Show time in Orlando
The 2011 International Builders’ Show returned to Orlando, Fla., in 2011 — it was held here in 2008 — and it was a lot easier to get a taxi this time around. The residential construction industry was fresh off a year only slightly better than the record low of 2009, and the show’s contraction reflected the industry’s health.
Still, during four days in January, Orlando was indisputably the place for builders looking for suppliers and vice versa. If you were there, you know what you saw. If not, here are some highlights.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: The National Association of Home Builder’s 67th International Builders’ Show attracted 47,000 attendees, according to organizers. In the show’s peak years, IBS drew crowds in the six figures. As part of his welcome letter, NAHB chairman Robert Jones offered this message to the builders who ventured to Orlando: “If you are with us today, you are a survivor.”
CAN-DO ATTITUDE: Otho the Painter was one of several Behr paint can sculptures placed throughout the Orange County Convention Center and the outdoor IBS Show Village. Behr, Home Depot and Kilz hope to expand into the pro market with the launch of the Kilz Pro-X line made by MasterChem Industries. Both Behr and Kilz are part of Masco Corp. Initially the Kilz Pro-X line will offer 1,300 colors. Designed as part of Behr’s “Direct to Pros” program, the company hopes to begin with a February rollout and finish in May or June 2011, when all 2,000 Home Depots will have the program.
A GOOD CAUSE: Home Depot was well represented at the City of Hope Spirit of Life event, honoring Craig Menear, Home Depot’s executive VP merchandising. The event, which included a golf outing and reception in Orlando, raised $1 million for the Los Angeles-area cancer and diabetes research and treatment facility. Pictured here is Dan Dutton, chairman of Portland, Ore.-based Stimson Lumber Co., teeing off during the City of Hope fundraiser.
HOMECOMING: A village of show homes sprouted In the parking lot. Pictured here is the 2011 NextGen Show home — a modular home emphasizing four key themes: green, efficiency, safety and digital. A long list of suppliers, including Plastpro, DuPont, Kohler and Electrolux, contributed to the finished product, which is being moved to Tampa and donated to injured veteran Waldemar Alameda and his family.
HANDS-ON DEMONSTRATION: The Delta booth was one of the more elaborate, and one of the busiest on the show floor. Among the attractions were the latest faucet designs using the company’s Touch 2O Technology, allowing consumers to turn the water on and off by touching the faucet anywhere.
HANGING AT LOWE’S: Another booth blessed with strong foot traffic was Lowe’s. A carnival-like atmosphere included hands-on demonstrations, giveaways and a hang-time contest — pictured here, sponsored by Werner Ladder. The rules were simple: Whoever held on the longest won. Lowe’s and Sears carried the mass-market home improvement flag at the show this year, while rival Home Depot was not on the official exhibitor list.
ONE MORE SALE: One sign that 2011 is off to a good start: The New American Home (TNAH) was finished on time, and it was sold to real buyers before ground was broken. That’s a far cry from the 2010 TNAH program, when the show home wasn’t finished due to the financial struggles of its Las Vegas builder. This year’s house in downtown Orlando measures 8,500 sq. ft. and is described as “American Empire design with Greek Revival elements.” And that’s Indiana limestone on the exterior.
DECENT PROPOSAL: Weddings are the beginning of a major spending cycle, according to 1-800-Registry, which was looking to partner with home builders to participate in the loyalty program. The booth had an attractive proposition: 70% of its registered couples discuss owning a home of their own before their wedding.
BRICKYARD TO BRICKS: Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt signed autographs at the ABC Supply Co. booth, alongside ABC Racing driver Vitor Meira.
Shamrock merges with NorCal Building Materials
Two building material dealers in Northern California have merged in an effort to reduce overhead costs during the continued construction slowdown, according to an article in the Press Democrat.
No financial details were disclosed. The combined companies will operate under the name of Shamrock, which operates concrete plants in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Cloverdale, Sonoma, Napa, San Rafael and Novato. It also owns three building materials yards in Petaluma, Cotati and San Rafael and a gravel facility in Cloverdale.
NorCal operates two concrete plants in Santa Rosa and Middletown, as well as Sebastopol Ready Mix.
The combined companies will have a main office in Petaluma and a second office in Santa Rosa.
NLBMDA weighs in on Better Buildings
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) commented on President Obama’s unveiling of his plan to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings.
Obama’s plan — "Better Buildings Initiative" — intends to make commercial buildings 20% more energy efficient over the next decade by accelerating private sector investment through a series of incentives to upgrade offices, stores, schools, municipal buildings, universities, hospitals and other commercial buildings. The program would also provide financing opportunities for commercial retrofits and encourage states and localities to streamline regulations governing commercial retrofits.
"As many already know, the building material industry has experienced significant job loss over the past few years as a result of the recession’s impact on the residential and commercial construction markets," said NLBMDA executive VP Scott Lynch. "We look forward to working with the administration and Congress on crafting a bipartisan program that achieves the goal of greater energy efficiency in the commercial sector and increasing jobs along the building supply chain."
In his announcement, Obama also renewed his commitment to the proposed HomeStar program to provide consumer incentives for residential retrofits, which did not get enacted in the last Congress.
"NLBMDA will continue to support cost-effective incentives for residential retrofits that do not put smaller retailers at a competitive disadvantage," Lynch said.