LAS VEGAS, NV — The National Kitchen and Bath Association's annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center Feb. 27-29. This year—as it has for 10 years running—the show co-located with the International Builders Show (IBS) for Design & Construction Week. (New events recently added to the DCW lineup included the National Hardware Show (NHS), The International Surfaces Event (TISE) and the Las Vegas Winter Market.)
While a single badge allowed access to all five shows, the official count for KBIS numbered some 40,000 attendees. It is North America’s largest trade show dedicated to all aspects of kitchen and bath design.
So it makes perfect sense that the International Code Council (ICC) would be an exhibitor. "AHR is good," Shahin Moinian, Executive VP for the Code Council said during an exclusive interview with CONTRACTOR, "but it is not like this. We have about 25 people working the show. It is our biggest show of the year by far."
KBIS, Moinian said, is a crossroads for experts in all aspects of the plumbing, mechanical and building industries, all areas in which the Code Council is heavily involved.
At present, Moinian serves as Executive Vice President of the ICC's Conformity Assessment Group, partnering with regulatory bodies both in the US and around the globe to facilitate the development of safe, sustainable and resilient communities.
Currently, ICC is already accredited to provide WaterMark Certification and is capable of conducting evaluation to the Australia and New Zealand building codes. ICC intends to offer the new market its NSF 372 (lead-free plumbing requirements standard) for free to its clients.
Turning to another part of the world, the Code Council is pursing relationships in the Middle East. It is now a notified body of the Saudi Arabia Standards Organization (SASO).
In a move that shows a lot of future potential, ICC is conducting robotic process automation as a way to speed the evaluation process for building materials. Typically, building product standards can take anywhere from three to four months. The ICC is developing new online portal that will speed the application process, and hopefully reduce that time.
In addition, the Code Council has begun to offer an Equivalency Evaluation Report (EER) for products described in the residential code (such as decks or awnings).
Like any organization that serves the construction industry, the state of the market is a prime concern for the ICC. And the market in 2023 shows a lot of variables, Moinian said. Inventory is still low, cost to build is still high, interest rates are high, and the supply chain is still showing vulnerabilities.
Yet most builders and contractors seem optimistic about the coming year. "January is behind us," Moinian said. "If that's an example of what's to come we're going to have a good year."
Trends that could be big in 2023 include more off-site manufacturing, 3D printing of parts and equipment (especially in the Middle East), and volumetric modular construction.
Products and Partnerships
The Code Council is seeing more applications for new, innovative products, many of which are designed with water- and energy-efficiency in mind. The ICC has partnered for years with the US EPA on the WaterSense program, and is a WaterSense certifying body for all the familiar specifications (toilets, faucets, sprinklers etc.).
Now the ICC is pursuing a similar partnership with the Australian Building Code Board (ABCB) to become a certifying body for their water labeling program (which is different from the WaterSense program in that it consists of a series of labels based on water usage).
The Code Council is also getting more into irrigation, building relationships and amassing expertise—particularly when it comes to the new generation of smart controllers and leak detection devices. After all, more than 70% of the world's freshwater withdrawals go towards irrigation. With the right technology (and, obviously, the right codes and certifications to make it all happen) there are huge water savings to be realized.