A Message from HBAK President Billy Doelker and EVP Bob Weiss
In these uncertain times, as the United States and the entire world battle a highly infectious Coronavirus (COVID-19), and we are all practicing safe social distancing, we want all of our 5,000 member companies to know that you are all important to us. We want you to stay safe and healthy and to continue to provide the necessary housing for the people of the Commonwealth.
Bob Weiss firstname.lastname@example.org
Anetha Sanford email@example.com
Lora Knight firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Werner email@example.com
Your Local HBA is also devoting hours of staff time working with local government officials on your behalf! Local and State EO’s are meeting weekly by conference call to compare notes and see where they can help each other.
We have been working with the Beshear Administration to make sure that the housing and construction industry are considered an essential industry and all our members are able to continue operation during this pandemic.
On March 17th the Governor signed an Executive Order in which he deemed the construction industry an essential industry that should continue to operate, but meet protocols of safety and health.
See Governor Beshear’s Executive order here.
Please note the poster on page 3 of the Governor’s Executive Order. It is a list of protocol recommendations, which we urge you to follow on and off the construction site to the best of your ability. They are:
- All workers should stay Home if you are sick.
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet between persons
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or provide ample hand sanitizers
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
During the past few days we have heard some great ideas from businesses in the construction industry who have adopted protocols above and beyond those listed above.
- One builder told us that he takes every workers temperature before they are allowed on the job site. Anyone running a fever is asked to go home.
- A brick supplier told us that she is closing the business to walk in traffic but will take people by appointment and will take orders and deliver to the job site
- Builders have told us that they have closed their design centers open only to those with appointments and with protocols listed above
- Click Here for a video about protocols on the job site
We would also encourage your local HBA’s to work closely with local Building Departments and County Clerk’s offices to make sure that timely inspections are being done and mortgages and deeds can still be recorded. In a recent conference call with all of our local EO’s, we know this is being done and appreciate all of the hard work on the part of your local EO’s.
On another front we would encourage you to talk with your bank personnel. Not only do our members have construction loans outstanding but other members have loans just to operate their businesses. Through open communication you can discuss, if business slows down, that your bank provide you with the flexibility you need.
And this not only pertains to your construction loans. Many of you have rentals and may be renting to businesses that have had to shut down and may not be able to pay rent for a while which may impact your ability pay loans on buildings.
In an interview with Central Bank President Luther Deaton he noted that his bank would be flexible with their current customers. Also In an article in the Lexington Herald Leader, Andy Stone President and CEO of Traditional Bank in central Kentucky also noted that they will work with their customers to “move toward interest only or completely deferred loans”.
According to Rob Dietz, Chief Economist for the National Asssoication of Home Builders the prediction is for the mitigation of this virus is eight weeks followed by a decline in the virus growth.
He predicted that the unemployment rate will grow to 7% from a record low of 3%. He also said that the second and third quarter of this year would produce negative growth rates.
However low interest rates in the 3% range will keep people interested in housing, He also stated that single family housing starts were at post-recession high during the past three months.
Dietz went on to say “Given the sharp nature of the 2020 downturn (and its biological rather than financial economic cause) the fourth quarter should host a V shape market rebound. With low interest rates and policy help for the labor market, the housing industry would clearly be a sector to lead the economy into recovery.”
There is light at the end of the tunnel. We encourage you to meet with your current and future clients to make them comfortable with continuing their plans to build or remodel. Click here to read the full article.
Governor Beshear has asked industries that use protective commercial grade masks and eye protection, and have extras, donate those to hospitals that need them to fight this virus.
Local HBA and BIA's have been working with healthcare facilities to provide masks and eye protection. An example of this is the HBA of Hopkins County has donated 200 masks to their local hospital in Madisonville. Shout out to their local HBA leadership.
In times like these it is not uncommon for rumors to catch fire by word of mouth. Examples:
- The Construction Industry is allowed to operate but anyone outside needs a letter allowing them to be out - False
- Doctors have drugs that kill the virus but are hoarding them for family and friends - False
- Safety protocols must be established on worksites to avoid a shutdown of the construction industry - True
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a great idea on working through this situation, have further protocols to insure safety on the jobsite, or if you need any assistance with elected or appointed officials.
Lastly we would like to thank Governor Beshear for his leadership in protecting all Kentuckians during these uncertain times. And we want you, our member, to know that we agree with Governor Beshear when he says “By working together we will get through this”.
Stay safe and healthy!