International Builders' Show kicks off in Orlando

Education is at the forefront of this year’s National Association of Home Builders International Builders' Show, which begins Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. 

The event features more than 190 educational breakout sessions offering a wave of information on green building, sustainability, sales and marketing, architectural design, community planning, business management, and innovation and technology.

“The show itself is really designed to help builders weather the downturn in the housing market and prepare for a market rebound,” said Michael Cobb, SVP education for the NAHB. “I’d also say that frankly we want to enhance the level of professionalism within the industry.” 

Cobb said of the approximately 65,000 IBS attendees, about 20,000 attend the educational sessions. And while green building sessions tend to draw the biggest numbers, sales and marketing sessions are second in popularity. 

Cobb said that its common knowledge that the square footage of the homes is dropping and that consumers want more for their money, and builders want to know how to best market those ideals to potential buyers. 

“They’re looking for an understanding of what the preferences are of the various consumer demographic levels would be,” he said. 

According to Cobb, IBS attendees on average have 10 years in the industry, and much of the educational series are geared toward helping them improve certain aspects or shore up particular weaknesses in their company. However, IBS also features about 28 programs designated as core content (what the IBS considers fundamental knowledge and skill sets in the building industry) aimed toward new builders as well.

One of the biggest draws to the education series is the green building sessions. Kevin Morrow, the NAHB’s senior program manager for green building, said one of the biggest focuses this year will be the sessions devoted to the new National Green Building Standard. 

“I think that’s something that every builder in this country should be aware of,” he said. “Just because it’s the first and it’s the only ANSI (American National Standard Institute) residential green building standard.”

The International Builders' Show runs Jan. 12 through 15.