JLC Live Residential Construction Show Stuns with Volume of Exhibitors and Attendees

Myron Ferguson clinic on drywall finishing

Why on a sunny, cool, dry, Rhode Island day would nearly 6,000 residential construction professionals from all over New England – and beyond – take a couple of days off, after the most brutal winter in New England history, to attend a trade show?

Why would manufacturers from all over the country flock to Providence, Rhode Island to exhibit at this trade event and why is there a higher demand for exhibit space at this show than the capacity to exhibit?

Why is this show one of the few trade events in the last three for four years to have growth as a problem?

Why? Because JLC Live, presented by The Journal of Light Construction, Remodeling, and Tools of the Trade magazines published by Hanley Wood delivers one of the highest trade show values – pound for pound, dollar for dollar – in the industry!

This show’s attendance increased by nearly 10 percent from 2010 to 2011 and the exhibitor participation increased by 15 percent.  This is extraordinary in a down economy!

Today, building technology is changing at a rapid rate. The beauty of JLC Live is the marriage of the practical side with the science/theory side attracting installers, applicators and remodelers who are eager not only to see the latest products but who want to see the science/theory and best practice applications in action by attending hands-on clinics.

Two examples of the show’s clinics supported by CertainTeed (both packed) were:

  • Drywall Trade Secrets – Gypsum drywall finishing clinic conducted by Myron Ferguson, Building Specialist, demonstrating best practices of drywall installation and finishing using a new gypsum product, AirRenew™ that removes volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from the air improving the indoor air quality.
  • Home Performance SolutionsBill Robinson, Building Specialist discussed the opportunities of bringing energy efficiency to older homes.  The retrofit market will continue to grow as homeowners seek to improve the efficiencies of their building envelop. It is expected that, over the coming years, the remodeling market will grow by an annual rate of 3.5 percent.

From CertainTeed’s perspective, the benefit of an event like this is that the attendees are so excited by what they see and learn they will leave the event and go out and buy building products.  The impact is that quick.  In this economy the construction industry is a highly competitive place. Contractors and remodelers knowing they need to differentiate themselves waste no time in adding new ‘tools’ to their toolbox.

At a time when we are not ‘out of the woods’ as an industry,  it is obvious that building professionals find this show a significant value proposition making it well worth their time and resources.

If you were at JLC Live, let me know what you thought of the event.


Eric Nilsson

Eric Nilsson is Vice President, Corporate Marketing for CertainTeed Corporation

Signs of Recovery at Journal of Light Construction LIVE

Eric Nilsson

Eric Nilsson

I attended the Hanley Wood Journal of Light Construction (JLC) LIVE show which was recently held at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. I had heard about this show but hadn’t had a chance to attend until now. This is a residential construction show focused on installers, contractors, remodelers and builders that would be categorized as smaller businesses.

This event actually grew out of individuals sharing experience and best practices in common locations like coffee shops, diners and lumber yard parking lots. Fifteen years ago, it was adopted and expanded by Hanley Wood but they kept the original idea of peer-to-peer sharing of information stories and strategies. This show is networking, business education and skill-building at it’s finest.

On first walking into the event I was struck immediately with a reassuring “buzz” which tells me that building professionals, at least in this segment, are beginning to see some recovery in the industry even if it means changing or expanding their focus and expertise.

A highlight of the show was the product demonstrations and installations taking place at the exhibit booths as well as in key areas of the show.  Attendance at the demonstrations was overwhelming. The sessions were on topics such as: 

  • Weatherization/Window Installation Clinic
  • Deck Building Workshop
  • Drywall Inside and Out Clinic
  • Energy Audits for Contractors

The aisles were packed with remodelers looking to learn new skills or improve skills especially with standard products, not necessarily looking for new products.  I noticed the shift back to the basics. Instead of granite countertops and stylish bathroom fixtures, the focus is returning to energy efficiency and adding more usable living space. The downturn in the construction industry has probably pushed some regular home builders into remodeling and this show was a great place to pick up knowledge and best practices with regard to product installations which they may have sub-contracted out in the past.

This show also gave building professionals an opportunity to connect with manufacturers directly.  Most remodelers and builders generally work through distributors so having this face-to-face time with manufacturers is an added plus.

From a manufacturer’s viewpoint wanting to solidly connect with the contractors and remodelers who serve as ambassadors of our brand and products with the homeowner, this event is a must attend.

Eric Nilsson is Vice President, Corporate Marketing for CertainTeed Corporation.