To fill gaps in building laws, vocational skills, and knowledge of the construction industry, the Interior Alaska Building Association has created a new brand.
With its new ALASKA BUILT. brand, the Interior Alaska Building Association is highlighting the state’s construction industry by building a relationship between the industry and the community and recognizing high-quality homebuilders.
“ALASKA BUILT. promotes the public awareness of the need to hire licensed, bonded, and insured builders for both home construction and remodeling—also contractors or subcontractors who do things like anything from plumbing to even handy work,” IABA Executive Officer Jessica Laine said.
IABA saw the need to recognize contractors who met certain standards because of gaps in the state’s building laws. For example, Alaska lacks any statewide building code, allows for owner builders to construct or remodel their own homes, and has seasonal contractors who often build and sell homes and then leave the state—situations that lead to poorly built, unlivable homes, especially considering the challenges of building in an extreme climate like Alaska’s.
By registering and distributing the ALASKA BUILT. mark to companies that are licensed, bonded, and insured—as well as members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a local Alaska builders association—IABA can demonstrate which contractors can be trusted to follow best building practices.
“What we really want to do is start conversations that increase the interest in the building industry, make people aware of what they can find out there, and help them find contractors who can help them build better,” Laine said. “We want to encourage development of the building industry overall.”
In addition, Laine hopes the new brand will help close the skills gap in the vocational trade sector by drawing attention to trades and trades schools as a feasible education and career option.
“What we want to do with ALASKA BUILT. is transcend generations and get younger people to think about what they do here to build Alaska up,” Laine said. “And then in the long run, they will care about who they hire more.”
IABA is working with NAHB, who provided a $24,000 grant toward the campaign, and other Alaska builders associations to promote ALASKA BUILT. Currently, the association is working to create an ALASKA BUILT. certification that will more officially recognize its members, though the certification criteria is still undecided.
Lastly, IABA has worked the brand into its tradeshows, namely its local Home Show, through meeting themes, photo booths, and an “I Am ALASKA BUILT.” day. It will also sell sports gear like trucker hats, baseball caps, and Hoo-rags featuring the brand logo and put the resulting proceeds toward educational activities or personal licensing or learning for industry professionals.
“One thing that the IABA feels strongly about is making sure the community is built the right way the first time,” Laine said in a News Miner article. “We want homes that are built strong and reliable. We want to encourage affordable homes that are energy efficient.”