The population of Orlando, Fla., nearly doubled Feb. 7–10, when more than 103,000 building industry professionals arrived at the Orange County Convention Center to attend the 63rd annual International Builders' Show. The premiere stage for showcasing new residential product launches, the annual conference and expo of the National Association of Home Builders featured booths from over 1,900 exhibitors, rife with new releases, demonstrations, and enough raffles to keep things interesting.
Companies like Nanawall, which manufacturers large-opening glass walls, use the opportunity to get architects and contractors to interact with their products by creating mock-ups that can be opened and closed, walked around and through. Specifiers see exactly how the product will work in application. This year, Nanawall released a the SL70 Hurricane series, a new approach to its existing SL70 series of aluminum-framed folding glass walls. Shown above as installed at the Loblolly House in Taylor's Island, Md., the SL70 Hurricane series is rated according to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association hurricane standards. The company already has a series rated for Miami-Dade County.
In addition to the products, a perennial hot spot of the International Builders' Show is the back lot featuring show homes built specifically for the event. It was here, for example, that the Katrina Cottage debuted to great acclaim in 2006. This year, the two featured homes were the New American Home and the Renewed American Home, looking at how 21st century building technologies and green products are being incorporated in new construction and remodels, respectively. Both houses were complete down to furnishings and staged bric-a-brac, with information available on all of the building materials used and how they affected the final construction.
The International Builders' Show will return to Orlando Feb. 13–16, 2008.