LUMBERYARDS

Obit: Jim Guest, longtime 84 Lumber exec

BY Brae Canlen

Jim Guest, 58, passed away on Sept. 5 of cancer. Guest was a 35-year employee of 84 Lumber and lived in Washington, Pa. He joined the company in 1976 and worked a number of jobs, eventually becoming director of associate development. 

He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Linda Lee Guest, and two adult daughters, Anna Guest-Jelley and Julia Guest. For more information or to add or view tributes, visit beinhauer.com.

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In Houston, building science attracts a crowd

BY HBSDealer Staff

More than 50 residential builders and remodelers attended an all-day Houston Building Science and Energy Forum held at the Houston Dow Center.

Hosted by Dow Building Solutions and the Greater Houston Builders’ Association (GHBA), presentations addressed the building and energy challenges specific to hot and humid climates, and outlined changes to 2012 Houston energy codes.

The event kicked off with a keynote address from Doug Garrett, Building Performance and Comfort. During his presentation, Garrett discussed new technologies from Dow Building Solutions that address indoor comfort and exterior durability in hot, humid climates.

All the proceeds from the forum are being donated to HomeAid Houston, a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that partners with local builders and vendors to create transitional housing for Houston’s homeless.

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Labor Department investigating home builders

BY Brae Canlen

The federal government has begun an in-depth investigation of possible wage infractions in the residential construction industry, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. 

So far, government officials have sent out broad demands for records on wages paid and hours worked by direct employees of home builders, as well as those working for their contractors. Recipients of the letters include PulteGroup, Lennar, D.R. Horton and KB Home, according to people familiar with the matter. A Labor Department spokeswoman confirmed the investigation but declined to discuss details.

The letter instructed the home builders to immediately turn over the names, addresses, Social Security numbers, pay rates and hours worked for all employees over the past two years. It asked the names of all contractors hired in the past year. The letter didn’t allege any specific violations of law.

Nancy Leppink, acting director of the labor department’s wage and hour division, told the New York Times that the government was focusing on the residential construction industry because it had so many vulnerable immigrant workers and because some construction contractors had been misclassifying workers as independent contractors to circumvent wage laws.

Executives in the residential construction industry called the investigation yet another example of overaggressive regulation in the Obama administration. The Leading Builders of America, an association of 19 production home builders, said the inquiry was overly broad and “especially troubling given that no issues have been identified to warrant an investigation,” according to the Times.

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