Fine Homebuilding comes alive at BuildersTrade03
Regional trade show features live demonstrations and seminars
For more than 20 years, this magazine has been the pre-eminent source of how-to information for residential builders. But if you were looking for our authors to provide live demonstrations, you had to look elsewhere. That shortcoming came to an end in February when we served as media sponsor for a new regional trade show in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Presented by the Home Builders Association of Western Massachusetts, BuildersTrade03: Northeast Construction Expo was similar to industrywide events such as the International Builders Show (IBS), only much smaller. The modest exhibition floor featured 80 tool and material manufacturers; about 50 business seminars also took place.
Unlike the big shows, which are mainly about the business of building, this one was equally concerned with craft. Forty live demonstrations, almost all by Fine Homebuilding authors, were the highlights of the time I spent at the show. During one two-hour stretch, I watched contributing editor Gary M. Katz reveal his tricks for fitting a new door into an existing jamb, then dashed over to a nearby stage where Mike Guertin led viewers through his process for installing weathertight windows.
Attendees also could pick up tips on concrete-form building from Rick Arnold, drywall finishing from Myron Ferguson or concrete-countertop fabrication from Fu-Tung Cheng. All these presenters offered audience members the opportunity to try their hand at the process: Planing a door was popular; sanding drywall, less so.
The seminars were less crowded, but the presentations were every bit as professional as those at national events. I poked my head into one session that focused on code violations — expecting to encounter a building inspector droning on like the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — but was so engaged by the lively banter taking place between the tag-team group of presenters (a builder, an engineer and an inspector) that I quickly found a chair. Speakers for other seminars included Fine Homebuilding authors Larry Janesky, Jeremiah Eck and John Abrams as well as nationally known figures such as building scientist Joe Lstiburek.
The next BuildersTrade expo will take place February 12-13, 2004, at the Centrum Center in Worcester. To learn more about the upcoming show, visit the Web site (www.builderstrade.com) or contact Cheryl Lewis, the show director (518-922-8843).
After reviewing our first attempt to partner with a small trade show, Fine Homebuilding publishing director Jon Miller was enthusiastic about future possibilities: “Other regional shows (new and established) have now expressed interest in working with us. Ultimately, I can see us developing relationships with a number of regional shows all around the country; it’s a great way for us to help serve the needs of builders at the local level.”
Tom O’Brien is a Fine Homebuilding associate editor.
Photo: Roe A. Osborn