Puerto Rico Builders Association – 70 years promoting excellence in the construction industry

written by BVC June 14, 2021

Puerto Rico Builders Association

70 years promoting excellence in the construction industry

 

Business View Caribbean profiles the Puerto Rico Builders Association for our focus on Best Practices in Construction in the Caribbean

Since our establishment in 1951, the Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) has been consistent in its objective of promoting and leading the planned, safe, and sustainable development of Puerto Rico. We represent leading developers and investors of housing, tourism, commercial, and industrial projects towards the creation and development of projects aimed at the betterment of our island. We also represent investors, suppliers, banking professionals, and companies associated with development and construction in Puerto Rico.

In recent years, and as a consequence of several events, our main purpose has been redirected towards collaboration and the implementation of the lessons learned on resilient reconstruction after a natural disaster. In this context, we have maintained our commitment to serve our members by lobbying and educating them.

As we prepare to celebrate 70 years of leading and promoting excellence in the construction industry on the island, like many other organizations around the world, at PRBA we have had to adapt to the new reality of doing business that the pandemic has brought. In this framework, our Board of Directors and the members of the different working committees have diligently overcome technological challenges to maintain an active profile advocating in different areas and fulfilling our mission. Amid the several lockdowns ordered by the local government, we procured to keep our educational program going by conducting over 10 online workshops to discuss important topics such as the CDBG-DR funds and the R3 program, among others.

PRBA Board members met with the designated Secretary of State, Larry Seilhamer to broaden the discussion on topics related to construction and the need of housing in Puerto Rico.

In terms of reconstruction, since 2017 after the ravage of hurricanes Irma and María, we have served as a liaison between government and industry leaders in a way to contribute to the process of accessing the much-needed federal funds destined for that purpose. Our association has been a protagonist in the discussion of important issues for the country, such as the allocation of CDBG-DR funds, the designation of Puerto Rico as an Opportunity Zone, the legislation for service administration, the need to recruit personnel for construction, and the importance of the private sector in the recovery of Puerto Rico.

In addition to lobbying and advocating for the implementation of strategies that facilitate the way in which Puerto Rico accesses reconstruction funds and conducts business, it is essential to highlight the efforts led by the PRBA when creating an internal Coronavirus taskforce, such as a way of actively collaborating with the government and highlighting the construction industry as essential for business. At the same time, we are part of the Economic Working Group appointed by the Governor and prepared a document with protection guidelines against COVID-19, which was used by the local government as a guideline when it comes to reintegrating the personnel of the construction industry to their jobs.

Alfredo Martínez- Álvarez, Jr, chairman of the board of the PRBA

Although at the global level this pandemic has threatened the ease of doing business and put several projects on hold, and in turn, has put the island’s economic stability and progress at risk, the PRBA has managed to overcome all challenges and focus on serving its members by promoting initiatives aimed at safeguarding the interests of our members and the stability of the construction industry. In that direction, it is important to recognize that the reconstruction of our infrastructure is so necessary and on such a scale that we need to implement creative solutions that result in the achievement of the established goals by optimizing processes.

That is why we have worked with the government, strengthening our relationship and contributing our experience regarding the approval of measures that can impact our industry and our fellow citizens. These include the following initiatives:

  1. As a result of the hard work performed by our Housing Committee, the Puerto Rico Housing Department addressed the concerns and suggestions provided by our organization to simplify the design requirements and other dispositions of the Homebuyers Assistance Program under the CDBG-DR.
  2. After more than a decade of efforts to modernize and update the Condominium Law, altogether with other private sector organizations, we succeeded by achieving the adoption of a new law.
  3. Representatives of the PRBA actively participated in the discussion and public hearings at the Puerto Rico House of Representatives and Senate on issues that are considered a top priority for our association such as the Municipal Code, the amendments to the Internal Revenue Code, Construction Code, infrastructure, and permits.
  4. In conjunction with the Private Sector Coalition, and before a representative of the White House, the PRBA addressed the situation that Puerto Rico faces in regards to the Income Limits, Section 8 vouchers for Public Housing, the urgency of the allocation of CBDG-DR funds for those affected by the earthquakes, the classification of the whole island of Puerto Rico as an Opportunity Zone, and the need to increase the nine percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) that subsidizes the acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of rental housing for low and middle-income citizens.
  5. The PRBA led and conducted the efforts of the private sector with the sole purpose of having ACT 169 of 2020 signed into law. That law sought to extend the Housing Promotion Program Transition Act and incorporate it into the Incentives Code, which help many families to acquire a home.
  6. The PRBA was instrumental in the process of the dismissal of the proposed moratorium on coastal developments.

For generations, our organization has had the privilege of serving not only our members but also Puerto Rico. By daring to take advantage of all the opportunities and contribute to the economic activity of the island, we have strengthened the support to our members and, today, as we celebrate 70 years of history, we are proud of our contribution to Puerto Rico and of having evolved by adapting our strategies to meet the needs and goals of leaders in the construction industry.

AT A GLANCE

Puerto Rico Builders Association

What: A private, non-profit organization serving investors, developers, and builders for the betterment of Puerto Rico

Where: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Website: www.constructorespr.com

Volume 8, Issue 6 Business View Caribbean cover
Volume 8, Issue 6

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