NAHB's International Builders' Show Sees First Uptick in Five Years

February 6, 2014

Builders are building again was the sentiment at the new Design and Construction Week launched this year by collocating the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show (IBS) and the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). The two shows took over the Las Vegas Convention Center Feb. 4-6.

After a devastating downturn, the construction industry is starting to come back, and it’s on a roll. The trend is directly translating into a turnaround trade show.

“Finally, for the first time in five years, our show has grown,” said Mark Pursell, senior vice president at NAHB. “Last year, we hit bottom at 300,000 square feet and 42,000 attendees. This year, we’re at 430,000 square feet and 52,000 attendees.”

The exhibitor count went from 900 last year to 1,300 this year. KBIS was expected to come in at 200,000 square feet and 20,000 attendees.

IBS previously spanned more than 1 million sq. ft. and drew upwards of 70,000 attendees before the housing crisis struck.

NAHB projects 1.15 million total housing starts in 2014, up 24.5 percent compared with last year, and being back to normal production levels by 2015. Pursell noted the industry still is likely to face challenges with the supply of materials, labor and equity financing.

Launching the Design and Construction Week was the first step in bringing all the parties involved in construction together and help the industry recover faster.

“The whole ecosystem of homebuilding can network and talk about the industry issues,” he said. “We’re adding SURFACES and also talking to the Las Vegas Market Center to tap into the interior design part of the market.”

When asked about the biggest challenge of creating the Design and Construction Week, Pursell named finding meeting space for more than 500 meetings and educational sessions.

He added he expects that even more space will be utilized at the adjacent LVH hotel next year. “Launching has been a lot of work but Emerald Expositions and NKBA have been awesome partners,” Pursell said. “Attendees and suppliers are loving it.”

For KBIS exhibitor Tom Zak with Wine Logic, the new event has been a good deal. “We saw maybe 40 percent of our traffic from the Builders’ Show. The combination of two shows has been very helpful and it allowed us to get to the builders market faster,” he said. He’s noticing that more designers are willing to bring new ideas to consumers and offer products with higher margins.

Attendees Cathy Bergstrom and Kimberly Ambrose, with a homebuilder Miller and Smith, said they also see the resurgence of custom options for homes.

“People are starting to look for new trendy things,” Bergstrom said. “Colors and textures are important.” The pair had only come to IBS in the past, but this year, thanks to improving market and to the event collocation, brought a larger team and scheduled more appointments with suppliers.

“Having the two shows combined made a lot of sense for us. We’d love to see more in flooring,” she added.

In 2015, Design and Construction Week will expand even further with the addition of SURFACES and StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas Jan. 21-23 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The next NAHB International Builder’s Show and KBIS will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 20-22, 2015.

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