An Update from the HBA

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response

NAHB is committed to keeping members appropriately informed and advocating for the housing industry to minimize the economic impact of this challenging situation.

In an effort to keep the residential construction industry up to date with the latest news about Governor Whitmer's Executive Order, please see below:

03/31/20 pm

Membership Update: 

Five informational updates for members this afternoon:
First of all, we had a really good meeting on our Builder-to-Builder Open Forum virtual meeting this morning with about 20 different members participating.  Tomorrow morning, we will do a similar call with any and all members living or doing business in Calhoun County / Battle Creek.  You can find the dial-in/Zoom info on our website at  If you do anything in Calhoun/Battle Creek please join the call.  It’s an open forum, so bring your comments and questions for other members or staff.  In the meantime, we have this information from the City of Battle Creek:
During the time of City (of Battle Creek) closure, permit applications, plans, and payment may be submitted using the BS&A online permitting system and also by mail.  Application, plan review and permit processing submitted online will be conducted remotely by staff. During this time, please allow for 48 hour application processing; plan review may require up to 14 days to complete.  Mailed permits and payment will be processed and issued within one week of receipt. 
At this time, the Inspections Division will continue to fulfill inspection requests however, the process will be slightly modified. 
In order to best protect the health of staff and community, the assigned Inspector will make contact to coordinate arrangements for a remote inspection ie. photos, facetime, skype or other visual means to assure that conditions are met for approval (as determined by the Inspector). Onsite inspections will not be conducted at this time unless an emergency need is determined by the Chief Building Official. 
Requests for inspection can be made in the following ways:
  1. BS&A online request at 
  2. Phone request at 269.966.3382 (leave a voicemail message to include contact name, number, property address, requested day for inspection) 
  3. Email request at (provide contact, name, number, property address, requested day for inspection)
Building, Electrical, and Mechanical Inspectors are available via email and phone to answer questions or concerns that a contractor or homeowner may have in completing a project. 
Richard Bolek, Chief Building Official 269-966-3319 (to include plumbing)
Don Wilkinson, Building Official 269.967.3995
Paul Sheldon, Electrical Inspector 269.967.4058
Billy Wills, Mechanical Inspector 269.967.7614
Please contact Richard Bolek, for any concerns or questions during City closure.
Secondly, a great Town Hall meeting earlier as well today with about 700 participants from around the state participated in a 60-minute information and Q&A session.
If you missed it and would like to view the recording of this meeting, click here  (  A summary of all the questions asked during this town hall meeting will be posted with answers on the HBA Michigan COVID-19 page at This list should be posted by the close of business tomorrow.
Third, the HBA of Western Michigan will have an Associate-to-Associate Open Forum on Thursday morning at 8:30am to discuss issues of importance to Associate members.  Again, you can find the dial-in/Zoom info on our website at
Fourth:  NAHB will be hosting a (free) webinar: COVID-19 Update for Your Workplace
President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on March 18, which creates the Family Medical Leave Expansion Act and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act in order to provide protections for employees who need to take leave during the COVID-19 health crisis. Employers should be prepared for the provisions of the Act to take effect on April 1, 2020.
NAHB has partnered with law firm Kelley Drye, whose employment experts will take a deep dive in the new law and the circumstances under which paid sick leave and the expanded family leave will be available to employees, share practical advice and discuss potential hidden issues.
The webinar will take place tomorrow, Wednesday April 1, from 3-4 p.m. EST. When you register, you will receive a confirmation email with the webinar link.  
Register here:
Finally, the HBA of Southeast Michigan and Lakeshore HBA are collaborating on another state-wide virtual meeting addressing the plethora or HR questions all employers have right now.  The webinar is tentatively schedule for mid-day Friday.  Details will be shared once we have them. 

03/30/20 am

Comply with Executive Order - an update from HBA of Michigan: 

In a letter sent Saturday to Senate Majority Leader Shirkey, Governor Whitmer  stated residential construction is "limited to in-person tasks that are strictly necessary to protect the current condition of the project while the order is in effect, such as putting in place temporary security and weatherization measures.  All other in-person work on the project must cease until the restrictions of the order are lifted and normal operations resume."
As the builder of the project, it's up to you to decide what minimum and temporary measures need to be taken for its security and weatherization and to justify that decision if challenged.  You know what the least amount of work will provide for the temporary security and weatherization of the home. We expect everyone to follow the Governor’s order. Do not use her clarification to finish a project beyond the allowed minimum and temporary measures.
A rumor is circulating the Governor’s restrictions on residential construction have been overruled by the federal government. This rumor is false.
The Advisory Memorandum from Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued on March 28, 2020 does not require Governor Whitmer to allow home building as an essential industry.
The third paragraph of the 2.0 version is in bold print and reads as follows:
"This list is advisory in nature. it is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard. additionally, this advisory list is not intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions.  Individual jurisdictions should add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion."
While residential construction is listed as an essential industry in the advisory memorandum, it also makes it clear that no jurisdiction is required to name residential construction as an essential industry if they do not want to.
Governor Whitmer cited the earlier CISA document by name and date in her Executive Order. That document did not list residential construction as an essential industry. She has made that clear in various speeches and press conference since issuing the EO that, at this time, she will not be altering her EO to expand what residential construction is permitted.

{For a copy of Construction Industry Safety Coalition Recommendations: COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan for Construction Click here (PDF) . }

03/30/20 am

HBA Members: 

Two significant updates from over the weekend that we want to make sure you are aware of and understand what this means to residential construction IN MICHIGAN.
1. The Department of Homeland Cyber-security Department that defines ‘essential businesses’ designated residential construction as essential.  HOWEVER, this does NOT apply in Michigan:
a.    These are Federal GUIDELINES for states, not mandates
b.    The Governors Executive Order specifically references the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in his guidance of March 19, 2020, which did NOT include residential construction as essential.  
c.    Therefore, any such updates to the Federal guidance will not apply in Michigan unless the governor were to specifically change the order.
2. Some clarity from the State regarding ‘buttoning up’ residential construction projects that were already underway when the Executive Order went into place:

a.    “This work {projects that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of a residence during the emergency} is limited to in-person tasks that are strictly necessary to preserve the current condition of the project while the order is in effect, such as putting in place temporary security and weatherization measures. All other in-person work on the project must cease until the restrictions of the order are lifted and normal operations resume.

All in-person construction work that is carried out while the order is in effect, including the minimum basic operations on projects that may not be progressed at this time, must be done in accordance with section 5 of the order, including the mitigation measures listed in section 5 (c).”

b.    As the builder of the project, it's up to you to decide what minimum and temporary measures need to be taken for its security and weatherization and to justify that decision if challenged.  You know what the least amount of work will provide for the temporary security and weatherization of the home.  Believe us, we know it's frustrating not to have better answers. We do not expect any further clarification of this EO which expires April 14th. We are looking at what happens beyond that date.

c.    We recommend that you print a copy of the Governor’s letter to have on site with you as you protect and button up your in-progress projects or homes.  Click here for a copy of the letter: 
We will keep you informed of any additional information as is becomes available.

03/27/20 pm

HBA Members: 

A lot has transpired over the few days and the HBA has new resources that will be put in place next week, and we’ll ‘keep the ball rolling’ on others.  I know this is a lot of information, but please take the time to review.
HBA of Western Michigan member resources:
While we cannot meet in person, enabling communication and connections between members is even more important in times like this.  To that end, the HBA now subscribes to Zoom on-line meetings.  All of the following events will be held on the Zoom platform giving you the option to engage in a full-featured web meeting experience or simply calling in via phone. 
Builder – to – Builder Open Forum Meeting:  Tuesday, March 31st, 8:30am
This meeting is an opportunity for builders to connect with and help other builders.  Bring your questions, comments, concerns, recent experience and best practices to share, or just listen in for moral support.  If members find the meeting beneficial, we’ll make it a regular occurrence. 
Join Zoom Meeting:
Join by Phone:  +1 312 626 6799                     Meeting ID: 822 202 469    Password: 908544
Battle Creek / Calhoun County Member Open Forum Meeting:  Wednesday, April 1st, 8:30am
An opportunity for all members living or doing business in Battle Creek and throughout Calhoun County to connect and discuss issues specific to the area.  While there’s no cash bar, at least we can get by with a little help from our friends. 
Join Zoom Meeting:
Join by Phone:  +1 312 626 6799                     Meeting ID: 512 612 093    Password: 528162
Associate – to – Associate Open Forum Meeting:  Thursday, April 2nd, 8:30am
Many associate member businesses have been ordered to close, while others are likely struggling with significantly reduced business being conducted.  Come and share how your organization is or isn’t getting by.  Share helpful resources and opportunities that fellow members may find helpful. 
Join Zoom Meeting:
Join by Phone:  +1 312 626 6799                     Meeting ID: 314 769 962    Password: 386251
Kalamazoo Attainable Homes Partnership (KAHP) – Informational meeting for interested Builder members:  Friday, April 3rd, 8:30am
While new construction is halted under the Governors Executive Order 2020-21, the HBA and our Partners are working to have everything in place to start the next round of homes when permitted.  All builder members are invited to attend to learn the details of the KAHP program and determine if building a KAHP home is of interest.  This will be focused on the KAHP construction in the Edison, Eastside and Northside neighborhoods through the summer.
Join Zoom Meeting:
Join by Phone:  +1 312 626 6799                     Meeting ID: 518 231 122    Password: 466324
Statewide HBA Town Hall Meeting:  Tuesday, March 31st, 11:00am
Hosted by the State HBA, this is an opportunity for members across the state to connect and discuss current affairs.
Join Zoom Meeting – connection information will be available by Monday afternoon.
Parade of Homes Update:  The Parade of Homes Committee met yesterday to discuss the upcoming event.  Scheduled for June 12-20, the recent limitations on new construction and remodeling puts these dates in question.  The committee acknowledges it is possible if not likely that these dates could be changed.  To what extent will depend on feedback from the builders planning on Parade entries, when the restrictions on construction and remodeling are lifted or changed, etc.  The committee also acknowledges that recent events will also result in changes and/or relaxing some of the Parade rules for 2020. 
Essential Industry Status:
Yesterday Governor Whitmer, in response to a reporter question about essential industries and in a statewide televised town hall, noted that industries like housing construction are not essential. In the absence of any further clarifications from the State of Michigan, this is what is allowed:
  • UNDER THE ORDER, critical infrastructure workers include workers “who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.” To the extent your workers perform jobs that are necessary to the safety, sanitation, and operation of homes, they may be designated as critical infrastructure workers. Link:,9753,7-406-98178_98455-522631--,00.html
  1. Covers in-process repairs, installations and emergency repairs to directly related to the health and safety of the homeowner (i.e., need for functioning kitchen or bathroom)
  2. Applies to in-process remodeling efforts directly related to the health and safety of the homeowner
  3. Completing projects that have exposed electrical, mechanical, plumbing, etc., all of which are a safety and liability concern for the homeowner and your company
This is what is NOT allowed:
  • Cosmetic and non-emergency maintenance and improvements to residences are not permissible under this order.
  • NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION: It is recommended that all NEW construction CEASE IMMEDIATELY on single-family and multi-family structures, in compliance with EO 2020-21, related official published clarifications, and the Governor’s clear statement in her press conference and town halls yesterday.  It is critical to abide by this directive – whether you agree with it or not – during this crucial time.
  • REMODELING PROJECTS that do not directly relate to the health and safety of the homeowner (i.e., need for functioning kitchen or bathroom)
MISDEMEANOR FINES under this order are $500 per citation, as defined elsewhere in Michigan law. It is unclear if they could apply that fine to each individual on the job site or just to the occurrence being cited. The Governor also referred to possible licensure action in her comments multiple times yesterday, and each time it was in reference to construction as an example, although the authority for that remains unclear.
Protection of assets:
The HBA is working to get the State of Michigan to understand and clarify that, in accordance with EO 2020-21, a home builder’s “inventory” includes those materials stored on-site and/or partially erected and, furthermore, that builders or their designated essential employees can, per EO 2020-21, “…conduct minimum basic operations…to allow the business or operation to maintain the value of inventory and equipment…”
However, until this understanding is officially clarified by the State of Michigan, please cease new construction activities without delay.
Side note:  New York State just suspended all non-essential construction of all kinds:
Michigan Statewide and National efforts: 
Every HBA member is also a member of the HBA of Michigan and the National Association of Home Builders.  All segments of your three-in-one membership are working on your behalf and the on behalf of our industry.
For additional information on the ongoing work of the HBA of Michigan and their efforts in asking the
Governor to rethink the non-essential assessment and to consult with federal homeland security officials and her colleagues from around the country in determining whether to shut down builders and contractors, click here:
For details on NAHB Efforts Amid the COVID-19 Crisis, click here:
Helpful resources & links to financial info regarding small business assistance:
Thanks to Matt Milcarek at member KNHS Home Ownership Services for sharing the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Memorandum concerning ongoing mold remediation work:
Finally, let me say how heartbreaking it is for staff to hear of the incredibly difficult situation so many members are in right now.  Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with all of our members.  As we are made aware of resources that may aid and assist, we’ll include them in our member updates. 

03/26/20 pm

HBA Members: 

Your staff has been answering a lot of calls and emails from members (and non-members) looking for clarity in surrounding the Governors Executive Order.  This is great - that’s what your HBA staff is here for!  We are here to support you and your business – no matter what and through anything.    
The Governors 11am update earlier today had key messages that pertain to our industry. 
She started off stating that Michigan’s stay-at-home orders are the most aggressive in the nation, by intention.  This likely means that while a vast majority of other states on ‘lockdown’ – including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin (23 in total) have clearly designated residential construction as essential, MICHIGAN HAS NOT and it doesn’t sound like that is going to change.  Our state only allows that “Construction workers may undertake such projects as necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences.” 
Home Construction (along with Landscaping and Florists) was specifically mentioned in her response to a reporter asking if further guidance would be issued for industries where there are gray areas.  The governor's response also provided clarity around her expectations for residential construction and remodeling.
  • Home construction is deemed non-essential   
  • Builders and subs should not be on job sites
  • Allowances are available to secure inventory (assets) – the HBA of Michigan is seeking specific details on these allowances to secure projects underway.
  • Non-compliance could cost $500 per infraction and possible loss of business license.  
  • In the Governors words: “If you’re not a life-sustaining business, you’re in violation of the law…”
VIEW THE PRESS CONFERENCE HERE the key question begins at about 27 minutes into the segment.​
While there are a host of different opinions and thoughts on the governor’s actions and statements, it is abundantly clear that residential construction is expected to stay home with the exception of emergency repairs and replacements as necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences.  This would not include floor covering, painting, cabinetry, etc.

While there are reports across the state AND WITHIN OUR 7 COUNTY AREA of varying degrees of enforcement and interpretation of the governor’s executive order by local authorities, we see this quickly becoming much stricter and coordinated enforcement.  In fact, Calhoun County Unified Law Enforcement issued a release stating:
"Law enforcement agencies are receiving multiple calls that have been directed to them by Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office regarding implementation and enforcement issues. We are receiving many calls regarding complaints about businesses remaining open in violation of the Governor's order."
  • The HBA of Western Michigan urges you to carefully and thoughtfully consider if your business activities are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences.
  • If local authorities deem your activities to be not in compliance with the order, you may be ticketed $500 per offense and possible loss of business license.  Immediate ticketing by local authorities has been reported in our area and across the state.
Remember, when you joined the HBA, you voluntarily pledged to operate your business under the HBA’s code of ethics which includes:
  • Comply with the rules and regulations prescribed by law and government agencies for the health, safety and welfare of the community. 
  • Assume the responsibilities in this Code of Ethics freely and solemnly and are mindful that these responsibilities are a part of their obligation as members of the Home Builders Association.
​As an association, we strive to set ourselves apart from those that cause our industry to have a negative reputation.  As a member, if you don’t voluntarily comply with the Governors Executive Order to only conduct business that is necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences, you erode the trust and goodwill that the HBA brand promises.  

Michigan’s Attorney General and local law enforcement are putting processes in place to make it easy to report possible violations.  One HBA of Western Michigan member today was told by the county sheriff to immediate cease operations or face fines or other severe penalties – and that their activity was reported by a resident of the neighborhood.

WE STRONGLY URGE YOU to read Bob Filka, Executive Director of HBA Michigan's update from the State office on our continued efforts in Lansing (

These are definitely challenging times for us all.  Your association is working tirelessly here locally and across the state to both represent our industry and be an excellent corporate citizen.  On behalf of the staff, we appreciate all of your thoughts, opinions and words of encouragement.  As I stated earlier, we are fully aware of the many thoughts and opinions within the membership.  Your voices are heard and considered – no matter where it falls on the spectrum.  

We will continue to issue updates as we have them.

03/25/20 am


We find ourselves entering the second full day of Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO), and there are still many unanswered questions and issues concerning what is and what isn’t allowed in residential construction. The Home Builders Association of Michigan is continually trying to get answers to these and to expand the residential construction activities allowed under the Governor’s EO.  Many of you have asked how you can help in these efforts.  We believe the best way to help is by personalizing the effect of the Governor’s EO. The Governor is fully aware most other states have totally exempted residential construction from their shelter in place orders and chose not to copy those exemptions. We need legislative leaders to understand this and to help remind her why that is important here too.
Here’s how you can help as we continue to request the Governor to exempt residential construction from her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” EO. Please send a polite non-confrontational email to all of the following addresses: (Senate Majority Leader)  (Senate Minority Leader)  (Speaker of the House) (House Minority Leader)
In your email, ask that the State of Michigan quickly move to clarify what residential construction activities can take place.
Ask them to encourage the Governor, when considering possible clarifications to her order, to keep in mind the following five main points: 
  1. New home construction/remodeling should be considered part of the critical infrastructure so that people continue to have habitable places to live now and after the pandemic is over. Half-completed projects should not be halted because they jeopardize homeowner safety and livability. Jobs in progress and subject to damage from the elements should be allowed to proceed; 
  2. Keeping construction and remodeling activities going during this stay at home order will ensure that the industry (and all its various supply chains) will stay intact to provide needed housing support in other emergencies (storm damage, etc.);
  3. Government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and serve the construction of housing (e.g., live video inspections); 
  4. Supply stores necessary to serve the construction, repair and maintenance of housing should be allowed to operate; and 
  5. Those working in building trades must be allowed to continue to maintain the essential operation of residences and other operating businesses.   
Attach a photo(s) of any project(s) you have that are currently under construction. Explain the real life consequences of leaving these jobs unfinished such as mold, lumber twisting, and turning causing structural issues, spring winds causing exposed trusses to collapse, increased soil erosion and runoff onto streets and the neighbor’s property, unsafe open holes in the home, unsupported excavations collapsing and other potential problems. Talk about the financial effects of the Governor’s EO, not only in employees who will not be paid but also what it does to your customers who may be paying rent on another dwelling while also paying construction loan payments.
Again, the more you can personalize your email the more impact it will have. Please send a copy of your email to
There is strength in numbers! It is imperative that our 5,000 plus members across the state come together to help carry this message to our state’s leaders. Thank you for your help!
Watch your emails for updates throughout the day.  You can also find these updates on the HBA Western Michigan website ( and on our Facebook page.
And as always, your HBA of Western Michigan physical office is closed – but we are open for business and here to support you through these tough times.  Email, call or Facebook message us with anytime.  We’re working from home, but still working for you.  Our staff listing page is 

03/24/20 midday

Covid19 Update MI Executive Order

A brief update from HBA Michigan:
The most recent update regarding the ability to do repairs under the Governor’s Executive Order contained a very critical typo.  The definition of repair under the Michigan Residential Code is “RECONSTRUCTION or renewal of any part of an existing building for the purpose of its maintenance or to correct damage,” not “construction” as it stated in the update.
We apologize for this error and want to remind everyone beginning new construction is not allowed under the Executive Order. We are advocating that such work should be allowed to keep various supply chains open and workers available for emergency work that may be needed in the future but in the meantime, if you are uncertain if a project falls under the definition of repair and is necessary to the safety, sanitation and essential operation of the house, we strongly advise you to err on the side of caution.
Second, it has come to our attention that a document is circulating among builders and subcontractors stating that essential infrastructure includes “construction of housing”. The language in this document is taken from Ohio’s “shelter in place” Executive Order, not the Executive Order for Michigan issued by Governor Whitmer yesterday. It does not apply in Michigan and should not be relied on.
We will continue to provide updates as we have them as we all anxiously await further detail, clarification and guidance from the state government.

03/24/20 am

Essential Workforce - Michigan Executive Order Update

As your HBA works hard to keep you informed of the latest information concerning our industry, we want to make sure you have the latest update from HBA Michigan’s team:
As we reported earlier, the response in Michigan to this unprecedented public health emergency is changing hour by hour and there are many questions yet to be answered regarding residential construction. We do, however, have clarification on the issue of repairs to homes.
The Frequently Asked Question page on Monday’s Executive Order (EO) (,9753,7-406-98178_98455-522631--,00.html) includes the following:
“Q: Are people who repair homes considered critical infrastructure employees for the purposes of Executive Order 2020-21?
In general, yes. Under the order, critical infrastructure workers include workers ‘who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.’ To the extent your workers perform jobs that are necessary to the safety, sanitation, and operation of homes, they may be designated as critical infrastructure workers.”
It’s clear from this answer home repairs and workers performing home repairs are critical infrastructure and critical infrastructure workers under the terms of the EO.  The Michigan Residential Code defines “repair” as the “construction or renewal of any part of an existing building for the purpose of its maintenance or to correct damage.”
It’s also clear starting any new construction would not qualify for this exemption, including new remodeling projects. 
Our belief, and it is only our belief, is any remodeling project currently underway can be completed provided finishing that work was necessary to the safety, sanitation and essential operation of the house.
We also believe new work could be started to correct damage to a structure, again provided that work was necessary to the safety, sanitation and essential operation of the house. Beginning a new kitchen or bathroom remodel would not qualify.
It is still an open question whether homes already under construction can be completed or if they can be “buttoned up” to provide safety.
We are continuing to seek more complete answers and guidance from the Administration and will pass it along as soon as we receive it.

Personally, the HBA of Western Michigan would caution against extending this logic to new home construction and home remodeling (i.e., refinishing a basement into a man cave, an exterior deck, etc.) in general. But clearly this covers in-process repairs, installations and emergency repairs in an existing home. I would also argue it applies to all in process remodeling efforts that are related to kitchen, bathrooms, etc.
Finally, we think the argument can be made for completing projects that have exposed electrical, mechanical, plumbing, etc., all of which is a safety and liability concern for the homeowner and the company.
We will keep you updated and informed as we have more information to share.  Thanks for being an HBA member, and don’t hesitate to contact HBA staff if you have further questions or needs.

Building Homes, Strengthening Communities.


5700 W. Michigan Avenue

Kalamazoo, MI 49009


P: (269) 375-4225


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