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Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee 2012 Meeting Report

November 9th, 2012 No comments

The MHCC Holds First Meeting in 2012

Lois Starkey, Vice President, Regulatory AffairsThe Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) held its first and only meeting of 2012 on October 22nd – 25th to consider a number of recommendations for changes to the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Program. HUD intended to have two meetings in 2012 but problems with the approval of a new contract for the Administering Organization, the National Fire Protection Association, resulted in a hastily arranged fall meeting in Arlington, VA. All but three of the 21 members were in attendance. Representatives from HUD included the Deputy Administrator of the HUD Manufactured Housing Program, the HUD engineering staff, and a representative from HUD’s office of General Council.

MHI was surprised and disappointed that higher ranking officials who oversee the program from the Department’s Office of Regulatory Affairs were not in attendance at any time during the meeting.

The Committee worked over two days to conclude work on all outstanding items before the Committee and to consider several new issues. This is despite the frustration voiced by MHCC members and MHI over HUD’s failure to implement dozens of recommendations of the MHCC over the last four years or more.

Highlights of the Committee Recommendations

Southern Yellow Pine Design Standards – By a 15-2 vote, the MHCC recommended that HUD delay implementation of the National Design Specification (NDS) for Wood for 2×2 and 2×4 southern pine lumber, effective January 1, 2013, until such time that it presents the MHCC with a proposal for changes to the existing standards as required by law, or until such time that HUD issues an emergency rule under Section 604(b)(5) of the Manufactured Housing Improvements Act of 2000. This is consistent with MHI’s petition to HUD earlier this year, and with MHI’s testimony before the committee.

Hinged Roof Assemblies – The MHCC voted 15-2 to recommend that HUD withdraw requirements for Alternative Construction Letters for certain types of hinged roofs designed for Wind Zone I until HUD clarifies current regulations regarding the on-site installation of hinged roof assemblies known as “double hinged” and “ridge box or peak cap” assemblies. The industry argued that such hinged roof assemblies do not need AC letters because they are constructed in the factory and are part of the “close–up” requirements under the installation standards, 3285,801(f). Members argued that methods for completing the installation of such homes are much less complicated than many multi-section home “close-ups.” These types of assemblies are common practice in the industry, and installers are trained and certified to complete these types of installations.

Wind Design Standards – The MHCC voted 17-0 to recommend that the reference standards of the American Society of Engineers (ASCE 7) wind design standards be updated to the 2005 version from the 1995 version, and the existing wind speed design requirements in the HUD Code be adjusted accordingly. However, the committee did not recommend any code changes regarding design requirements for wind pressure. It voted to maintain the current three wind zones as opposed to four. The new wind safety recommendations are the result of many hours of work by an industry led task force that included HUD and members of the ASCE-7 committee, who concluded that any new requirements beyond what the MHCC recommended would not be cost beneficial.

Indoor Air Quality – The MHCC concluded action on pending recommendations debated over the last four years, to improve ventilation and indoor quality in manufactured homes. In a unanimous vote, the MHCC recommended that the HUD Code provide for the voluntary use of ASHRAE 62.2, Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings. In a change supported by MHI, the Committee voted to amend existing regulations to provide more flexibility in the types and size of ventilation systems that may be utilized to ensure adequate ventilation. (In a related issue, see information below on the GAO report).

Other MHCC Actions

In other actions, the Committee added new testing and certification requirements for certain types of vinyl siding; provided a new reference standard for Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF); updated and clarified language regarding construction methods; tabled a proposal regarding alternative foundation designs; rejected a site drainage proposal; rejected updated testing and certification requirements for windows and sliding doors; and referred new issues to MHCC subcommittees regarding water heaters.

Highlights of HUD (Designated Federal Officer) Report and Comments to MHCC

Status of MHCC recommendations pending at HUD

• Final Rules for the proposed 2nd set of updates to the standards, changes to roof truss testing, and changes to 3282, Subpart I, are in Departmental Clearance.

• A final rule for On-Site Completion of Construction is still being developed by HUD staff.

• HUD is still working to develop a proposed rule on a proposal developed by MHI regarding ground anchor testing. HUD is also working on changes to the regulations regarding Primary Inspection Agencies.

MHCC recommendations need a cost benefit analysis

HUD's Designated Federal Officer (DFO), Henry Czauski, reported that the MHCC/DFO must present to the committee its recommendations with an economic cost/benefit analysis. The recommendations must be in a format consistent with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) regarding proposed rules and should include a preamble.

Manufacturers need to adhere to regulations regarding Alternative Construction

During discussion of hinged roof designs and Alternative Construction (AC) letters Mr. Czauski noted that there have been numerous instances where manufacturers are not following the regulations under 3282.14 regarding Alternative Construction. If the industry members demand a timely response it is imperative that complete information is provided and regulations regarding inspections, labeling and reporting be followed.

DOE has not communicated on energy efficiency proposals

In response to a question by a committee member, HUD reported that it has had no recent conversations with the Department of Energy regarding energy efficiency standards, although the law requires it, and a recent Congressional directive, sought by MHI, directs DOE to also consult with the MHCC.

Highlights of MHI’s Public Remarks to MHCC

MHI staff provided the following public testimony during each of the three public comment periods:

• Recommended that the MHCC consider HUD’s inappropriate action regarding enforcement of the new design standards for southern pine lumber.

• Urged the committee to review and comment, if necessary, on the recent and pending changes to the NDS standard for southern pine lumber.

• Recommended that the MHCC review HUD’s guidelines for quality assurance under the procedural and enforcement regulations and codify the guidelines.

• Expressed concern about lack of transparency and timely action by HUD and the MHCC on MHCC recommendations.

• Thanked HUD for recent actions regarding preemption and the City of Richland, Mississippi.

• Announced that MHI is working on an industry-based energy efficiency standard and hopes to bring it before the MHCC early in 2013.

GAO Report Published on Indoor Air Quality to Coincide with MHCC Meeting

Coincidently, related to MHCC’s recommendation on indoor air quality, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report entitled “Manufactured Housing Standards – Testing and Performance Evaluation Could Better Ensure Safe Indoor Air Quality” (available at www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-52.) The report was requested by several members of Congress last year to examine indoor air quality standards for manufactured housing.

The report's key findings conclude that some provisions of the HUD Code provide a lower margin of safety against a carbon monoxide exposure incident than those for site-built homes. The report concluded that the primary reason for the differences in ventilation standards for manufactured homes and site-built homes is that the HUD Code has not been updated and has not kept pace with standards tied to ventilation and air quality for site-built homes. This is despite recommendations by the MHCC in 2009 and 2010 to update various ventilation standards and carbon monoxide requirements. The GAO report is consistent with MHI’s position that the HUD Code, to remain viable, must be updated.  

Lois Starkey, Vice President, Regulatory AffairsLois Starkey, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)

Response On a Bold Proposal for Moving MHI, MHARR and Manufactured Housing Ahead

November 21st, 2011 No comments

 

One of the proposals being run up the flag pole is to merge MHI and MHARR with Danny Ghorbani to run the areas that are related to manufacturing and with George Allen running the areas related to communities. One obvious omission here is retail – not to mention lending, suppliers and other Industry elements at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) – but the proposal has other issues that would suggest against implementation of such a concept.
 
 
Danny Ghorbani is imminently qualified to serve in a role overseeing the manufacturing issues within MHI. From Danny's point of view though, how long would he function before a clash in organizational culture styles might force him out the door?
 
 
Danny is fiercely defensive of issues that negatively affect his organization's members. Many of those members are small or even single plant operations that rightly or wrongly feel they do not have a sufficient voice in MHI. That perception is the reason MHARR was formed. Without some strong reassurances that small manufacturers will gain confidence regarding their voice and that Danny could not summarily be dismissed after the dismantling of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), I do not see a merger having success.
 
 
The merger idea has been floated before and gained little traction. I have spent approximately ten years working with both MHI and MHARR through my role on the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC). The two organizations functioned very well together in that regulatory environment, but Danny has been free to take up potentially controversial issues that MHI has been able to avoid.
 
 
I have pointed out previously that MHI, by its nature is a trade association that represents the entire industry. By that very nature, it serves in an umbrella or big tent role and all participants may not support an aggressive stance against actions taken by the Federal Government that impact our industry.
 
 
From the perspective of a medium or small manufacturer a significant concern would be to make sure Danny was mentoring a replacement as he gets closer to a time he may choose to retire.
 
 
Recent defensive stances taken by Danny include opposition to unwarranted increased regulatory monitoring activities (implemented by HUD) by the PIAs, exposure of inaccurate fire safety reports by NFPA, and presenting strong arguments for repositioning 3285 installation regulations into 3280 standards to allow for pre-emption of installation guidelines. Would Danny have been free to raise and argue these issues (just to name a few) as an employee of MHI?
 
 
The two individuals suggested certainly have the qualifications to share running a newly configured MHI. But:
 
  • Could MHARR member manufacturers have confidence in such a proposed restructure?
  • Could retailers and others have confidence in a proposed restructure where they are not even mentioned?
 
 
As a manufacturer, I would want to have a membership in both MHI and MHARR. I would look to MHI to continue to serve in the broad role as the industry's trade organization. I would look to MHARR to continue to monitor government actions that are an overreach with negative impacts on affordability for our customer base. # #
 
 
by Doug Gorman,
MH Retailer
HomeMart

Open letter to Association Executives on: State Association Dialogue Regarding “STEPS”

November 2nd, 2011 No comments

Dear State Association Executives:

We’ve been closely following your email discussion regarding the regulation of outside steps, including, particularly, the issue of federal versus state/local authority, questions concerning federal preemption and the possibility of approaching the MHCC with a proposal.

Unfortunately, this problem goes back to an issue raised by MHARR, some 8 years ago, when the federal installation standards (24 C.F.R. 3285) were first proposed by HUD and debated by the MHCC.  HUD has taken the position, based on an indefensible “interpretation” of the 2000 law, that installation is not part of “construction” and that only the Part 3280 construction and safety standards are preemptive – meaning that the Part 3285 installation standards are not preemptive.  MHARR (without help from others in the industry), vigorously opposed – and continues to oppose — this “re-codification” of installation, as is more fully explained in Fact Sheet No. 8 of the MHARR Fact Sheets regarding HUD’s failure to implement key 2000 law reforms that we sent to you on September 14, 2011.

The bottom line, for now, is that the Part 3285 installation standards, as construed by HUD, remain non-preemptive.  So, even if steps were part of the 3285 installation standards, or were made part of the installation standards, the federal step standard would still not be preemptive of state and/or local requirements.  Worse yet, because the MHCC only has statutory authority over “construction and safety” standards, HUD’s codification of the installation standards outside of the Part 3280 construction and safety standards, at a minimum, makes it doubtful whether the MHCC could even consider a proposal to amend the Part 3285 installation standards to include steps (and would create an endlessly muddled legal no-man’s land, if it did).

MHARR has been warning, ever since the installation standards were re-codified outside of Part 3280, that HUD’s baseless distinction between installation and construction would come back to haunt the industry and consumers in the form of inconsistent and needlessly costly state and local requirements.  And what you’re seeing here is likely just the tip of the iceberg, as we also noted that the full impact of all this would not begin to be felt until the federal installation program was fully implemented. Unfortunately, this is just one simple illustration from among the ten key reforms of the 2000 law (see your MHARR Fact Sheet packet), designed to complete the transformation of manufactured homes from the trailers of yesteryear to the modern legitimate housing of today, that HUD has refused to fully and properly implement – reforms that were designed to help the industry and its consumers that have been languishing at HUD for over ten years because of a lack of pressure from the entire industry.

Thanks,

Mark Weiss
Senior Vice President
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

cc: HUD Code Retailers and Communities

Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee analysis of MHI and MHARR positions

October 26th, 2011 No comments

Tony,

The industry faces the problem that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) assessment of the composition of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) is reasonably accurate. Initially both the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and MHARR were allowed to have two of the seven industry seats. Today, HUD no longer allows that balanced and knowledgable representation.

Over the past several years we have seen other seats incorrectly given to government employees and other parties with anti-industry bias. The Designated Federal Officer (DFO) and non-voting twenty-second seat on the MHCC (the political appointee) has not been reappointed for several years now. One of the purposes for the existence of that position is to provide some perspective to the HUD Manufactured Housing Program that is not held hostage by preconceived biases inside the HUD permanent staff.

The shift in committee composition has brought with it members who tend to vote their ideology without regard to cost implications. Evaluating cost implications of proposed changes is statutory and yet is ignored by HUD staff and the MHCC with no consequences.

MHI’s recent actions in regard to fire sprinklers is well intended and is an effort to at least establish controls in advance of what MHI perceives as potentially hugely damaging costs if a preemptory sprinkler system is not advanced by the industry. MHARR’s point that extremely valuable ground in the world of preemption is being surrendered is true and does not bode well for the industry on both fire sprinklers and other preemption issues as they arise.

The Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA of 2000) actually gave more teeth to the preemptive language of the original 1974 act. HUD’s manufactured housing program management staff should be valiantly defending that preemptive language when other parties take actions that violate the most recent version of that language. My experience of nearly ten years of working with HUD management as an MHCC member has showed me that HUD will not undertake that defense.

In anticipation of a worst possible outcome scenario, MHI’s actions are an effort to head off potentially devastating costs of meeting fire sprinkler requirements with no parameters. MHARR’s position is the more legally accurate, but faces unknown consequences in the efforts that would be required to enforce the strictly legal position. While I am not privy to all the arguments for both cases, I do know that I hate to give up valuable ground.

Doug Gorman
HomeMart
Former MHCC member

“HUD Seeks to Institutionalize Expanded Regulation”

October 14th, 2011 No comments

Almost as an afterthought to its March 2010 proclamation that manufacturer compliance with new expanded in-plant regulation originally billed as voluntary would, henceforth, be “not voluntary,” HUD has recently announced that it intends to proceed with a new rule that would institutionalize that expansion and, at the same time, substantially alter existing regulations defining the pivotal relationship between third-party Primary Inspection Agencies (PIAs), manufacturers and HUD.  What is worse, is that HUD plans to institute rulemaking on this major and costly alteration of the existing in-plant regulation structure without a consensus of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) and without even presenting a complete proposal to the MHCC as required by law and as requested by the MHCC itself.  Indeed, the story of how this has come about is a textbook reflection of HUD’s efforts over the past decade to minimize, circumvent and evade the program reforms of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, and a case study for Congress when it examines the Department’s failure to fully and properly implement that law.

Back in 2008, HUD approached the MHCC with “concepts” for changing the fundamental role of third-party PIAs (and particularly private PIAs) as well as the nature of their relationship with both manufacturers and HUD.  These “concepts” ultimately led to HUD proposed revisions to elements of the Procedural and Enforcement Regulations (PER), that were presented, in piecemeal fashion, to the MHCC Regulatory Enforcement Subcommittee.  That process, however, was halted by a vote of the Subcommittee in September 2008, based on MHARR objections that the consideration of piecemeal proposals – that did not allow a complete evaluation of the interaction between various components – was improper, as was the consideration of such proposals without relevant cost information or justification as required by the 2000 law.

Confronted with this rejection, HUD responded with a three-pronged strategy.  First, beginning in late 2008, it embarked on a campaign to expand and fundamentally change in-plant regulation on the ground, without first complying with the due process requirements of the 2000 law, based on an elaborate series of “enhanced checklists,” “field guidance” documents and “standard operating procedures” that were not – and still have not been – presented to the MHCC for consensus review or published for notice and comment rulemaking.  Initially, and for nearly a year-and-a-half afterward, HUD characterized the major changes implemented by these documents as a process of “voluntary cooperation,” only to ultimately deem them “not voluntary” in March 2010.  An August 24, 2011 article in the Capitol newspaper “The Hill” aptly describes this type of process (being used increasingly by regulators), stating: “Th[e] new guidelines are  supposedly ‘voluntary,’ but don’t be fooled.  The federal government … has long been engaged in an egregious and unconstitutional regulatory power grab.  The strategy simply is to saddle disfavored industries with regulations disguised as ‘voluntary,’ and therefore not subject to the normal rulemaking process and judicial review.”  Although written about a different set of “voluntary” guidelines, the same logic and analysis holds here.

Second, in 2009, HUD returned to the MHCC with a unified regulatory proposal to amend the PER regulations in a way that would legitimize and provide legal support for such “on the ground” expanded in-plant regulation.  In a formal September 2009 letter ballot, however, HUD was unable to secure an MHCC consensus on this proposal, specifically due, as reflected by MHCC minutes, to the Department’s failure to provide the Committee with adequate justification showing the need for such changes, as well as its failure to provide concrete information regarding the cost-impact of its proposal.

Third, when MHARR continued its objections to the “on the ground” imposition of such a costly regulatory expansion without compliance with relevant due process protections, HUD, on February 5, 2010, issued an “interpretive rule,” without opportunity for public comment, designed to ensure that the MHCC would never get an opportunity to review its expanded in-plant regulation checklists, “field guidance” and standard operating procedures, by simply reading catchall section 604(b)(6) – requiring MHCC consideration and related rulemaking for any change in “inspection practices” – out of the 2000 law.

Now, HUD is taking the next step to institutionalize expanded in-plant regulation.  As announced by HUD regulators at an August 17, 2011 meeting of the MHCC’s Regulatory Enforcement Subcommittee, the Department plans to go forward with a proposed rule relating to the role and activities of the PIAs without further consultation with the MHCC, despite the absence of an MHCC consensus due to HUD’s own failure, in 2009, to provide justification and cost information that the MHCC is required to consider by the 2000 law.  Questioned about this procedure, HUD’s representative stated that the MHCC had “had its chance” in 2009.

This stance, however, flouts (once again) the requirements of the 2000 law. Section 604(b) of the law requires that the MHCC consider every proposed PER regulation, absent a declared emergency.  Further, section 604(e) of the law requires that the MHCC consider the cost-impact and justification for any such proposed regulation.  The MHCC, however, has never been provided with this requisite information by HUD.  As a result, there are two possible scenarios in this matter, both of which violate the 2000 law – (1) if HUD’s new proposal is in any way different from the proposal that failed to attain an MHCC consensus in 2009, then it has never been considered by the MHCC and violates section 604(b); (2) if the new proposal is identical to the 2009 proposal, it still has not been properly presented to and considered by the MHCC in accordance with the law, because mandatory elements required for MHCC consideration in accordance with the law – cost-impact data and a showing of justification – were never provided.  Put differently, if HUD’s position were correct, the Department could effectively evade the consensus requirements of the 2000 law on every proposal simply by refusing to provide the MHCC with cost-impact, justification, or other  information needed or required for MHCC review and consensus comments.

HUD, in an attempt to minimize this further restriction of the role and authority of the MHCC and its own obligation to comply with the due process requirements of the 2000 law, noted that Committee members could submit comments during the public comment period on the proposed rule, but this misses the central point of the MHCC and the 2000 law – that regulatory changes should be based on the consensus agreement of all program stakeholders.  And there is not – and never has been — a consensus on any changes relating to the role of the PIAs or an expansion of in-plant regulation.  Simply stated, a federally-regulated industry that has lost more than 80% of its production over the past 12 years, should not allow this kind of incremental evasion of the law.

In MHARR’s view, this proposal, a vestige of prior program management that sought to minimize and bypass the reforms of the 2000 law, should be withdrawn by the new program management and re-submitted to the MHCC, this time with proper cost-benefit information and specific justification – if one exists.

MHARR VIEWPOINT
By Danny D. Ghorbani

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

MHCC Decline Continues

January 3rd, 2011 3 comments

MHARR logoThe already diminished role and authority of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) as an independent check and balance on the power of HUD regulators took another major step backward on January 3, 2011 as HUD, for the first time, has selected the Chairman of the Committee. Until now, the MHCC had elected its own Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its voting members and had forwarded that vote to Secretary of HUD for final action.

The incoming HUD-selected Chairman, an original MHCC member appointed by HUD in 2002 and now serving a ninth year on the Committee, is the only one of seven term-limited MHCC members to be re-appointed for a new term by HUD, without any further explanation.

For your information and convenience, and based upon MHARR’s records, the departing MHCC members are: Susan Brenton (General Interest) (Chairman); William Lagano (General Interest) (Vice Chairman); Doug Gorman (Producer); Jack Berger (User); Karl Braun (User) (resigned) and William Farrish (Producer). MHARR would like to acknowledge the service of these former MHCC members and publicly thank them for their many years of fair, open-minded and thorough consideration of the critical issues brought before the Committee, as well as the right and concerns of all federal program stakeholders.

The new appointees announced by HUD on January 3, 2011, are: (1) William Freeborne, described by HUD only as a “retired engineer,” who will be joining the “General Interest and Public Officials” group, becoming the second former HUD staffer or consultant to be named to the MHCC in recent years; (2) Adam Rust (General Interest and Public Officials), of the “Community Reinvestment Corporation of North Carolina;” (3) Isabel Dickens (User) of the Manufactured Home Owners Association of America, another collective representation group; (4) Steve Anderson (User) described only as a “manufactured home owner” from Utah; (5) Jeffrey Legault (Producer) of Skyline Corporation; and (6) Leo Poggione (Producer) of Craftsman Homes. The one reappointed MHCC member and new Chairman, Richard Weinert, is an official of the California State Administrative Agency (SAA).

In addition to tightening its grip on the MHCC, HUD’s latest appointments to the MHCC continue to exclude collective industry representatives, even though non-industry collective organizations continue to be well represented within other MHCC interest groups. Effectively, the acquiescence of the industry establishment, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) — which has repeatedly expressed that it does not object to being excluded as a voting MHCC member — has provided HUD with an excuse to refuse the appointment of non-lobbyist collective industry representatives who do want to serve. This ensures that the MHCC does not get the full benefit of the collective knowledge, know-how, expertise and institutional memory that the industry has painstakingly gathered in Washington, D.C. over the course of four decades.

With HUD’s intent regarding the role, status and authority of the MHCC continuing to unfold — i.e., to turn it into another meaningless forum like the defunct National Manufactured Housing Advisory Council of the 1974 law — MHARR now will redouble and intensify its efforts to make this a key issue for engagement with the new congress about to take office in Washington, D.C. In the meantime, MHARR will continue its efforts as a non-member of the MHCC to fight even harder to preserve the proper role, status and authority of the MHCC in accordance with the 2000 law.

cc: Other Interested HUD Code Manufacturers, Retailers and Communities

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087
Fax: 202/783-4075
Email: mharrdg@aol.com

Further Evidence of Industry Complicity with Regulators to Downgrade the MHCC

November 12th, 2010 No comments

Item sent to MHARR Email List on November 12, 2010

MHARR logoShown below, for your review and information, is an article authored by an independent industry trade journalist, published in the Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management (MHMSM) blog on November 11, 2010. The article is based on developments at the recently-concluded October 26-27, 2010 Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) meeting in Washington, D.C.

We encourage you to carefully read this article to its conclusion, as it clearly reveals the support and free hand that HUD regulators regularly receive from part of the industry to ignore or evade existing laws – in this case improperly downgrading the MHCC.

As MHARR has been warning the industry for years, regulators’ continuing evasion of the good laws passed by Congress, on all matters, is similarly enabled and facilitated by industry apologists, under the guise of “working with” those regulators, which – whether it be in the consumer finance or production arena – has resulted in nothing but 12 years of industry decline with no corresponding accountability.

Indeed, in this case, while two senior members of the MHCC (community and retailer) attempt to explain the failures of HUD regulators in dealing with the MHCC, the spokesperson for their national representation seeks to justify the actions of those regulators.

Nevertheless, with the current mood of the country, a power shift and major changes impending in Washington, D.C., the industry once again has a window of opportunity to correct the abuses of the past 12 years through strong and focused policies and actions that provide positive results, rather than more of the same go-along-to-get-along agenda that produces nothing but more excuses.

Click here for Industry in Focus Report

The Chairman’s View – Great Southwest Home Show in Tulsa

May 28th, 2010 No comments

Quick Trip Center with the "Golden  Driller" the largest free standing statue in the world.
Quick Trip Center with the "Golden Driller"
the largest free standing statue in the world.

The Great Southwest Home Show concluded its second year and had the added feature of a Public Days segment to bolster its viability. Due to time restrictions on the availability of the facility, Public Days were held on Friday evening and all day Saturday after the conclusion of Retailer Days on Friday afternoon. Over 1500 people attended Public Days and the retailers showing homes expressed high levels of satisfaction with both the public’s reception to the display and the actual sales results that occurred during the public display period.


The Great Southwest Home Show had two other events associated with it. One event was the state convention for the Manufactured Housing Association of Oklahoma (MHAO). MHAO conducted the convention in tandem with the show in an effort to assist manufacturing participants in streamlining expenses. Instead of a trip to Oklahoma for a show in the Spring and a return trip for a convention in August, a single trip sufficed. The convention attendance was much higher than had been experienced for about a decade and plans are to keep the events linked in the future.

Manufacturers enjoy the benefits of an indoor facility.
Manufacturers enjoy the benefits of an indoor facility.

The second event held in association with the Great Southwest Home Show was the face-to-face meeting held at least annually by the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) along with assigned staff members from HUD’s offices in Washington, DC. I had originally proposed this associated meeting over a year ago when the first Great Southwest Home Show was held. Bill Matchneer from HUD did attend that show and was sufficiently impressed to bring about the associated meeting for the second year of the show. The meeting participants were allowed special access to the display homes on Wednesday afternoon prior to the official opening of the show on Thursday. Both HUD officials and committee members were greatly impressed by the quality and affordability of the thirty plus homes on display at Tulsa’s Quick Trip Center. Some of the meeting participants had never been in a manufactured home prior to those they toured at the Great Southwest Home Show. Hopefully HUD will see the benefit of at least periodically holding the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee in association with the Great Southwest Home Show.

Supplier booths are conveniently set up in the middle of the  display homes.
Supplier booths are conveniently set up in the middle of the display homes.

While Bill Matchneer had been the driving force behind getting the MHCC to Tulsa for the show, his replacement Teresa Payne did not skip a beat as she led the HUD delegation and the MHCC to the event. HUD staff and the MHCC members attended the MHAO convention dinner on Wednesday evening and Teresa Payne wowed the crowd with her opening line (“Manufactured Housing rocks!”) as the keynote speaker at the convention dinner. The dinner marked the first time in its almost 10 year history that the MHCC committee had actually attended an industry event and got a chance to converse with a broad spectrum of industry members.

Teresa Payne highlighting the HUD Code label

Teresa Payne highlighting the HUD Code label

The Quick Trip Center in Tulsa is an ideal facility for hosting such an event as the Great Southwest Home Show. The Quick Trip Center is largest open span structure in the United States with 10.5 acres that is indoors and air conditioned. With in-floor electricity to each display location, generators are not needed. Manufacturers can set up, conduct the show days, and tear down and not have to worry about whether or not rain storms are headed their way. While dealer traffic was lower than expected on Friday overall manufacturer’s response was positive with several reporting that they planned to increase the size of their display next year.

'Dualing remotes' being set up by two radio stations for public  days.

‘Dualing remotes’ being set up by two radio stations for public days.

Educational seminars were also included in the show agenda at no charge for the attendees. Speakers were John Delves and Kurt Kelly. John Delves taught three sessions that focused on selling skills and performing well in a down economy. Kurt Kelly addressed 24/7 communication with clients. All seminars were well attended and both speakers received great reviews. The seminars are conducted on the day before the show opens in the same format that I enjoyed some thirty years ago when I would go to the Louisville Show. We plan to continue to offer the educational seminars which also serve as Continuing Education credits.

Aisle shot at the QT Center

Aisle shot at the QT Center

Retailers that stayed over to work on Public Days paid extra for that opportunity in order to cover the promotional expenses for the time period. As mentioned previously, the retailer response was overwhelmingly positive. The Great Southwest Home Show has a unique ability to conduct the Public Days since unlike other shows in the nation, the Great Southwest Home Show is conducted in a secure indoor facility and in is located in a large city from which to draw the attendance. We look forward to growing the show and conducting it for many years in the future. Special recognition and thanks need to be given to both Deanna Fields, the Executive Director of MHAO and Dennis Hill from Show Ways Unlimited. Both worked tirelessly on the event and were crucial to its success.

Doug Gorman
Show Chairman
The Great Southwest Home Show

For more information and photos, see Suzanne Felber’s report and Tony Kovach’s photo report.