Builders’ Show Moves Back to Las Vegas

Housing downturn expected to dampen turn-out for annual NAHB event
Ryan Self
December 8, 2008
Meetings & Events | Segments

After an extended stay in Orlando, the International Builders’ Show is moving back to Las Vegas this year, when the National Association of Home Builders' annual show opens from January 20 to 23. And while a fresh location often translates into a bigger and busier event, continued declines in the housing market appear to be preventing any sort of bounce this year.

Despite the slumping housing market, last year's IBS showed surprising resilience.  Attendance was off about 10 percent from record 100,000-plus years, but there was a slight uptick in the number of exhibitors with an influx of new smaller companies. The 2009 edition will no doubt remain a big event, but it won't offer a repeat of that surprise performance. The number of exhibitors is projected to drop from 1,900 last year to about 1,700 at the Las Vegas Convention Center this year.

NAHB also foresees fewer builders coming out. “We’re definitely going to see a smaller attendance this year,” says Meg Meyer, staff vice president of marketing for the show. “Everyone is nervous, obviously, on the attendee and exhibitor side. But whether we have 80, 90, or 100,000, that’s still a lot of people, and you won’t find that crowd anywhere else.”

And while the list of exhibitors is currently smaller than the 2008 event, Meyer also notes that companies can still sign up for space until the show opens. “We’re still going to be the biggest annual construction show,” she says. “It’s still a huge number of people–they see the value, this is where their potential clients will be.”

The window and door industry presence will remain fairly strong.  Most of those that typically are among the even'ts largest exhibitors–Andersen, Atrium, Kolbe & Kolbe, Marvin, Masonite, MI, Pella, Ply Gem and Weather Shield–are planning to go. One major name that sat out last year’s show–Therma-Tru Doors–has already confirmed that it will be back for the 2009 show.  While NAHB is still accepting exhibitors, two major industry names–Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors and Loewen–remained conspicuously absent from the list of 2009 exhibitors as this issue went to press.

With the move west, the list of window and door manufacturers includes a few regional names, such as Utah-based Amsco Windows. Among the manufacturers coming to IBS for the first time is Window City Industries, the Canadian vinyl window producer.

At last year's show, exhibitors reported trying to hold on, strengthening their core business and trying to win the market share battle. The other big theme, of course, was green building.  “We’re not sure of all of the implications of green,” acknowledged one industry exhbitor at the 2008 show, but it dominated the 2008 show. Most agreed it was a trend that would not go away anytime soon, even if they didn't fully understand it. 

IBS will also host numerous industries suppliers as well. The contingent of hardware suppliers, that regularly includes such firms as G-U, Hoppe and Winkhaus, is expanding this year with the addition of Century Hardware and the Aubi/Siegenia group, which recently named Interlock as a North American representive. 

This issue also features a preview of some of the window and door products, components and accessories to be featured in Las Vegas, following on page XX. For more in-depth coverage, go to for a complete rundown of all the latest offerings from window and door manufacturers and industry suppliers to be highlighted at IBS. Copies of the Window& Door IBC Quick Guide are also available to download from the site.

More information about the show itself, including details about show hours, registration, seminars, and accommodations; as well as a complete list of exhibitors, can also be found at


Reach Ryan Self, managing editor, at