Nick Lehnert – Tech-Savvy Contractors Make Builders Better at PCBC

TecHome Builder

August 18, 2015

Without contractors, the homebuilding process would surely grind to a halt. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sprawling San Diego Convention Center this week at PCBC 2015, the largest homebuilding trade show in the Western United States.

I spent my time at the event speaking with homebuilders and developers, architects and interior designers, manufacturers and distributors, remodelers and real estate brokers. And of course trade contractors of every stripe from the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Europe.

Many of the themes we discussed were not surprising given the Southern California location. Water conservation and energy efficiency were on everyone’s minds, as well as advances in home automation and security. I also saw several European water control and HVAC manufacturers introducing new products based on ultra-strict European standards to the U.S. market.

What was slightly more surprising was the number of builders I met who gave due credit to their trade contractors for educating them on new technologies and helping them test products and market them to their customer base.

An infill developer from Los Angeles summed it up well: “My low-voltage guys, my HVAC installers, all my subs…they are the experts and it’s a total partnership all along the way.”

One of the most interesting educational sessions focused on the best in consumer-driven design and featured Nick Lehnert, executive director of KTGY Architecture + Planning; Randall Lewis, executive vice president of the Lewis Group of Companies, and architectural photographer John Bare.

The presenters took us on a visual journey that included, among other glimpses of the near future, autonomous vehicles, family-assistance robots and microhomes.

They also shared and explored an insightful list of new home design trends that I think should be shared with every builder and contractor

12 Home Design Trends Addressed at PCBC

1. Single-Level Living

2. Attainability – Discerning vs. Cost

3. Smaller Homes – Better Scale and Function

4. Security … “Lock and Leave”

5. Less Maintenance

6. More Storage Space

7. Better Indoor/Outdoor Connectivity

8. Personalization – Interiors, ‘Idea Spaces’

9. Super Kitchens with Large Islands and Pantries

10. Larger Media Areas and Seating

11. Spa-Like Master Baths

12. Amenities for Pets