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Updates and Resources 

Helpful Seminars &


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:


CLICK HERE for a full list of local suppliers. 


1. Have a COVID-19 Safety Plan
2. Gather Your Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) 
3. Stay in Touch with Your Clients
4. Post Signage at your Worksite


CLICK HERE for a detailed list of resources and best practices


5.1.20 - No. 2020-70

4.24.20 - No. 2020-59

4.9.20 - No. 2020-42

3.24.20 - No. 2020-21


NAHB Jobsite Safety Guidance for Cornonavirus



Construction Industry Safety Coalition Recommendations:
COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan for Construction


COVID-19 Safety Preparedness Survey

COVID-19 in the Workplace and Your Jobsite: The new reality of what you need to do to be safe and compliant this COVID-19 safety webinar that you can access by clicking here with password 9Z!.k0mV.



Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce

  Version 1.0

  Version 2.0

  Version 3.0


A brief update for HBA members on last evenings new Emergency Orders from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) and their impact on HBA members and on HBA events.


Impacts on member businesses:

First the good news: these new orders will have minimal impact on residential construction and remodeling. However there are points that members do need to be aware of.

The new orders are effective this Wednesday, November 18th and state that work that cannot be performed from home, including manufacturing, construction and health occupations may continue with the Covid-19 mitigation requirements previously mandated still in place.

Secondly, many HBA members will be impacted with new requirements for all businesses or operations that provide in-home services (including for example, repair persons, painters, and remodelers) must not permit their employees to gather with clients unless the business maintains accurate appointment records, including date and time of service, name of client, and contact information, to aid with contact tracing. All the previous work safe practices required on your job site remain in effect as well. Click here for an infographic summarizing the new enforceable rules. Additional information can be found at

Impacts on HBA activity:

Your HBA of Western Michigan and HBA of Michigan continue to advocate that the residential construction sector is essential and should remain open to ensure that our state’s citizens have access to safe and needed housing. The best way to help underscore this message is to make sure you are maintaining work safe practices on your job sites. Please don’t take these requirements lightly. Help us demonstrate that our industry can and will continue to operate safely.

As you may recall from my recent CEO update that was mailed to all members, we were planning to launch ‘Mini Member Meet-ups’ in place of general membership meetings and the new orders clearly prohibit us from doing so until the orders are changed. We understand that face-to-face meetings are a core benefit of membership and that we are committed to resuming member meeting as soon as state orders allow.

HBA physical offices are closed per the new MDHHS Emergency Orders with staff working remotely during normal business hours. We are 100% open for business, just virtually through email, phone, and web meetings.


MDHHS issued an epidemic order mirroring executive orders previously issued to prevent the spread of #COVID19 effective October 9th.

Construction/Manufacturing are the leading industries with current outbreaks.*  See the MIOSHA presentation from this week's webinar regarding the “Emergency Rules” that replace the Executive Orders here:


Helpful links from the presentation:


These orders are in place for six months from Oct. 9th.

Construction Specific Guidelines can be found here:

*DHHS Data (10/22) - Not including schools, colleges, childcare, health care, nursing homes, jail/prison/detention center


HBA update pertaining to EO 2020-70 announced today:

As expected, the Governor is lifting restrictions on all forms of construction statewide with the conditions and limitations listed below effective at 12:01am on Thursday, May 7th:

Any construction related business must:

  1. Develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with the OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 available here. Such plan must be available at company headquarters and/or the worksite.

  2. Restrict the number of workers present on premises to no more than is strictly necessary to perform the in-person work permitted under this order.

  3. Promote remote work to the fullest extent possible.

  4. Keep workers and patrons who are on premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible.

  5. Increase standards of facility cleaning and disinfection to limit worker and patron exposure to COVID-19, as well as adopting protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace. 11

  6. Adopt policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.

  7. Adopt any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the CDC.

  8. In addition, businesses must also:

    1. Prohibit gatherings of any size in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.

    2. Limit in-person interaction with clients and patrons to the maximum extent possible, and barring any such interaction in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.

    3. Provide personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks as appropriate for the activity being performed.

    4. Adopt protocols to limit the sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible and to ensure frequent and thorough cleaning of tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces.

  9. Businesses or operations in the construction industry must also:

  • Designate a site-specific supervisor to monitor and oversee the implementation of COVID-19 control strategies The supervisor must remain on-site at all times during activities. An on-site worker may be designated to perform the supervisory role.

  • Conduct a daily entry screening protocol for workers and visitors entering the worksite, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with, if possible, a temperature screening.

  • Create dedicated entry point(s) at every worksite, if possible, for the daily screenings above. Or in the alternative, issue stickers or other indicators to workers to show that they received a screening before entering the worksite that day.

  • Require face shields or masks to be worn when workers cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation from other workers.

  • Provide instructions for the distribution of personal protective equipment and designate on-site locations for soiled masks.

  • Encourage or require the use of work gloves, as appropriate, to prevent skin contact with contaminated surfaces.

  • Identify choke points and high-risk areas where workers must stand near one another (such as hallways, hoists and elevators, break areas, water stations, and buses) and control their access and use (including through physical barriers) so that social distancing is maintained.

  • Ensure there are sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations at the worksite to enable easy access by workers.

  • Notify contractors (if a subcontractor) or owners (if a contractor) of any confirmed COVID-19 cases among workers at the worksite.

  • Restrict unnecessary movement between project sites.

  • Create protocols for minimizing personal contact upon delivery of materials to the worksite.

We know many of you have a lot of questions about getting workers back on the job site that may be making more $ on unemployment than on the job and will have new resources on the topic available Monday.  

Please also note that we have two important town hall meetings coming up at 11:00AM both Monday and Tuesday next week. Monday’s meeting will be a Q&A forum on these new orders and Tuesday’s meeting will feature National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) CEO, Jerry Howard, and NAHB Chief Economist Rob Dietz.  Details on these sessions are noted below. NOTE: pre-registration is required for the NAHB town hall. Please register for that to ensure that you don’t have any last minute problems connecting.

HBAM Town Hall - New Executive Order Requirements for Construction
Time: Monday, May 4, 2020 11:00 AM Eastern
Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 896 4961 9111 - Password: 767444
Dial-in:  +1 929 205 6099 

NAHB Town Hall:  COVID-19 and the Housing Industry
Time: Tuesday, May 5, 2020 11:00 AM Eastern
Pre-Registration Required at:

Please refer to the Builder Bulletins and CEO updates that you have received with the many additional resources to get prepared for May 7th - and enjoy the weekend.



HBA update pertaining to EO 2020-59 announced today:

We all have anxiously been awaiting a relaxing in Governor Whitmer’s stay at home orders.  I want to quickly summarize what items in the new order issued today impact our membership.  The orders were announced at 11am and some elements of the order go into effect at 12noon today.  You can view the order here:

Please note the following from the order: 

Definition of Essential industries and workers remains unchanged:  This remains unchanged and does not adopt the updated CISA guidelines that do include residential construction.  Here’s the exact language from the order:

8. For purposes of this order, critical infrastructure workers are those workers described by the Director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in his guidance of March 19, 2020 on the COVID-19 response. This order does not adopt any subsequent guidance document released by this same agency.


Activities that may resume effective immediately:

10. …workers who perform resumed activities are defined as follows:
(a) Workers who process or fulfill remote orders for goods for delivery or curbside pick-up.
(c) Workers for garden stores, nurseries, and lawn care, pest control, and landscaping operations, subject to the enhanced social-distancing rules described in section 11(h) of this order.
(e) Workers for moving or storage operations, subject to the enhanced social-distancing rules described in section 11(h) of this order.

For these businesses above, they must follow these additional measures:

(1) Barring gatherings of any size in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.
(2) Limiting in-person interaction with clients and patrons to the maximum extent possible and barring any such interaction in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.
(3) Providing personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks as appropriate for the activity being performed.
(4) Adopting protocols to limit the sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible... 


And travel is now allowed:

7(b)(3) Between two residences in this state, including moving to a new residence.


Other changes that impact residential construction and remodeling:  None.

All of this is very frustrating.  I am in communication with our folks in Lansing and will provide updates as I have them.


Jeffrey J. Tafel, CAE
CEO, Home Builders Association of Western Michigan


Update to HBAWMI Members

I hope you took the opportunity to be a part of the Statewide Town Hall meeting yesterday with Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.  This web meeting provided great insight into what may lie ahead for our businesses – good and not good.  He also made it very clear as to what our industry MUST do if we’re going to be one of the first to get back to work and stay at work. 

  • Do your absolute best to manifest safe work practices and procedures to control the spread of Covid-19,

  • Prepare your business / job sites for an incident at your place(s) of business – have a written plan,

  • Don’t be that person that doesn’t follow the guidelines for safe work and ends up shutting the rest of the industry down and/or gets fined,

  • Respectfully tell your story and share your commitment to safe work practices with the Governor.


If you missed the town hall meeting with Senator Shirkey yesterday, you can view and listen to it by clicking here (Password: a8@8c44!). Specifically, I want to draw your attention to the wisdom and advice Senator Shirkey provides in encouraging you to reach out to the Governor directly—to tell your company’s story and plan for returning to work safely.  Returning to work safely is the common message we need members across the state to echo.


Our national association (NAHB, of which you are a member), along with over 25 other construction industry trade associations, has developed a "COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan for Construction" that you should use on your job sites. For your reference, this very important safety planning document (and other information) can be found here.


If you are willing to send Governor Whitmer a message, please do so in a polite and respectful manner. Remember, our objective at this point is to be part of the first wave of people allowed to go back to work with the proper safety protocols. It is NOT to rehash decisions that have already been made or to argue points that won’t resonate.  Safety resonates and that will be the benchmark in determining which sectors will be allowed to return to work more quickly than others. We have many legislators, on both sides of the aisle, who support SAFELY getting the residential industry back to work.  But, we heard in the town hall meeting, the Governor’s extensive emergency powers leaves the final decision and timeline in her hands.

How can you leave or send the Governor a message? You can call at 517-335-7858. You can also email her at


Your HBA team at the local, state and national levels has been working tirelessly to help members. We’ve been helping resolve disputes with local law enforcement agencies about what can and can’t be done to secure building sites. We’ve been coordinating to share resources so that EVERY member in the state has access to online webinar and other information to help them weather the shut-down and prepare for a return to work.  With 22 local associations and more than 5,000 members across the state, this crisis is demonstrating the importance of membership and the fact that there is strength in numbers. Let’s not forget this lesson and let’s remind non-members that we need them now more than ever! 


I hope you’ll share this message with a non-member AND lend your voice in communicating to the Governor as noted above!


Press Release: Governor Whitmer Extends, Expands “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order to Save Lives 

Governor directs all Michiganders to stay home, stay safe through April 30 


LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Whitmer signed executive order 2020-42, extending her prior “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through the end of April. As with the prior order, Executive Order 2020-42 limits gatherings and travel and requires all workers who are not necessary to sustain or protect life to stay home. Executive Order 2020-42 also imposes more stringent limitations on stores to reduce foot traffic, slow the spread of the coronavirus, and save lives.
“Michigan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and we’re still on the upswing. We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and protect our families,” said Governor Whitmer. “Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. When we do, we can save lives and shorten the amount of time we’re working through this crisis, which will be good for our families and good for our economy in the long-run. We can also protect critical infrastructure workers like doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, and child care workers. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that people stay home and stay safe.” 
“It’s clear that staying home is the most effective way we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “This aggressive action will help us protect more people and ease the strain on our health care system.” 
Executive Order 2020-42 prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. Businesses and operations are to designate the workers who meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that in-person work.  
Workers who are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, and more. For a full list of these critical infrastructure workers, click the link to Executive Order 2020-42 at the bottom of this page. To enable these critical workers to get to their workplaces, automobile dealerships will now be allowed to open for remote sales, though showrooms must remain closed. 
Under the new order, all public and private gatherings among persons outside a single household remain temporarily prohibited. Though Michiganders may leave the house to get groceries or needed supplies, the new order encourages people to limit the number of household members running errands to the maximum extent possible. As before, people may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders. The order clarifies, however, that travel for vacations or for any other purpose is prohibited. 
A new section of the order imposes restrictions on stores in an effort to reduce crowds. Large stores must limit the number of people in the store at one time to no more than 4 customers for every 1,000 square feet of customer floor space; small stores must limit capacity to 25% of the total occupancy limits (including employees) under the fire codes. To regulate entry, stores must establish lines with markings for patrons to enable them to stand at least six feet apart from one another while waiting. Large stores must also close areas of the store that are dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint. 
“This doesn’t mean everything will go back to normal on May 1,” Gov. Whitmer continued. “But based on the data we have right now, this is the appropriate window for an extension. It will take time to safely and responsibly re-open the economy, which is why we will continue to provide critical unemployment support and assistance to our small businesses during this challenging time. We will get through this if we all continue to do our part.” 
All individuals who leave their home or place of residence must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household. 
To view Executive Order 2020-42, click the link below: 

  • EO 2020-42.pdf


NAHB Urges Members to Pause For a Safety Stand Down

Urge Members to Pause for a Safety Stand Down on April 16


With municipalities cracking down on jobsites not adhering to safety standards, NAHB is calling for its members, and all residential construction companies, to pause all work for at least 10 minutes for a national safety stand down on Thursday, April 16, to educate workers on what they should do to stop the spread of COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus.

The health and safety of workers on home building job sites is a top priority for NAHB. With the federal government recently designating residential construction an essential business, more states are following that lead and allowing home building to continue.

It is imperative that workers on home building sites alter their behavior to follow guidance from health officials to flatten the curve of the spread of the coronavirus. This includes maintaining a distance of no less than six feet with others at all times, limiting to 10 the number of workers on a job site, and ensuring the proper sanitation of common surfaces and equipment.

NAHB has developed a packet in English and Spanish to conduct the COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down both in person and digitally (through email and/or text). The resources are comprised of one document that can be linked or forwarded to your members, who in turn, can forward it to their workers or use it for an on-site presentation. Please note that all social distancing guidance should be followed if the stand down is conducted in person.


Please share this information with your members. A template letter is available here. NAHB will also be announcing this initiative tomorrow through a national press release and blog post. NAHB would like to set universal participation as a goal for this stand down, it's just that important. If you would like to promote your members' participation in the stand down on social media, use the hashtag #COVID19SafetyStandDown.

You can access additional important job site resources for your members, including a worker authorization letter, on NAHB's Jobsite Safety and Recordkeeping Guidance for Coronavirus page. If you have additional questions about the safety stand down, please contact Rob Matuga.


Membership Update: A Message From Lee Schwartz, HBA of Michigan 

Hello all,


I’m not going to rehash all of the legislative and regulatory successes that HBAM has achieved for our members over the last 30 years under both Democratic and Republican administrations.  Dealing with these issues is why the state association exists. I will point out to everyone that Bob, Dawn and I are professionals in this area and pretty good at what we do.


Despite the fact this is a unique situation, and that the challenges we all face change every day, rest assured we do have a plan even if it seems like we’re playing “Whack-A-Mole.”  Much of our work is done behind the scenes and we often don’t broadcast it for obvious reasons. It’s the results that matter, not the process.


That doesn’t mean we achieve these results by ourselves.  We need the support and participation of our members and their local HBAs. And we need everyone rowing in the same direction. On these legislative and regulatory issues, think of us as coxswain of the boat in charge of its navigation and steering. When everyone is pulling smoothly together, we reach the finish line; when some shout out different directions for how the boat should move, we capsize.


During the town halls and in these emails, there hasn’t been a strategy discussed we haven’t considered. Everyone needs to keep in mind this is a public health crisis. The governor is viewing everything through that lens.


Governor Whitmer has listed five conditions for easing  her restrictions: (1) data on COVID-19 infections and the disease’s rate of spread; (2) whether sufficient medical personnel, hospital beds, and ventilators exist to meet anticipated medical need; (3) the availability of personal protective equipment for the health-care workforce; (4) the state’s capacity to test for COVID-19 cases and isolate infected people; and (5) economic conditions in the state. The death toll in Michigan keeps rising and every day sees new cases of the virus occurring.


Respectfully, our Governor isn’t influenced by what other states have done or by revised federal advisories. Nor is telling the Governor the stories of families who, for one reason or another, will suffer if their homes are not completed by a certain date exactly what we need to do to persuade her. She is aware of the economic hardships her EO has forced on not only Michigan’s citizens, our industry and all industries in Michigan. The overriding purpose of her EO is to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


As many of you already know, the Michigan State Senate has created a bipartisan workgroup aimed at safely transitioning Michigan citizens back to the workplace by formulating a blueprint for “best practices” to help restart business.  This committee has already been provided with copies of the Constructions Safety Coalition’s COVID-19 practices and procedures, the same one that we’ve linked to numerous times and which will be the subject of tomorrow’s town hall meeting. HBAM will be assisting the committee in their task. They plan on issuing their report on April 17th. 


Please heed the old adage “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Unless you are directly contacted by a member of the committee or committee staff, do not call, write, email, telegraph or use other methods to communicate with the committee.  That’s HBAM’s job.


We have supporters of home building and remodeling we are working with in both chambers and both sides of the aisle. By allowing HBAM to convince the committee residential construction and all that goes with it can be done safely, including assuring every building department is open and functioning, we can move forward towards getting the results we all want.


Thank all of you for your ongoing support and be safe out there.




Membership Update: 

For many HBA of Western Michigan members and staff, we are settling into a routine, doing our part while working from our “safe houses” as the war against COVID-19 is fought.  I'm sad to report that I am hearing of more and more members being personally impacted by the virus with family members, staff and crew members being diagnosed with the virus.  While everyone is anxious to get back to work, please keep in mind why the stay-at-home orders were put in place to begin with and take every effort you can to personally prevent the spread.  

While the State Legislature approved extension of the state of emergency through the end of the month, this did not automatically extend the governors stay-at-home orders.  However, the stay-at-home orders are expected to be extended by the governor to align with the state of emergency through April 30th with a formal update announced by the governor sometime this week.  

With the likely extension, it is a good time to get caught up on paperwork, finances and taxes, perhaps.  It may also be a terrific time to work with your clients to get projects planned, selections made and materials ordered.  Additionally, it may also be a terrific time to take advantage of some online learning for both you and your staff – especially if you are able to keep some of them employed as part of your strategy and/or application for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) as part of the CARES Act.

HBAs around Michigan are collaborating to put together ongoing educational and informational Zoom video conferences to help HBA members.  Earlier today, the Statewide Tuesday Town Hall featured a panel of three experts – two from our HBA:  Past President Jerry Whitaker and long-time member Shaun Willis.  If you missed the event, the link to view the recording will be available soon.  In the meantime, Shaun Willis shared some helpful information:

Proposed guidance to builders/contractors from Willis Law Attorneys:  www.Willis.Law 1-800-610-6938
Executive Order: 2020-21
A person who WILLFULLY disobeys or interferes with the implementation of a rule, order, or directive issued by the governor pursuant to this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.  

Builders can do the following regarding residential construction:  
 - Projects necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of a residence during the emergency
 - In the middle of building a home and need to put the roof on to protect the structure from collapse (safety)
 - In the middle of remodel and the homeowners require the use of their restroom, so you finish the restroom (sanitation)
 - A home is 95% built and homeowners are moving in and it is necessary to finish the electric (essential)
 - Failure of a furnace, A/C, well pump, boiler, hot water heater, all can be repaired/replaced (essential, sanitary, safety)
 - Can button up a site for safety and security to comply with the order, this is the minimum basic operations
 - Can take minimum and temporary measures for security and weatherization: windows on site and need to dry in the house to protect from weather, putting on the exterior doors for security, putting on a roof to ensure the stability of the structure and preserve the current condition. 

Builders can NOT do the following because residential building is not “essential”: 
 - Start a spec house because they planned to do so this week
 - Cannot resume normal excavation for projects
 - Cannot resume building custom homes 
 - Non emergency maintenance or improvements to residence is not permitted
Builders can do the following construction outside of residential: 
 - support critical infrastructure essential workers
 - assist in framing/building a wing on a hospital
 - assist in road construction and maintenance
 - assist in supporting essential workers in agriculture, manufacturing, health industries (so if finishing a pole barn for a farmer to store necessary crop producing equipment, that would comport with the order)
Can a builder lose their license if they violate the order?
- Possibly, depends on how egregious the violation is.  If you have 6 workers on a spec home in the middle of a busy neighborhood, and someone reports you, you may be subject to the criminal misdemeanor and $1,000 fine from the state health department.  You could be referred by enforcement to the state licensing agency as well who could apply a penalty to your license.  

 - Under Executive Order: 2020-21, a person who WILLFULLY disobeys or interferes with the implementation of a rule, order, or directive issued by the governor pursuant to this section is guilty of a misdemeanor. 

If you have any further questions, the great members at Willis Law invite you to call the number above. 

Did you miss it?  You can still watch it!
If you missed last week’s 2-hour HBA special session regarding the FFCR and CARES Acts, you can access a recording and other resources at:
More member-only education just announced!
Below are two more sessions that are scheduled for this week (please note the Sales & Marketing session requires registering beforehand):

COVID-19 Recommended Best Practices for Construction Worksites
Wednesday April 8, 2020, 10:00a - 11:00a
Participants will develop a “communicable disease best practices plan.”
Instructor: Randy Boss, Certified Risk Architect of Ottawa Kent, Safety Chair of ABC West Michigan
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 118 309 263
Dial in:  +1 929 205 6099
Sales & Marketing in a Time of Uncertainty
Thursday April 9, 2020, 10:00a - 10:30a
For companies and employees trying to continue moving forward with work, we are in challenging times. Yet, so much of what we do today is done on the computer and online. Can we mitigate the damage by focusing on what we can do online?
Let’s talk about sales and marketing during COVID-19. This free 30-minute webinar focuses on all the positive things you can do right now to grow your business, even during this uncertain time.
• Carol Morgan, Founder, and President of Denim Marketing 
• Kimberly Mackey, Founder, and Sales & Marketing Management Consultant of New Homes Solutions Consulting 
Please register beforehand at: 
Finally, a quick Reminder:  COMPLETE YOUR U.S. CENSUS – TODAY!
Simply put: your response matters. From health clinics to fire departments, schools, even roads and highways. The census shapes many different aspects of our communities. Not to mention, census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year. The results even determine how many seats Michigan will get in Congress.  Mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2: The U.S. has counted its population every 10 years since 1790. However, historically, getting people to fill out the census has been a problem – mostly because people didn’t make the time and the process of filling out the pages of questions was never really that fun.  Not anymore.  First, be honest, you do have the time right now and second, the 2020 US Census can be completed in just a few minutes, online. Please also reach out to your employees and even to your temporarily furloughed staff, subcontractors and even current and past customers to complete the census. Do it for you. Do it for us. Do it for Michigan!

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.
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