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New Building Products

The building industry continues to enjoy a steady stream of impressive new products. Last year, an astounding 88% of builders said they used new energy efficiency products and 81% of renovators used new tools.
Builders and renovators participating in the Home BUILDER Magazine Readers Survey reaffirm that trade magazine articles and advertisements are the best way to find new products. Results were similar to last year's survey, with the big exception of the Web, which, in third place, plays a bigger role this year. In British Columbia, the Internet was identified as the number-one way builders find new products and, in Alberta, it was in third place. In Quebec, construction associations and trade shows scored higher that elsewhere and, in the Atlantic, builders and renovators said retail stores are the top place they find new products. Other sources mentioned include colleges, designers/architects and consumer shows.

What make users trust a new product?

Brand names, demonstrations/direct experience, and professional recommendation are the big trust-builders for new tools. Compared to last year, brand names has moved to the top of the list for both builders and renovators, from third and second place, respectively, last year. Other reasons include independent testing, research documentation, magazine articles, expert endorsements, Web research, manufacturers' literature, CCMC reports, and advertisements. In Quebec, survey participants said they want to see independent testing as the main trust factor.

What does a new product have to offer?

Without a doubt, better performance is the most important feature builders and renovators want to get from a new product, followed by ease of installation and time savings. Ease of installation jumped from fifth to second place from last year's survey results, while money savings dropped to fifth place from third last year. Regional results varied, with Ontario builders asking for better performance, and Quebecers and those in Atlantic provinces pointing to money savings as the main requirement. In British Columbia, ease of installation was given top priority while, in Alberta, new design and look took third place.

New products used last year

New products that increase energy efficiency have dramatically gained popularity this year, especially for builders. In fact, builders seem to use more new products this year in almost all the categories. For renovators, the number-one new product remains tools, but energy efficiency is close behind, followed by accessories and products that offer increased productivity. In the Atlantic and British Columbia, floor and wall coverings took third place. Roofing and siding were strongest in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

More wanted
We asked readers in what areas they would like to see more new products and, again, they want to see more energy efficiency products, new tools, structural innovations, new windows and doors, and roofing and siding.

Industry resources
With the flood of new products reaching the market in recent years, over 60 per cent of readers responding want to see some industry group that can evaluate and recommend new products. The figures were even higher in the prairies (75 per cent) and a whopping 100 per cent of respondents from British Columbia want to see such an organization. About half the respondents said that would consider participating in a group that evaluates new products. It seems that the industry does not have a particular problem with inspectors accepting new products. However, respondents said that more technical information and acceptance in other jurisdictions can facilitate easier acceptance, as well as easier access to manufactures representatives.

On June 26, 2007, we conducted an e-mail readers' survey. As of July 9 we received responses from 111 readers. Please note that this survey, by nature, reaches the more "sophisticated" in the industry and thus lacks the input of some operators.
For the survey analysis, we used 100 replies, 56 from builders as one group and 44 from renovators and contractors as another group.
Response by province was as follows: British Columbia - 19%, Alberta - 23%, Saskatchewan - 4%, Manitoba - 2%, Ontario - 40%, Quebec - 8%, Nova Scotia - 2%, and Newfoundland - 3%.
Of the builders responding, 46 per cent have been in business for over 20 years and 30 per cent from six to 20 years. Among renovators/contractors, 41 per cent have been in business for over 20 years and 45 per cent for six to 20 years.
We offered respondents a free listing on the Home BUILDER Web site (www.homebuildercanada.com) and a chance to win one of five Zircon 24" VIDEOLEVELs.
The winners from our May issue were: Mary Lawson of Dalerose Homes in Orangeville, Ontario; Adrian Barrett of Intrinsic General in Vancouver; William Verheyen of William Verheyen & Sons Ltd. in Eganville, Ontario; Stephen DeLange of DeLange Homes in London; Robert Deschamps of Constructions Sodero in Mont St-Hilaire, Quebec; and Rainer Sahlmueller of Jasaac Construction in Emeralk Park, Saskatchewan.

Home Builder Magazine will continue to conduct timely surveys about issues of concern. If you'd like to participate, please register (click here) to be counted and to let us know what you think.

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