On Alan Banks’ wrist is a band inscribed with the following words: “NCHBA 4 Housing Affordability”. This slogan aptly summarizes the advocacy philosophy of the man and the organization he led in 2018. At every opportunity, Alan displayed his wristband and encouraged his fellow members and the NCHBA staff to proudly display its duplicate on their wrist to remind all of the association’s fundamental mission and commitment. For Alan understands that housing must remain affordable in order to assure that homeownership stays within the reach of our fellow citizens.

He understands that in too many places in our country, the American dream of homeownership is just that—a dream. Prospective homebuyers are being denied this opportunity by rising prices flowing directly from additional burdens being placed on our industry by all levels of government. The philosophy which has long driven NCHBA’s advocacy efforts is precisely this commitment to fight against unnecessary barriers to homeownership.

It’s not surprising that housing affordability is what drives Alan Banks. After obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering and pursuing successful publishing ventures, Alan became a builder when he and his future partner met as volunteers during the construction of a home for Habitat for Humanity. This passion for community service and housing led him to the presidency of the Charlotte HBA and on to the NCHBA senior leadership ladder.

During his frequent travels to local associations from the mountains to the coast during 2018, Alan carried this message to our membership. He reminded them that our profession provides one of the basic needs of mankind—shelter. However, that basic need cannot be achieved unless our product is affordable. And, without the commitment of NCHBA’s members to that cause, no one else would be defending this critical goal in our state.

In addition to motivating and leading, Alan took an active role to ensure the success of the association on many fronts during 2018. Just to name a few, those include:

NCHBA enjoyed a productive legislative session in 2018. The General Assembly enacted, and the Governor signed into law, virtually all of NCHBA’s pro-active agenda. Highlights include passage of the Building Code Regulatory Reform Act of 2018 which set a two-business day statewide standard for required inspections and provided builders an alternative to access the “inspector marketplace” if this standard is not observed; further favorable modification of the sales tax for repair, maintenance and installation (RMI) services; passage of legislation which directs the Building Code Council to exempt garages from the residential energy codes; allowing a soil scientist to determine that site conditions are unaltered in order to proceed with expired wastewater permits; rejecting a gubernatorial appointee the Industrial Commission which would have upset the existing balance on that body; providing needed resources to the NC Housing Finance Agency; and successfully thwarting several unfavorable bills including ones that would have allowed local governments to impose inclusionary zoning. All of these legislative actions have one thing in common—the preservation of housing affordability!

Housing affordability was also protected by several actions urged by NCHBA staff and taken by the Building Code Council. Most notable was NCHBA’s successful appeal to the Council of a Department of Insurance staff interpretation which would have prohibited the installation of siding on a single-family home prior to the building framing inspection adding more delay, and thus cost, to the delivery of housing.

During 2018, NCHBA membership grew by almost 3%, to more than 14,229 members, preserving NCHBA’s position as the largest state association in the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) federation. Both personally and through his leadership team and other members continued NCHBA’s strong record of involvement in the activities of the National Association of Home Builders as would be expected of an association which comprises almost 10% of the membership of NAHB.

Under Alan’ s leadership, we made great progress in the implementation of our three-year NCHBA strategic plan—Vision 2020. Further, we continued to strengthen the role and accountability of our regional vice presidents as a vital link between NCHBA and our local membership; and we maintained NCHBA’s strong financial footing by recording a solid 2018 operating revenue profit which thereby increased NCHBA’s net assets to a record level.

Alan led efforts by the Board of Directors to provide $300,000 in funding to the “Home Builders Education Fund, Inc.” (HBEF), NCHBA’s Section 527 entity during 2018. These resources, including those provided in 2017, allowed the HBEF to significantly ramp up its game in races for the General Assembly. A total of $441,500 was spent in support of 79 candidates (53 Republicans and 26 Democrats). Sixty of the 170 members, or 35%, of the incoming 2019 Session of the General Assembly benefited from HBEF advocacy spending. In addition, Alan championed increased giving to NCHBA and NAHB’s political action committees (BUILD-PAC) which contributed a total of $231,400 to candidates. A total of 137 of the 170 incoming members (81%) of the General Assembly received BUILD-PAC support. Combined advocacy spending topped $700,000 which is a record.

The NCHBA Volume Builders Council continued to thrive. Composed of national and regional production building companies as well as several development companies, these 34 entities pay a special dues assessment for council membership which helped the association’s bottom line and, in turn, its advocacy efforts.

The excitement was back at the 16th edition of the 21st Century Building Expo & Conference held in Charlotte in October. The STARS Awards Gala was again a highlight of the show.

Finally, perhaps one of Alan’s most lasting achievements, was the overwhelming endorsement by the NCHBA Board of Directors in February of a resolution directing our association to seek legislation in the 2019 Session of the General Assembly to establish mandatory continuing education for general contractors. After considerable research and consultation with staff of the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors, who will administer the program, draft legislation was shared with the NCHBA Board of Directors in December. This measure will greatly enhance the knowledge and professionalism of our profession.

While the foregoing successes demonstrate several of the many accomplishments during Alan’s term, the fundamental thread that ties each of them to the other is housing affordability. Alan’s fervent commitment to this principle will motivate the leaders that follow him on the ladder and others who will join that ladder in the future. Alan has succinctly framed the key issue for us now and in the future and put it on our wrist. The preservation of housing affordability is, and will continue to be, a battle without end. But it is a battle that our fellow citizens cannot afford for us to lose.

Finally, NCHBA owes a debt of gratitude to Alan’s wife, Lynn, and his family for supporting Alan during his presidency. Thank you, Alan, for a job well done!