in editorial content does not imply endorsement by Virginia Builder or the Home Builders Association of Virginia. No material may be reproduced for further publication without the express permission of the association and the publisher.

Affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders.

April 2009

  Vol. 23, No. 3  

April 2009

Several window and door manufacturers are introducing green, eco-friendly products to their various lines. JELD-WEN, for instance, now offers products with no-added formaldehyde such as its interior molded doors.

departments  2 4 6 8 10 11 13

President’s Perspective Counsel’s Corner: Americans with Disabilities Act: Hidden traps for employers Product Roundup: Windows and doors HBAV Build-PAC Honor Roll Stateline Membership Benefits Update Advertisers’ Index

FEATURES  3 2009 convention promises to be a day at the beach 9 Top 10 business writing mistakes that cost you money

On the cover: It’s April. What are you waiting for? Don’t pass up your opportunity for an escape to a nearby island in South Carolina June 21-24. HBAV’s annual convention will be held at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa and the only ingredient missing is you. Virginia Builder   1

w h at ’ s i n s i d e

The official magazine of the Home Builders Association of Virginia


President’s Perspective Sponsored by Dominion

Teamwork pays off during 2009 Virginia General Assembly for HBAV By Rand Sompayrac, 2009 HBAV president

T

he Home Builders Association of Virginia had an extremely good year at the General Assembly. This success was made possible by the hard work of our fine legislative team consisting of HBAV Executive Vice

Dominion lineman Dennis mcDaDe helps turn “Don’t Walk” into “Walk” all over virginia. At Dominion, we’re leading the way to a brighter energy future. It takes a balanced mix of new energy sources to ensure that we have the reliable electricity we’ll need as Virginia continues to grow. Using a combination of wind power, clean coal, emissionsfree nuclear energy and clean-burning natural gas—along with conservation—Dominion’s plan will help strengthen our economy, keeping our businesses growing and communities vibrant. It’s a strong step in the right direction for Virginia.

WHAT WE DO EVERY DAY, POWERS YOUR EVERY DAY.

2   Virginia Builder

President Mike Toalson and Vice President Barrett Hardiman, and Reed Smith’s Bill Thomas and Maureen Stinger, who lobby and promote for our benefit. Their success also confirms the valuable role our Build-PAC trust plays in helping elect probusiness candidates. In years past, valuable time and resources were personally spent by HBAV’s Legislative Committee members who traveled weekly to Richmond while the GA was in session. We would travel from across the state to establish policy on a wide variety of proposed legislation that could potentially harm our industry. For each weekly trip to the capitol city, legislative committee members had to purchase ever-increasing fuel and search for more and more scarce and expensive parking spaces. This year we decided to conduct most of the Legislative Committee’s weekly meetings by conference call and only travel to Richmond for three meetings — the GA’s beginning, cross-over (the half-way point) and upon session adjournment. This decision proved to be enormously popular as it saved huge expenses and, most importantly, our member’s valuable time. For those of you who have never participated in our HBAV Legislative Committee process, I encourage you to attend your local association during one of our regularly scheduled conference calls to experience the high level of discussion and strategy that takes place for the benefit of you and your businesses. This year HBAV sponsored the following legislative initiatives that have been approved for the benefit of our industry. These will have wide applicability across our industry. Please take time to read and understand these initiatives and use them to your benefit: House Bill 1788 and HB 2294 — Alternative Septic System Installation which would not allow a locality to prohibit the use of “alternative” or “nonconventional” on-site wastewater treatment systems that would have been approved for use by the Department of Health. This legislation would also prohibit localities from imposing maintenance requirements on such systems that are more stringent

than required by the Department of Health or, in their absence, the manufacturer’s recommendations, once certain state regulations are adopted. HB 2029 — Reduction in Administrative Bond Fees would temporarily reduce the local government’s 25 percent Rand Sompayrac administrative fee to 10 percent above the estimated construction costs. HB 2077 — Plan Validity Extension would extend the validity of any subdivision plat, plot, preliminary plan, final plan, construction plan, public improvement plan, site plan, or any other land-use document or action valid and outstanding as of Jan. 1, 2009, for a period of five years from its current expiration date, and any deadline or scheduled event specified. Senate Bill 1335 — Expedited Proffer Amendment Process will allow, not require, a local government to waive the requirement for a public hearing in its consideration of an amendment to an existing proffer, where such amendments don’t affect the conditions of use or density. Finally, HBAV’s “Proffer Reform” legislation is still a work in progress and continues to be studied by the General Assembly. As I have pledged in the past, we will continue to monitor and fight for this reform legislation.

Statewide membership drive looks promising I would like to extend a most sincere “thank you” to all the executive officers and local presidents for their enthusiasm for the statewide membership drive, scheduled for April and May. All 16 local associations have committed their valuable time and resources for this most worthy cause. It should be fun and exciting, and I’m eager to announce the “superheroes” that emerge from this campaign scheduled to coincide with NAHB’s National Membership Day. April 2009


With the unanimous participation from all 16 locals and the excitement generated by everyone, this program should be a terrific success. It’s critical we convey to our potential members the many benefits of the federation of local, state and national services, programs and lobbying efforts. Special thanks to First Vice President Mike Newsome, who traveled around the state visiting local associations to explain and sell the drive, and to Second Vice President Richard Bogese for his leadership of the Membership Committee.

Third-quarter board meeting scheduled for Williamsburg In years past, all HBAV’s board of directors’ meetings were held in Richmond except for our second-quarter meeting that’s held during our annual convention. This year we’re moving these meetings around the state to allow more local involvement and exposure to HBAV’s good work. We just had a very successful first-quarter board meeting in Fredericksburg. Our secondquarter meeting is scheduled for June 22 in Hilton Head and our third-quarter meeting will be Sept. 17 in Williamsburg. If this year’s program is successful, we’ll continue to move to other venues around the state. This plan isn’t designed to poach talent away from our hardworking locals but instead to bring new thoughts and ideas to the state.

2009 HBAV Annual Convention Remember to register to attend the 2009 HBAV Annual Convention at Hilton Head Island. It is a short drive for most Virginians and an outstanding program and social events are planned. I am confident that the HBAV Associates Committee has planned another great event for Hilton Head. It usually ranks as the top annual social event for HBAV and I would love to see you there. Please make plans to join us! It is scheduled for June 21-24 at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa. 2009 HBAV Annual Convention registration materials can be found at www.hbav. com. VAB

The race is on!

The HBA of Richmond is holding its Builder Bash Picnic from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14, at the Richmond Raceway Complex. Tickets are $20 per person. For more info, e-mail ffields@hbar.org April 2009

Heading for Hilton Head

2009 convention promises to be a day at the beach

S

unny days and warm nights are predicted to rule the Home Builders Association of Virginia’s 2009 Convention Sunday, June 21, until Wednesday, June 24, on the island of Hilton Head, S.C. Located along a pristine stretch of sandy white beach in Port Royal Plantation, The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa promises to provide HBAV members and guests the utmost in Southern hospitality. Named to Conde Nast Traveler’s 2002 Gold List, this rejuvenating resort features plenty of activities for all ages. Within the plantation, there are bicycle and jogging paths, three championship golf Don’t miss out on the courses and 16 tennis courts. There are fun and networking also lots of other activities you can engage opportunities during in nearby — such as kayaking, deep-sea HBAV’s annual fishing and horseback riding — which the convention June 21hotel’s concierge can help you arrange. 24 at The Westin The Westin offers several renowned Resort in Hilton dining options, including a AAA fourHead. Consult diamond restaurant, The Barony Grill. your accountant to There are several outdoor pools and a determine the positive heated indoor pool at the hotel, as well benefits of combining as a white sand beach for those who business with a prefer the Atlantic Ocean. vacation well deserved. If you register by May 21, the cost to attend the 2009 convention is $395 for members and $295 for spouses, guests and children older than 6. After May 21, the price goes up to $495 and $395, respectively. Children 6 years and under are free. No HBAV registration refunds will be given after June 6. There’s an additional $87 fee for golfers who want to sign up for the HBAV Annual Business Networking Golf Tournament Tuesday, June 23. Tee off begins at 11 a.m. There is no charge to play in the HBAV Annual Business Networking Tennis Tournament from 2-4 p.m. Monday. However, players must preregister. As in years past, HBAV’s associates are planning to sponsor a night to remember. “Cooking with the Associates,” a Parrot Head Deck Party, is slated for 7-11 p.m. Monday, June 22. Conventioneers must register directly with the hotel before May 20 to reserve a room at the group rate, subject to availability. To reserve a room, call (800) 9378461 or visit www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/8B18. The hotel’s number is (843) 681-4000. For more information about the upcoming 2009 state convention, call HBAV at (804) 643-2797. A registration form is on page 4.

Polly want to sponsor?

Calling all associates who would like to be Parrot Head sponsors during HBAV’s upcoming annual convention in Hilton Head, S.C., this June. Sponsorships, which start at $600, promise “one-on-one” time with convention attendees and lots of recognition throughout the event. It’s your chance to put a feather in your cap and support your favorite association. Visit www.hbav.com for details on how you can lead the flock. Virginia Builder   3


counsel's corner

Americans with Disabilities Act:

Hidden traps for employers by Betty S.W. Graumich and Stacy L. Haney

A

n employee comes to you and tells you he has cancer and needs two months off for surgery, and then intermittent leave thereafter for treatments. He has no paid leave left. What do you do? Another employee’s work performance has dropped dramatically. She begins exhibiting symptoms of what you think is depression. Should you assume she has a disability? How do you deal with the work performance? If you have difficulty answering these questions, you need to learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it affects everyday decisions about your employees. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and imposes an affirmative obligation on employers to offer reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA defines a person with a disability as one who: • Has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,

boyack Graumich

boyack Haney

• Has a record of such an impairment or • Is regarded as having such an impairment. In the past, many courts have applied the ADA’s definition of “disability” narrowly, so it was fairly difficult for an employee to establish eligibility for the ADA’s protections. In 2008, however, Congress amended the ADA, reversing years of court decisions favorable to employers and greatly expanding the number and range of individuals who will qualify for protection. How important is the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) to your business? You decide. According to the latest statistics maintained by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more than 47,000 charges of disability discrimination were filed between 2005 and 2007. In the year 2007 alone, employees in the United States filed 17,734 charges of disability discrimination with the EEOC. Of that number, the EEOC obtained monetary settlements or awards totaling $54.5 million and benefitting 3,190 charging parties.

HBAV Registration Form 2009 Annual Convention • The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa Sunday, June 21 - Wednesday, June 24 Name:________________________________________ $_______________

Price through May 21, 2009

Spouse/Guest__________________________________ $_______________

Price AFTER May 21, 2009

_____________________________________ $_______________

Member $395 Member $495 Spouse/Guest $295 Spouse/Guest $395 Children $295 Children $395 (Children 6 years and under are free.)

_____________________________________ $_______________

No HBAV registration refunds after June 6, 2009

Children: _____________________________________ $_______________

Golf ($87)

$_______________

TOTAL

$_______________

Tennis (N/C)

# of People_________________________

Company:_____________________________ Phone:__________________ Address:______________________________ Fax:____________________ City:__________________________________ State:­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______ Zip:_________ E-Mail Address:_______________________________________________ Local Association:_____________________________________________ l Builder l Associate l Other 4   Virginia Builder

Return this form with payment to: HBAV, 707 East Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23219 (804) 643-2797 • Fax (804) 780-2482 Payment: l Check Enclosed l VISA l Master Card Amount Paid:__________________________________________________ Card Number:_________________________________________________ Expiration Date:________ Signature:_______________________________ Hotel Reservations may be made at the following Web address before June 6, 2009: http://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/8B18 or by calling 800-937-8461 April 2009


Even before it was amended late last year, the ADA provided protection to thousands and thousands of employees with hidden impairments that constitute disabilities. For example, monetary settlements involving claims of disability discrimination because of cancer or a psychological disorder (e.g., depression, manic depressive disorder, anxiety disorder) led the list. Now — with the latest amendments — the number of employees entitled to protection may double or triple. Prior to the amendments, the EEOC categorized disability discrimination charges as falling under 35 specific mental or physical disabilities and five catch-all categories, ranging from alcoholism, allergies and anxiety to depression, epilepsy and cardiovascular impairments. Most of the impairments on the EEOC’s list are mental or physical impairments not readily visible. As discussed below, the ADAAA retains the general definition of disability, but greatly expands its application. Reversing an employer-friendly decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the ADAAA specifically directs that “the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures” cannot be taken into account in deciding if an individual has a disability, except for ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses. This means an employee with a condition controlled or corrected by medication, equipment or some other means is likely still considered “disabled” and protected by the act. For example, employees with diabetes or epilepsy whose condition is controlled by medication likely will be considered to have a disability under the ADAAA, even though they are not actually limited by the condition. In addition, the ADAAA has redefined the term “major life activity” by providing a noninclusive laundry list of activities considered “major life activities,” which includes a very broad range of activities from eating, sleeping and bending to learning, reading and concentrating. The ADAAA also makes “the operation of a major bodily function” a major life activity under the ADA. Thus, anyone with a condition that substantially limits even one of these “major life activities” will be protected by the ADA. The ADAAA also makes clear that impairments that are episodic or in remission are still protected disabilities if, when active, they would substantially limit a major life activity. Do not be led by these changes, howApril 2009

ever, to assume that an employee with a known or suspected impairment is disabled. A wrong assumption could lead to charge of disability discrimination for erroneously regarding an employee as disabled. More charges are filed every year by employees claiming to be “regarded as” disabled than by employees with an actual mental or physical impairment. In 2007 alone, the total amount of monetary settlements obtained by the EEOC for “regarded as” claims exceeded $10 million. The ADAAA also expands the protections for employees who are “regarded as” disabled. Under the new amendments, employees are protected by the ADA if their employer regards them as having an impairment, whether or not the impairment actually limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity. The only exception is for a transitory impairment, defined as an impairment with an actual or expected duration of six months or less. Nevertheless, the ADAAA does not require an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an individual who is “regarded as” disabled, but only to those who have actual impairments that

constitute a disability. As the EEOC statistics quoted earlier indicate, the area of disability discrimination is one that can potentially be very costly for employers. The new amendments to the ADA will likely only increase the costs to employers as more individuals than ever will fall within the act’s protection. Employers who take the time now to become familiar with the ADA and the new amendments, and to train their supervisors and managers, will be in the best position to meet the requirements of the act and to avoid costly discrimination charges. (Betty S.W. Graumlich is a partner and Stacy L. Haney is an associate in Reed Smith LLP’s Richmond off ice. Graumlich specializes in labor and employment law, and Haney‘s practice focuses primarily on commercial litigation, employment law and education law. For more information, you can reach Graumlich at [804] 344-3456 or bgraumlich@reedsmith.com, and Haney at [804] 344-3428 or shaney@reedsmith.com. This article is not intended to provide legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding questions or issues that arise in this area.) VAB

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product roundup

In the black Integrity from Marvin Windows and Doors recently added Ebony to its All Ultrex line of replacement windows and doors. The UVresistant line features units made entirely of Ultrex, a tough pultruded fiberglass material eight times stronger than vinyl. Able to deflect heat up to 350 degrees, Ultrex will maintain its structural integrity under the high temperatures dark frames can reach when continually exposed to the sun. The colors of Evergreen and Cashmere on the exteriors also were Marvin WIndows recently added to the line. The windows come in a range of sizes and factory-mulled configurations. For more information, visit www.integritywindows.com.

Windows and Doors By Stacey Enesey Klemenc

Seeing double

Blending tradition, function and style, Loewen just launched a new double-hung window, adding to its extensive collection of Douglas fir and mahogany windows and doors. The new window features a hidden jamb liner (no exposed track or vinyl) and integrated, profiled glazing legs that replicate traditional architecture. Standard features include proprietary hardware available with a variety of finishes, brass screws and grommets, a single-handed tilt mechanism and the company’s HeatSmart glazing. It’s available in clear wood and metal clad. For more information, call (800) 563-9367 or visit www. loewen.com. Loewen Loewen’s new double-hung window features authentic stile and rail construction, with a traditional large bottom rail and a minimal checkrail.

No. 10 in the side pocket

Blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living spaces, Weather Shield Windows & Doors’ pocket door system is available in an easy-to-operate manual version or a convenient motorized configuration. The system readily stores doors from two- to 10-panels wide into a wall cavity. Doors can be configured in lineal, bi-parting

6   Virginia Builder

April 2009


Be a super team player … and WIN!

One less thing to replace A new doorstop introduced at the 2009 International Builders’ Show may make those pesky rubber bumpers — a common choking hazard for children and pets — a thing of the past. Perfect Products’ innovative design of the DoorSaver2 enables a door’s motion to be absorbed into the hinge, effectively eliminating the need for bumpers found on other base- and hingemount doorstops. The new doorstop simply replaces one hinge pin on any residential or commercial door, interior or exterior. It never touches the door, wall casing or baseboard. For more information, visit www.doorsaver.com or call (877) 366-7728.

or 90-degree applications in heights ranging from 6-foot 8-inches to 10 feet. A patented interlocking mechanism couples panels together, allowing the entire door system to open and close by pulling the lead panel. Stainless-steel rollers glide easily along rails recessed into the threshold and in the header and out of the way of passers-by. The motorized option opens and closes the door by a press of a button on a handheld remote or a wall-mounted touch screen. A battery back-up system and a manual override enable operation during power outages. The pocket door system is available in a choice of exterior colors, decorative options and various wood species. For more information, call (800) 477-6808 or visit weathershield. com. VAB

Join HBAV in its Statewide Push for Members May 13-14

Local associations and current HBAV members have from now until 5 p.m. Thursday, May 14, to vie for rewards for members recruited. The member who recruits the most people will win a whopping $1,000 from HBAV. Second place will be awarded $500; third place, $250; and fourth, $100. All members will receive double Spike credits from NAHB for their recruiting efforts. HBAV will report the numbers to NAHB May 19, National Membership Day. For more information on how you can participate, call your local association today.

Visit One Of these LOcatiOns: fishersViLLe, Va 22939 (540)337-9300 (800)914-8959 fax(540)337-9306 fredericksburg, Va 22401 (540)373-5253 (888)246-5264 fax(540)373-5293 gainesViLLe, Va 20155 (703)753-8814 (800)237-5434 fax(703)753-8834 gLen aLLen, Va 23059 (804)550-3711 (800)544-7701 fax(804)550-5137 newpOrt news, Va 23606 (757)873-3939 (800)927-4477 fax(757)873-0134 nOrfOLk, Va 23502 (757)857-5377 (800)868-5377 fax(757)855-4201

Opened or closed, Weather Shields’ new pocket door system is dramatic and flexible. April 2009

richmOnd, Va 23237 (804)714-0974 (800)818-3853 fax(804)714-1397

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Virginia Builder   7


2009 HBAV Build-PAC Honor Roll (as of Feb. 16, 2009)

Governor’s Club Jeffery Ainslie Ainslie Group Mak Koebig Peak Construction Co. Inc. Robin Newhouse/ Dominion Virginia Power Pam Pekrun Henry H. Stephens Personal

Century Club Tidewater BA Shenandoah Valley BA/ Piedmont BIA Fredericksburg Area BA Tidewater BA Peninsula H&BA

General Assembly Club Richard A. Coleman Coleman Homes Inc. Sam Craig Craig Builders C. Richard Napier Personal Vincent Napolitano Napolitano Homes

Fredericksburg Area BA Blue Ridge HBA HBA of Richmond Tidewater BA

Capitol Club David Blalock FSK Management Peninsula H&BA C. Richard Bogese Jr. Personal HBA of Southside VA James L. Carver James L. Carver Builder Fredericksburg Area BA Anthony Clatterbuck Graystone Homes Inc. Piedmont VA BIA Michael Newsome Clark Whitehill Co. Tidewater BA Preston Stallings Personal Blue Ridge HBA William G. Thomas/ Reed Smith LLP Northern VA BIA Maureen Stinger

Roy O. Beckner S.W. Rodgers Co. Inc. Northern VA BIA Pam Comstock/Gilbert Martin Gilbert C. Martin Co. Inc. HBA of Southside VA Richard Entsminger Personal Northern VA BIA Bill Garrett W.B. Garrett Inc. HBA of Richmond Chip Hudnall Chip Hudnall Custom Building HBA of Rappahannock John Olivieri Associated Development Mgmt. Tidewater BA Mark Granville-Smith Personal Northern VA BIA Charles Miller Miller Custom Homes Tidewater BA James Petrine Enirtep Inc. Roanoke Regional HBA J.M. Snell II Valley Renovations Inc. Shenandoah Valley BA Roland Specter Specter Construction HBA of Southside VA

Partners Club C. Eugene Baker C.E. Baker Construction Inc. Peninsula H&BA Claudia K. Cotton Personal Tidewater BA Peter Fields Fields Construction Inc. Roanoke Regional HBA William Halprin Personal Tidewater BA Jim Jackson Superior Equipment Sales Inc. Tidewater BA Pete Kotarides Kotarides Developers LLC Tidewater BA Steve Lawson The Lawson Cos. Tidewater BA David & Judy Milstead Milstead Construction Shenandoah Valley BA Kenneth Patterson D.K. Patterson Construction Shenandoah Valley BA Tommy Shields Jr. Shield’s Construction Co. Inc. Augusta HBA Randy Wade R.D. Wade Builder Inc. Blue Ridge HBA Wendell A. White Personal Tidewater BA

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April 2009


I

Top 10 business writing mistakes that cost you money

n business, every word counts. your service. There needs to be This holds true for writing, a call to action. It can be as too, particularly when the simple as ending an e-mail with economy is putting pressure an “I look forward to hearing on every decision, stress on back from you” at the end, every partnership and expectabut one way or another, every tions on everybody. Don’t let correspondence needs to inform by Brent Sampson small mistakes in your business recipients of your expectations writing make a big impact on regarding their next step. your potential customers. Here Make it the right length. are 10 common errors in busiBusiness correspondence comes ness writing and how to avoid in a variety of forms or formats, them. and each one has an appropriate Spell check your work. length. Contracts are supposed We’ve all received resumes and to be long and scary. E-mails letters with spelling errors. Don’t are supposed to be short and make the same mistake. Spell sweet. check every business e-mail or Remember, you could be correspondence you send. In quoted. Recently there was many cases, nothing can sour an e-mail from a company’s the tone of a future partneraccounting department posted ship faster than a grammatically on the Internet. It was adincorrect correspondence filled dressed to company employees, with spelling errors. presumably with an understandInclude a salutation. How ing of confidentiality since it many business e-mails do you contained private information receive that don’t greet you by about that company’s finances. name? Starting an e-mail without Nevertheless, there it was on a salutation is akin to starting a a public forum. The Internet conversation in the middle. A salutation marks the beginning of a has focused a gigantic microscope on all of us. When you write correspondence, and omitting one is not professional. Worse yet, something, assume everyone in the world will see it and know your e-mail could be confused for spam, since an e-mail without that it came from you. a personal salutation usually means the message went to many Don’t use absolutes. Since you now realize your writing can people simultaneously. come back to haunt you at any time, it is best to avoid writing Don’t forget your signature. Everyone receives a lot of in absolutes. Avoid using terms like “never” when you can use e-mail nowadays. How frustrating is it to receive one without a “rarely.” Don’t use terms like “will be” when you can use terms proper signature line? Don’t assume the person you are writing like “may be.” If your feet are held to the fire, words that are remembers who you are and what company you represent. Failnot absolute are more defensible. ing to include a signature demonstrates a lack of respect for the Don’t include unnecessary information. In other words, recipient’s time or workload. cut to the chase. Since every word counts, be as succinct and Don’t use jargon, acronyms, slang or Internet speak. applicable as possible. Including superfluous information opens you At best, using acronyms makes you appear lazy. At worst, they up to a variety of mistakes. It makes your writing unnecessarily confuse your reader. Using jargon isn’t any better. Best-case long; it increases the chances of breaking one of these other scenario: You seem aloof. Worst case: Your reader feels stupid. rules; it communicates to the other person that you’re unable Examples of “Internet speak” include “LMAO,” “noob,” “l33t” and to censor, prioritize or organize; and it could contain information “rofl.” Do know what these all mean? If you don’t, how does that turns your “sale” into a “bail.” that make you feel? No one is perfect, but if you take the time to make sure Don’t use emoticons. A close cousin to jargon and acronyms your business writing avoids 10 basic pitfalls, you will be that are emoticons (punctuation in the form of a “face”). Eventually much closer to succeeding while wielding a pen. And what do you may reach an informal level of communication that warrants you know…? It is mightier than the sword, after all. an emoticon, but let the other person breach this ground first. (Brent Sampson, president & CEO of Outskirts Press, is the bestInclude a call to action. Every business communication, selling author of Sell Your Book on Amazon, as well as Self-Publishing on one level or another, involves some type of selling. You are Simplified and Adventures in Publishing. For more information, visit either selling yourself, your company, your idea, your product or www.outskirtspress.com.) VAB

April 2009

Virginia Builder   9


Double the honor

Stateline

Anthony Clatterbuck of Graystone Homes, who was named HBAV’s Builder of the Year in November, also received similar kudos at home. In December, he was named 2008 Builder Member of the Year for Piedmont Virginia Building Industry Association. Laura Newman of Newman Properties won the Associate Member of the Year. Seen here, Clatterbuck shows off the prize he received from PVBIA President Walter Cheatle Jr.

<Type Your Association Name Here>

vALue-ADDeD ASSoCiATion BenefiTS

Benefits through Anthem Life Anthem Life’s group life insurance helps employees provide financial security for their loved ones. As an association member

As an association member, you receive — at no additional cost — special benefits and programs designed to bring even more value to your Anthem plan.

you now get this security as part of your benefits plan at no additional cost.

ALL COVERED EmpLOyEEs AnD DEpEnDEnts RECEiVE: $10,000 Life and AD&D coverage • Group Term Life & AD&D Insurance promise timely benefit payments for the family if an employee passes away or faces a qualified loss in an accident. $2,000/Spouse and $2,000/Child Dependent Life coverage • Dependent Life Insurance pays a benefit to your employee if a spouse or child passes away. Resource Advisor • This program gives employees and their families free and confidential access to support resources, including: • Up to three legal and/or financial consultations for all employees • • • •

Up to three visits per year with a counselor for employees with a disability Up to three in-person counseling sessions as well as three legal and/or financial consultations for beneficiaries 24/7 telephone counseling and referral services Web site resources for child care and elder care databases, wellness information, wills, and power of attorney forms

Travel Assistance • Provides emergency medical assistance, travel services, and pre-departure information for members in case a medical emergency arises while traveling 100+ miles from home for personal or business reasons.

This insert is only one piece of your enrollment package. Exclusions, limitations, and applicable policy numbers can be found in the enrollment brochure.

This ad is only one piece of your enrollment package. Exclusions, limitations, and applicable policy numbers can be found in the enrollment brochure.

payment of the premium by the employer constitutes acceptance and agreement of the terms detailed in the group insurance policy and certificate and as outlined above.

In Virginia: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. (serving Virginia excluding the city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123). Life and Disability products underwritten by Anthem Life Insurance Company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its affiliated HMOs, HealthKeepers, Inc., Peninsula Health Care, Inc. and Priority Health Care, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ® ANTHEM and 360o Health are registered trademarks of Anthem Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and and agreement Blue Shield names and symbols areinregistered of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Payment of the premium byInsurance the employer constitutes acceptance of the terms detailed the groupmarks insurance policy andand certificate andAssociation. as outlined above. In EVASH4220A Virginia:(10/08) Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. (serving Virginia excluding the city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and

the area east of State Route 123). Life and Disability products underwritten by Anthem Life Insurance Company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its affilated HMOs, HealthKeepers, Inc., Peninsula Health Care, Inc. and Priority Health Care, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ® ANTHEM and 360° Health are registered trademarks of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.EVASH4220A (10/08)

10   Virginia Builder

Names in the news The Peninsula Housing & Builders Association honored Sharon Thomas of Wayne Harbin Builder with its Cathy L. Pennock Customer Service Person of the Year Award. J.W. Wallace of J.W. Wallace Construction received the Paul Bickford Jr. Award. Greg Pritchard of Pritchard & Co. Builders got the Robert C. Bunting Award. Brad Harbin of Wayne Harbin Builder won the Spike Award. The President’s Award went to Wade Garnett of Garnett Construction. Henry Singleton of Fulton Bank received a Special Recognition Award. Nina Efird of SunTrust Mortgage was named the Associate of the Year. This year’s new president, Katherine Renn of The Kicotan Co., was named Builder of the Year. Shenandoah Valley Builders Association named Ken Patterson, president/owner of D.K. Patterson Construction its 2008 Builder of the Year. Perry Schultz, owner of Perry’s Appliance, was selected as the Associate of the Year. David Brown with Peak Construction was selected as the Affiliate of the Year. Kate Renalds with Color Solutions was selected as the 2008 Ambassador of the Year. Augusta HBA recently donated $1,000 to Advancing Native Missions, represented by member Mike Twitchell. The donation will help build a kitchen and dining hall in the Philippines. Gregory T. St. Ours, president of the Augusta HBA and partner with Wharton Aldhizer & Weaver PLC, was selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America in St. Ours Antitrust Law. He also recently received recognition as one of Virginia Business Magazine’s Legal Elite in Construction. HBA of Southside Virginia’s Lake Country Chapter, represented by President Eric Lehman, recently presented a check for $2,000 to Bluestone High School. The money will be used to help build an athletics field house. Principal Lindell Palmer accepted the check on behalf of the project. The Peninsula Housing & Builders Association held its Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast Feb. 24 at the Omni Newport News. PHBA members filled (See Names IN THE News on page 12) April 2009


Membership update

Membership pays with HBAV’s S&I Member Rebate Program for builders and remodelers by Jim Bonnell, LUTCF, director of member benefit services

N

o one likes to leave money on the table. So, what if you could get a rebate for your loyalty to many of the nation’s leading housing industry manufacturers? Well, with HBAV’s new rebate program, now you can. The Suppliers & Installers Member Rebate Program is aimed at increasing your bottom line. For minimal effort of informing us of the products you use when you close a home or remodeling project, you will be putting money in your pocket. When you participate, you can count on receiving checks you can rely on. Just for remaining loyal to many of the country’s leading manufacturers you already use in your homes or remodeling projects, you’ll be rewarded with cold, hard cash. Lump-sum checks for closed homes are mailed quarterly. The profitable process relies on very little from you. You don’t have to change the way you conduct business and you don’t have to change the way you currently buy. We do the paperwork, collect the money and mail you the quarterly checks directly. You still utilize the same suppliers and continue conducting your business as usual. The only requirement for a builder or remodeler to qualify for a rebate is that you use at least two of our manufacturers. You don’t have to align with all manufacturers on the list. The manufacturers are rewarding loyalty with these rebates. If you are specifying the product to your subcontractors, then you are affecting the sale and, therefore, qualify for the rebate. No receipts are necessary to process your rebate claim. We have made the rebate program as simple as possible. Instead of receipts, we use our manufacturers’ salespeople in your area to check that their products were used. Participating manufacturers realize times are tough and want to reward builders and April 2009

remodelers who remain loyal. They recognize that small-tomidsize builders and remodelers make up the largest segment of the building industry. And, don’t worry if you are very small. As an HBAV member, you have the combined buying power equivalent to a top-10 builder. To register for this rebate program, call me at (800) 7346344 or register at www.HBAV.com VAB

Bonnell

Participating manufacturers: Lutron Bradford White Corp. EverMark Mansfield Bryant Heat & Glo PPG/Monarch Paint Co. Carrier Heatilator Pittsburgh Paints C.H.I. Overhead Doors Honeywell Comfort Porter Paints Crane Performance Systems Progress Lighting Siding Honeywell Security Therma-Tru Doors Daltile Honeywell Structured TimberTech FenceScape Delta Faucet Co. Wiring Stone 4.875x4.875 Jacuzzi HBAEldorado of Virginia COLOR:HBA of VirginiaTimberTech 4.875x4.875 COLOR 3/9/09

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Virginia Builder   11

2:49


Names in the News (continued from page 10)

Let’s shake on it In February, the Home Builders Association of Virginia Educational Foundation Board of Trustees awarded two $5,000 scholarships to students enrolled in Virginia Tech’s Building Construction Program at the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. Seen here, HBAV Educational Foundation Chairman Doug Fahl congratulates Ryan Althizer (left) of Mechanicsville and Nicholas Pauley of Bland at Bishop-Favrao Hall, the new home of VT’s construction school. Both men are third-year students who plan to pursue a home-building related career in Virginia after graduation.

the ballroom to hear the presentation given by Van Rose of Rose and Womble Realty Corp. Cheryl Vicari and Barney Eureste of Ferguson Integrated Services in Newport News recently earned the designation Certified Purchasing Manager from Vicari the Institute for Supply Management. Burgess & Niple’s employees Paul D. Reynolds, a project engineer in the civil engineering department in Woodbridge, attained the status of Engineer-in-Training. Eureste John R. Schwartz III, a project engineer in Richmond, received his professional engineer’s license. Jesse M. Warren, LEED AP, a mechanical engineer in Virginia Beach, received his professional engineer’s license. VAB

Going,going,green

G

oing Green” will be the focus of the third annual Universal Design Seminar from 9 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at the disAbility Resource Center in Fredericksburg. Presented by the Virginia Housing Development Authority and the disAbility Resource Center, the one-day seminar will focus on how green building techniques and universal design can be intertwined. It is geared for people with disabilities, developers, builders, zoning officials, architects, rehabilitation specialists, and others involved in the building and designing process. Cost to attend is $75 per person, which includes a continental breakfast and box lunch. Those interested must register by April 17. For more information, call (540) 373-2559. You can register online at www.cidrc.org. VAB

12   Virginia Builder

April 2009


2009 Annual Sponsorship rogram

The Home Builders Association of Virginia wishes to express its appreciation to the following members for their generous support of the 2009 Annual Sponsorship Program:

Built to Stand the Test of Time

PLATINUM 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty BIIA Dominion Virginia Power HBAV Benefits Group Virginia Housing Development Authority SILVER Clark Whitehill Enterprises Inc. FSK Property Management Mid South Building Supply PRO-Build BRONZE Meridian Construction Capital Napier Signature Homes

Advertisers’ Index 2-10 Home Warranty...........................11 Anthem........................................................10 Building Industry Insurance Association............................................8 Builders Insurance Group....................inside back cover Builders Mutual........inside front cover Costen Floors.........................back cover Demilec USA..............................................6 Dominion......................................................2 Donald A. Gardner Architects...........5 Norandex/Reynolds..................................7 ScreenEze....................................................12 For more information on any of these advertisers, visit www.hbav.com and click on the Virginia Builder button to take you to a listing with links to their Web sites.

April 2009

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Virginia Builder   13


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April 2009

Virginia Builder  

monthly magazine of the Home Builders Association of Virginia

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