IBS 2020 Recap: New Products, Smart Ideas, and Inspirational People
See some of Fine Homebuilding's favorite finds and most enjoyable moments from this year's International Builders' Show.
A big part of our job at Fine Homebuilding is investigating all of the latest tools, building materials, and construction techniques and sharing them with the home-building and remodeling community. It seems fitting then that our editors start every year with a trip to the International Builders’ Show, which this year took place in sunny Las Vegas with more than 60,000 visitors checking out new products and ideas presented by 1,400 exhibitors.
A little help from our friends
Because the builders’ show is too big for any one person to survey on their own, the Fine Homebuilding staff always brings in extra help. We typically rely on editorial adviser Mike Guertin to research and track down unique products, and he did not disappoint. The most surprising and attention-grabbing piece of gear he found is a personal protection device called the Airframe. It’s a wearable exoskeleton with spring-loaded arm supports meant to prevent injuries caused by repetitive motions and overhead lifting. It’s easier to demonstrate than explain how it works, so watch this video of Mike Guertin’s friend and colleague Addison Oliveira trying it on for size:
If you want to see more videos of great finds from IBS 2020, check out our collection of International Builders’ Show highlights.
Plenty of learning opportunities
Aside from the interesting sights in the exhibitor booths, the International Builders’ Show is host to nearly 150 educational sessions–including dozens of hands-on demonstrations–throughout the meeting rooms and halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Some of the most practical lessons for todays builders could be found in the High Performance Building Zone (HPBZ) in the North Hall at the show. Highlights in the HPBZ schedule included the blower-door testing demo by Mike Guertin and the rainscreen-siding details presented by builder Matt Whitbeck and carpenter and Former FHB editor Kevin Ireton (seen below). If you make it to IBS next year in Orlando, be sure to put the HPBZ demos on your must-see list.
It’s really all about the people
Meeting and sharing ideas with the dedicated builders, architects, and tradespeople is arguably the most rewarding part of going to the show. NAHB hosts a huge list of events during the International Builders’ Show, including parties, meet-ups, awards ceremonies, and competitions. A couple of our editors had the pleasure of speaking with two students from SUNY Delhi on one of our live FHB Podcast episodes about their participation in NAHB’s residential construction management competition. In fact, our podcasts from the show floor, where we interviewed builders, architects, product reps, and other attendees, were the perfect outlet for letting our audience know about the goings on at IBS. Listen to all 7 FHB Podcast episodes from IBS to get the whole story.
Fine Homebuilding has been in the habit of hosting a very special meet-up of our own during IBS–the annual #KeepCraftAlive party and networking event–which took place this year in the Craft + Community Bar and Grill at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. This is possibly everyone’s favorite part of our trip to IBS, because it is both a fun opportunity to connect with home-building professionals from around the country and a chance to support the education of and respect for people involved in the construction trades. You can find a recap of the party on the #KeepCraftAlive website.
Until next year
We look forward to hosting the #KeepCraftAlive party, shooting videos around the show floor, and recording podcasts at next year’s show in Orlando. We hope to see you there. And be sure to keep an eye out on our website and social media accounts next February for another collection of highlights from our favorite event of the year.