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Ply Gem Siding partners with Homes for Our Troops

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Kansas City, Mo.-based Ply Gem Siding Group, a manufacturer of premium vinyl siding products and accessories, announced this week it will become the exclusive siding partner of Homes for Our Troops, a group founded in 2004 that provides specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans.

Through its growing network of donations from building contractors, suppliers, corporate supporters and local volunteers, Homes for Our Troops builds homes at no cost to the soldier and his or her family.

Ply Gem Siding Group will provide siding and accessories for homes scheduled to be built by the organization before the end of 2007 and has committed to partnering with Homes for Our Troops on all homes scheduled for construction in 2008.

“I was impressed that Homes for Our Troops’ advocacy efforts extend beyond simply building shelter,” said Todd Friedman, director of brand marketing for Ply Gem Siding Group. “In addition to providing troops with much-needed housing, they are truly raising the nation’s awareness about the assistance that severely injured men and women need after they return home from military action.”

Ply Gem’s Mastic brand siding or accessories and Leaf-Relief gutter protection will be used on seven projects scheduled for completion in 2007. The location and recipients of the remaining four projects will be determined in the next few months.

“With the contribution of Ply Gem’s products, we will be able to provide homes for these American heroes and their families that are functional inside and out and that will look beautiful over the years with minimal cost and effort,” said John Gonsalves, president and founder, Homes for Our Troops.

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Builder confidence hits all-time low

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The builder confidence index, released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo, fell two points to 18 last month, its lowest level since the index first was released in 1985.

“Builders in the field are reporting that, while their special sales incentives are attracting interest among consumers, many potential buyers are either holding out for even better deals or hesitating due to concerns about negative and confusing media reports on home values,” said NAHB president Brian Catalde.

The index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as either “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The NAHB noted builder expectations for sales conditions in the next six months held steady at 26.

“Builders believe they are taking the right steps to reduce inventories and position themselves for the market recovery that lies ahead,” said NAHB chief economist David Seiders.

Two out of three component indexes declined in October. The index gauging current single-family home sales and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers each declined two points, to 18 and 15, respectively, while the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months remained unchanged at 26.

Regionally, the West accounted for a substantial portion of the decline in builder confidence this month, with a four-point reduction to 14. The Northeast and South each reported one-point declines to 26 and 21, respectively, while the Midwest posted a two-point gain to 15.

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California governor shoots down ‘green building’ laws

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In a vote of support for the lumber industry in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed three legislative bills on Oct. 14, saying they went too far in their effort to promote sustainable building practices.

Schwarzenegger opposed two laws that would have required state buildings to meet, at a minimum, a LEED gold rating or its equivalent in design, construction and/or operation.

“I support the development of green building standards, [but] provisions in [these bills] would create a bias for certain building materials over others without a clear benefit,” Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement. In particular, he pointed out that green standards discourage the use of domestic lumber as a building material in favor of foreign grown bamboo and wheatgrass.

The third bill, also passed by California’s Democratic-controlled legislature, would have directed a state agency, in consultation with others, to develop green building standards for residential occupancy. Schwarzenegger opposed using mandates to achieve these goals. He also voiced concerns over how certain green building standards might conflict with California’s seismic and fire safety codes.

The Lumber Association of California and Nevada (LACN) and other representatives of the wood products industry had opposed the three bills, urging the governor and the state legislature not to “micro manage” green building efforts.

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