In the Best Interest of the Industry

The PRBA, in its continuous efforts regarding the country’s bests interests in the construction industry and its rebuilding, actively participated in public hearings and important meetings to discuss issues than affects our industry .

 

Increase in construction costs, the Incentive Code and Property Tax

This week members of the Board of Directors  met with the Governor’s Secretary of Public Affairs, Phillipe Mesa, esq., to discuss the increase on construction costs, the Incentive Code and the proposal of the Federal Treasury related to the property tax, among others.

 

 

CDBG-DR funds for rebuilding efforts

Members of the Puerto Rico Builders Association recently met with the Undersecretary of Housing, Eng. Dennis González, to clarify information regarding the CDBG-DR funds, which are the funds allocated to Puerto Rico for reconstruction efforts.

 

 

Public hearings participation on Incentive Code

Recently, the PRBA was represented by Eng. Jorge Guerrero in the public hearings of the proposed Incentives Code at the Legislature.

 

 

PRBA Contributes with the Department of Education in its State Convention on Professional Development

Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) collaborated with the Puerto Rico Department of Education in its 2019 Convention on Professional Development. PRBA secretary, architect Vanessa de Mari participated as a speaker during the event at the Pedro Rosselló Convention Center in San Juan.

On her participation architect de Mari, spoke to teachers in attendance about the challenges of “Rebuilding Puerto Rico- requirements and codes.”   Members of the Puerto Rico Community Development, Corp (HBA), a charitable organization founded by the initiative of the Puerto Rico Builders Association also attended the event in way to registry those students interested in providing assistance, support and resources in the repair, reconstruction or development of damaged, destroyed or substandard residential dwellings as members of the island’s new construction workforce.

PRBA Present in DC

Emilio Colón Zavala, PE, and Pete Aguilar (D-CA).

The Chairman of the Board of the Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA), Emilio Colón
Zavala, PE recently participated in the “Institute for Sustainable Development’s Forum on Housing Disaster Recovery”, that took place in the federal capital.

This forum, in which Colón Zavala participated as a guest, had the participation of officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On his participation, the PRBA chairman spoke on the challenges posed to Puerto Ricans by the poor access to affordable housing before and after hurricanes Irma and María. In addition, he had the opportunity to point out how the highly bureaucratic processes of the federal agencies makes even more difficult the island recovery process, and the importance of simplifying the access to federal funds.

On his trip to the federal capital, Colón Zavala met with members of the Congress such as Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Rep. Rubén Gallego (D-AZ) and Rep. Lucille Royal-Allard (D-CA). He also had the opportunity to meet with Resident Commissioner, Rep. Jenniffer González. These meetings were possible thanks to the collaboration of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), who joined Colón Zavala in support of the PRBA’s message on the need to start with the reconstruction projects.

With Lucille Royal-Allard (D-CA).

“Besides informing on the prevailing need to start with the reconstruction projects, we made the congressmen aware of the importance of streamlining processes and reducing bureaucracy in federal agencies. This, among other things, contributes to make even more difficult the access to affordable housing by Puerto Ricans. We also spoke on the need of working on the sluggishness in the process of getting the cost estimates required by FEMA and the proposal for the federal agency to accept and certify the estimates prepared by engineers licensed in Puerto Rico”, stated Colón Zavala.

On the other hand, it is extremely important that as part of the recovery programs, the housing affordability problem, accentuated by the ravages of hurricane María, to be addressed. “Construction cost have increased approximately by 30% since September 2017, this without taking into account the requirements imposed by the Federal Government on their programs. We understand that the impact of this programs will increase even more the cost of housing that proved to be safer in the aftermath of a natural disaster. These increments will adversely affect the access to safe housing”, said the chairman of the PRBA.

Ultimately, according to Colón Zavala, this historic juncture must be used to execute the
structural reforms needed to improve the ease of doing business in Puerto Rico.  We must
execute our vision of placing ourselves among the top jurisdictions in the world in terms of
competitivity and ease of doing business, so that we can attract sustainable economic engines
that can help develop our economy once we run out one recovery funds.”

Emilio Colón Zavala, PE; Jenniffer González; and Dean Mon.

Conversatory: Construction Costs vs. Value

 

Retired professor of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Dr. José F. Lluch

San Juan- The Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) held a conversatory CONSTRUCTION COSTS VS. VALUE centered in the in depth discussion of the impact of hurricane María over the construction costs and the value of the property.

This conversatory featured the participation of Rafael Rojo, CEO of VRM Companies, who discussed with the attendees the impact on construction costs after the scourge of hurricane María. Retired professor of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Dr. José F. Lluch, spoke about Databases and the challenges they face in Puerto Rico. On the other hand, representatives of the Appraisal Institute contributed on the importance of the professional codes of ethics.

This conversatory concluded with a panel that allowed the interaction of the attendees to discuss the issue of construction costs. The panel had the participation of Carlos Xavier Vélez, member of the Appraisal Institute and one of the appraisals with one of the highest number of certifications in Puerto Rico; Dimas Rodríguez, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association; Silvio López Senior vice-president of Popular Mortgage; architect Vanessa de Mari, developer manager for F&R Construction Group, and Mari Paz Catalá, president of the Puerto Rico Association of Realtors.

“This forum is part of the initiatives of the Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) to provide their members and the general public with relevant information in the island’s reconstruction process”, stated Emilio Colón Zavala, PE, chairman of the PRBA.

The program of this forum allowed three (3) credits of continuing education (Elective in New Trends that Impact Real Estate) to be accredited for brokers and sellers of real estate trough the Puerto Rico Real Estate Institute.

Carlos Xavier Vélez, member of the Appraisal Institute
Panel: Carlos Xavier Vélez; Dimas Rodríguez, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association; Silvio López Senior vice-president of Popular Mortgage; architect Vanessa de Mari, developer manager for F&R Construction Group, and Mari Paz Catalá, president of the Puerto Rico Association of Realtors.

El reto de la reconstrucción en Puerto Rico

Luego de 18 meses del paso por Puerto Rico del huracán María, el debate en torno a las burocracias y las demoras en el comienzo de los proyectos de reconstrucción permanente persiste. Los esfuerzos continúan plasmados en planes, estudios, recomendaciones y foros, mientras la ejecución no comienza. Sin embargo, es importante aclarar que las demás jurisdicciones que sufrieron por los desastres naturales recientes se encuentran en la misma posición.

Una diferencia fundamental con otras jurisdicciones es que Puerto Rico se ha convertido en un balón político en Washington D.C. Como ha quedado evidenciado en noticias recientes, la nueva batalla entre la Casa Blanca y el Congreso se centra en la discusión de asignaciones adicionales. Ahora el nuevo rehén ha sido, una ayuda adicional a los planes de asistencia nutricional de $600 millones por los desastres del 2017.

El presidente Donald Trump ha señalado el envío $91,000 millones para la reconstrucción de la isla y agrega que nadie ha hecho más por los residentes de Puerto Rico. Existe una diferencia entre apropiar fondos federales, asignarlos y obligarlos. Y para complicarnos más la existencia, otra cosa son los desembolsos. Los fondos obligados son los que están listos para ser reembolsados. Esta cantidad, según el portal de transparencia de la Oficina Central de Recuperación, Reconstrucción y Resiliencia es de aproximadamente $8,500 millones, o menos del 10 por ciento asignado. Los desembolsados son aproximadamente $5,300 millones correspondiendo en gran medida al programa de Tu Hogar Renace y las reparaciones al sistema de energía eléctrica. Para construcción permanente, se han obligado $63 millones. Estas cantidades representan un porciento pequeño de lo que hay que ejecutar.

La magnitud del desastre es tal que hay decenas de miles de lugares con daños por ser evaluados y su costo de reparación estimado. Una solución propuesta por algunos alcaldes para trabajar con el problema de la lentitud del proceso de estimados de costos es que se permita que ingenieros licenciados aquí certifiquen estimados de costos y que sean aceptados por la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA). La Ley Federal es clara cuando permite que ingenieros licenciados puedan certificar estimados de costo y ser validados. Lo único que hay que hacer es cumplir con la Ley. Obligar los fondos urge. Luego de más de un año de estar solicitándose, comenzar la mitigación no puede esperar más.

A estas alturas, muchas personas han recurrido a la autogestión para reconstruir sus viviendas. Esta construcción se está haciendo con los recursos que las personas tienen e implantando las técnicas que conocen. Las personas terminan resolviendo su problema por la vía informal. Esta situación causará que nuestras comunidades más vulnerables no puedan acceder los recursos necesarios para hacer las reparaciones o reconstruir en cumplimiento con los reglamentos. Esto ha ocurrido antes. Es hora de romper el ciclo vicioso.

Tenemos un reto monumental. Ha llegado la hora de exigir un cambio de rumbo en la burocracia excesiva. Es necesario que se busque la manera de optimizar y uniformar procesos cumpliendo con los requisitos de transparencia para lograr vivienda e infraestructura resilientes y seguras. Hay que revertir finalmente los errores del pasado. Manos a la obra.

Por Ing. Emilio Colón Zavala, presidente de la Asociación de Constructores de Puerto Rico

Fuente: El Nuevo Día

Grupo Guayacán and the PRBA Launch Call for Applications for the 3rd Edition of Their Joint Fellowship Program

The Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) and Grupo Guayacán, Inc. (GGI) announced the call for applications for the third annual PRBA-Guayacán Fellowship which will sponsor the participation of up to two PRBA members in the 2019 Guayacán Venture Accelerator (GVA). The GVA is an entrepreneurial education and development program for companies established in Puerto Rico seeking new growth opportunities, such as: increasing local market share, entry to international markets, or development of new products or services.

The program consists of a series of 14 educational workshops offered by a renowned group of academics, professionals, executives, and investors from Puerto Rico, the United States, and Canada. In addition, each participating company will be paired with a mentor to help them implement their expansion plans. Lastly, companies will benefit from a series of coaching sessions where distinguished entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals offer their perspectives and advice.

For the 2018 GVA, the PRBA sponsored AZ Engineering, an electrical engineering firm focused on renewable energy and electrical efficiency, and Conspro a wholesale distributor of specialized concrete construction products. Both companies completed the program successfully and will pay their fellowship forward to a 2019 participant.

Companies interested in the 2019 GVA are invited to an exclusive recruiting event to be held on Thursday, April 11th at 9:00am and featuring a presentation by program instructor Miguel Ferrer Jr. titled: ‘U.S. Hispanic Market 411: Insights for Accelerating Your Business Expansion’. For more information and to RSVP, please contact Natalia Arias (narias@guayacan.org).

Ideal GVA candidates must be in operations for at least three years and demonstrate organizational capacity and commitment to design and implement an aggressive growth plan. The program requires the participation of 3 senior executives per company. The GVA selection process begins with an online application which will be open until May 1st at: http://bit.ly/GVA2019.

From left: Laura Cantero, Executive Director of Grupo Guayacán; Alfredo Martínez- Álvarez, Jr., Juan Carlos Sabat and José Antonio Sabat from Conspro, Gladys Santana and Ángel Perez, chairman of the Board of Grupo Guayacán.

 

Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) expressed their opposition to the PMO- 24

Under the premise that the proposed municipal ordinance that will regulate the short-term rentals has the appearance of unconstitutionality by restricting and undermining the constitutional right to private property, representatives of the Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) expressed their opposition to the PMO- 24.

Eng. Emilio- Colón -Zavala, Chairman of the Puerto Rico Builders Association, stated at a Senate hearing that although the PRBA emphasizes on the importance of adequately regulating this activity so that neighbors and the community do not see them unreasonably harmed, the proposed ordinance is predicated on fundamentally incorrect premises. Among them, the municipality starts from the premise that as a result of these short-term rentals, the municipality does not receive any income.

Eng. Emilio Colón-Zavala, chairman and Alfredo Martínez- Álvarez, Jr., Vice- Chairman of the PRBA, addressed the Puerto Rico Builders Association concerns to the San Juan Municipal Assembly on a hearing held on March 7, 2019. In their deposition, they highlighted the importance of the short-term rentals by mentioning that the short-term rentals have helped to give use to a significant number of properties currently in disuse. They also informed on reports that show that this type of rental has served to mitigate mortgage delinquencies. The PRBA board members raised their concern about this project as it appears to be a tax collection measure rather than one to regulate the short-term rental activity.

Extraordinary the IBS 2019!

Wow, what a show! Even the bizarre weather —it snowed in Vegas on Wednesday night— didn’t dampen the 75th annual International Builders’ Show, the biggest show in a decade and an indication of just how vibrant the home building industry currently is!

With more than 100,000 people attending Design & Construction Week® the exhibit halls were jammed and the energy was palpable. The IBS exhibit floor alone, spanned more than 600,000 net square feet and featured more than 1,500 exhibitors. Attendees saw the latest in home technology products, watched live building demos, participated in hammer contests and craft brew tastings and networked with the best of best in our industry and collecting IBS swag along the way.

The IBS 2020 will be from January 21-23 in Las Vegas again. This is an extraordinary show that you can’t miss.

You should make plans to attend the IBS next year.

Learn more here: https://www.buildersshow.com/Home/

Constructores reiteran su rechazo a limitar los Airbnb

La Asociación de Constructores de Puerto Rico reiteró ayer su oposición  al proyecto de ordenanza que pretende regular el negocio de alquiler a corto plazo en el Municipio de San Juan por considerar que no atiende las necesidades existentes.

Emilio Colón Zavala, presidente de la entidad, señaló que la medida carece de requisitos básicos para obtener la licencia propuesta que permitiría que un arrendador pueda alquilar a corto plazo una propiedad.

“El proyecto de ordenanza parece más una medida para aumentar recaudos para la ciudad capital que un mandamiento para establecer un marco reglamentario”,  manifestó en una vista publica ante la Legislatura Municipal de San Juan.

Colón Zavala, quien reconoció la importancia de controlar esta actividad, recalcó, además, que la reglamentación debería distinguir entre empresas e individuos que se dedican a este negocio a menor escala.

El proyecto de Ordenanza 24 serie 2018-2019 busca reglamentar los alquileres a corto plazo en la ciudad capital mediante el establecimiento de un proceso de licencias al uso, que tendrá, un costo anual de $250 a $500.

La medida también limitaría a dos la cantidad de propiedades destinadas para este negocio, y una de las unidades deberá ser la residencia principal del arrendador. Colón Zavala catalogó la restricción como irrazonable y como un menoscabo, además de atentar contra el derecho constitucional del disfrute de la propiedad.

Fuente: El Nuevo Día  Imagen: GFR

Una nueva ley de condominios en Puerto Rico

Si bien es cierto que el invertir en bienes raíces es una de las mejores decisiones que una persona puede tomar, también es cierto que conlleva una serie de responsabilidades que hay que conocer antes de dar el paso. Esto requiere que conozcamos bien las leyes y reglamentos vigentes en Puerto Rico y dentro de los condominios para una buena convivencia.

En Puerto Rico se discute a presente el Proyecto del la Cámara de Representantes 1874 que crearía una nueva Ley de Condominios. La ley vigente data del 1958 y las últimas enmiendas se aprobaron hace 15 años. La iniciativa legislativa podría impactar hasta 250,000 dueños de apartamentos en todo el país.

La Asociación de Constructores de Puerto Rico -que representa a desarrolladores de proyectos de vivienda, comerciales, industriales y hoteles desde el 1951- apoya la iniciativa legislativa de actualizar la Ley de Condominios. Del mismo modo, favorecemos que se apruebe una ley que asegure los mejores intereses y el bienestar de los propietarios.

Entendemos que esta iniciativa de la Legislatura de Puerto Rico debe perseguir mayor activismo vecinal, es decir fomentar la participación de los miembros de la comunidad, la cual generalmente se concentra en unos pocos. También apoyamos la eliminación del requisito de unanimidad de los titulares para llevar a cabo obras necesarias para mantener y mejorar la propiedad. Estas mejoras, que deben ser evaluadas conforme a la diversidad de la comunidad para lograr un balance, son necesarias para mantener el valor de la propiedad del inmueble, o sea la inversión de los condóminos. Las obras para mantener y modernizar los condominios crean actividad económica y empleos, mientras ayudan a preservar la belleza, los valores en el mercado y el atractivo de los vecindarios y las comunidades donde ubican.

Las inversiones en bienes raíces son un componente importante de nuestra economía. No solo en términos de compras y ventas, si no de alquileres a largo y a corto plazo, los cuales crean actividad económica más allá de los límites de los condominios. Estos alquileres, sobre todo aquellos a corto plazo, fomentan el turismo, sirven a los estudiantes y facilitan el intercambio cultural y comercial. Por lo tanto, es importante abrir espacio para que el consejo de titulares de cada condominio pueda regular el asunto de los arrendamientos y que los requisitos estén disponibles para el conocimiento de los dueños y potenciales inversionistas.

Hacemos un llamado a la Legislatura a perseguir una legislación clara y precisa que sirva las necesidades colectivas de los propietarios y fomente la inversión. Una legislación que garantice los mejores intereses y el bienestar de los individuos dentro de sus comunidades, y que contribuya a crear actividad económica y a mantener el atractivo de nuestros barrios y vecindarios.

Fuente: El Nuevo Día / Por: Alfredo Martínez Álvarez, vice presidente de la ACPR.