News & Opinions
The latest news and insights from Hanley Wood’s outspoken experts and key thought-leaders throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industry.
Embracing New Ideas
John Caulfield / BUILDER / May 22, 2013
NAHB Research Center becomes Home Innovation Research Labs.
Suppose you have an idea for a new product or process that you’re convinced will rock the home building world. That’s great, but raising money to turn that idea into reality is going to be an uphill slog when investors might need to wait decades before this idea gains a foothold with builders and contractors.
That’s what Virginia Tech concluded from a study it did about the pace of innovation in the housing sector. “This is a laggard industry,” asserts Michael Luzier, president of the Home Innovation Research Labs, which is what the NAHB Research Center now calls itself as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014.
It might seem counterintuitive that the lab—which has 400 to 500 manufacturer-clients and 500 builders participating in its green building program—would choose to include “innovation” in its name for an industry that seems allergic to anything new.
Blame this aversion on industry fragmentation, a complicated supply chain, locally enforced regulations, and what Luzier refers to as “a regional vernacular” in architecture and design “that has deep roots.” Consultants told the NAHB Research Center it needed to better communicate what it does, and its rebranding is an attempt to clear up what Luzier admits is “incredible confusion” in the marketplace about the facility’s purpose.