Home Builders Association to start in Red Lodge

Photo by Alastair Baker

Chuck Sallade and RD Kirkness

plan to develop a Home Builders

Association in Red Lodge.

It’s been an idea percolating in Chuck Sallade’s head for quite a few years but now, with the help of R.D. Kirkness, it is on the verge of becoming a reality, and that reality is for Red Lodge to have its own Home Builders Association.

“It’s time to organize things a little bit,” said Sallade, referring to the mish-mash of skilled homebuilders and trades people that can be found in the town but are in turn sometimes hard to locate.

“Home builders offers many different programs to help the builder and help Red Lodge connect us to the homeowners and help them find us,” said Kirkness, who runs Rock Creek Home and Garden Center north of Red Lodge.

“When people travel to Red Lodge one of the things that is always difficult to find is a home builder,” Kirkness added. “They find a realtor and purchase a lot or a home that needs work and then the missing link to the whole thing is connecting the home owner to a builder.”

The Red Lodge Home Builders Association will be able to facilitate that final step and connect people that have moved into the area with licensed contractors who are members of the Association and help them build or remodel. This would also include associate members such as plumbers, electricians, heating, carpeting, landscaper, carpentry, in fact anyone who has any thing to do with the home building trade.

The Association, which is affiliated with the Home Builders Association of Billings, which is part of the State and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), will bring all trade businesses and individuals under one umbrella and that could help Red Lodge grow economically.

“When you hear talk about economic growth nationally on the news, they always c i te the National Association of Home Builders statistics, because home building is one of the largest drivers of the economy. It is a big deal to the local economy,” said Sallade, who owns and runs Red Lodge Furniture Studio.

Sallade added that the Association would help with the trade’s notion of “each man for himself” when dealing with City, St a t e Code o r Code interpretation. NAHB provides advocacy support for grassroots voices; education programs for members; events; networking; legal services; internetbased discussion groups; and a Green Building Program. It even has a High School Building Program for students who are interested in construction and home building.

There will be two websites eventually connected to the Red Lodge Home Builders Association; one for the general public to look through a list of trades people and their portfolios and another for the builders and tradesmen, to find out about benefits, rebates, compensation, job safety, OSHA, and code interpretations.

“It is a way of helping the professionals be better on the business end of things,” said Sallade.

Those home builders and tradesmen, who join the association in Red Lodge, will be members of the Home Builders Association of Billings, as well as a member of the Montana and the National Homebuilders Associations.

“As a chapter,” said Kirkness, “this will enable us to put on our own parade of homes and bring people into Red Lodge and look at the showcase homes, and may even enable us to put on a home show in town to show off others talents who do fine furniture or landscaping. It will help build our economy here with quality people here and not have to import.”

“The Association helps facilitate homebuilding in Montana and not shut it off, so we can raise our families here,” said Kirkness.

“We could help the City make homes affordable here,” said Sallade. “

The ultimate goals are to create jobs and positive economic returns for the home builders and help Red Lodge grow economically in a positive direction.”

A membership drive for those wishing to join the Red Lodge Home Builders Association will be held April 23 at 4:30 p.m. at the Red Lodge Community Foundation building (the old post office). Speaking at the drive will be Denise M. Smith, Executive Officer Home Builders Association of Billings, Dustin Stewart Executive Director of the Montana Building and Industry Association (State Association), Ty Lantis with Image Builders, HBA Billings President and Mike Hughes, MBIA President.

The event is also open to all business owners, retailers, real estate members, and bankers.

For more information on the Red Lodge Home Builders Association call Kristen Sallade at 591 3443; Chuck Sallade at 690 1347 or RD Kirkness at 425-3388.