The International Builders' Show hit its milestone 70th anniversary in 2014, and was back in Las Vegas for the second year in a row, accompanied for the first time by another of the industry's largest shows — the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), plus the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE). The combination, dubbed "Design & Construction Week 2014", filled all three exhibit halls and brought attendance to a size not seen since before the downturn, with over 70,000 people attending. 

The NAHB projects 1.15 million total housing starts in 2014, up 24.5% compared with last year, and returning to normal production levels by 2015. That feeling of optimism filled the convention center's halls all week. Here are some of the highlights the Huttig team saw:

With over 15 million monthly unique visitors, Houzz is a fantastic resource for homeowners to get ideas and inspirations for their next home or remodel to their existing one. More than 350,000 forward-thinking remodelers, builders, architects and others already are using Houzz to drive business, but Houzz made a big splash on the show floor with the launch of their new Site Designer service. It allows users to create a website from scratch easily, using pre-existing templates. The site is then automatically populated with the projects and photos a user has on their Houzz profile. For the many professionals who struggle with their web presence, this tool could be a huge help. 

Roan™ Dust Collecting Circular Saw 
Combating the age-old problem of messes from circular saw cuts, as well as potential new OSHA legislation around airborne dust, Roan Tools unveiled their Dust Collecting Circular Saw, which features a built-in dust collection tank that only needs to be emptied every 50-60 cuts and claims to trap 90% of particles from fiber cement, PVC, OSB, wood and other materials. 

Bathroom Technology
The bathroom might not be the first place you'd expect to find cutting-edge technology, but KBIS was filled with new technologies centered around water. The always-spectacular Kohler® booth saw lines of people trying to win their Moxie™ combination showerhead/Bluetooth® wireless speaker. It connects with your phone, tablet or other device to stream music directly into the shower, and the speaker can be detached and taken anywhere. Delta® unveiled their Touch20® technology, which features digital, color-coded temperature readouts that let homeowners know what kind of temperature they're about to touch. And Toto®, along with most toilet manufacturers, is betting that Americans are ready to join other parts of the world in giving up their toilet tissue. The Toto booth featured more than 10 different models that combined the traditional toilet with the functionality of a bidet, which have been popular in Japan since 1980, amongst other countries. 

Liquid Flashing
Alpha Pro Tech's REX brand, known for its house wrap and roofing underlayment, had an interesting prototype product on display in its booth: a liquid flashing. Designed to be painted on, rolled on or even troweled on, the liquid dries in approximately 20 minutes, or even faster in wetter/more humid conditions, thanks to its unique chemistry. It delivers a waterproof, leakproof seal strong enough that the window itself doesn't even need to be attached with fasteners. The flashing isn't yet available but should be later this year.

Though the show's name says "builder", it's truly the event for anybody that works in the housing industry, and that includes dealers. Your customers come to the show to be educated and see the latest & greatest products available to help them differentiate their homes. So why wouldn't you want to be there to see those new products that can help you differentiate your yard or showroom too?

Mark your calendars now for the 2015 show — January 20-22, 2015 in Las Vegas — which will grow again with the addition of SURFACES, the industry's leading floor coverings show.

Articles in Trends | February 01, 2014