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Clark County home builders group goes independent

The Building Industry Association of Clark County said it is operating as a nonprofit independent group of volunteers after withdrawing last year from state and national home builders associations.

Local, state and national home builder associations are all related organizations — if an individual home builder wants to be a member of the local association, they pay dues to be a member of all three. The Home Builders Association provides networking opportunities, industry training and lobbies on behalf of builder members to governments.

The Clark County chapter’s membership voted to end its affiliation last year, said Kent Sherry, executive vice president of the local Building Industry Association, which first formed in 1954.

The home building industry nationally was hit especially hard by the housing crisis beginning in 2008. An ensuing glut of foreclosures hitting the market forced home builders to compete with dropping prices of existing homes.

Many home builders left the business or left the Clark County area, causing membership in the builder industry group to drop, Sherry said. Membership in the Clark County group declined about 60 percent to 50 members currently, Sherry said.

“You have to pay so much money per member to the state and to the national. We didn’t have that money,” Sherry said. “There was nothing to operate with, and we couldn’t raise dues.”

Sherry said his group is still in contact with the Home Builders Association.

“Nothing has changed,” Sherry said. “The organization itself its totally self-sustainable and operational without the outside authority.”

In recent weeks, the Building Industry Association held the Ohio Green Build and Energy Expo in Springfield, for example.

“The advantage to it continuing to exist is, as a group, we are meeting monthly with the local city and county building departments and we are able to do question and answer sessions,” said Springfield home builder Dan Kegley, a board member of the Clark County building group.

It is not common for a chapter to withdraw from Ohio Home Builders Association, said Executive Vice President Vincent Squillace. Though, the state industry group has also seen declines in the number of individual builder members from about 9,000 to 4,500 members over the past four years, Squillace said.

“HBA didn’t come and pull their charter. They chose to disband,” he said. “If the builders in that area want to belong to an association that’s actively managed, they can do that.”

After the Clark County group went independent, the Home Builders Association of Miami County expanded Nov. 1 last year to represent industry related businesses in Champaign, Clark, Logan and Miami counties. The group changed its name to Western Ohio Home Builders Association. It has about 200 members.

“We don’t feel like we would have a voice in town if we were dealing directly with Miami County,” Kegley said.

Previously, there was no home builders association in Champaign or Logan counties, said Donna Cook, executive director of Western Ohio Home Builders.

“Whether you’re paying dues or not, the state and national associations are working on behalf of the entire industry,” Cook said.

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