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Building association set to move

Jim Scripps

Spurred by growth in Carson City, the Builder’s Association of Western Nevada is bursting at the seams as it gets ready to move into a new building.

The 400-plus member construction trade organization has increased in size by 65 percent since last summer, making it a formidable force in the construction trades and in the legislative process that shape local building codes and set permit prices.

“Basically, the whole reason for our existence is we are a liaison between the builders and government,” said Rick DeMar, executive officer of the association. “Laws used to be written to protect, conceptually, the homeowner. Now it has to spin 180 degrees to protect the contractor.”

The members pay a yearly $520 membership, and in return the group lobbies local and state government over issues of concern to workers in the building trades.

With a staff of two operating out of a brown slump-stone building in North Carson City, it’s not hard to see the growing pains the group is feeling. DeMar’s desk is cramped into a small space, with piles and files of material consuming every open space. A computer and a fax machine crowd a typing table, making the office a tight squeeze by any standard.

With the construction of a 1,600-square-foot office, located in a new subdivision near the main branch of the Carson City Post Office, that will all change. True to its building roots, the association was granted a special use permit to build inside a residential subdivision and is nearing completion on a “home-style” office. A public ceremony April 1 will celebrate the building’s opening.

The association is developing the project in-house, drawing from the membership for general contractor and subcontractor duties. In the event the association moves to a different location, the special use permit mandates the house be converted and sold as a single-family home.

DeMar said his work will continue as the Nevada Legislature explores the explosive issues of construction defect litigation and mold growth come to the fore. He said contractors have been saddled with so much liability in these areas that they are sometimes overwhelmed with legal fees.

“There are guys paying a $100,000 a year defending themselves against what could be considered frivolous lawsuits,” he said. “There are people who are suing before the contractor even has the opportunity to come in and fix the problem.”

DeMar started in August as executive officer, but has been a member of the association since 1989 and served on the board of directors for several years. He previously served on the Carson City School Board.

BAWN began in 1974 as the Carson City Builder’s Association and has since expanded to offer member services and support to the building industry throughout the region.