The Housing Institute, Inc.
Certified Professional Home Builder Program
There’s no denying that if you are currently in a position to buy a new home or remodel your existing home, now is great time to do so. It’s a buyer’s market. Interest rates are low; there are unprecedented tax credits, and getting a deal is guaranteed. That is, if you choose your next home carefully.
So how do you still get a deal AND avoid potential hidden problems and costs? Buy new from a Certified Professional Home Builder. Buying a new home doesn’t guarantee you won’t have any problems, but it’s more than likely that you won’t. Everything is new. You get a warranty in case something goes wrong, and usually the only thing you have to worry about is paint color and where to put your furniture in your new home. A world of difference that most will agree is worth the extra money.
The CPHB program helps take the headaches and worries out of choosing your builder. A Certified Professional Home Builder has met stringent requirements, including passing a written building codes exam; providing 14 written references; meeting insurance requirements; having their customers surveyed annually; completing 16 hours of continuing education annually; providing a warranty; having a dispute resolution process in place; and more. Building and remodeling a home requires a lot of patience and trust. Choosing a professional contractor takes time and research, but in the end, you will be glad you did.
The Housing Institute, Inc. administers the only voluntary builder certification program of its kind in Georgia. The Housing Institute is a non-profit subsidiary of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and is governed by board of directors from such organizations as the Better Business Bureau, Georgia Association of Home Inspectors, local county building inspectors, real estate agents, builders and other industry-related fields. CPHBs have made the investment to be professional by agreeing to adhere to set standards. The Housing Institute's mission is to promote the highest standards of professionalism between the residential building industry and the community.
The CPHB program is a residential builder certification program that helps builders maximize their professionalism, customer service and homeowner satisfaction. With the onset of mandatory licensing for all Georgia builders, including CPHB members, the CPHB designation offers a genuine distinction between CPHB members and other residential builders. In the current slow and increasingly competitive housing market, that advantage is especially critical.
By choosing a CPHB member when purchasing your new home, most of the research is completed for you. When you choose a CPHB member as your home builder, you have the following real advantages over most residential builders who are merely licensed under Georgia’s new contractor licensing law. As you read these, consider where your builder fits in:
- Education: The Licensing Law may require most residential builders to take only three education hours per year. In contrast, CPHB members must have 16 hours each year--more than five times as much.
- Code Certification: CPHB members must pass the ICC Residential Building Contractor C Exam or its equivalent. The exempting period last year exempted many Georgia contractors who could prove they had at least five years of experience. The Licensing Law requires an exam for contractors who were not previously exempted.
- References: CPHB members must provide references from: one financial institution; five home owners; three trade contractors; three suppliers; and, generally two CPHB members. The Licensing Law only reviews one financial reference.
- Experience: A residential-basic contractor must have two years of residential construction experience under the Licensing Law, while the CPHB Program requires at least three years experience in residential construction.
- Focus: The Licensing Law doesn’t require that a builder’s primary business be residential construction or remodeling. That is a CPHB program requirement.
- Building Volume: CPHB members must have entered into or closed residential transactions of at least $750,000 or pulled five construction/remodeling permits in the preceding 12 months. Conversely, the Licensing Law requires most residential builders to only have significant responsibility for successfully completing two residential projects during the preceding two years.
- Insurance: CPHB members must have at least $500,000 of general liability insurance and builder’s risk insurance. For most residential builders, the Licensing Law requires only $300,000 of general liability insurance and no builder’s risk insurance.
- Code of Ethics: CPHB members must agree to comply with the National Association of Home Builders Code of Ethics, while the Licensing Law doesn’t mandate compliance with those standards.
- Membership in Local Homebuilders Association: Builder members of local home builder associations generally have broader and more current industry knowledge and skills than non-members because the former interact with other builders, participate in industry committees and benefit from association educational programs. CPHB members must join their local home builder association. The Licensing Law doesn’t impose that requirement.
- Warranty: The Licensing Law has a warranty provision, but it doesn’t mandate specific coverage. CPHB members must use an approved warranty and warranty procedures or ones substantially equivalent.
- Home Inspections: CPHB members must allow a qualified professional home inspector to conduct a fair inspection. The Licensing Law doesn’t include this requirement.
- Mandatory Binding Arbitration: Arbitration is favored over litigation as a matter of Georgia and federal public policy. Its advantages include reduced cost and time and greater privacy, informality, flexibility and finality. CPHB members must offer arbitration to home buyers. A similar requirement isn’t in the Licensing Law.
- Better Business Bureau Rating: CPHB members can’t have a negative rating with the Better Business Bureau. The Licensing Law doesn’t have this requirement.
- Dispute Resolution Process: The CPHB program has a dispute resolution process designed to assist in the informal resolution of disputes that may arise between CPHB members and home buyers. The Licensing Law has calls for a formal complaint process with investigation.
- Renewal: CPHB members must renew membership annually. License renewal is every other year.
The Housing Institute, Inc. uses its best efforts to determine a builder’s qualification for certification as a Certified Professional Home Builder. While the program recognizes the professionalism of a builder, The Housing Institute, Inc. does not make any warranty or representation, express or implied, to home buyers or others and has not inspected the construction of any home and, therefore, does not and cannot address the specific quality of a new home. The home buyer is encouraged to discuss the program with his or her Certified Professional Home Builder and to contact The Housing Institute, Inc. for more specific information about the program.