The 2008 Concrete Technologies Tour, coordinated by the Concrete Home Building Council (CHBC) of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), highlighted the various uses of concrete for residential applications. Attendees got a firsthand look at the durable and versatile advantages of cement-based building systems. The tour demonstrated the many ways concrete gives homes an edge in today's slow housing market.

The concrete tour provided an insider's look at what products are available and how to incorporate the multitude of concrete building options into projects. This one-of-a-kind event highlighted the differences in concrete production and residential building trends. It helped tour-goers develop a working knowledge of various types of cement-based materials, and demonstrated how to implement these current trends into existing or startup businesses. Portland Cement Association projects a growth in concrete housing starts in 2010. More builders are acknowledging concrete wall systems provide energy performances vital to green-building solutions.

The 2008 event went behind-the-scenes at eight participating tour stops: CEMEX, for a new ready-mix facility; Superior Walls, for precast foundations; Polysteel, for an insulating concrete form project; James Hardie, for a fiber cement siding project; Carolina Bomanite Corp., for decorative concrete pavers and flooring; and masonry housing projects.

Attendees saw concrete projects in action and enjoyed the networking opportunities at the welcome reception and banquet dinner. As an added perk, attendees were invited to participate in the NAHB Green Building Verifiers training. The NAHB Research Center—the sole NAHB green building certifying body—instructed individuals to become field verifiers for the National Green Building Certification Program. The program acknowledges concrete as a sustainable building option due to its durability, energy efficiency, and versatility.

The NAHB National Green Building Program verifier training course served two purposes: educating verifiers on how to score a home based on the green guidelines and educating attendees on how various products will be scored in the field.

The first day took participants to three concrete masonry jobsites: a fiber-cement siding project, a ready-mixed concrete project, and an insulating concrete forms (ICF) project. Each stop provided a hands-on look at the variety of uses and benefits of residential concrete systems. Attendees also met with builders currently using concrete to inquire about everything from cost comparison to R-value ratings. Builders were amazed at the range of advantages concrete provided.

Day two of the tour switched focus to concrete manufacturing facilities. Tour-goers visited decorative concrete, ICF forms, and precast foundation facilities. Participants observed onsite demonstrations and displays.

The 2008 tour had attendees from various aspects of the building industry including builders, realtors and marketing professionals, architects and designers, and building materials suppliers.

All came to learn how to capitalize off the expanding residential concrete market.