Sadly, we at Big Builder won't be seeing you all in person this year at our annual conference, but you can still see us and still benefit from a rich program of information, all for free, at your convenience, and from the comfort of your own computer.

Big Builder's annual conference, dubbed "Home Building at a Crossroads: Accelerate the Positive," will be a virtual event this year beginning Nov. 16 through 20 and continuing on-demand thereafter.

We knew many of our usual faithful conference attendees wouldn't have the means and/or time this year to travel to our annual event, so we're bringing it to you and we're making it free so more home building executives than ever will be able to attend and benefit from our programming.

"The in-person events are great," said Big Builder executive editor Sarah Yaussi. "But home building budgets have been cut to the bone so there is very little money for travel and very little money for training, yet there is no less need for information."

In fact, it could be argued that now, more than ever, home builders need as much help as they can get to help position their companies to profit from the recovery. And the virtual event allows home building executives to access all our programming at their convenience.

"We are very excited about this, in part because necessity has sparked innovation and out-of-the-box thinking that has inspired programming as novel as the way we are delivering it" said Yaussi.

We're offering three levels of programming this year. The first level, which Yaussi has been blogging about on Big Builder Online through the development process, is a sort of extreme make-over for five specific land parcels in five markets.

The task was for Cracker Jack teams in each of the markets to come up with a new land plan for a specific parcel in less than five weeks. The plans will be unveiled in live web casts--one a day for five days--starting Nov. 16 at 1:15 p.m. local time in each of these markets: Monday, Southern California; Tuesday, Phoenix; Wednesday, Dallas; Thursday, Atlanta; Friday, District of Columbia.

Not all the land parcels are distressed, but they all need to be re-visioned through lenses altered by the new economic environment. "It's a recalibration of expectations," said Yaussi. "And there's an interesting story in every market."

Attendees who sign up and visit the live conferences can participate in the discussions. Others can call up the presentations later at their convenience.

The second tier of programming will spin off from the five market exercises, providing in-depth market intelligence for each of the five markets. Hanley Wood Market Intelligence executives Jonathan Smoke, senior VP, products and innovation, and Jonathan Dienhart, director published research, will present the specific market drill-down in on-demand video casts that discuss who the buyers are in each.

Those of you who traditionally attend Big Builder's conference to soak up tips and best practices in home building's core disciplines of sales and marketing , design, land, finance, purchasing, and operations should find of-use information in the third tier of Big Builder's programming.

"We have some really fun things planned," said Yaussi. For instance, we've set Tim Sullivan and Peter Dennehy of Sullivan Group real estate advisors loose with flip-cams to outperforming communities to film what's driving buyers to their doors.

In the finance bucket, Leslie Deutch of John Burns Real Estate Consulting will be talking about the commercial real estate meltdown and its implications in the housing industry.

Designers Kerrin West with Studio 81 and John Thatch with the Dahlin Group will be sharing "foreclosure fighters," ways to value-engineer and retool homes so they offer something better and different from foreclosures.

And for those interested in using the Internet better, Mitch Levinson and Carol Flammer of mRELEVANCE, will offer tips on search engine optimization to help builders better manage their presence on the web and use the new medium to their best advantage.

And that's just a brief sampling of what our new event will offer for those who tune in. But you need to register at to receive schedules and updates on the event.

See you soon on your little screen anywhere.