Skilled crafts and specialty trades are not obsolete, antiquated or archaic. It is quite the opposite when it comes to the residential construction industry. Especially in more recent years, there’s a renaissance of craft techniques as more and more builders and buyers are coming to realize the true value in craftsmanship. It’s one of the reasons the 2023 NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS) added a new demonstration zone to their lineup: The Craft Techniques Zone.
The IBS Craft Techniques Zone Keeps Up with Emerging Trends
The IBS Craft Techniques Zone (CTZ) featured a variety of interactive demonstrations highlighting best practices, tips and how-tos in craft-building techniques and skills. The crafts and trades experts in this new zone explored the details, updates and finishes that complete the home.
Expert craftspersons Aaron Thomas Butt, Jon Hilgenberg and Walt Tomala were the leads for the demonstrations. Industry-leading builders and influencers like Dr. Decks, Joe Cooks, Brandon Jones and more joined the hosts throughout the week of the Builders’ Show. The CTZ was a must-see for builders, specialty remodelers, trade contractors and craftspersons interested in skilled techniques.
Workforce Development is on the Move
While the housing industry continues to grow so does the shortage of trained and qualified labor, creating the skills gap. A professor from the Notre Dame School of Architecture conducted a survey in 2016, where 61% of the respondents attributed the shortage of skilled labor to the lack of exposure to the trades to younger generations.
Some attribute the shortage to the Great Recession or lack of formal apprenticeship programs. Others say it’s because of the reduction in immigrant labor pools or that we’ve pulled shop class and technical training from public schools. The bottom line is that there is residential construction work to be done and a lack of trained builders, remodelers and skilled crafts people to do it.
Movements like #KeepCraftAlive powered by FineHomebuilding works to bring awareness of the crafts and trades to the younger generations as a career option. They partner with industry organizations and tap into the building professional network to make younger generations aware of the skills training and educational opportunities that are available to them.
There’s a New Generation of Builders
While there are only a few “traditional academic programs” that focus on trades and skills in the home building and remodeling industry, trade and technical programs are alive and well. These programs focus on training, educating and molding younger generations to embrace a skill or trade as a career.
Not only can up-and-comers in the residential construction industry acquire a skill or perfect a craft but they can also make a good living in the process. It conjures up adages like, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” and “A trade in hand finds gold in every land.”
There is an emerging and new generation of builders that not only have a skilled trade or craft, but they are social media savvy. It’s changing the landscape of the residential construction industry across the country. It’s expected to continue as a movement in generations to come, which is why the IBS Craft Techniques Zone is making a comeback at #IBS2024.
Sign up for #IBS2024 updates so you won’t miss a minute of it. The 2024 show is happening in Vegas, Feb 27 – 29.