Modular Building Institute
August 2021 Government Affairs Update | Modular Building Institute





August 2021 Government Affairs Update


The MBI government affairs team remains busy protecting the modular industry while opening new opportunities through proactive work with regulators and legislators throughout the United States and Canada.

On August 3rd MBI Government Affairs Director, Jon Hannah-Spacagna led a strategy meeting with MBI Executive Director, Tom Hardiman, New York Lobbyist and MBI Housing and Labor Lead, Claudia Granados and Washington, DC retained lobbyist, Michael Bezruki. The team reviewed work completed during 2021, such as defeating the anti-modular legislation in New York which would have required union labor in any modular manufacturing facility for structures in New York City, opportunities in California working with the Governor’s cabinet as well as the Department of Housing and Community Development on their Housing Advance Planning Group.

The MBI Government Affairs team will share more information later this year on future work as we continue to solicit and review proposals from lobbying firms for various state and federal/national initiatives.



United States/Federal Level

Other discussions included work at the United States federal level included:

• Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill (2022)
• The American Families Plan and Potential Impact on the Modular Building Industry
• The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

These bills are still in process in Congress. MBI continues to monitor and work with members of Congress and their staff.

Lastly, the group discussed strategy for the presentation of ANSI Standards 1200 and 1205 for adoption with the International Code Council, which will take place on September 24 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Jon Hannah-Spacagna will be representing MBI and MBI has retained code consultants from Kellen Consulting to assist with the preparation for our presentation as well as assistance in presenting the standard to the committee.

Canada/UL2600

In Canada, MBI continues to work closely with the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation to further assist them in their Rapid Housing Initiative, which is becoming a long-term program to address the housing crisis in Canada using modular construction. Additionally, the work on UL2600 was discussed to present to the Canadian Council.

Jon and Canadian Council Member Services Director, Amanda Rowe, conducted a call with the Council on 7/15 to discuss UL2600 and that it would not be adopted into the 2020 Canadian National Building Codes. The Council agreed for Jon to have a call with a sub-committee of Council members who have been involved and whose companies are directly impacted by UL2600.

Jon completed a call on 7/28 with representatives from Britco, ATCO, and Honomobo. After receiving written confirmation from Paul Chang, Administrator for Alberta that Part 10 in Alberta would remain in place, the group agreed MBI should discontinue work on UL2600 as the next adoption cycle wouldn’t be until 2025.

On 8/12, MBI hosted another call with the full Canadian Council and the Council unanimously voted to discontinue work on UL2600 and with retained consultants, Adaire Chown and Craig Mitchell. Jon was tasked to inform them of this decision.

On 8/17, Jon and Amanda completed a call with Adaire and Craig to confirm the Council’s decision to forego any further work on UL2600.

Colorado

On August 11 a couple of MBI members spoke with MBI Government Affairs Director, Jon Hannah-Spacagna about issues with the modular program in Colorado. Those included:

• Delays in plan reviews
• Issues working with the department’s payment processing software
• Factory Licensure (Registered vs. Certified)
• Installation delays due state requirements of modular installers

Jon contacted state administrator, Mo Miskell and scheduled a call with him and his leadership team on August 13. They recognized the issues we addressed with them and stated they were starting an internal review of their processes to increase efficiencies within the department. Miskell invited Jon to work with his team in an advisory role to address these and other processes within their department. He also was interested in how Virginia recruited a modular manufacturer to the state to assist with affordable housing, in which MBI worked with Virginia on that initiative. Our next call is scheduled for September 9.

New York

The New York legislature was called back for a special session. The MBI Government Affairs team made sure that the bills we defeated during the regular session, A2039/S4738, were not brough up again for a full vote.

Michigan

Several MBI member companies reached out to MBI staff about significant delays in plan approvals in Michigan and the department’s unwillingness to utilize third party inspection agencies to improve approval times.

After several back and forth emails with Michigan Administrator, Jon Paradine, MBI Government Affairs Director, Jon Hannah-Spacagna schedule a zoom meeting with Mr. Paradine and his leadership team on 8/18. Michigan’s modular administrative team stated that they were on a hiring freeze and were unable to hire additional staff needed to catch up on plan approvals. Additionally, they stated they were not interested in using third party approval agencies for plan reviews as it would cause their department to lose income.

Jon asked what MBI could do to help them get the staff they needed to have plan reviews completed in a timely manner. They asked if we could reach out to members of the Appropriations Committee in the legislature to help them get more funding for staff that would help.

Jon coordinated a zoom meeting with Rep. Fink and Rep. Yaroch, who both serve on the Appropriations Committee and have member companies in their districts. They stated that funds had been approved via the Appropriations Committee for new hires and if there was any “hiring freeze” it would be coming from the Governor’s office. They agreed to discuss with the Governor’s staff on September 3 to see if they can free up funding to address this issue for the department. We will keep members updated as soon as we hear back from them.

California

Here’s an update of the bills we have supported that passed crossover:

SB 9 (Atkins - D) Housing development approvals – MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
• Passed both houses and was presented to Gov. Newson to sign on September 2.
SB 10 (Wiener - D) Planning and zoning: housing density – MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
• Passed both houses and was presented to Gov. Newson to sign on September 2.
SB 477 (Wiener - D) General plan: annual report – MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
• Senate with amendments; waiting to be sent to Governor to sign.
SB 478 (Wiener) – Floor area ratio: housing developments - MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
• As of September 3, waiting for 3rd reading on Senate floor.
AB 1401 (Friedman) Development projects: parking requirements – MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
• Currently stalled in Senate Appropriations Committee. Will continue to monitor.

The MBI government affairs team will continue to provide updates and breaking news as new information is received on these key issues.





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