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HUD Lashed for Alleged Manufactured Housing Contract Miscues, Brian Montgomery, White House Notified of National Association Concerns

April 4th, 2019 Comments off

 

HUDMonitoringContractManufacturedHousingBrianMontgomeryWhiteHouseMHARRconcernsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Perhaps one of the more misunderstood issues that’s marched on for years in the manufactured housing industry is the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) federal monitoring contract.

 

What makes it more important than most industry pros, housing advocates, or investors realize?

HUD doesn’t directly monitor manufactured housing production compliance themselves.  They do that via a contracted third-party.  That third-party has reportedly been Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) for over 4 decades.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) exclusively told MHProNews in response to a follow up question from us today about their statement below that “The structure of the [HUD Monitoring] contract itself involves pseudo-regulatory functions and incentives for finding fault with manufacturers in particular, that should not exist given the limited definition of the monitoring function adopted by Congress in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.”

With that pertinent backdrop, the notice provided today by MHARR to the Daily Business News on MHProNews of their communique to HUD’s Acting Deputy Secretary Brian Montgomery takes on a clarity that should make industry professionals sit up and take notice on several levels.

Among the questions this should raise?  Is MHI taking a similar stance?  If not, why not?

These costs are ultimately born by consumers.  How aware are resident or other consumer groups of the implications of this issue?

It should go without saying that manufactured home producers have every incentive to make sure that their homes comply and are as occupancy-ready as possible.  The least expensive place to correct an issue is while a home is still in a factory.

Thus, every HUD Code manufactured home plant has its own internal inspectors, besides the routine inspections conducted by HUD’s third-party monitoring contractor.

Here below is the entire letter from MHARR to the HUD’s Brian Montgomery, who previously served at HUD during the Bush Administration.

 

MHARRNEWSheaderDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

April 1, 2019

 

 

VIA FEDERAL EXPRESS

 

Hon. Brian Montgomery

Acting Deputy Secretary

Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

451 Seventh Street, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20410

 

 

Re:  HUD Manufactured Housing Monitoring Contract Solicitations

 

 

Dear Secretary Montgomery:

 

As you know, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has been a constant and vociferous proponent of full and fair competition for the federal manufactured housing program monitoring contract as specifically mandated by Congress in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, and as provided generally by federal law. Strict compliance with the open competition requirements of federal law – as we have stressed repeatedly — is particularly essential in the case of the manufactured housing monitoring contract, given the de facto regulatory power of the monitoring contractor and the fact that the incumbent contractor, the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), has held that contract continuously since the inception of the federal manufactured housing program, more than 40-years ago.

 

When we met with you late in 2018 and when we met several weeks ago with HUD’s Acting Chief Procurement Officer, Mr. Jimmy Scott, we stressed that among the essential elements needed to ensure full and fair competition for the monitoring contract – which has been absent from past solicitations – is a reasonable bid response timeframe, given both the complexity of the responsibilities inherent in the production and design monitoring contracts, and the very fact that no party, other than the incumbent contractor, has ever performed the monitoring function. Indeed, we clearly stated that a needlessly short and truncated bid response timeframe, in-and-of-itself, constitutes a baseless and unwarranted bidding advantage for the incumbent, which can, has, and will discourage other potential bidders and thus undermine the full and fair competition mandated by law.

 

Consequently, we were appalled and disappointed to see that the monitoring contract solicitations published by HUD on March 25 (production surveillance) and March 29, 2019 (design approval) each carry a bid response date of April 24, 2019, now less than three weeks away.  Such a short response period for these contracts – particularly in light of the substantial costs of bid preparation for a non-incumbent offeror – will again discourage or even prevent full and fair competition as required by law and prevent the program from receiving the benefit of fresh ideas and new thinking that would accompany a new contractor after 40-plus years of stasis.

 

Based on all of this, MHARR asks that you exercise your authority to require an extension of the bid response dates for both monitoring contract solicitations for at least an additional thirty days beyond the currently-posted response date of April 24, 2019, in order to allow non-incumbent bidders a reasonable opportunity to prepare and submit responsive bids.

 

We thank you in advance for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mark Weiss

President and CEO

 

 

cc:  Hon. Mick Mulvaney (OMB)

Mr. Jimmy Scott (HUD)

HUD Code Industry Manufacturers, Communities and Retailers

 

###

 

That’s this evening’s report on manufactured home industry “News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019

 

 

 

 

Significant Slowdown of New HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Growth in June, Per Latest Data

August 3rd, 2018 Comments off

SignificanSlowdownManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

While manufactured housing production has nudged up marginally in June, the data reveals that it has slowed significantly from earlier this year.

 

The state-by-state breakdown of production is found in the chart below, based upon data collected for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by IBTS.

June2018ManufacturedHousingProductionDataDailyBusinessNewsHUDIBTSMHProNews

A more detailed report will be published early next week with additional shipments and production information. Last May’s report for the same data above is linked below.

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Report, May 2018, State-by-State Total

Is this yet another warning sign that all isn’t quite as rosy as the national association in Arlington – or their cheer leaders – want to project?  Recall the previously raised data-driven warning flag in the Daily Business News report below.

MHVillage Confirms Data, and Michigan Operational Slide Revealed

Given the clear superiority that third-party data proves that manufactured housing has in America over conventional builders, plus the growing affordable housing crisis, what explains this signs of potential problems?

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Besides surging third-party site statistics (readership) on MHProNews, plus hundreds more getting our email headline news, there are other strong indicators of increased reader engagement. Among them are an increase in LinkedIn connection invitations being sent to our publisher, L. A. “Tony’ Kovach. Our thanks to all for kind words, and the other signs of support for our industry leading coverage and analysis.

Several industry voices – which includes Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) members, and those in state associations too – are telling MHProNews that Arlington, VA based MHI’s failure to routinely address errors in mainstream media reports is part of the problem.

Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data

While there are reports about staff shakeups there, given their overall growing staff, why can’t they do the common-sense thing that the former MHI Chairman said to MHProNews?

TimWilliamsMediaRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews-500x277

This was ‘promised’ by MHI sources prior to Patti Boerger being hired as their PR person. What happened to that promise? If this is so common sense, why isn’t MHI doing it?  MHI’s contact page no longer shows Boerger today. A source there tells MHProNews that she is no longer with MHI. http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/industryvoices/about-responding-to-pbs-newshours-bad-bargain-report-by-stephen-fee/ 

Or are they still trying to keep production low, so that there is more consolidation?

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Learn more, click here.

 

MHProNews looks at the facts, considers various sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, routinely replied promptly to all MHProNews inquiries. After all, we are pro-MH growth. But since we’ve increasingly spotlighted alleged problems and concerns in Arlington, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why not offer a cogent explanation?

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HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Report, May 2018, State-by-State Total

July 3rd, 2018 Comments off

 

HUDCodeManufacturedHousingIndustryMay2018ProductionReportByStateDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Institute for Building Technology & Safety (IBTS) released the statistics for May 2018 this morning.

The data is shown as below, based upon facts compiled for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

ManufacturedHousingProductionReportByStateIBTSMay2018ManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews600x1720

Provided under fair use guidelines.

A more complete breakdown of HUD Code new manufactured home shipments data will be published later this week. 

Manufactured Home Production and Shipment Report, April 2018, per MHARR, HUD, IBTS

Last month’s shipment data is found at the link above. MH “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Manufactured Home Production and Shipment Report, April 2018, per MHARR, HUD, IBTS

June 4th, 2018 Comments off

ManufacturedHousingIndustryShipmentReportDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports to the Daily Business News that according to official statistics compiled on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by their contractor.

 

Year-over-year “manufactured housing industry production grew again in April 2018. Just-released statistics indicate that HUD Code manufacturers produced 8,262 homes in April 2018, a 15.0% increase over the 7,184 HUD Code homes produced during April 2017.  Cumulative industry production for 2018 now totals 33,646 homes, a 10.0% increase over the 30,568 HUD Code homes produced over the same period in 2017,” said Mark Weiss, President and CEO of the national association that advocates for regulatory reform and promotes positions that would benefit consumers and manufactured home companies, such as the full implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, and for the Duty to Serve manufactured housing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), mandated by HERA 2008.

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

A further analysis of the official industry statistics shows that the top ten shipment states from the beginning of the industry production rebound in August 2011 through April 2018 — with cumulative, monthly, current year (2018) and prior year (2017) shipments per category as indicated — are:”

April2018ManufacturedHomeIndustryProductionShipmentReportManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRMHProNews

About MHARR

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

2018 Projections?

Based upon the April results, projected out for 12 months, the totals for 2018 would yield 99,144 new HUD Code manufactured homes. 

Using the first four months total for 2018, and projecting that out for the balance of the year, would yield  100,938 new HUD Code manufactured homes in 2018. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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HUD Terminates Contractual Relationship of Savan and IBTS

May 20th, 2015 Comments off

Cavco mfg homes at rocky mount va  Stacey Hairston credit  the franklin news dash postThe Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) informs MHProNews that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has terminated the dispute resolution (DR) subcontract the Savan Group, LLC has enjoyed with the manufactured housing program contractor, the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS).

MHARR pointed out in December, 2014 there was a conflict of interest because of IBTS making decisions that would impact HUD Code manufacturers it regulates, while at the same time having access to possibly proprietary confidential information “from the dispute resolution system into the Subpart I system that IBTS oversees and from which it derives substantial revenue from HUD.

The Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 specifically directs HUD to avoid conflicts of interest in awarding contracts that deal with monitoring and inspection work of manufactured homes.

As MHProNews reported on May 4, 2015, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) sent a letter to HUD Director Julian Castro seeking documentation dealing with the awarding of the contract between Savan and IBTS. HUD communicated with Congress that the contractual relationship has been terminated. ##

(Photo credit: franklinnews-post/Stacy Hairston–Cavco plant at Rocky Mt,  VA)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Letter from Rep. Sean Duffy Seeks Info Concerning Manufactured Housing Contract

May 4th, 2015 Comments off

mhi  photo credit  mh under productionThe Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has informed MHProNews of a letter sent by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Director Julian Castro regarding a conflict of interest in the awarding of a contract.

A manufactured housing dispute resolution program (DR) contract was awarded to Savan, Inc., which subsequently awarded a DR subcontract to the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS). The letter suggests the relationship between Savan and IBTS circumvents the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 “for separate and independent contractors,” and asks for documentation pertaining to the contract.

MHARR states that revenue-driven IBTS is going beyond its bounds and effectively setting policy as well as creating make-work functions “of expanded in-plant regulation” which imposes more costly demands on manufacturers and produces no benefits for consumers.

MHARR further notes that this overreach of IBTS attests to the deterioration of the HUD MH program while complaints from consumers about MH are minimal. ##

(Photo credit: Manufactured Housing Institute–MH under construction)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

IBTS Appointed to HUD Manufactured Housing Dispute Resolution Program

December 18th, 2014 Comments off

institute-building-technology-safety-ibts-logo-posted-manufactured-housing-professional-news-mhpronews-daily-business-news-mhpronewsThe Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) announced this week their appointment to HUD’s Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program. Through the program, IBTS will enable citizens to exercise their rights related to manufactured home quality issues.

On October 7, 2014, IBTS, principal subcontractor to the Savan Group, LLC, participated in the official kickoff of this contract to support a federal dispute resolution program for HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing.

IBTS pointed to their 35 years of experience in providing quality control and assurance to HUD and other federal agencies, as reasons for their selection. “We are pleased to work on this project, which supports our mission to deliver quality services that meet the challenges of governance while enhancing public safety, economic vitality, and general welfare,” Jason McJury, Director of Federal Services at IBTS, said.

Since 2008, the Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program has been available to provide timely resolution of disputes between manufacturers, retailers, and installers of manufactured homes regarding responsibility. Based on this resolution process, HUD will issue appropriate orders for the correction or repair of defects in manufactured homes on behalf of homeowners.

Industry members, such as those represented by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), have long been promoting the full implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000). This announcement is a step in that direction.

MHARR has also pointed out that the quality of modern manufactured homes are their best ever.  They point to very few – in fact, record low numbers – of consumer complaints on new homes as evidence for their claim.

The work to be performed by IBTS involves marketing and dissemination of information regarding the program, case intake and tracking, and mediation and arbitration of disputes.

IBTS Professional Engineer Aashish Shahani will serve as Project Manager and will work with an internal and external team of professionals and subject matter experts to implement these important regulations.

IBTS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to helping communities through quality services that reduce risk, enhance public safety, and improve quality of life. This organization is currently the leading provider of residential solar PV field assessments, providing services in more than 25 states.

Real Estate Rama  tells MHProNews  that the work of IBTS is guided by a Board of Directors made up of government officials appointed by five of the most highly respected, grassroots, state, and local governmental associations. The board appointing organizations include the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), the Council of State Governments (CSG), the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National League of Cities (NLC), and International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

IBTS is headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia, with branch offices across the country. ##

Editor’s note: For an IBTS provided report on MH shipments, please click here.

(Image credit: IBTS Logo)

sandra-lane-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-75x75-Article submitted by Sandra Lane to – Daily Business News – MHProNews.

IBTS Report shows Increased gains in Manufactured Home Shipments and Production

December 5th, 2014 Comments off

IBTS-manufactured-housing-production-shipment-report=credit-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comInstitute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) has issued its manufactured housing shipment and production report for Sept. 2014. 

The IBTS report covers September figures in the U.S. for HUD Code manufactured housing. Totals for the period:

 

 

UniSectionals © – Multi-Sectionals – Total Homes – Total Floors

2014-12-05_1535-ibts-report-stats=credit-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-

 

The report summary for the top ten states in shipments and production are as follows:

Top 10 Shipments:

  • Texas-1150
  • Louisiana- 381
  • Florida-347
  • Michigan-295
  • Alabama-292
  • Missippi-240
  • California-215
  • Kentucky -210
  • North Carolina-187
  • South Carolina-173

Top 10 Production:

  • Texas-893
  • Tennesse-414
  • Alabama-370
  • Indiana-237
  • North Carolina-95
  • Georgia-88
  • Florida-72
  • Arizona-53
  • Minnesota-38
  • Idaho-27

The state-by-state breakdown for September can be downloaded here. MHProNews  thanks to IBTS for sharing their report.  Year-to-date MH summary, at this link. ##

(Image credits: IBTS logo; plus Manufactured Housing Production & Shipment report added by MHProNews)

joseine-josie-thompson-writer-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com50x50-Article submitted by Josie Thompson to – Daily Business News – MHProNews

Stop Work Order Lifted by House Subcommittee

October 11th, 2013 Comments off

Updating a story MHProNews last reported Oct. 9, regarding the “stop work” order issued to the IBTS that may stop the shipments of manufactured homes due to the government shutdown, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Lois Starkey reports the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) decree will be lifted Oct. 15. She says efforts by MHI and its members have evidently paid off, although if the shutdown continues to late October, the stop work order may be issued once again.

(Photo credit: Anne Ones/Habitat for Humanity–new manufactured home)

Keep Lines Open to Manufactured Housing Institute

October 9th, 2013 Comments off

As follow-up to a story we posted yesterday, Oct. 8, that the government shutdown may affect the shipment of manufactured homes because the IBTS has been issued a stop work decree, Lois Starkey of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) wants to be notified when manufacturers are running short on certification labels. Meanwhile, as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, she intends to keep stakeholders up to date as events change, MHProNews has learned.

(Photo credit: Federal Emergency Management Agency)