Rob Heselbarth, editorial director
Another successful International Builders’ Show is finished, but not before plenty of activity took place. Small manufacturers continue to be absorbed by larger companies, while larger manufacturers continue to broaden their horizons, in the quest to become one-stop product shops for home builders. A decking manufacturer purchased a trim company, a brick maker purchased a manufactured stone siding company, a window company now offers exterior trim and siding. Even products themselves can do more than ever, as an appliance company now has a refrigerator that dispenses hot water from the door. It no longer seems acceptable for a manufacturer to offer only one type of product. Of course I generalize here to make a point, but I see no slowdown of this trend in the manufacturing world.
Building performance and production efficiency remain the most effective ways for manufacturers to innovate. Windows are more efficient, insulated siding now has higher R values, and software can eliminate material and labor waste like never before. Labor savings is still popular, too. Manufacturers are making products that can be installed more simply and quickly, with the goal of saving installation time and therefore costs. And, practically every product that can feature an app for access and control from anywhere in the world, has an app.
Perhaps the biggest difference in this year’s IBS is the positive buzz from builders and manufacturers. Builders were cruising the show floor looking for products to install in the homes under construction back home, while manufacturers were busy making sure they had enough staff in their booths to answer all the questions from builders. Positive buzz is an intangible takeaway from this year’s show, but it’s based on something real that hasn’t been seen in many years.
Andrea Girolamo, ForResidentialPros.com editor
NAHB hit the high notes right from the kick-off: Michael Eisner’s keynote address the first morning of the show really set the tone. His topic was collaboration and he highlighted some of his best and worst collaborations and encouraged a recession-battered audience to focus on their failures and on what all of us as a community can learn from the lessons of the last five years since our collective bubble burst. Another shot in the arm came shortly after Eisner’s speech ended and NAHB president Barry Rutenberg and president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association John K. Morgan announced that the International Builders Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show would be teaming up to colocate the shows in Las Vegas starting next year. That gave us all a shock, and had attendees talking about what impact the move may have on both shows going forward. The crowd was noticeably busier and more crowded than in shows of recent memory; attendees and exhibitors alike seemed to be energized by it.
Laurie Banyay, managing editor
IBS week is always preceded by months of preparation. Exhibitors are finalizing new products and designing outstanding booths, attendees are making preparations to be off jobsites for the week and we editors are putting together pre-show issues, making booth appointments and planning jam-packed schedules. I spent the majority of my time at the show visiting manufacturers and seeing their new products. I was impressed with the number of truly new products this year. Everything from a wall coating that gives the wall properties of a whiteboard, to cool plumbing fixtures (musical showerhead anyone?), ventilation for bathrooms and more. Several window and door companies are making a bigger push with wide-span doors and windows that open completely to make indoor-outdoor transitions, which went hand-in-hand with all the outdoor living products I saw. Technology also is making itself known. Several companies have apps and website tools that let a consumer upload a picture of their own house, then digitally replace a door, roof or other building component so they can see what a potential product will look like on their home. Manufacturers and attendees alike were excited about the coming year. One morning on the Monorail, I was speaking to an exhibitor who said he was blown away by the first day of the show between the number of people visiting his booth and their enthusiasm.