News & Updates

Day on the Hill and Early Wins for Home Builders and Trade Partners

Jan 29, 2024 | Capitol Connection, HBAV News

Last week was action-packed for HBAV.

Craig Toalson, Chief Executive Officer, HBAV

Our annual Day on the Hill drew nearly 100 members to Richmond this past Thursday, January 25. HBAV members held more than 50 meetings with elected officials in the Virginia General Assembly, working to educate on industry issues and key bills this session to help protect housing in the Commonwealth.

Meanwhile, the filing deadline has now passed, and the Virginia General Assembly faces 2,283 bills – and 10% of those have an impact on our members.

Last week, we helped advance a bill that could speed up residential construction, while defeating two bills that could have harmed our Uniform Statewide Building Code. This week, we’ll be focused on defeating four bills that are extremely harmful.  You can read below for updates on each of the key bills we’re tracking.

With 40 days still to go in the 2024 session, we look forward to keeping you updated on our progress – and we appreciate your support and active involvement at every step.

Craig Toalson, CAE
CEO, Home Builders Association of Virginia


Opposing bills that would harm Virginia’s top-ranked Building Code process

Virginia’s Building Code development process is ranked No. 2 in the nation — a ranking we want to keep, and one that makes the Commonwealth competitive and a great place to live and work. Several bills will harm that status, hurt builders, and make homes less affordable.

We must protect the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) process and not create local building codes, which would lead to chaos and uncertainty in the market.

HB 364 (Martinez): Local authority to mandate fire sprinklers in new townhomes

Update: Both bills were killed in committee – a key victory for protecting our Statewide Building Code.

Background: Virginia’s uniform statewide building code development process allows all stakeholders to thoroughly vet each code proposal before being voted on by the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

This bill skips that process and establishes local building codes, creating uncertainty for the housing market and consumers. Current Virginia Code allows customers who choose to install a sprinkler system in their home to do so.

HB 950 (Lopez): Local stretch energy codes

Update: This bill is likely to be heard by the Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, Housing Subcommittee on Thursday, Feb. 1. We’ll continue to voice our opposition to this bill, which would create local building codes.

Background: The bill would allow localities to create and require stretch energy codes, which emphasize energy performance beyond a “base” energy code. In recent code cycles, Virginia has made significant strides in energy efficiency standards in new homes with increased ceiling insulation and mandatory building envelope testing.

This bill skips that process and establishes local building codes, creating uncertainty for the housing market and consumers. Current Virginia Code allows customers who choose to build a home to a higher energy efficiency standard to do so.

Here’s a few other bills we strongly oppose. 

HB 930 (Earley): Local government denials of zoning applications based on current public facility infrastructure

Update: Our efforts ensured SB 652 was resoundingly defeated (13-2) in committee. HB 930 has been referred to assigned to a Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns subcommittee, and we will be working to defeat this bill in the coming week.

Background: This bill would allow a locality to reject or defer a rezoning application solely on the adequacy of current public facilities. Virginia’s population and job base is growing, and housing supply needs to keep pace.

Localities need to own the housing supply problem and be willing to address it. This legislation allows localities to significantly limit housing supply and job creation.

HB 471 (Martinez) and HB 567 (Askew): Mandatory EV Charging requirements in new multifamily development

Update: Askew’s bill has been assigned to a Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns subcommittee, which meets on Thursday, Feb. 1.

Background: HBAV is actively working with stakeholders and utility providers on the electrical grid’s capacity for EV charging stations in new homes. Challenges include a plan for development processes, grid capacities, electric components, easements, and right-of-way. We are committed to finding common ground on this issue as grid capacity and technology expand.

There are several bills we actively support.

HB 1356 (Owen) & SB 296 (VanValkenburg): Review of preliminary/final plats and site plans

Update: SB 296 passed committee and has been sent to the Senate for consideration. The House bill is in committee.

Background: Guardrails and parameters regarding plan review and timelines differ between commercial and residential projects. This legislation, backed by HBAV, seeks to give the same protections to residential development and construction that is afforded to commercial projects. This limits endless rounds of comments and speeds up construction timelines.

SB 244 (McPike): Protect land use decisions made at virtual meetings during pandemic

Update: The bill passed committee and is headed to the Senate floor for consideration, and we continue to share our support.

Background: Like all businesses, government at all levels relied heavily on virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent court case in Northern Virginia has questioned the land use decisions made by local governments at virtual meetings, and our bill seeks to uphold these decisions.

SB 489 (Carroll Foy): Virginia residential development infrastructure fund

Update: The bill been referred to the Committee on Rules.

Background: The bill directs the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to work with stakeholders to develop legislation to establish a residential infrastructure fund. The infrastructure fund will be available to local governments who prioritize the linkage between economic development and housing supply.

HB 378 (Owen): Partial bond release for E&S and environmental bonds

Update: The bill has been assigned to a Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns subcommittee, which meets on Thursday, Feb. 1.

Background: Clarifies that existing provisions related to the partial and final release of performance guarantees shall also apply to erosion and sediment (E&S) control measures, stormwater management facilities, and fill and borrow areas. If a bond release is denied, the locality must provide justification in their policy as to why and what needs to be corrected.

Localities need to own the housing supply problem and be willing to address it. This legislation allows localities to significantly limit housing supply and job creation.