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In Maryland, an attack on wood

BY HBSDealer Staff

The American Wood Council believes a proposal being considered by the Maryland state legislature could curtail wood construction.

The group’s Northeast Regional Manager Matt Hunter testified March 8 in opposition of Maryland House bill HB 1472, “Fire Safety Construction Act of 2016.”

[Read the full testimony here.]

The legislation was introduced to address incendiary fires that occurred in and around Baltimore last year. HB 1472 would prohibit a multi-family dwelling from being constructed using wood-frame construction in municipal jurisdictions exceeding a specified population density. In less dense population centers, although permitted, the use of wood frame construction would be severely limited, according to the AWC.

“AWC opposes HB 1472 and we believe it will result in no improvement in building or firefighter safety, will negatively affect the economy, jobs, and established code development processes, and have long standing impacts on the built and rural environments,” Hunter told legislators.

He added that the proposal would also bring to the residents of Maryland higher construction costs, more expensive housing, and higher rents in a market seeking affordable housing.

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Here’s what homeowners are planning

BY HBSDealer Staff

New research from the Home Improvement Research Institute shows that nearly 2-in-3 homeowners are planning at least one home improvement project in the next three months.

No real surprise there — the number has fluctuated slightly in the past three years, but not to a degree considered statistically significant.

But there has been some statistically significant movement on the list of first-quarter projects planned, when compared with the previous year’s list.

Leading the gainers was “Plumbing/electrical,” which jumped nearly 4 percentage points from 6.2% to 10.0%. Among decliners, the biggest drop was suffered by the “Living room,” which declined from 17.3% in the first quarter last year, to 11.7% in the recent first quarter.

Overall, according to HIRI’s first-quarter survey, attitudes toward home and home improvement continue to be positive, particularly among the “heavy project planners.”

The study defines these homeowners as those planning to start six or more home improvement projects in the next three months. They make up 17% of the U.S. home improvement market.

These heavy project planners tend to be male, typically under the age of 40, married and college-educated, with an annual income of $75,000 or more and young kids in the house.

For more information, visit HIRI.org.

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Accolades for Comfort Zone Propane Heater and Stove

BY HBSDealer Staff

Distribution America and PRO Group had some nice words for the new Comfort Zone Propane Heater and Stove at the 2016 Executive Planning Conference, held Nov. 17-19, 2015.

The heater and stove was named "best new product" in the housewares and seasonal category thanks to selections from distributor attendees.

“The Comfort Zone 2-in-1 Propane Heater and Stove is a unique, multi-seasonal product that has a broad appeal to everyone from die-hard football tailgaters to campers looking for a powerful yet compact cooking essential,” said Barry Jacobs, senior director, Home Environment.  “It’s an item that has wide consumer application, a beneficial price point and can be featured in any season and for many activities, such as camping, hurricane preparedness, kids sporting events, ice fishing, holiday gift-giving, hunting, football tailgating and more.”

The Comfort Zone 2-in-1 Propane Heater and Stove is designed for outdoor heating and cooking. This multi-functional portable heater can direct 6,500 BTUs sideways to heat or upwards to its built-in cast iron cooktop.

“We submit new items every year for the purpose of expanding our presence within the wholesale hardware industry," said Robert Fischer, VP sales Wholesale Hardware, World and Main, LLC. "The Executive Planning Conference encourages innovation and new product launches with its participating wholesale hardware distributors. We are excited that the members voted our combination heater and stove as their choice for the best new item this year in the housewares category."

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