IBS Show Attracts Record Number

More than 105,000 housing professionals gathered in Orlando, Fla. last month for the 2006 International Builders’ Show, making it the best-attended annual convention in NAHB’s history.

The Orange County Convention Center was packed with 967,000 sq. ft. of exhibits showcasing the most innovative products and services aimed specifically at the residential and light commercial construction industries.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell kicked off the four-day expo with an address at the opening ceremonies. 

In conjunction with the expo, the NAHB elected their executive team for 2006.  David Pressly, of Statesville, N.C. is now serving as NAHB president. Brian Catalade of Playa del Rey, Calif. is the new first vice president. 

Mexican Cement Tariffs to be Lifted

Authorities in the U.S. and Mexico have reached an agreement that would put an end to the high U.S. import taxes on Mexican Cement.

Under the proposed settlement, which could be finalized within months, the U.S. will reduce duties on Mexican cement from $26 to $3 per ton, and Mexican imports will be permitted to grow to 3 million metric tons annually, up from last year’s level of approximately 2 million tons. After three years, the quotas and duties would be entirely eliminated.

It is hoped that the agreement will alleviate cement shortages which have now been reported in more than 30 states. Many builders claim the shortages have created construction delays and significantly increased the cost of building projects.

“With U.S. capacity running at full tilt, the nation still must import more than 20% of its cement supply in order to meet domestic needs,” says NAHB President David Pressly. Because of its close proximity to the U.S., Mexico is the logical source for cement. Not only does it have excess capacity, but it takes only four days to import cement from Mexico, compared with 40 days from Asia.

The accord is structured so that Florida and the Gulf region, the areas with the most critical shortage, will receive the greatest amount of Mexican cement—up to 500,000 tons per year. Other areas receiving significant amounts include Arizona (1.25 million tons), New Mexico/El Paso (725,000 tons) and California (150,000 tons). 

“The pact is vital…as the rebuilding efforts from Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma get into full swing,” says Pressly. “We urge both governments to quickly finalize the accord so that we can achieve this important objective as soon as possible.”


ICFA Meeting in Virginia

The Insulating Concrete Forms Association will be holding their Spring Meeting and Expo April 24-26, 2006 in Norfolk, Virginia at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. At press time, exhibitor booths are still available. For additional information, visit www.forms.org. 

The ICFA has also redesigned its website. In addition to containing all the information from the previous site, the new layout also contains testimonials, educational materials, a bookstore, and information explaining the benefits of
ICF construction.


Housing Has Another Record Year, Growth to Slow in 2006

The U.S. Commerce Department estimates homebuilders constructed more than two million houses in 2005, despite the year-end slowdown.

 “All in all, 2005 will be remembered as a superb year for the housing industry, thanks to highly favorable interest rates and strong buyer demand,” said NAHB President David Pressly.

Total housing starts for the year 2005 topped 2.06 million units, up 5.6% from 2004 and the second-highest starts number on record following 1972’s 2.36 million units. Single-family homes hit 1.71 million units, the highest level ever.

In December, single-family fell 12.3%, while multifamily increased 10%. Total housing starts declined 8.9%.

“This report is an indication that the market is returning to a healthy and more sustainable pace, and is in line with what our builder surveys have been telling us,” said David Seiders, NAHB economist. 

According to Ben Engebreth’s Housing Tracker Web site, sale prices have fell more than 5% since October in several major cities, including Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

The drop in housing demand “seems to be real this time,” says Wellesley College economist Karl Case. “Housing on the coasts has gotten too expensive, mortgage rates are headed up and people have gotten spooked by the bubble talk. There just aren’t a lot of good arguments that real estate will continue to boom.” 


New Green Building Guidelines Available

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) new book, Model Green Home Building Guidelines, is now available in a spiral-bound edition for easy reference at the job site. 

A new edition of the Green Building Public Relations Toolkit is also available. The kit provides information, tips, and recommended strategies for launching a successful green building program. To order either item, contact Diane Webb at (800) 368-5242 x8290.


Perma-Crete Gains ICC Approval

Perma-Crete, a textured acrylic finish popular with ICFs, has been approved by the International Code Council for
all types of commercial and residential surfaces.

The ICC is the predominant construction code in the United States and many other parts of the world. With the new ICC approval, ICF contractors should find it easy to convince officials that Perma-Crete is a top-tier exterior finish.

The compound is designed for both vertical and horizontal applications, and has twice the overall strength and endurance as that of standard concrete. With a compressive strength of over 2000 psi, the product is durable enough for use on freeway overpasses and airport runways.

Perma-Crete is manufactured by Quality Systems, Inc. and distributed worldwide through over 1,000 dealers.


Quadlock Promotes Stinchfield

Quadlock Building Systems has announced that Rhyno Stinchfield has been promoted to Director of North American Sales.

Stinchfield developed the company’s highly successful U.S. distribution system of partnering with regional building material suppliers. The system also emphasizes face-to-face meetings between the company and regional partners, where sales managers can offer individualized assistance with local sales and
marketing efforts.

“We’d like to roll out this plan all across North America,” says Hubert Max Kustermann, CEO of Quad-Lock. “The logical first step was to promote Rhyno.” 

“It’s… a fascinating time for the ICF industry,” says Stinchfield. “We aren’t a burgeoning technology any more, we’re becoming a mainstream building solution.” 

BuildBlock offers Special Financing

Indymac Bank and BuildBlock Building Systems have announced a partnership agreement that makes ICF home-ownership easier and more affordable than ever before. 

Indymac Bank is a national leader in home construction financing. In 2004 they were rated “Best Choice” for home construction lending. In addition to offering energy-efficient mortgages, Indymac offers a Construction-to-Permanent Loan, which simplifies home financing tremendously.  Loans for the land purchase, construction costs, and long-term mortgage are handled in a single application. 

BuildBlock is one of the fastest-growing ICF brands in North America, with seven manufacturing plants and a network of distributors covering the U.S. and Canada.