|Homebuilding research operation rescued|
|In The News|
|Monday, 14 May 2012 14:25|
May 7th, 2012, 1:22 pm · · posted by Jeff Collins
Another potential casualty of the housing crash has been rescued from the brink of extinction.
A private homebuilding foundation will take over the Construction Industry Research Board, which has been compiling building statistics in California since 1974, with data going back to just after World War II.
The California Homebuilding Foundation in Sacramento announced Monday that it agreed to take over building permit data collection and reporting from the Building Industry Association of Southern California.
“It is by far the most authoritative source of information about residential and commercial construction in California,” said foundation Director Terri Brunson. “Many organizations rely heavily on this information.”
The Burbank-based nonprofit research group collects building permit reports from 525 California cities and counties to produce monthly reports on construction activity used by university researchers, the news media as well as the building industry to track how much building is going on.
The research board has data on homebuilding in Orange County dating back to 1946 and statewide dating back to 1954. It also has been the sole source of data on non-residential building permits since the U.S. Census Bureau stopped collecting that information in 1996.
In 2007, Irvine-based Building Industry Association of Southern California took over the research board’s operations, subsidizing a data firm already threatened by declining resources. But then the housing crash occurred, “and the impacts hit CIRB as much as it did everyone else in the industry,” the regional BIA said.
By February, BIA-SoCal announced that the research board would shut down in March if a new benefactor couldn’t be found.
Then an agreement was struck to shift the operation to the California Homebuilding Foundation, a research and education center tied to the statewide Building Industry Association. The foundation provides scholarships, research funding and continuing education for industry professionals.
The research board will move its operations from Burbank to Sacramento, the announcement said.
One goal is to improve and modernize the research board’s collection, analysis and reporting. The firm, which has been operating on tight budgets for years, still collects much of its information by FAX and disseminates its monthly reports by FAX and snail mail.