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April-May-June 2002


What Recession?
Attendees and Exhibitors at the International Builders’ Show Say the Industry is Thriving

While many economic experts have pointed to a slight decline in the building industry in early 2002, most attending the 58th Annual International Builder’s Show (IBS) in Atlanta February 8-11 said things are looking better than ever.

Impressive Attendance
IBSLOGO The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) serves as sponsor of the annual event. Bruce C. Smith, 2001 NAHB president and president of Smith Quality Homes in Walnut Creek, Calif., welcomed attendees during the show’s opening ceremonies. “The state of our industry has never been stronger,” said Smith. “Now, it’s the engine of economic growth for the next decade to come.”

The shear number of exhibitors and attendees with a presence at this mammoth show were impressive. The total exhibit area at the Georgia World Congress Center exceeded 1,000,000 square feet and encompassed more than 1,000 exhibits in nearly 300 product categories, according to the NAHB.

Wayne Stetson, senior staff vice president of NAHB Conventions, reported that the official attendance of the 2002 International Builders’ Show was 71,408, which was only 2 percent below the attendance of 72,886 at the 2001 International Builders’ Show. In light of September 11 events, that’s only a slight decline.

GIULINANI There’s a chance that a few people didn’t attend the conference due to flying anxiety considering September 11 events. But, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies, told attendees that the world isn’t a more dangerous place since September 11th—it is safer.

While Giuliani talked mostly about the state of the world after the terrorist attacks, he did have some specific insights for the building industry. “You can be proud of your industry,” said Giuliani. “When you build a home you’re building America, building the idea of America.”

What Homeowners Want
In a seminar, “What the 21st Century Home Buyer Wants,” Joan McCloskey, executive building editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, said, “Americans want homes that make it easier for us to cherish our families, to work at home, to play at home, and even to eat out at home. Many homebuyers have decided they prefer high quality building materials and finished products over more and more square footage.”
This is good news for various IBS exhibitors who offered products, which they say will save the homeowner valuable time. One of these companies is Pilkington which showcased its Activ self-cleaning glass (See Jan-Feb-March DWM, page 30). According to Pilkington, homeowners who purchase this product won’t have to spend hours washing their windows as the photocatalytic properties in the glass cause water to sheet across the glass surface rinsing away dirt and debris. According to Mike Driehorst, representative for the company, Pilkington received a great deal of response from builders, architects and even representatives of the large window manufacturers who stopped by the booth to view the product.

In fact, Activ will be one of two “Best of Show” products featured by reporter Barbara Sloan on an April Home & Garden TV program about the 2002 International Builders’ Show.

The hour-long program, titled “2002 International Builders’ Show,” is tentatively scheduled to air at 9 p.m. on April 21, and at 5 p.m. on April 27 (To find out more about the program and broadcast dates and times, visit www.hgtv.com).

Window and Door Hardware
TRUTH HARDWARE Self-cleaning glass wasn’t the only product generating interest at the show. One product category that was well-represented was window and door hardware. Representatives from Truth Hardware of Owatonna, Minn., say the company was very busy at the show.

“Some of our most talked-about items in our booth were our new decorative finishes that are available on our hardware, including such items as western pewter, brushed chrome, antique brass, bright copper and brushed copper—just to name a few,” said Matt Kottke, Truth’s advertising and promotions coordinator. Kottke said that attendees were also very interested in the company’s new Maxim MP7 multi-point door hardware for French doors. “This unique locking system ‘americanizes’ other designs to make it more user-friendly for the homeowner, as well as making it easier for the door manufacturer to install,” Kottke said.

Kevin McDaniel, managing director for G-U Hardware of Newport News, Va., said attendees were very interested in the company’s casement program for vinyl windows, particularly the casement operators and one piece multiple locking bars. McDaniel said this product offers efficient installation and features mushroom head locking points that provide excellent resistance to forced entry.

“We were very pleased with the turnout of attendees and the quality of our discussions with key people in the industry,” said McDaniel. He also told the industry to look out for some new products from G-U to be introduced this fall.

Kwikset of Lake Forest, Calif., introduced a variety of new door hardware products. Its manufacturer says that the Kwikset® round pocket door lock allows the installation of hidden pocket door fixtures up to six times faster than comparable products and retains most factory warranties and guarantees provided by door manufacturers because the door does not have to be notched in order to install the pocket door lock
Additionally, Kwikset says it now offers grade one security with its new Kwikset UltraMax Security™ line of door hardware. The line includes single and double cylinder deadbolts and the 800 series of three handlesets, which feature a titanium-alloy throwbolt core, a 6-pin cylinder with anti-pick pins and the ultra strike door jamb brace, which the company says is designed to prevent against forcible entry.

Hoppe North America of Fort Atkinson, Wis., introduced two new door and window hardware products. The first is the Ultimate 2D hinge for wood and vinyl profiles which the company says allows for easy adjustment of the door both horizontally and vertically with a simple turn of the screw. Other features include maintenance-free bearings, one pass routing, non-removable pins and specially coated components.

The company also introduced four new swing door handle sets available in a variety of finishes. According to the company, each trim set is protected with a clear protective coating to reduce scratching.

A Bit of Everything
In addition to window and door hardware, IBS exhibitors also had a variety of products of interest to door and window manufacturers.
Hy-Lite Products Inc. of Beaumont, Calif., introduced a one-piece acrylic block insert unit for interior doors. According to the company, the lightweight unit comes pre-assembled and requires no additional reinforcement to door jambs. The unit measures 22 inches wide by 70 inches high so they fit standard 13/8 inch, 30-inch wide interior doors. The units are made to fit both slab and panel doors and come in a variety of block patterns.

“One of the best aspects of adding the door insert unit is that the obscure nature of the acrylic blocks hides the contents of the room ... and helps conceal the view into the room while allowing light to pass through the blocks,” said Karl Hatrak, technical product manager for Hy-Lite Products.
If new designs in glass is what attendees were after, they found it with ODL’s two new Break-through® resistant glass designs in the Secure by Design™ collection. According to the Zeeland, Mich.-based company, the Eloquence profile features sandblasted and formed texture glass combined with clear bevels, which creates beveled doorlites and sidelites while the Illuminations profile includes textured glass with clear and textured bevels. Both profiles are protected by laminated glass and resin panels and the Secure by Design Collection features energy-efficient triple-glazed construction.

Also on the glass side, L.B. Plastics of Mooresville, N.C., introduced its SheerView® glass railing system which the company says is designed to provide an optimum view in scenic areas such as mountain ranges or beaches. The product is compatible with L.B. Plastic’s 3250 series tailing system and comes with a high-impact extruded PVC frame and durable four-foot sections of see-through glass that fit into the railing frame. The company says the product is quick to install and is virtually maintenance-free.

BIG TOM Out of the Ordinary
While most companies relied on their products to get people to visit their booth some exhibitors offered a bit more to attendees. Marley Mouldings of Marion, Va., capitalized on television’s “Survivor” mania and enlisted fellow Virginian “Big Tom” from the third installment of the hit TV show to appear at its booth for two days. Attendees lined up to meet Big Tom and get his autograph. In fact, many of those in line to meet the reality-TV star gave him a cell phone with their friends and family members on the other end so he could say hello. If you’ve ever seen the show you know that the message he gave to the person on the line was a hilarious one.

“Tom created a good atmosphere and brought between 800 and 900 people to our booth that might otherwise missed seeing us,” said Art Ramey, executive vice president sales, marketing and distribution for Marley Mouldings. “The 2002 Builders Show was our most successful ever, generating thousands of leads and new business opportunities.”

But it wasn’t all fun and games at the Marley Mouldings booth. One of the many products the company featured was its new Perfect Corners™ miterless crown system. According to the company, the product’s three simple parts eliminate the difficult and time-consuming labor needed for mitering and heavy caulking.

The company also had exciting news about its new ProFrame™, the company’s exterior no-rot, no-maintenance and energy-efficient entrance and patio door frame. The product won the 2001 Crystal Achievement Award for most innovative door component.

The show floor was so vast and expansive it’s a wonder attendees had time to attend any of the numerous seminars offered. Seminars covered the gamut from technology-related topics to improving profits. Two seminars: “Green Building: Resource Efficiency that Makes Cents” and “Green Buildings = More Sales + Greater Profits,” proves that talk of “green” products is becoming more and more common in the building industry—and that includes the window and door industry, (see DWM winter 2001, page 43 for related article).

If you’re unsure what this new buzzword is referring to, Liza Bowles, president of the NAHB Research Center defines it as follows: “Green building is a term that refers to the resource-efficient design, construction and operation of a home. Green building represents an approach to building and marketing homes that highlights environmental quality, both inside and outside the home.”

Energy-efficient topics were also featured at the conference. Alan Campbell, president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Assoc-iation was one of three panelists speaking at the seminar, “Mission Possible III: Housing that is Affordable and Energy-Efficient.” Campbell took the time to explain various terms to attendees such as U-value, low-E glass, solar heat gain coefficient, warm-edge, gas filling and ENERGY STAR®. He also stressed that use of high-performance windows and doors in a home increases the affordability of a new home by reducing utility costs significantly and reducing callbacks and increasing the resale value.

Bill Eich of Bill Eich Construction followed Campbell, and his first statement proved that education, such as the type Campbell had just given, is definitely needed. Eich opened by asking how many builders in the audience build energy-efficient homes. Out of the approximately 50 attendees in the audience, roughly five raised their hands. “Builders think they do, [build energy-efficient homes]” said Eich. “But they don’t.”

Eich’s company has a list of 10 items that every house the company builds must have. Low-E glazing with Argon gas is on that list.
Builders still have a lot to learn about energy-efficient products as well as other aspects of the window and door industry. All members of the building industry will have the chance to learn more at next year’s IBS show to be held Jan. 21-24, 2003, in Las Vegas.   

Tara Taffera is the publisher of DWM/BCM magazine.


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