2024 International Builders’ Show: A Recap and Insights

Zack Beveridge
March 5, 2024

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builder Show is not your average industry event. Its tall stature casts a shadow across the landscape of the construction world, drawing in the global community of builders, developers, and construction professionals to a single, sprawling site. This year, I had the privilege of attending as an exhibitor, and what I found there wasn't just a testament to the size of the industry; it was a cultural convergence of innovation and tradition, a proverbial melting pot of what home building means today.

The Spectacle and Scale

Walking into the exhibition center, the sheer size was overwhelming. In one direction lay the mammoth halls where 1,800+ exhibitors jostled for attention, displaying all manner of products and services that are integral to the building process. In the other, seminar rooms and theaters buzzed with 120+ educational sessions, as industry giants took to the stage to share wisdom and foresight. The event itself was a hub of activity, with a staggering 76,000+ attendees transforming the venue into a living hive of professional discourse, marking the largest show NAHB has seen in 15 years.

Even these numbers fail to mention that while IBS is taking place there are other industry events happening right next door, inflating the scale of the event to near-cityship status. Design & Construction Week (DCW), the co-location of IBS and the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA’s) Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) were also taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center during this time. DCW drew 117,000+ attendees, and 2,400+ exhibitors occupied over one million square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Ty Sharp (Co-Founder) and Stephanie Domingue (VP Sales) at the inBuild booth
Ty Sharp (Co-Founder) and Stephanie Domingue (VP Sales) at the inBuild booth

Lessons in Innovation

The testament to innovation wasn't only in the eye-catching products; it was present in the investment builders were making in their own knowledge and skill sets. Educational events were a center of activity, with sessions covering financial strategy, leadership, and the irresistible emergence of AI in the home building process. One particularly poignant quote resonated with me—"It’s not AI that will take your job, it’s the contractor using AI that will take your job." The message was clear: understanding and harnessing technology is a competitive advantage in the modern builder’s toolkit.

Stephanie, a fellow inBuilder, shared her insights from the sessions on AI, noting the practical emphasis on using tools like Chat GPT effectively. "Practicing how to input prompts into Chat GPT to yield the best outcome is critical," she explained. "The time, accuracy, and sanity savings from even the cheapest AI investments are astronomical."

Engagement and Networking

The opportunity to network at such an event is seldom paralleled. I found myself in conversation with individuals who spanned the entirety of the building verticals—a whirlwind of builders, bankers, material suppliers, technology experts, subcontractors, developers, marketing professionals, bookkeepers… you name it. The diversity was astounding, providing a spectrum of connections that could undoubtedly catalyze growth, partnership, and learning for those attuned to the potential.

The key lesson, as our experience demonstrated, is to arrive with a clear plan. Attendees who had set objectives and targeted engagements experienced the show in a deeper, more enriching way. For a first-time visitor, navigating the show floors without clarity could lead to disorientation and a missed opportunity. With a structured approach, every conversation and product exhibition can be a stepping stone toward personal and professional advancement.

NAHB helped facilitate more clarity in interaction this year by breaking exhibitors into sections, so exploring parts of the show that would relate to your business was easier than ever. NAHB Chief Revenue Officer Geoff Cassidy says, “to help attendees maximize their experience, we organized this year’s exhibit floor into six distinct product segments. Many IBS attendees told us they wanted floor segmentation, so this was a direct result of us listening to their needs.”

On top of the meaningful relationships you can form, there’s also opportunities to take home some cool giveaway items. We held a raffle this year for a new iPad and Magic Keyboard Folio. Our new friend and builder Ian DuPont at Betenbough Homes was our lucky winner this year! If you’re in West Texas and looking for a new home, give them a call.

Ian DuPont - IBS 2024 Giveaway Winner
Giveaway Winner Ian DuPont

The Builder's Playground

What truly makes the International Builder Show the premier event in the building industry is its nature as a builder's playground. Here, builders can put their hands on the latest technologies, see innovations in real time, and converse with experts who live and breathe their product lines. This experiential learning environment is irreplaceable; it fosters creativity, innovation, and an insatiable hunger for growth.

From kitchen appliances to the most cutting-edge AI 3D rendering software, the spectrum of tools available to builders was breathtaking. Start-up areas bubbled with the excitement of new ideas, poised to revolutionize the industry’s landscape. For the seasoned builder or the ambitious newcomer, this immersive setting is more than just a showcase; it's an investment in the foundation of their work.

Beyond the Show

While the International Builder Show is, in itself, a crescendo of the building community, its echoes transcend the exhibition center walls. The partnerships forged, the insights gleaned, and the products discovered are the market-making currents that flow through the veins of the construction ecosystem. The enthusiasm and energy experienced in Las Vegas are catalysts for a year of growth and innovation.

The show is a beacon, not only for the products that stand within the exhibition centers but for the spirit of advancement that permeates the very air. For those willing to invest in their knowledge, expand their networks, and push the boundaries of the possible, the International Builder Show isn't just a convention—it's a barometer for what's next.

In the wake of the NAHB's International Builder Show, I'm left with the realization that the true value of such an event lies not in the products, but in the people. The show assembles a community of innovators, builders, and dreamers, all in pursuit of a single goal: bettering the world we build. For that, it's not only worth attending—it's a necessity for anyone who crafts the places we call home.