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During the 1999 Remodelers’ Show in Philadelphia, hundreds of remodelers, manufacturers and industry leaders walked through a newly remodeled, 1813-era townhouse to see how professional business practices and cutting edge construction technologies worked in a real project.
Many of the construction technologies exhibited in this year’s project were designated by PATH, an initiative within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development whose mission is "to accelerate the creation and widespread use of advanced technologies to radically improve the quality, durability, environmental performance, energy efficiency and affordability of our Nation’s housing." PATH, an acronym for The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing, brought several products to the Model reMODEL. NAHB’s Research Center worked with the project’s remodelers to track material and installation costs for each new technology installed, and solicited feedback from the remodelers, suppliers and installers involved in installing each product.
"This was a natural followup to our involvement with the first Model reMODEL," says Mark Nowak, VP, contract research for the Research Center. "It gave us a chance to go beyond the code implication of NARRP, and to look at how we can bring these new technoloies into [remodeling]. It was an opportunity to assess these technologies in a real project."
The products and their suppliers:
In Philadelphia, Professional Remodeler used PATH technologies in the project in order to highlight these products during the Remodelers’ Show. Attendees were able to see products that were relatively new in an actual application, giving them the benefit of seeing them installed.
The Research Center monitored the installation of the products during the remodel project, talked with visitors during the Show, then made a comparative analysis of the material and installation costs for each new technology and its conventional counterpart.
"We worked with the remodeler, taking the 160 potential PATH technologies and identifying which ones were appropriate for this project," Nowak says. "We didn’t want to force something where it didn’t make sense." Working with the remodeler, the Research Center monitored construction and came up with costs for the use of the products.
The data include detailed descriptions of how product was installed, installer comments and cost comparisons. Initial data were published in the March issue of Professional Remodeler, and full results are due to be published by the Research Center.
Remodeler John Fries installed the product during the Model reMODEL, and although the amount of innovation caused some consternation among the trade contractors, the products themselves performed as promised. "I give high markes to them all," Fries says.
The Research Center also interviewed visitors to the site, garnering both remodeler perspectives and end-user input.
Model reModel is a partnership between Professional Remodeler, the Remodelors Council of the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB Research Center, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and industry manufacturers. Its goal is to use live demonstration projects to benchmark professionalism across the remodeling industry and advocate improved business practices.
Rod Sutton is the Editor-in-Chief for Professional Remodler. Please email him with any comments or questions regarding his column.