Bubil: Area builders mark a pair of milestones


The local trade association that serves the home-building industry is celebrating a couple of milestones as the 2013 Parade of Homes gets under way. FOR A GALLERY OF THE PARADE OF HOMES, CLICK HERE.

The Manatee Home Builders Association was formed 30 years ago, and the Greater Sarasota HBA 50 years ago last August. The Manatee group split off from Sarasota in 1983, but the two groups rejoined forces in 2009 as the building industry reeled under the effects of the housing depression.

These are not the glory days for home builders, but they are better than they were two or three years ago.

"In the heyday," said HBA Manatee-Sarasota Executive Director Alan Anderson, referring to the 2003-2006 boom, "if you combined us, we had 900 members, or maybe more than that. We are right around 300 now.

"Across the state, it is a very similar story. A few years ago, the state HBA had 22,000 members, and we are under 8,000 now."

The HBA has two groups of members:

1. Builder members, who are general contractors licensed to build residential or commercial structures.

2. Associate members, such as carpenters, painters, landscapers and other tradespeople, materials suppliers and mortgage, insurance and real estate brokers.

During the boom, the HBA membership was 60 percent builders and 40 percent associates. Now it is the opposite, said Anderson.

Builders pay an annual dues of $595 and associates $495. But those fees will go up $50 each on June 1 because of an increase by the National Association of Home Builders, the parent trade group.

"We are the organization that works with the regulators to make sure builders are not overregulated," said Anderson.

"Most important for the members is being able to network with other members and member companies."

"It gives you a resource of knowledge and a sounding board. You can't keep up with everything in the industry, and it gives you someone to talk to or vent about issues you may encounter," said Rob Allegra of Allegra Homes. "It is a group of builders and remodelers who share their experience and knowledge willingly."

Builders must be HBA members to enter models in the Parade of Homes. The fee for the first model entered is $2,400. Builders who enter multiple models pay less than that for each additional entry.

This year's Parade of Homes, which started Saturday and ends March 10, has 65 entries. That is a a big increase from just 28 models in 2010.

Teams of judges visited each model on Saturday, and the design-award winners — best kitchen, best overall, etc. — will be announced at the end of the tour.

"The parade is a measuring stick as to how you compare to the other builders," said Allegra. "It increases the traffic and adds credibility to everything I do."



Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: February 23, 2013
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