HBAI
Member - NAHB - National Home Builders Association
House 1

Consumer Protection & Contractor Licensure

The Illinois Attorney General’s office will submit a report to the Illinois General Assembly on or before November 1, 2015 requesting they enact legislation that would create home builder and remodeling registration. HBAI has registered opposition to this report and respectfully requests the A.G.’s office to return to the negotiating table to further discuss the issue of home builder registration in Illinois.

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“Contractor licensure is an emerging issue that HBAI must address in the very near future.” You might think this quote is from a recent meeting of the HBAI Board of Directors, but it is not. The quote was made almost 60 years ago and is taken from the minutes of the very first board meeting of the Home Builders Association of Illinois held in 1956.

Since that time, 37 states have passed some level of registration or licensure that regulates home construction and remodeling. Or, to put it another way, Illinois is one of 13 states to not enact some type of registration that is intended to promote better business practices and consumer protection in the home construction industry.

Taken out of context, lawmakers, media-mites, and consumer protectionists could quickly surmise that home builders in Illinois are nay-sayers to any and all proposals that could enhance the professionalism of their industry; but they would be wrong.

HBAI has a history of working with legislators and law enforcement officials to protect home owners and punish bad builders and remodelers. The only thing we’ve ever asked is that they do it without punishing the good guys; our members who do the job right and come back when and if there is a problem. Here are some bullets on what we have done in the past 15 years.

  • 2000 – Home Repair & Remodeling Act

HBAI worked with Attorney General Jim Ryan to enact the Home Repair & Remodeling Act which mandates written estimates and requires contractors to share with their customers, information on how to choose a contractor. It provides them with their consumer rights and, it contains stiff penalties for violating this Statute.

  • 2002 – The Illinois Quality Assurance Builder Standards

HBAI enacts an in-house program that creates a set of standards to establish realistic expectations to the consumer in the building or remodeling of their home. Mediation/Arbitration is prescribed through binding language for all projects contracted by Q.A. participants. It does Not prescribe a building code; it does Not add another review process; and, it does Not have your association tell you how to build a home or what materials to use.

  • 2003 – The Illinois Residential Code Act (IRCA)

HBAI unilaterally advances legislation in the Illinois General Assembly to ensure that all homes built in Illinois must be built to a legitimate building code and set of standards. The IRCA mandates that all builders and remodelers must build to the most recent International Residential Code or may choose another local code currently used in Illinois that is agreed upon with the customer. Prior to the enactment of the IRCA on January 1, 2004, 76 out of 102 counties in Illinois had no codes or standards for home building or remodeling.

  • 2011 – Storm Chasers Law

Working this time with Attorney General Lisa Madigan, HBAI negotiates language mandating special business operations and standards when working with customers after a “catastrophe.” Builders must get expressed permission from homeowners to work with insurance adjusters when negotiating the size and cost of damage to a home. They cannot call in a claim on behalf of a homeowner; and, they cannot rebate or pay the insurance deductible as a sales incentive.

Home owners have 5 days to cancel a contract upon notice from an insurance company that any part of the claim or contract is not a covered loss. Homeowners may cancel a contract up to 30 days after receipt of a “properly executed proof of loss” by the insurer.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these Statutes and programs, please write me at billward@hbai.org.