Jonathan Sweet is the editor in chief of Professional Remodeler, an award-winning trade publication for remodelers and home improvement contractors. He started his career covering homes and small businesses at a daily newspaper and has spent more than a decade writing for several construction trade publications including Qualified Remodeler, Construction Pro and Concrete Contractor+Jonathan Sweet

There's not much doubt where new construction sits these days -- bouncing along the bottom.

The remodeling market, on the other hand, is a lot more difficult to get a read on.

During the housing boom, new products were being introduced into the home building market at a staggering rate.
According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (and oft-repeated by our columnist Mark Richardson), in a recent three-year period there were more products introduced than in the previous 100 years for the home building industry.

We're collecting information about how remodelers use technology for an upcoming issue of Professional Remodeler magazine.

As a special incentive, respondents to the survey will be entered in a drawing to win one of three American Express Visa gift cards.

You can fill out the survey here.

The EPA’s LRRP lead paint rules put us, as an industry, in an awkward place.
We have a rule that is, by all accounts, increasing the cost of doing business; driving work toward unlicensed, fly-by-night contractors; and is being infrequently enforced.
It’s also a rule we can all agree stems from a noble goal: protecting children from the quite-real dangers of lead-based paint in older homes during remodeling.

Almost 90 percent of Americans think owning a home is still an important part of the American dream, despite the current housing market.

That's according to a new New York Times/CBS poll released late yesterday.

At the same time, only 49 percent of respondents said housing is a safe investment and 45 percent said it was a risky one.

Other highlights of the poll:

Congratulations go out to Iris Harrell and her Mountain View, Calif., remodeling company.

Harrell Remodeling was recently named by Inc. magazine as one of the top workplaces in the country. The editors recognized Iris and her company for the Employee Stock Ownership Plan they have in place, amongst other successes.

You can read more at Inc.'s website.

So I don't know what to make of this one, posted earlier today on HousingZone:
BuildFax Remodeling Index Shows Top April on Record.

I'd love to believe it's true -- that we're really seeing remodeling activity hit it's highest mark since 2004. Everybody else seems to be projecting a slowdown, although the anecdotal evidence I'm hearing supports the idea of a surge this spring.

Got to spend some time over at the Bosch headquarters yesterday. To show off the toughness of their new line of drills, they dropped two of them 532 feet from a hovering helicopter.

It may not have been a practical application, but I was pretty impressed. You can see video I shot of the demo below.

All the remodelers out there who thought that the EPA RRP lead paint rules weren’t going to be enforced may want to think again.
The EPA announced in May it would be pursuing action against a Rockland, Maine, remodeler for alleged violation of the RRP rules. The EPA has said that Colin Wentworth is facing fines of at least $150,000 for multiple violations.

Lead paint continues to be getting a lot of buzz, what with the NAHB's lawsuit against EPA, the first fine coming down last week and more.

Here's my video update on the latest developments. We'll also have more on lead paint in the June issue of Professional Remodeler, mailing soon.

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