In 2004 I moved to Washington, DC to join the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) with the challenge of starting its new Concrete Home Building Council (CHBC). I never imagined the mark that could be made under such a powerful organization—the NAHB has become a major player in education and promotion of the concrete and masonry industries.
Since 2004, we have developed and implemented six successful educational programs that are held and promoted through NAHB and its local home builder associations nationwide. Each program is written by an industry expert and covers a different concrete construction-related topic. Along with these programs, CHBC developed an annual Concrete Technologies Tour, geared toward helping home builders better understand the use of concrete and other cement-based building materials.
Through education, networking, and promotion, CHBC is successfully bringing the industry together to work for common goals. In addition to builders, manufacturers, and consultants becoming members, the Portland Cement Association and nine other national industry trade associations sponsor the Council. “We are far more successful collectively, than trying to develop our own programs individually,” says Don Ingerson, regional marketing director of Lafarge North America and CHBC member. “I think CHBC is headed in the right direction. What has impressed me is how the supporting trade associations' existing work serves to promote CHBC's goals. Marketing has created awareness that concrete and cement-based products for residential applications are a viable and visually attractive alternative to traditional materials or practices. And awareness of the durability of concrete homes has been highlighted with the impact recent natural disasters have had on communities.”
With the expertise of our broad-based membership, even more educational and marketing programs are underway. The latest step is the publication of At Home With Concrete: A Guide to Residential Concrete. This new 20-page full-color brochure will assist builders, contractors, and home buyers interested in residential concrete construction. Builders will be motivated to expand their portfolio to produce durable concrete homes. They will find the brochure helpful with its illustrations of the popular above-grade wall systems and the applications both interior and exterior. “More builders and home buyers are turning to concrete for its beauty, sustainability, and durability,” said the PCA's Michael H. Weber, 2006 CHBC president. “But for those unfamiliar with concrete construction, the learning curve can seem daunting. At Home With Concrete is a simple, informational primer to help builders and buyers understand concrete as an above-grade building material.”
To learn more about the work of CHBC and obtain your free copy of At Home With Concrete: A Guide to Residential Concrete call NAHB's Building Systems Councils at 800-368-5242 ext. 8576 or visit www.nahb.org/concrete. The brochure is also available in bulk for a small fee.